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Sharon Posted: Wed, Mar 17 2010 8:13 PM

I have been quilting for 2 years and have accumulated lots of little left over pieces of fabric. What is an easy way to store them so I can easily find pieces to use in new quilts. Should they be stored by color? Should they be stored by the type of fabric? How do you store your stash?

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I throw all the little pieces away! Actually, I put them in a baggie and send them to school with my DH to give to a former colleague. I think the easiest way to store them, though, is by color. Bonnie Hunter would tell you to cut them into 2.5 squares or 3" squares, divide them but light and dark, and use them as leaders and enders. Eventually you'll have enough sewn together that you can start sewing them into 4 patches or 9 patches or whatever.

I know you'll get lots more suggestions. Mine certainly don't work for most people.

BTW, when you said type of fabric, did you mean like regular cotton fabric and batik? For small pieces, I think you can mix them.

 


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Sharon replied on Wed, Mar 17 2010 8:49 PM

Thanks Judy, I use mostly cotton and batik fabrics. My quilting group uses fleece for the backs of the charity quilts. We have smaller pieces of the fleece also.

 

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Separate the fleece from the others. Truthfully, I think I would sort the fabric for tops into containers by color. I would use the color wheel as a guide and just go with the primary and secondary colors. You might want to have a container of novelty fabrics, too, like those with children on them.

 


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Jeanine replied on Wed, Mar 17 2010 9:05 PM

I cut my less than 1/2 yard pieces into full-widths strips of 1 1/2" to 6" in 1/2" increments depending on what I can get out of them or what pattern I want to make.  Smaller pieces I cut into squares from 1 1/2" to 6 1/2" inches and some rectangles that I know can be used in specific patterns.  3 x 5 1/2", 4 1/2 x 6 1/2.  I put each of the sizes into a bucket labeled with the size.  When I'm ready to do a quilt using 2 1/2" squares, for instance, you have your squares already cut.  1/2 yard pieces and bigger I store in larger containers by color.

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Jeanine replied on Wed, Mar 17 2010 9:09 PM

kossmore:
We have smaller pieces of the fleece also.

I cut my fleece scrap into squares, too, and sew them together like any quilt top.  I back them with fleece and quilt them in the ditch without batting.  These are great for Project Linus or other kids charities. 

I get so much scrap donated to me that I have to get creative with how I can use it. 

 

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Kris replied on Wed, Mar 17 2010 9:15 PM

Judy,

I thank heaven for Bonnie Hunter. I use her methods for taking care of scraps and I make the leaders and enders as well. Problem is they're piling up and I still haven't, and probably won't, make anything with them.

I try to store larger pieces by colour or by size.

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gini replied on Wed, Mar 17 2010 11:33 PM

sharon, i store most everything by color stacked on the shelf.  my 1/8 to 1/4 yds are stored in plastic boxes by color.    scraps that are large enough to make into a scrap quilt are put in bins.  one for  cotton  and one for flannels.  i sometimes sew pieces together as i go, so i will have several pieces large enough for a baby quilt ready to go.     (  i also have bins for wools, but that's another story. )    jeans are cut into pieces and then put on the shelf.  when i get time i cut these into squares.    fabrics  that is bought for a specific quilt are stacked together.  fabric that is for backs is stored in another place.   children's fabric has it's own place as does flannel.  gini

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Gale replied on Thu, Mar 18 2010 2:50 AM

I used to do a lot of applique projects and also had (have!) a lot of FQs. I would use what I needed of a color and then kinda fold it back up to the same shape and size as my fat quarters and store it in there with them. If it got too small to bother folding back up I would wad it up and stuff it in a drawer. lol. I am hoping to cut them all to about 2.5" or maybe 3" and do what was mentioned earlier, using them for leaders and enders and eventually piece a top with them. I have a Big Shot die cutter so I might get a square die and just use that to avoid all the hand issues I would have cutting them by hand.

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Kris replied on Thu, Mar 18 2010 7:34 AM

Gini,

you sound incredibly organised. Oh to be so disciplined.

