Book Review: Adventures with Leaders & Enders

Adventures With Leaders & Enders: Make More Quilts In Less Time!Adventures With Leaders & Enders: Make More Quilts In Less Time! by Bonnie K. Hunter

I bought this book with an Amazon gift card, because I had heard so much about Bonnie K. Hunter, especially from Katie of Katie’s Quilting Corner. I have been using the the Leaders & Enders technique, which Hunter calls L&E in the book, for awhile. I didn’t really need a book to tell me to cut my scraps into manageable and usable sizes and sew them together.

The first 14 pages talk about the Leaders & Enders technique, including useful sizes in which to cut your scraps, sorting scraps, making some basic units (4 patch, 9 patch, half square triangles), and a small section on strip piecing. The last page (pg.15) is called “What quilters are saying about Bonnie Hunter’s Leaders & Enders method.” All the praise is glowing and there are little stories about people using the Leaders & Enders technique.

The Leaders & Enders technique is explained thoroughly on pages 8-9. If the quiltmaker reads these two pages, s/he will know what to do.

The beginning section also talks about finding time and getting organized. Finding time is a perpetual problem for most people, so Hunter’s advice is useful and realistic. The Getting Organized section (pg.12) talks a lot about containers, what she likes about certain types and what she doesn’t like about others.

Aside from the fact that publishers are demanding that quilt authors make many projects, I think Bonnie K. Hunter had to create projects for this book. If a quiltmaker cut up his/her scraps and made bunches of 4 and 9 patches accented by half square triangles, most wouldn’t know what to do with them. The projects make sense in this book.

Adventures with Leaders and Enders has 13 projects and all of the quilts are made from pieces cut using Hunter’s method. Larger pieces of fabric are used for sashing, borders, etc in most of the quilts, but the majority of the blocks are made with scraps using the Leaders & Enders technique.

At the end of the book (pg. 92-93), there is a section that includes paragraphs on “Additional thoughts on color”, “Allow yourself playtime”, “Analyze the pattern” and “How to gauge yardage.” In this section, she says “If I run out of something, I just substitute something else.” I think that is very good advice. Many vintage quilts have random pieces that don’t match, because, presumably, the quiltmaker ran out of fabric. We are fortunate to have plenty of fabric, but keep this advice in mind as a few different fabrics can add interest and movement to a quilt.

My favorite quilt in this book is the Blue Ridge Beauty, which uses a similar block to my the block used in my Stepping Stones quilt. I like the combination of 4 patches and half square triangles. Actually, I like most the quilts in the book, though I do find the total scrappiness of some of them somewhat unsuccessful. In Sisters Nine Patch, Ms. Hunter sticks to a certain color palette and I think this choice makes this quilt one of the more successful projects.

I am not much of one for randomly selecting fabrics and putting them in a quilt. I like a little more thought, so some of these projects strike me as not being well chosen in terms of color. Still, they have charm. I also think that Hunter’s color palette is a little muddier and more Civil War-ish than mine. That difference definitely affects my view.

I would have dearly loved to have a seen a gallery of quilts (made by students??) in different colors in this book. I think the reader would really benefit from such a gallery.

This is a quick read. I would get it from the Library, but the tips and tricks are good and can be used with any type of fabric.

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Author: Jaye

Quiltmaker who enjoys writing and frozen chocolate covered bananas.

4 thoughts on “Book Review: Adventures with Leaders & Enders”

  1. Nice review, I’ll be checking the book out next time I’m in town. Thanks. I love sewing with my scraps. I generally don’t put a lot of thought into complimenting or contrasting color, mostly because I’m not good at it. However, I do try to put like colors together, so I’m looking forward to the color combinations she uses. Quilted blessings, Nita

  2. Just got back from guild today. Bonnie Hunter was a very energetic speaker! She had a boat load of quilts and talked about her methods of organizing scraps. I was surprised to realize that I had actually been in touch with her back around 2006-07 when I asked her permission to use her pattern to teach an adult education class! She is very generous with her patterns and knowledge. I did this quilt for class:
    I also went to a retreat a few months later with my guild back in CA. The pattern THEY used was HERS! I didn’t know that when I signed up for it.

    Her segment on finding time to do quilting was great. I think I may try one method which is to turn off my computer more often. lol

    I would not get as much out of her classes because, to my surprise, I am more organized than most of the quilters in the guild! lol I already make too many scrappy quilts and want to work more on how to make planned quilts. She did offer up some ideas on more ways to use up the scraps though, and I liked her ideas.

    At least her lecture was enjoyable, enthusiastic, energetic, and engaging. I enjoyed it a lot and didn’t ignore the lecture like I am guilty of doing when a speaker doesn’t hold my attention as much. hehehehehe

    That’s my take on it all!

    Today, she showed quilts that were not as colorful as I currently use, but they were impressive. She has a great method of working more than one piecing project at a time and lots of ideas on how to use little bits of leftovers. The guild had a tremendous turnout and we had several folks drive HOURS to be here for the meeting this morning! She makes drab fabrics look wonderful by using some of her techniques.

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