Leaders and Enders

Jul 21, 2021

For a long time my default end of a seam routine was to stick in a scrap of fabric, often called a spider, so I didn't have to hold my threads to start and stop.

Someone then introduced me to the concept of a leader/ender project and my quilting changed! Instead of just stopping and clipping your threads or using the scrap spider, you actually sew two pieces of fabric together. Then you stop with your needle down in this piece. When you go to start the next seam of your project you finish off the leader/ender piece and keep sewing, It's just like chain piecing, really, but with multiple projects.

Beyond the obvious benefit of not having to hold your threads at the start of a seam or having to trim them, it means you are sewing on two projects at once! It becomes a fast way to make progress. 

For me, I often keep crumb pieces next to the machine to use this way, and thus build up without thinking. I've done it with precisely cut patchwork squares too. And right now I have some specific scraps in use, little bits that make up a four patch, eventually. If I was to just sew those little bits in one fell swoop I might die of boredom or tedium, but this way I make progress mindlessly. Win win!