I first heard of leaders and enders from Bonnie on the Quiltville website. I thought her idea of slowly putting together pieces for a quilt from those little bits of fabric at the beginning and end of your stitching was brilliant, but it takes a little advanced thought to plan what to stitch and have it ready. I have so many small bits of novelty fabrics that I've used for my hexagon I Spy quilts that I decided to use them up making a simpler I Spy of 3-1/2" squares stitched together as my leader and ender pieces. It wasn't as simple as it sounded, because many of the novelty prints are directional and quite a few have to be fussy cut. Perhaps not the best choice for leader and ender pieces, but it worked. I had done about all the leader-ender stitching of them I could by the time I moved my machine upstairs to the dining room so I could quilt during my recovery. I brought them all up to stitch together into a quilt top.
I don't have a design wall upstairs and I wanted to lay things out to be sure the layout was ok, so I put them on batting and rolled it open as needed. It worked pretty well -- you can move it around and everything stays in place. And did this ever stitch up quickly! When you already have the pieces sewn in pairs, you're almost half way done before you begin.
There are going to be a couple narrow borders and then more squares around the outside, but the top is otherwise done. I hope to move back downstairs tomorrow or the next day (my leg is healing very well), and then I can put the borders on Otto's quilt and on this. And, of course, plan what to use for my next leaders and enders. It will definitely be simpler than this.
Focus on design
Have you seen this stamp? It has been out since last year but I saw it two days ago for the first time. I thought it was a picture of a quilt! It isn't. According to the post office website, the stamp was designed by Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, Maryland. (She also designed the beautiful breast cancer awareness stamp.) Anyhow, I was looking at the stamp and trying to figure out what makes it so appealing. Partly, I love letters, such beautiful shapes, and she uses a lot of variety in her letter styles. The subtle stripes and dots in some of the squares as well as that green stripe after the 'r' also add a lot of interest. I guess variety is the spice of life -- and stamps and quilts. I'll remember that if I find myself getting too matchy-matchy.