If you are not familiar with the "beginners and enders" trick, which I think originated with quilter Bonnie Hunter, then you will love this! When making a pieced quilt, chain piecing is great if you can do it, because it saves thread, time, and the aggravation of having your needle come unthreaded because you cut it too short... But some quilts don't lend themselves as well to chain piecing, so this trick is the next best thing. When you get to the end of a seam, don't cut the thread, just keep sewing onto a scrap of fabric folded in half, (an "ender", and folded because sewing machines don't always like sewing on one layer) then clip the threads behind that to free your project. Then for the next seam, just butt it up to your "ender", which is now a "beginner" :-) At the end of that seam, clip the scrap off the back and use it again, or have another one going also. You can use them lots of times, and eventually they would be a fun little piece to use in an art quilt, with all that stitching on them.
(If you think about it, we usually leave a tail of several inches when we cut the thread, so the needle doesn't come unthreaded. This ends up at the beginning of the next seam. If the seams you are sewing are that length or shorter, the majority of your thread ends up in the garbage, it really does add up! And saves bobbin winding too!)
OR...and this is even better, instead of a scrap, use two squares of fabric and piece them with a 1/4 inch seam. The pieced parts of this quilt top have all been done this way, and since it was made with scraps except for the neutral background, it cost very little time or money! (I will say that hand appliqueing with batiks is not a lot of fun though, it's very densely woven...that's how the flowers were done)
My top still needs the rest of the borders, planning to do three, hopefully sometime...I am working on a pieced border for the second one using this trick too.
Beret Nelson's On The Trail Creations Blog Page
I am a homeschooling mom of three fun kids, who are now old enough that I have a little time to pursue my passion for sewing! After several years of making quilted cards and art quilts, I'm now designing kits and patterns. Some of them have even been in Keepsake Quilting! I teach classes at local quilt shops, and would love to do more traveling and teaching eventually. I also have many tutorials, including some on YouTube. I am blessed to live in Alaska where I am surrounded by the inspiration provided by the beauty of God's creation!
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