Re- Learning. Is that a word?

Just a SHOUT OUT to everyone that has sent in
their block for the JUST ONE STAR project. I had the honor to start sewing some of the blocks together into quilt tops.

I joined the blocks into rows of 6 chain piecing them as I went along.

I have been quilt for 30 years and I continue to learn or RE-LEARN things. I recently attended a quilt guild meeting where Bonnie Hunter was the speaker. It was so good I went to another guild meeting 2 nights later. Bonnie has won the award for making the most fantastic quilts from scraps, leftovers and recycled, re purposed fabrics. Bonnie’s blog, Quiltville is a must read.

Bonnie’s book, Leaders and Enders, published by Kansas City Star is amazing.

This is the part where I re-learned.

Bonnie wrote an entire book that utilizes Leaders and Enders. The picture above shows what a leader is. Basically a piece of fabric to begin sewing on, before you start chain piecing your blocks together.
The leader does a couple of things.
1. It keeps your needle from coming un threaded.
2. It makes you not have those long pieces of thread to trim away.
The bonus thing it does is you can actually sew an entire separate project just by using leaders and enders.
You may remember my candy bar post from 2 days ago. I am making the dresden plate sections as my leaders and enders while I assemble Just One Star quilt tops.

Here is my ender (another dresden plate fan section) To make an ENDER sew half way and stop. Cut off the sections that you have chain pieced. Your ENDER now becomes your LEADER and you are ready to start chain piecing the next section. I love my auriful thread and using the LEADERS and ENDERS saves thread.
I never thought I needed to use a leader or ender. I didn’t have much trouble with my needle coming un threaded BUT I did hate trimming those excess threads. The back of my projects looks so much neater.
Did I forget to mention that I got Bonnie to autograph 2 of the books while she was in town?
AND I am giving them away here.
Leave a comment with a sewing TIP or something you have RE-LEARNED
and I will randomly draw for 2 books
and post the winners on April 7th.
(1 book per person)


  1. Deb says:

    I relearned a binding tip from Carrie at Miss Rosie's when she did a tutorial on binding. Specifically how she handles her corners and when binding sews both sides of the corner. No matter how long you've been quilting, you can learn something new every day! Thanks!

  2. Danielle says:

    Bonnie is a great teacher and author. I have recently re-learned the importance of checking my bobbin before I start sewing. My work goes so much faster if I have sufficient thread in the bobbin to start rather than having to stop part way to put in a fresh one.

  3. A.J. Dub. says:

    I have wanted to try using actual projects as leaders and enders but am afraid of getting confused. 🙂 I am using scraps right now.
    Something I have re-learned, I don't know, really I am pretty new to the sewing scene so mostly I am learning for the first time.

  4. Kathy B says:

    For my leaders and enders I use small contanter or bag then label it for whatever project:4-patch, scrap stripes ect. When they start to overflow I start using them as new leaders and enders.
    If you ever see a little battery operated Wahl razor,don't think twice just buy it. They are the greatest un-seamer, thread nipper there is. A must have tool.
    Lissa I have 39 stars coming your way.

  5. I love the Just One Star project – I am working on a few more this week, and will probably send them off to you next week. I re-learn every day that lint rollers are a MUST-HAVE, especially if you have cats! I have 2 lint rollers in my sewing room (and some in about every other room in the house). Sure wish I would have bought stock in them when I first started quilting. I keep one on my ironing board and one on my sewing table. I use them on my design wall when it has accumulated a lot of threads. They are the best!

  6. Rae says:

    It‘s kind of silly, but I just learned that it is totally okay to sit and wind multiple bobbins at a time so you don’t run out while quilting. I never, ever did that when sewing clothing. It’s saved me a lot of time and annoyance. (corollary: there’s no such thing as having too many spare bobbins, especially if you wind them with neutral cotton thread. Also, always have a couple spare empty ones, just in case)

    I love Bonnie’s blog and have been planning to buy her books eventually (although I’m still building up a stash.)

    And I need to finish up my stars for the Just One Star project!

  7. Janet says:

    mine involves the camera too … Once you lay out your blocks, take a picture. Not for reference but to find mistakes in blocks and layout. It's so much easier to spot them that way!

    I already have Leaders and Enders, but would love to win Bonnie's new book. Thanks for the opportunity

  8. Laurie says:

    I just re-learned how wonderful it is when I plan ahead and have straight grain to use for a binding. I'd sewn one on and it needed to come off and it ripped off so easy since the grain was strong. I just nipped a few threads and ripped, if it stuck, I cut a few more threads and ripped again.

  9. Megan says:

    At Mom's suggestion (Mother Knows Best), I've recently stopped using my quilting gloves in favor of Neutrogena Hand Cream. When I'm machine quilting, I don't like to have that extra layer of fabric between my fingers and the quilt.

  10. Sherri says:

    I think I re-learn every day…thank goodness for all the amazing info. out there on the internet! I love this tip on leaders and enders…it's something I've heard of but not used before.

  11. Lisa Marie says:

    Seems I'm always learning some tidbit – there is so much info out there. My tip is that when joining blocks, sew just 4 or 5 stitches right where things need to match. If you don't get it right it's easy to pull the bobbin thread and the stitches come out. Then you can adjust and try again. Once I have everything matched, then I sew the whole seam.

    Thank you for having this Just One Star program. I was glad to send in a few blocks. It is a small thing that everyone can do.

    I would love to win one of Bonnie's books because she has so many smart ideas and her quilts are beautiful! Thanks for the chance.

