How do you Organize your Scraps?

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Dionne (iQuilty!) Posted: Sun, Mar 6 2011 1:10 AM

There are so very many ways in which to organize, or not organize your scraps of fabric.  There are many methods, containers, and philosophies.  I’m curious, what method do you use?

·         Do you keep your scraps in a grocery bag or a plastic tub?

·         Do you consider only sizes smaller than fat quarter a scrap?

·         Do you only keep scraps larger than a certain size?

·         Do you keep the selvedges? (or do you prefer the alternate spelling: selvage?)

·         Do you sort your scraps by size or by color or both?

·         Do you cut them up as soon as you’re done with a project into desirable sizes?

·         Did your method evolve according to your needs, or were you influenced by someone in the quilting industry?

When at the end of a project, I will keep anything larger than a fat quarter complete.  But if my scraps are smaller than a fat quarter, I’ll cut it up into useful sizes.  I know there are many ideas about what sizes should be kept.  But over the years I figured that only squares and strips are useful to me.  I never cut my scraps into bricks (2 x 4, etc.)  Bricks aren’t flexible enough for me.  Strips are easily cut down into the size brick I might need.

I cut strips as large as 4 ½” and as small as 1”.  I’ve found 4 ½” and 3 ½” strips are particularly useful when I use my Accuquilt cutting system.   Those sizes fit perfectly across some of my longer dies.  I have the Studio cutter, so my dies are a bit larger and I can cut numerous layers at once.

I was keep my scraps sorted by size in plastic tubs, then by color in zip-lock baggies.  But that is more time consuming than I have time for.  So for now I just have everything sorted by size alone.  Mostly I use plastic shoe boxes for storage, one for each size more or less.  But I keep my wee little crumbs and my strings in a clear canister.

I try very hard to stay on top of my scraps and cut them up as I go, or at the very least as each project is finished.  But because I always have overlapping projects and multiple commitments to my family, work and elsewhere - as we all do, I get behind sometimes.  When that happens I leave my scraps in a pile on my cutting table.  I work on that pile as often as I can, but when it gets overwhelming, I sweep it off my cutting table into a plastic bin under my cutting table.  That bin is getting rather full, I haven’t looked at it for quite some time, but I know that eventually I will have to pull it out and tackle that bad boy!

So, what about you?  How do you organize your scraps?  What sizes do you find most useful?

Cheers, Dionne

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Pat replied on Tue, Mar 8 2011 12:07 PM

Dionne,

I have a method similar to yours.  For the past year or so, I learned to "take care" of the leftovers of a project as soon as I am finished with it.   I wait until the binding is on and I am positive I will not be needing larger pieces.   Anything smaller than a fat quarter or a selvage to selvage less that 12 in, I will cut down into strips, mostly 2 1/2in strips and 3 in strips.   The really smaller scraps, I throw in a large wicker basket to be used in string quilting.  I have huge bins with the bigger pieces of leftover fabric from projects,  a couple of colors per bin.   Every spring, when it is time to do my spring cleaning in my quilting room,  I take out those huge bins outside, sit at a table and sort them out... fold them neatly (they get unorganized during the year) and if there is anything too small, I cut them into strips and strings.  

Pat

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This is embarrassing to admit but I pretty much stuff mine into a large shopping bag on the floor. When it gets full, I put it in the closet and start another. I have visions of taking them all to a class I'd like to teach. All the students would bring their scrap bags, too and we'd make a scrappy quilt by trading to our heart's content. I love my own scraps, but I imagine I would like other quilters' scraps even more!

There is one project I have under control: whenever I'm cutting patches from a fabric and there is extra, I cut a strip either 1.5" wide or 2.5" wide. Then I subcut so that I end up with patches 1.5 x 2.5. I use these to make Little WIndmills as shown above (the photo shows 16 of them together) I blogged the pattern and my process over at Quilty Pleasures. Friendly warning: these are addictive!

 

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Pat

I'm so impressed that you do Spring Cleaning in your sewing room!  I must say, my sewing room gets a quick tidy at the end of every project, but I've NEVER done a thorough "Spring Cleaning" to get everything organized all at once!  I think I should put that into my schedule!

It would actually be fun I think, once a year!

Cheers, Dionne

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Hey Diane, SIGN ME UP!  I want to take that class!!

What fun that would be.   Wouldn't it be fun to have a Scrap Squad Retreat!  We could have workshops on organization, clutter control with scrappy patterns available and a big scrap swap-a-thon!

 And I love your  Little Windmills!  That is a pattern I'll need to bookmark for sure!

 

Cheers, Dionne

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I love to hear what everyone does, it's great to be learning from eachother. I keep a basket on the corner of my cutting table, and everything goes in there when I know I'm finished with piece i'm working on. Usually pieces that are odd shaped, corners, tips, edges of fabrics. Then when I feel like it, I cut my pieces into 1",1 1/2", or 2" strips/pieces. Those pieces go into baggies by size. I started to make log cabin blocks with them. (one side is all blues, and the other side is all colors.) Sometimes, I'll just have 10 minutes to move pieces along to the next faze but it adds up and it works for me. Now I just started saving the crumbs because I read about it somewhere here. Now I'm in trouble... what to do with those??????????????? I love making scrappy quilts though. I love the colors and creativity that is in them.

quiltNUT2

Maureen (in Florida)

when life gives you scraps...make a quilt!

 

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Maureen,

It sounds like you have a wonderful plan.  I love that you have it set up so that even if you only have a few minutes, you can do something to move your pieces along.  And without hardly any additional effort, you're finishing up those log cabin blocks!  I'll bet they are fabulous.  I love log cabin blocks.

 

Cheers, Dionne

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What wonderful suggestions - I've been trying to figure out what to do with my scraps.  Right now I just keep them by size in plastic bins, but I'm always looking for more ways to get organized.  Any suggestions are helpful.

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Ann W. replied on Wed, Mar 16 2011 11:36 PM

Diane,

I love that block. I have a bunch of little 1.5 " strips. So will start cutting them when I have a few minutes to spare. Thanks a million for the idea.

Quilty Hugs,

Ann

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Hello Scrappy Friends!

Thank you for asking all these questions Dionne!

 

I keep my "cut" scraps in plastic bins, such as different square sizes and strips (I currently can not close my 2.5" bin) I keep all sizes right down to one inch

I do not cut all scraps that are less than a fat quarter- it all depends on what the scrap is

I defiantly keep my 1800 reproduction selvages and plan to make a selvage string quilt.  I know my friends enjoy giving me theirs and can't wait to see the project

I do sort my scraps by sizes

After a project is done, I try to keep up on cutting the small leftovers and placing them in the proper bin

Bonnie Hunter has been a big influence on keeping scraps organized

Linda

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