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gini replied on Thu, Mar 18 2010 9:16 AM

kris, i'm only organized with fabric but i'm not obsessive about it, if the wrong color gets in a stack, it doesn't wig me out.   i was highly organized at work, and if someone moved or used my tools i would freak out.   in the rest of my life i'm as ditsy as a person can get.    i must have  a jekyll and hyde persona    gini

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Kris replied on Thu, Mar 18 2010 10:42 AM

gini:
i was highly organized at work, and if someone moved or used my tools i would freak out.

I'm like that at work which is why I think it's great that I work alone. I can have things the way I want them. At home...not so much.

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Sharon,

I've been making quilts for about four years, and have a lot of leftover pieces as well. Most of them I just stuffed into plastic bags, not sorted in any way, and I paw through them when I'm looking for something. Recently I've gotten a bit more organized. I bought some bins that I put in shelves in the closet with scraps, still not sorted. When I think I have a lot in one color scheme that interests me I'll pull them out and put them in one bin and when I feel inspired I'll turn them into a quilt. I made a quilt I called Squarely in the Pink entirely from pink, rose, & magenta leftovers. I keep a box and two baskets on the side of my sewing table, and as I cut pieces for a quilt I put the leftover pieces in the box. Every once in a while, or when the box is overflowing, I cut them into 2 or 2 1/2 inch squares. I have a stack of squares matched dark & light at all times, and use them as leaders & enders, tossing them in a basket. Periodically I turn those into 4-patches, some totally scrappy and some by color scheme, tossing those into the next basket. When the baskets are full they go into a bin. Right now I'm focusing on blue & yellow four-patches. When I feel like making something scrappy I'll  pull out the four-patches and paw through the bins & plastic bags & come up with an idea for putting them together. Another approach I've used is to get 2 or 3 yards of a fabric that interests me and not buy coordinating fabrics. I'll bring it home and see what I've got that might go with it, in a semi-scrappy way. Sometime soon I'll need to switch to 9-patches or maybe triangle squares for variety in the leaders/enders.

Some others have mentioned Bonnie Hunter's site, www.quiltville.com, and I highly recommend it for ideas on sorting scraps and for scrappy patterns. I used one of her patterns for a quilt of valor top that used scraps as well as some fabric I bought for the purpose.

I don't really want to organize the scraps by color or theme, because I like the serendipity that happens when I pull out a bin and put fabrics together that I wouldn't have planned that way.

I'll put some pictures on my blog later this morning of some quilts I've made that were from scraps, leftovers, etc. Everyone has a different approach, and some people don't like making scrap quilts, while others really enjoy it.

 

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gini replied on Thu, Mar 18 2010 11:46 AM

kris, i had my own operatory, that no one was supposed to mess with.    i finally got a "third" pair of needle nosed pliers,   that i bought myself,  put my name and red tape on them and attached a note that said " if you touch these, you are dead".  i had  one last hissy fit  over them and  the staff pretty much left my pliers alone after that.   and before you ask;  no, i didn't use them  on patients.   gini

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Linny t replied on Thu, Mar 18 2010 12:13 PM

I do applique and scrappy quilts a lot, so smaller pieces have a good chance of getting used. I sort by color in stacks on shelves & in drawers for the bigger small pieces, like 1/8 yd or greater sizes.  I keep all "themed" fabrics together (like baby or gender, etc.)  I have an incredible memory for the fabrics I've acquired over the years.  I think of what I'd like in a piece and if I have it, it pops up in my mind, sometime fabric I got 20 years ago.  I wish I had this memory gift for everything.   I can't remember names very well, for instance.

 The little bits I keep in a cute little basket that is right near my cutting area.  I sweep the little bits into the basket after cutting.  Whenever it gets full, I just get a bigger basket :)  It's not as big as a laundry basket...yet...In short, I keep everything.  Too much in fact.  I draw the line at dog ears, though.  I refuse to keep them in a jar like Georgia Bonsteel.  

What can I say.  My mom & dad live through the great depression and they taught me to keep everything :)

Sometimes I take the slivers & smaller pieces and use them to line out the inside of a present, like jewelry or small stuff.  I've also made mini QC's for present liners using my sewing machine stitches.  It gives me practice and a reason to play with the stitch combinations.  People know I sew, so it's fun for them when they get it.

Linny t

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