  12. Tina says:

    I am a new quilter and just learned that the corners on blocks will "nest" together when seams are pressed in the opposite direction of one other. The front of the block matches up perfectly (!) and really look great!

  13. Carol says:

    Don't have any of Bonnie's books and would love to win one. I was at the same guild meeting you were (Denton) and thought the program was great. I picked up several tips on sewing down binding from Carrie at Miss Rosie's. One I had not thought of was to slightly put tension on the binding as you sew to keep it from being wavy. And I have a star to send in as well.

  14. Staci says:

    I learned to use glue to join the ends on the quilt binding from a tutorial at The Sometimes Crafter. Now I do it this way every time and that stinky little seam is always perfect. Thanks for the great giveaway

  15. Jen says:

    I would love to win one of these books! I'm still in the learning stage, so I haven't really got to the relearning stage yet! One thing that took me awhile to catch on to is basting aplique circles before you sew them down. That way they look like circles, instead of a kindergartners art project!

  16. Sarah says:

    Very interesting post.
    I recently re-learned the importance of using starch! I know there are several schools of thought on this, but I do get more accurate and correctly shaped pieces when I sew after using starch.

  17. Sarah says:

    I have never learned how to machine piece, so my piecing is done by hand, which also works for me since I piece while watching movies or tv shows on my computer.
    My Sewing Tip: When I have small pieces of fabric to keep track of, or to keep in a particular configuration, I put them on a piece of felt, which can also be rolled up if/when I am interrupted and need to clean up my space.
    I had never even heard of leaders and enders before this post, but I'll have to explore the idea more since I need to learn effective techniques of machine piecing.

  18. Belinda says:

    I relearned how to use Electric Quilt. I had forgotten how much I love using EQ! After a 15 year hiatus from sewing, I had relearn many, many things 🙂

  19. Janelle says:

    I love all the little tips that make things easier! One thing I like is pressing my strip sets closed and then opening them up and pressing. It seems to help sink the stitches and keeps my strips from getting shifty!

  20. Kim West says:

    Don't sew tired. Once you start making a lot of mistakes is the time to walk away from the project for a bit. Whether it is for an hour, a day, week, or month. Sometimes rest from a project is just what you need to rejuvenate yourself and make it fun again.

  21. Meg says:

    I've relearned the value of graph paper! If a quilt design is buzzing in my head, I've often been known to print out a free sheet (I Google free graph paper) of graph paper and sketch away on my lunch hour!

  22. Colette says:

    I've been using Leaders, but never thought that an Ender could be just as helpful–AND could quickly be promoted to the next Leader!! *angels singing*

    I'm rather new to quilting so I'm learning every day. One tip that I found most helpful is to prepare the binding and the quilt label right away. I store all pieces with the pattern in a plastic see-though envelope to keep it all together. If I am out of envelopes, I have too many "UFOs" so it motivates me to get some done.

  23. Ladybug says:

    I keep a light weight apron on a hook at the door to my sewing room. I put the apron on when I enter and when I leave hang it back up. This way I'm not covered in stray threads. They stay on the apron and I no long waist time looking for the lent brush.

  24. Pam says:

    I love Bonnie Hunter. I have done a few of her mystery quilts and learned something new with each one. With the last quilt I learned about using phone books for string blocks.

  25. dianne says:

    this is gonna sound really, really dumb … but i had to re-learn how to turn on my sewing machine (Sven) … i was quilting downstairs with a different machine (Thor) and hadn't been in the Magick Shoppe for weeks – my left hand was fumbling around the back of the machine, searching for the switch (that is on the right hand side of the FRONT of the machine) – i had to ask my daughter how to turn it on … how's that for forgetting the basics?!?

  26. Laurie says:

    wow – after almost 20 years I am STILL learning so many new things I can't recall what I've re-learned recently. I sent in two blocks 🙂 what a wonderful thing this project is! And thanks for the chance to win – Laurie

    llsbaskets at comcast dot net

  27. Wendy says:

    I learned that if you are a smidgen off on your seam allowance, always line up the sides opposite your stitching and after sewing your 1/4 inch, when you open your pieces, you will have the correctly sized pieced block. … trust me, it works! I would so love a chance at Bonnie's books, so I thank you!!

  28. scottylover says:

    Let's see, what have I re-learned? I have re-learned that in order to get clean cuts when cutting strips with your rotary cutter to check every few strips to make sure you haven't gotten off-kilter along the way. I seem to have to remind myself every time I cut strips to check! Don't want a whole bunch of strips with that wonky "V" in them!

    Thanks for the chance to win!
    Sandy A

  29. All8 says:

    Spray starch. Complete lifesaver with bias cuts. Well, before you cut them that is. Why I ever ran out and didn't buy more, I don't know.

    Thanks for the opportunity.

  30. Deb says:

    As many times as I've sewn a binding, the time is often far apart from one quilt to another. So I took a digital picture of EXACTLY how each step is done. Now I have a picture and re-learn it every time I need to bind. But I wish my mind would remember so I wouldn't need to relearn!

  31. Andee says:

    It wasn't really recently but I relearned the value of pressing…when I first started sewing I tended to skip that step…ya, my quilting has improved quite a bit!

  32. Grammasheri says:

    I relearned how to end the binding so that the seam is diagonal like the rest of the pieced binding. There is no way to tell where the binding begins and ends! Very easy and works wonderfully!

  33. Wendy P says:

    I save all those trimmed off corners from snowball blocks, etc and keep them in a short vase. They are easily accessible for leaders and enders and when pressed and trimmed up they can make a wall hanging, table topper or small border.