Jul 02

Leaders and Enders Scrap Box Quilt

Introducing the Scrap Box Quilt!

In March, Candi had us try a leaders and enders challenge.  Basically, instead of pulling out our thread to clip it after sewing a block, we would sew two pieces of another quilt together instead, saving us the hassle of having all of those leader and ender threads.  I wasn’t able to do this entire quilt in a leaders and enders fashion (toward the end, I just had to chain piece them because I wanted to get this quilt done) but it is fun to know that the majority of these blocks were made while sewing other quilts together.


So a bunch of these:


Turned into this:



I didn’t like how a few of the blocks touched each other, so I may have hand appliqued strips of white to separate them.  Ok, I did, and I love it much more.  Look at the light blue block and the dark blue block next to each other in the picture below.  They were once sewn together.  I felt like I was doing cosmetic surgery on my quilt top!

I paired it with a Summersville print that I love, and bound it in red.


And the quilting was done in a free motion way, but in a design I like to call “Splat.”  Maybe “Splatter” sounds better, but in my mind, It will always be splat.


splat quilting

This quilt started off at 67 inches by 80 inches, but after washing it finished at 64 inches by 76 inches (just shy of a true twin quilt, but it can function as a twin, it just won’t cover the pillow).

I LOVED making this quilt.  It was both a challenge and a no brainer at the same time, and it was 100% from my scrap bin.  And some of these scraps were TINY!

I think my favorite is the neutral background.  It has Kona White, Kona Snow, Kona Bone, Kona PFD, and other random whites that I have collected throughout the years, and I am smitten.  I can’t wait to make another quilt like this again!

And because it is so fitting, I am going to link this one up to Katy’s “Slash the Stash” post.  Are scraps considered stash?

Thanks everyone for stopping by!  Happy Canada Day for you Canadians, and happy fourth of July to all you Americans!!!

*Edited to add

I have had a lot of questions about how I finish this quilt.  If you look through the comments, I explain into more detail about sewing together blocks until you have large strips or pieced blocks.  Below is a picture of what I do to piece the final blocks and strips together.


I had a few extra of the individual box blocks, so I fitted them together to sew them onto block 11.  I then sewed block 11 to block 8 with a thin white sash in between.  I lengthened block 9 to be the same length as block 10, then sewed them together with a thin white sash in between.  Then, sew the 8-11 combo to the 9-10 combo, then sew that to block 7 with white sash in between.

I then add some extra blocks to fit with block 6.  Sew block 4 to block 5 with white sash, then sew that to block 6.  Now, I can sew 4-5-6 to 7-8-9-10-11.  Half of the quilt is sewn together.

I can now trim the bottom part of block 4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11.  I cut off parts of blocks 10 and 11, then add that to the outer side of block two, making sure that any cut off boxes are on the edge of the quilt.  Add white as needed.  Add white to make 1 equal in length to 3, sew them together with white in between.  Now you can sew bock 2 to block 1-3.  Finally, sew block 1-2-3 to block 4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11, adding white in between.

Complicated, right?  But, the outcome is pretty fun!




  1. Jill says:

    I LOVE it! It has such fantastic scrappy charm, especially with the scrappy neutrals as a background.

  2. Ivy says:

    I love this! I especially love the neutrals background AND the backing! OMG, how cute! I have a 5″ charm square of that fabric. I think I’m gonna need more! 🙂

  3. Sarah says:

    This is SWEET! I absolutely love it!

  4. Kati says:

    I missed this one! I love it. What a great idea. I really might have to do one like this. It’s perfect for using scraps. Thanks for linking up!

  5. I heart, heart, heart, love this! I know it should seem intuitive. I mean how to make it. But did you just start each block with a liberated bit of white and add your colors to that? And then added white as necessary at some point to make them about the same size block? Thanking you in advance for any little helpful bits you find the time to share!

    • Tanya says:

      I took a scrap of white, and sewed random scraps of the same color on all four sides, either log cabin or courthouse step style. I string piece, so I do one step at a time with a bunch of scraps, then press with a hot iron, then sew another until the box is formed. I square up the resulting block, with no dimension in mind, only that all four corners are right angles. Then, I add as much white around it as I can. Some blocks are completely surrounded by white, some only have three sides, or two sides, or one side surrounded by white. I square up the block again, making sure that I cut it down to be x inches (1 inch, 2 inch, 3 inch, etc.) or x+0.5 inches (3.5 inches, 4.5 inches, 5.5 inches, etc.) Then, I just match up blocks by size, making sure to sew color to white, or white to white, not color to color. Over and over again. It is as complicated as it sounds. Perhaps I will make a tutorial for this one day, but for now, I have to get this one done! 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

      • Thank you for taking the time to respond! I do scrappy quilts but stop using pieces that are less than 2 1/2 inches wide. I keep those pieces and give them to school teachers for collages for young students but now I’m thinking I should be using them myself. Thank you for the inspiration! Toni

  6. Janie says:

    Right now I’m adding whites to the colored blocks. I’m wondering if you sew row by row or do you take your squares and make larger squares and then join those squares. I’m just not sure what I’m going to do next. I did read your reply to Toni in Oregon but I got lost after you squared up your blocks the 2nd time. then what?

    • Tanya says:

      Hello Janie,

      Some of my colored boxes are completely surrounded by white, while others have only one side of the box touching white, some only two sides with white, some with three sides with white. When I square up these blocks, I make sure to have them either be so many inches, or so many inches and a half. Lets say I have two blocks, one is 7×10, and the other is 7.5×7. I will sew the two sides that are 7 inches long together, making sure that I have a strip of white between them. Then, I put the new block, which is now 7 inches by 17 inches, aside. I keep pairing up blocks until I can’t pair any more. Sometime, you might need to add some white to make the blocks work, and that is ok. Then, I take my pairs and try to match them up. And I keep matching and sewing (and sometimes adding more white) until I get huge blocks or long strips. Then, I measure the blocks and, using graph paper, make a smaller scale replica and move the blocks around until I can add a strip of white here and there and piece it all together. I’ll try to add a picture of the paper replica to this blog post…

      • Janie says:

        thanks so much for taking the time to reply. I saw your stats on one of the 2 quilts, over 300 blocks. Wow, I have a way to go and I’m running out of scraps. I thing this will be a quilt I’ll work on and then put aside until I accumulate more scraps, etc
        thanks again

  7. Debbie says:

    Did you ever do a tutorial for this block/quilt? What a good idea for a scrappy quilt!

    • Tanya says:

      No, I never did do a tutorial, but people asked a lot of questions in the comments, and I tried to answer them as best as I could. This wasn’t so much a quilt one can plan, just sewing scraps in log cabins or courthouse style until you have no more, and then sewing those to each other over and over again. Very simple, and yet too complicated to do a tutorial because no guarantee their blocks will turn out the same size as mine.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting!

  8. Joyce says:

    I finally finished mine. Thanks for all the help. Everyone loves it! I wish I could post a pic here