Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Postage Stamp Quilt - Leader Ender Project

I love postage stamp quilts.  The thought of doing one though was always too much for me.  Thousands of little squares sewn together sounded like hell on earth.  I still wanted one though.  So I have decided on making it a leader ender project.  That way I don't have to sew all of those thousands of blocks together at once and get frustrated when I feel like I'm not making any progress.  Plus, I needed a break from drawing all those Xs for the HST Quilt.

Let's start off with what a leader/ender is and then get into the quilt.  A leader is usually a piece of fabric that you start sewing on before the actual project and the ender is a piece you sew on to at the end of the block or chain.  I've always just used a scrap of fabric and just sew on it over and over again.  Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville  is the first person though that I had heard of doing a project, instead of a scrap.  She recently finished her last one and that got me to thinking.  I could actually make the postage stamp quilt if I just did a few blocks at a time. It's like doing two projects at once and I'm good with that.

So you all saw the postage stamp quilt when I did my 10 favorite quilt patterns.
Postage Stamp Quilt
You can use several different size squares.  I'm using 1 inch blocks which will finish 1/2 inch.  Super tiny but the impact of those tiny squares are pretty cool.  Plus, I'm not on a timetable with this project so I can take as along as is needed.  I'm planning on a 60x90 finished quilt.  Because I love you all I've done the math for you on how many blocks you need for a 60x90 quilt.

1" Blocks - 21,600
1 1/2"Blocks - 5,400
2" Blocks - 2,400
2 1/2" Blocks - 1,350

postage stamp quilt before fabric
Most of this will become 1" squares

Stop panicking folks.  You don't have to cut all those squares at once.  I have my tub of scraps and as I have time or I need a break from drawing Xs then I pull some fabric and cut it up.  If I can get a 5" square out of it, I cut that out first.  That's a charm square size and I might be able to use that in the future.  I'll just keep adding to the bag as I have time or I get low.

So let's do one so you understand what I'm talking about.

I pull two squares, line them up and start sewing like normal.

Then I just chain sew onto the "real" project.

When I get done with my chain, I only did one block for the pictures, I'll sew off onto another set of blocks.

That's it just like that I have two blocks sewn for my postage stamp quilt and part of the quilt I'm working on.

So now all I have to do is clip the leader ender off and put them in the tub to wait for more pairs.  I won't press them until I have enough to do a row so it'll be a while.  I'll keep you updated on my progress and be sure to keep me updated on yours.

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Melissa Shields
Melissa Shields

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  1. Wow! That is some project. I don't quilt, but I have always admired the craft and still think that I may take it up someday....albeit I will not start with this pattern! ;-) Enjoy the process!

    1. LOL I might be crazy taking on this one.

  2. I am excited to follow your progress on this project. I know it will be gorgeous!!

  3. I made a postage stamp with 2 1/2 inch blocks, I'm too lazy to do one with such small squares. I can't wait to see yours!

  4. Wow that seems like such a lot of work to do all those 1" squares but I'm sure it will be beautiful when you get it done. I love the idea of doing it as you're doing the other project... great use of time!