Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tip Tuesday! Efficiency

Welcome to
"Tip Tuesday!" - Piecing Two Quilts at the Same Time

I love learning new things and then sharing that knowledge with my quilting friends. So, every Tuesday I'll provide some tips, hints, tricks, tutorials, shortcuts, etc. that I've learned over the years and share them here on the blog. 

"Tip Tuesday" will be a collection of information about a wide variety of subjects garnered from a large variety of sources.  I am not an expert by any means and do not take credit for being the great wizard behind all of these hints and tips. I will gladly give due credit whenever possible.

These tips will be archived and accessible to you just by clicking on the "Tip Tuesday" tab above. 

Read, enjoy, and be inspired! 

Chain Piecing and Making Two Quilts at the Same Time

Remember yesterday when I showed you those solid nine patch blocks that I was making?

I was piecing those blocks at the same time I was sewing the rows together on this quilt.

It's really not that I'm that good, but that I try to be efficient while I'm piecing. I like to use Leaders and Enders

Many of you may be familiar with this concept because of the success Bonnie Hunter has had with this technique. She is a very prolific quilter who really popularized this technique a while back.

Like Bonnie, I like to chain piece because it's so much more efficient and economical. Not only does it save time and thread, but for me it is more accurate. I no longer have to contend with my sewing machine "eating" the tips of my fabric when I start sewing. Do you know what I mean? When the threads get tangled and your fabric ends up getting pulled down the needle hole only to be mangled beyond recognition. 

I used to simply use a piece of scrap fabric at the beginning and end of each "chain." This solved my problem and all was great.

Well, then I read about Leader and Ender projects and the light finally turned on and I was on a roll. 

Since that time, I'm almost always working on two quilts at the same time. Of course to avoid confusion, I try to make sure the two projects are very different so I don't mix the units. (Can you guess why I decided needed to do that!?!) I really don't think I could get much different than the two projects above.

Anyway, because she so often works with scrappy quilts, Bonnie often pieces various strips or units together that she throws into a tub to be used at a later date. I've done that too, but found that it is much easier for me to actually plan a second quilt and have it ready to go. As you can see in the following picture, I have my nine patch piecing units all lined up and ready to go.

Here I have the blocks for the first quilt ready to be sewn into rows and the bottom units of my nine patch blocks ready also.

I simply chain piece my blocks until they are all done.

And then I add a unit of my nine patch block to the chain.

I snip the pieces apart, leaving the nine patch unit in the machine with the needle in the down position...

And get ready to start with the row construction again.

I follow up with another nine patch component...

And before you know it, voila'! The quilt and nine patch blocks are both done.


I have found that many people find it confusing when they start using the Leader and Ender technique, but once they get going with with, I know they like it. If yo don't already do this, why not give it a try? I think you'll like it.  :-)

I've taken those nine patch blocks, cut them up, added some additional fabric and reconstructed them into something new. Check back tomorrow to see what they look like now!

I'm linking up to Show and Tell Tuesday at i have to say... as well as to Archive Tuesday at Val's Quilting Studio. Take a gander at these two blogs and I promise you won't be disappointed. 

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