Easy, ongoing sewing!

I’m stuck, but in a good way.

windmill1 Easy, ongoing sewing!

I can’t stop making these lovely little blocks I call Windmills.

windmill2 Easy, ongoing sewing!

I started piecing them as “leaders and enders.” I first heard about leaders and enders through Bonnie Hunter at quiltville.com—it’s done while you’re chain piecing, but instead of feeding a useless scrap through the machine, you feed real patches through as “leaders” and “enders” to your chain. It’s like piecing for free, and eventually you end up with enough blocks to make something wonderful.

windmill3 Easy, ongoing sewing!

(Here the block is laying on a piece of pale green fabric.)

This is a super simple little block with small-ish patches. The patches are all cut 1.5″ by 2.5″. For one block, you need four patches from one fabric and four from another fabric, preferably with some contrast.

patches1 Easy, ongoing sewing!

The only trouble was that I got so excited about these, I couldn’t keep myself from just making a whole bunch of them. They were like M&Ms. I could not stop! Then I started playing with them in different layouts. More trouble: possibilities galore.

To make a long story short, my pile of blocks has grown dramatically. blokstak1 Easy, ongoing sewing!

So far I’ve pulled out some green and blue blocks and made this baby quilt:

babyquilt1 Easy, ongoing sewing!

I quilted it with a new-to-me technique called “Just Leaf It” from Kim Stotsenberg. Kim has written a book by the same title, which I highly recommend.

You can read more about Kim’s technique in the Nov/Dec ’08 issue of Quiltmaker.

leafit2 Easy, ongoing sewing!

The back of the baby quilt with "Just Leaf It" quilting

This technique was amazingly easy and so very forgiving. I will definitely be using Just Leaf It on many more quilts.

Here are blocks I made last night, up on my design wall:

leaders1 Easy, ongoing sewing!

It’s saying “baby girl quilt” to me. I can hardly wait to get back at it.

About Diane Harris

I'm an editor for Quiltmaker magazine in Golden, Colorado, USA. For six years, I wrote pattern instructions, product reviews and how-to articles. Then I spent four years as QM's Interactive Editor, working to generate much of our online content. Now I'm back to patterns and how-tos, which is a great fit for me. I still love writing about quilt-related topics for Quilty Pleasures, and I always have my finger on the pulse of the quilting world. I teach a variety of quilt classes and give guild programs, too. Reach me by email: editor@quiltmaker.com.
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6 Responses to Easy, ongoing sewing!

  1. Jeanne says:

    I am working on a king size quilt using these blocks. I have made 150 of the approximately 175 I need. It is a very easy block.

  2. rntravelerpat says:

    yes,but then you wouldn’t be using up the tiny scraps!

  3. Livie says:

    Wouldn’t it have been easier to cut long strips (2.5 and 1.5 x 44″), stitch them together lengthwise, press, and cut them into 4″ blocks?

  4. Pingback: One Dozen UFOs | Quilty Pleasures Blog

  5. LouAnn says:

    I’ve been hooked on Bonnie Hunter’s “leaders & enders” for sometime. It has lead to several charity quilts for the Elizabeth Piecemakers to donate to local fire & police departments in Elbert County. I usually piece two quilts at the same time. It takes a bit more time in preperation but the result is well worth the effort. After reading your post I immediately went to my tub of 2.5″ strips and started cutting 1.5″ pieces. I now have several “windmill” blocks completed and am on the way to finishing another charity quilt. Thanks for the block idea.

  6. Love the Windmill blocks, Diane. You give me the urge to get into my studio and start stitching. Wait! I don’t have a studio yet…drat! The perils of moving. It takes forever to get your new house (and quilting studio) set up. Glad you’re getting so much done. If these are the leaders and enders that fit inbetween other blocks, what else are you making?

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