Cutting for Leaders and Enders

I’ve been working for quite a while without a leader/ender project going on.  For those of you who don’t know, Leaders and Enders are units that you sew together at the beginning and end of a line of chain piecing.  They not only keep your thread from getting sucked down the needle-hole, they also (over time) build blocks for another quilt!

I became fascinated with Leaders and Enders after finding Bonnie Hunters blog,  .  She has a great tutorial on the Whys and Hows of using Leader/Enders. Click here to check out her tutorial!

Working with leaders and enders requires some pre-planning.  You need fabric cut and ready to be sewn together.  For a while I’ve been scheming of trying out a Tumbler quilt, but haven’t taken the leap of buying a specialty ruler for cutting the units.

Today I got a surprise visit from the Quilting Fairy!  My mother in law had put together some quilting items to donate/give away and asked me to look through them for myself.  Lo and behold, a dresden plate ruler!  In the hands of, well, literally anyone, it can also be used to cut tumblers!

I also scored some other ruler goodies!

Quilting Fairy

In order to get started using these Leader/Enders, I had to get some cut!  I decided to use 3 1/2″ tumblers, because I knew I had a ton of 3 1/2″ strips to get me started.

I chose a variety of dark fabrics, and a pile of neturals.  I didn’t have enough neutral 3 1/2″ strips, so I grabbed a variety of neutrals from the stash and cut them up.

After I had enough strips cut, I used the Dresden Plate ruler from Perfect Patchwork Templates to cut them into tumbler shapes.  I lined the top of the ruler up with the top of my strip set and cut off the end to start my tumbler shape.


Next, without moving the ruler, I made a cut along the other side of it.  This is your first tumbler block!

Second Cut

Next turn the ruler so that the top edge of the ruler is a the bottom edge of the strip set.  Line the edge of the ruler up with the end of the strip set and make another cut.

Continue down the strip set, rotating the ruler between each cut.  Keep on cutting until you have a whole pile.  Don’t forget to cut some neutrals too!

Repeat with Neutrals

Here is what I ended up with after all my cutting tonight.

That should be more than enough to get me started! This is a LONG TERM project, because it is sewn between sets of chain piecing.  It will get worked on in a “behind the scenes” way, because it will always be slowly in progress as I work on other things.

Just because I know some people (me) are visual learners, I put together a short video on cutting and sewing tumblers.  I am not very adept with video technology, and certainly don’t belong in front of a camera, but if you want to see it anyways, click here!

If you are interested in checking out the ruler I used, click here.

Until next time,

The Quilt Police




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