Monday, February 7, 2011

How many pieces???

In looking through my bins of fabric for inspiration I was overwhelmed by the number of small bits of fabric I have.  At least half of each bin was filled with pieces of fabric less than an eighth of a yard (fat or otherwise), with many smaller than 6” square.  These have been adding up because I keep telling myself that I might use them someday but I never actually do.
Bonnie at Quiltville describes her “scrap user system” in great detail, and she makes amazing scrap quilts out of her scraps.  In fact I don’t know if she uses anything BUT scraps anymore.  Inspired, I pulled all the “scraps” out of my stash bins and started cutting everything into squares and rectangles of useful sizes (though I really have my doubts about whether I’ll ever use all those tiny 1.5 inch bits). 
IMG_4582 IMG_4583 IMG_4594
Is it just me or does the pile of untrimmed scraps seem to not shrink very much? To keep myself motivated I went and browsed Bonnie’s free scrap quilt patterns.  I picked out Oklahoma Backroads.  Yes indeed, these scraps are going to be put to use! 
Over lunch I did some math to figure out how many squares and bricks of darks and lights I will need.  HOW MANY pieces????  To make a throw size, 6 blocks by 9 blocks, I would need 252 dark squares, 252 dark rectangles and 504 light squares.  Right. I’m not even halfway there, and even the remaining pile of untrimmed scraps will not get me there.
I promptly pulled a few pieces to make a scrappy table runner and stopped obsessively trimming my scrap pile.  I’ll cut a few bits every time I’m at the cutting mat for something else, and I’ll make sure I cut down any new scraps I create.  It will at least keep my stash bins tidier and in a few years I’ll have enough for this quilt, by which time I’ll have changed my mind about what I want to make!


  1. Nope, the piles of leftovers never get smaller. :) My mom likes this idea too, so I take her "hostess gifts" when I quilt at her house. I save all my scraps that are too small to go back in the stash and she gets them. (Not that she needs them, but it adds variety.) It looks like you've got a good start, I'll be looking forward to seeing it come together.

  2. I started doing the leaders/enders thing a couple years ago and I now have tons of 4-patches stacked up. I have started putting some of them together for a donation quilt. I started by sorting pieces into little baskets, but that didn't last too long because I am always in a hurry and I would just throw pieces in the direction of the baskets. Now, I have strips under my sewing desk that I use for strip piecing. I made one strip quilt & have enough blocks for another one to put together. It's a mess under my sewing table! They never seem to decrease at all! Good luck! I should have started using the scraps sooner, but I haven't thrown away any of them for 13 years. Hee Hee!

  3. Scraps reproduce help needed;) They do it even faster when you try to use them up;)
    Happy Quilting!!

  4. So why don't you start constructing this quilt as a leader/ender? I checked out the pattern and it seems most of blocks are 2-1/2 inch squares joined one light, one dark. Cutting a few 2-1/2 inch blocks whenever your are at your cutting table is a good move too. You are catching on to the way I work. Certain amount of cutting, certain amount of pressing, certain amount of stitching! My quilting room is broken into stations, just like that. Try it! You will be amazed at how much you can accomplish a little bit at a time.


  5. 1.5 inches? What.s so small about that?!

  6. Hey, I've spent three days cutting up my scraps! I went through everything and decided to really organize. I cut 2.5", 3.5" and 4.5" squares so far. The strips I just tossed into a bin to do a string quilt, someday (LOL). Yesterday I started cutting fabric for an actual quilt and did use some of the 2.5" squares for it. We will see how long I last with this.

  7. The 1.5" strips would make a great string quilt! I'm working with scraps on my Feb. log cabins, and it truly is aggravating sometimes, but it does help get rid of those scraps I've saved for years! There may be more scrap quilts in my future! ---"Love"

  8. I love it too! It is amazing that binding a quilt makes such a big difference. And, of course, the quilting really "makes" it. It's gorgeous!


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