Sunday, January 20, 2013


Tower of Scraps - out of control!
I'm not a hoarder, really I am not, but I just can't justify throwing away fabric scraps that can be used to make perfectly good quilts. These overflowing bins and baskets are in my cutting area and I am running out of space. There are enough bits and pieces in these piles to make many scrap, crumb or string quilts. I have paid good money for my fabric (and scraps) and I just cannot justify throwing away these usable pieces. Granted, some are very tiny, not much wider than 1.5" but I can and do make crumb quilts from these itty bitty pieces. I have been trying to use up my scraps but honestly, things are really out of control. The thing is - I keep making quilts and, therefore, I keep making scraps!

Oh boy - another tower!
When I make a quilt, I usually cut down the leftover pieces that are big enough to go in my strip bins and now that I am making 3" star blocks, I will start cutting 1" strips as well. I need to get into a routine where I spend time each week chipping away at these piles. I need to start making crumb blocks on a regular basis too, but you and I both know that when you make crumb blocks you think you are going to use a ton of scraps and it just ain't so! I know I have to buckle down and go through these scraps and cut them into standard sizes and put them in my parts bins. That certainly will go a long way to lessen the piles and make the pieces more convenient to use but it will take me a very long time to show any progress. In the meantime, I will continue to make quilts and I will try to cut down the scraps right away instead of just throwing them into the pile. Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining, I just want to be able to use them at some point in my lifetime and I do hope that I continue to create scraps for a very long time!!

How do you deal with all of your scraps? Do you throw them away or do you keep them knowing you will use them or just hope you will use them? I know that there are many quilters out there that have their scraps totally under control and organized and one day I just might be one of them!


Carla A Few Of My Favorite Things said...

Wow! I spent the summer of 2011 cutting up scraps. I made an double irish chain, and since have made a woven scrap quilt, still have more scraps. I have a scrappy string star I am currently working on and a pumpkin seed scrap in the future. I just don't think it will ever end.

Quilter Kathy said...

A big scrap pile is the sign of a creative quilter!
You are the only one brave enough to post the proof!
My system changes all the time, and mostly I'm happy with it...little scraps organized by colour and bigger hunks in CD containers. I have a big bin with tiny pieces in it and I just love digging around in there!

Ann Marie @ 16 Muddy Feet said...

That is about what my scrap pile looked like when I started quilting again in 2009. The first thing I did was sort them all by color. Then over time I started taking one basket at a time and cutting them into strips 5", 4.5", 4", 3.5", 3" 2.5", 2", 1.5" & 1". I would cut the biggest one it would let me. The smaller pieces that were not good for strips got cut into squares, the same sizes. I also found Bonnie Hunter, so having them into color families helped to make her scrappy quilts. Up until that time I did NOT like scrappy quilts at all that is why I had sooooo many scraps in the first place. Now when I start a new project I keep all the fabric for that top together until the top is 100% done. Then I use the fabric to make a back for the quilt, then whatever is leftover gets cut up and put into the strip and square buckets. The only time it goes back on the shelf is if there is more than a FQ leftover after the back is pieced. When I have a piece that isn't straight to make a nice strip I put it in the string bucket, and I make string blocks. If I can't cut a 1 inch square from it, it goes into a glass jar to look pretty on the shelf, I have old barrel pickle jars one for each color. Gotta decorate the studio you know. After 3 years of working here and there to control the scraps I am almost scrap basket free. I don't want scrap baskets, I want fast and usable baskets, strips and squares. Also I see you have Angela's RSC13 button on your sidebar.........pick a few easy quilt blocks and try to stick with that each month, that will at least get rid of some of each color during the year. I have sewn a TON TON TON of pink up. Almost to the bottom of the basket.

scraphappy said...

I do keep a scrap basket, but just one, Like Anne Marie I keep everything together until a quilt is complete, then everything less than a fat quarter goes into the basket. I do dig through when I need a specific color, but generally I empty it out whenever it gets full and cut everything into strips or squares. Anything that doesn't go nicely into a bin goes into one of the rainbow jars. I am trying now to sort specific scraps into groups for specific projects, we will see how that works over time. I enjoy cutting scraps, so every so often, when the house is quiet, I'll have a movie marathon and cut the day away. Good luck with your scraps. Using them is almost as much fun as making them in the first place.

Cheryl said...

Hi Ellen
All I can say is I have more scraps if you need them! My first big batch of scraps went to Glenda! I enjoy cutting the scraps into neat pieces but I know I will not be able to use them all. I like quilting and will make a few scrap quilts too in my lifetime but I can't say that I will make as many beautiful quilts as you have! All the best with all those bits and pieces. Love sis

Cathy said...

I just finished taming my scrap piles, altho, mine weren't quite that big. Seeing yours actually made me feel much better. All I can say is, start at the top and work your way down. I purchased a Go Cutter a while back, and what a difference it made to the job. I could cut the strips, and then lay the strips across the cutter, and it would cut them into squares.

audrey said...

No organization at all until I'm ready to jump into a scrap project and then I only organize what I think I need to work with! Good luck with yours!

Deb A said...

I'm not organized either. The rubbermaid bin - well it was all over the living room and my kid last month in a photo. There was still some in the basket too! I find more hiding in other places too... I really need to go through the sewing room and tame it and organize it up a bit. The last time the cover didn't close I made the scrappy log cabin quilt. It is back to not closing.... =(

Sheila said...

My scrap boxes are growing because I'm going through my stash and placing pieces smaller than a fat quarter into scrap boxes sorted by color.
Last year I decided to make more scrap quilts and scrappy projects like pot holders to use up my scraps and smaller pieces of fabric. When I can, I cut larger scraps into 10" blocks and piece them into a quilt backing.
I made several quilts last year during Angela's Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I'm doing that again this year. It will take awhile, but I'll work through my scraps eventually.
I have cut some 2 1/2" strips and lots of 2 12" squares in the past. I'm cutting some tumblers this year. I have no plans to go through all my scraps and cut them up into strips and squares.

Kathy's A Quilter said...

I am somewhere between your pile and Bonnie Hunter's scrap user system. I marvel at the pile sometimes and always wonder aloud...where DID THAT come from? I love what you continue to contribute to our quilting world. Quilt On!