Saturday, January 19, 2013

Taming the scraps (part 1)


Almost two years ago I resolved to cut my scraps into usable precut pieces, “à la Quiltville”.  I spent days cutting, got discouraged, then decided I would just cut down some of the unruly pile every time I had my rotary cutter out, and would always cut new scraps down right away as part of the cutting for any new quilt.  That way, in a couple of years I’d have a box of tidy scraps to make a scrap quilt.  Fast forward…

Are you laughing really loudly yet?  The mess you see at the left shows you how well I stuck to that plan!

Pulling strips of scrap fabrics to start working on my small lone stars made me realize just how much fabric is sitting, forgotten, in my two scrap bins.  I am inspired and determined (again).  I will tame this pile and not let it get out of hand again.

IMG_6510Yesterday I dumped out the wrinkled mass of strips and pressed every one of them.  This week they are getting trimmed down!  The stack of strips is about 4 inches high.  The strips in the box are the ones that I trimmed back in February 2011.

The other bin of scraps is less overwhelming, and I plan to get its contents trimmed down into tidy bits next week.  You can see below how many nice bits I had when I stopped a couple of years ago.  Not much has been used up from this bin.  The bin on the left should fill up as the one on the left empties outIMG_6509.

If all goes well (in other words if I don’t give up or get side tracked) I will have no unruly scraps left by the end of January.  At that point I will have two new challenges:  1) remember to trim any new scraps right away rather than starting a new pile of messy ones and 2) actually use the trimmed scraps in a quilt! 

I suspect the second challenge will be the greater of the two.  I can stick to the first by repurposing the scrap bins so that I don’t have an empty bin to toss a mess into, but actually making a scrappy quilt with such disparate fabrics will make this matchy-matchy quilter step out of her comfort zone! I keep telling myself that’s a good thing…


  1. I know what you mean! Random is hard for me too! Try this - team your scraps with muslin/white/light scraps of the same size. Working with squares? Start with one color stitched with one light. It has enough order to satisfy the "matchy-matchy" in you, but is still random! Hope this helps!


  2. It's not always easy to maintain momentum and scraps seem to get out of hand so quickly. There are so many wonderful scrap quilts out there - I'm sure you'll find something that takes your fancy.

  3. Sounds like a great plan! I really need to do it too. I think I'll look over Bonnie Hunter's plan and see if I can follow that, because whatever I have been doing doesn't work very well at all. I'm won't be home until Tuesday and then it will take me a while to catch up on mail, grocery shopping, washing clothes, etc., but then I will try to implement a plan. Hopefully, I can get it organized. I will probably have to clean out my fabric closet and sewing room in order to do it - Ugh!

  4. One of my favorite quilter friends has been doing the same thing for 4-5 days! She has several boxes of neatly stacked squares, sizes from 2.5" to 8.5". I'm not ready to tackle such a project yet. Most of mine are bagged in quart ziplock bags by quilt projects --- just like I finished it! Maybe someday...... ---"Love"

  5. I'm right there with you. In the past I've turned my scraps over to my mom (the bits too small for me to really expect myself to use), but I've seen her bins of scraps and it's out of control. So I've got a new plan too. Here's to hoping we get it under control AND use it!


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