Scrap organization

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This week I did two things: work on organizing one of my scrap bins and worked on quilting a block or two of a really simple baby quilt.

The baby quilt is just 16 10″ blocks all sewed together. They were leftover from my summer quilt here. I found a large floral for the backing which frankly, hadn’t inspired me for anything but a quilt back.

Quilt I'm working on this week.

For each block, I’m quilting a different design, working my way through Free-Motion Quilting with Angela Walters. When I need a break from the computer and desk work, I just move myself downstairs to the sewing room and quilt a block or two. That’s usually long enough for a readjustment. (mentally, physically) Although, one day this week I had a scheduled call and almost forgot to go back upstairs. I was just about to quilt another block but decided to check on work instead. Good thing I did!

I should just call this my @angelafmq sampler quilt ... ;) every block is a design from her first book.

I did quilt about half the blocks this week.

For the scraps, I lugged a big bin upstairs near my desk. For short break, I just wander over and fondle fabric for a bit. I mean.. carefully go through the pile and sort.

Still sorting scraps. Kicking myself but glad I got rid of another scrap bin already.

It’s a bit overwhelming but eventually I made decisions based on the kind of scraps I had – not trying to fit in someone else’s system.

Then I had to clean some up because the husband wanted to sweep the floor. Crazy guy. So I took some piles to the sewing room to sort further.

Don't be fooled, it only looks organized and like I know what I'm doing.

Turns out I have a lot of strips and some blocks. I tried not to trim too much, just to even things out. Anything bigger than a fat quarter of course was not a scrap. Anything slightly less than that I called a chunk and also set aside. I figured there was no point cutting up larger chunks into preset sizes if I wanted to do something else with them.

So, that left me with the rest.

I sorted strips into under 2.5″ to 1″ and short medium long piles. Medium anything over 12″, long was selvedge to selvedge or near enough. If I had to fold it to pile it on my cutting board, it was long.

I also had a pile for 2.5″ strips and a pile 3″ or wider.

For squares, I sorted two piles – 2.5″ or 3″ squares, then 4″ or larger.

Anything smaller than any of those was a snippet. If it was really long I placed it in a strings bag. The bag of string is going to my mom, because she loves making string quilts, and I don’t.

I have other fabrics sorted by color and felt for my scraps, sorting by size made more sense *for me* because that was how I chose fabrics for quilts – by what I had, not by what colors.

Organized scraps

I did spend a large chunk of Friday and Saturday ironing and trimming scraps. It sounds a little obsessive but I feel so organized! And so ready to make a pile of new quilts, just based on what is there.

I even – oopsie – started piecing Scrapper’s Delight out of Sunday Morning Quilts.

My overriding goal here is to actually build a new stash by using up what I can with the stash I have. The stash is more a reflection of what was cheap / found in thrift stores & yard sales and stuff my mom didn’t want, to build up my stash. I just took some fabrics because they were cheap / free. A lot of it doesn’t actually reflect my taste, so. There we are.

(I will say I do have a drawer full of fabrics that are more reflective of my tastes, but I haven’t used much of them yet. That’s why most of the scraps are not really me – I used the fabrics I only sort of liked first, to use them up. And in this sorting, I’m ditching fabrics I really do not like.)

So… how about you? How do you sort and organize your fabrics? What do you do with your scraps?

1 thought on “Scrap organization

  1. I have several smaller bins, about shoebox size, that I use to keep my scraps sorted. I also have some great “project” boxes that I use for storing finished blocks. They’re designed to hold scrapbook papers at the 12″ x 12″ size and are absolutely amazing for holding 12.5″ squares. I’m currently using them to hold all my wonky log cabin blocks. So far, I’ve got 70 of them and I don’t even have a problem getting the lid closed. (Yes, that means I need to quit messing around and make a quilt out of those blocks.) I have bins that hold my strings (anything less than 2.5″), others that hold my 2.5″ strips (great for anything that calls for a jelly roll), and then the crumbs (little 1.5″, or smaller, bits that I can’t seem to throw away). I’ve been sewing some of this up into 4.5″ squares that will eventually be made into 12.5″ squares. I don’t sort by color, I only sort by size. Since all the leftovers end up in scrap quilts I don’t really care what color they are. Everyone has their system. My system may not work for you and your system may not work for me. Find your scrappy groove!

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