Sewing Quilts Faster

The Process

People often ask me how I make so many quilts in the time I have.  Often big quilts, scrappy quilts with little pieces.  I always called it “Two at a Time.”  Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville has made this technique famous in the quilting world by calling it “Leaders and Enders.” Her book “Adventures with Leaders and Enders” is available at her website.  (Click here).  I did “Blue Ridge Beauty” as a true Leader and Ender.  When you need to make over 400 4-patches and over 400 half-square triangles, it can be daunting.  I did it one or 2 units at a time.  It took me 3 years – but once I had all the units together, it went together quickly.  And this is the result.  A quilt I love! L 'n E-6

When sewing scrappy quilts – especially everything including the kitchen sink (batiks, reproductions, modern, calicos, all colours, all prints etc) – all I do is have a plan, cut a bunch of scraps and sew them a few at a time, according to the plan.  All while I’m sewing on my main project.

My current plan is a scrappy double Irish Chain, using 2″ squares.   Many of these squares came from other people – the scraps they were going to throw away.  (I gather them from the garbage at retreats and sewing days and some people give me little bags of their scraps).

Leah Day has a free pattern that you can use.  (Click here).  Leah’s pattern uses 2 ½” squares as the base. And, true to me, I changed it.  I’m making it smaller, do not have the alternating white patches in the blocks, and have no idea how big the quilt will finish.  All I know is that it will have an odd number of blocks across and down. This will make the quilt symmetrical.

I have my unit pieces partially gathered and sitting by my machine.

L 'n E-3

I’m sewing them into different units:

  • 4 patches (kitchen sink variety)
  • background and a print (2 patch)
  • a strip of background, 3 prints, background (only partially shown)
  • a print on each end of a 5″x 2″ rectangleL 'n E-4

These units will get sewn into the blocks.  I have 4 blocks completed.

L 'n E-5


To see what others in the quilty world are working on wander over to these blogs:

Happy Quilting

2 thoughts on “Sewing Quilts Faster

  1. I love doing scrap quilts like this. It might be time for me to start a new one. It is nice sometimes to just start putting little squares together and watch it grow without really “working” on it exclusively.


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