Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I Have A Question...

How do you organize your scraps, and what do you do with them?

Here's what got it started. I posted pictures of my daughter getting her braces off. Jane commented, and I clicked onto her blog. Jane had this cute purse that she made and said that it was so much easier to pick the fabrics out because she organized her scraps like Bonnie. Hmmmm. I thought I had better go check this out, so, here I go to Bonnie's blog to see how she organizes her scraps.

Little did I know that Bonnie is a HUGE fan of scrap quilts. She's my kinda girl since I have so many scraps and need some ideas for using them! I spent 5 hours or more reading Bonnie's blog and looking at all of her scrap quilts. She even gives step by step instructions on how to make them! How fun is that? A lot!!!

Go check out Bonnies scrap organization tips, and come back. Don't spend too much time looking at her quilts. You can go visit her later when you answer my question. :)

Ok. So what do you think? I think it's great, but given the fact that I have a huge mountain, and we're talking HUGE, of scraps so huge that sometimes I cry about them (it really is overwhelming), I want your ideas, too.

Here they are, again, in case you missed them in my post about 7 random things about me. I did have cute little tags telling me what colors were in the baskets. My granddaughter removed them, though. I guess she thought that since they were overflowing I could see what color they were without having little cute tags to remind me! She's 6.

Do you organize them by color, by strips, by squares, or do you do as Nicole's friend does and give the left overs away! Nicole has a friend that buys more than she needs for a quilt pattern, then she mails the leftovers to Nicole. How cool and sweet is that? I personally don't need a friend like that; I would start crying again because it would overwhelm me! Cheri had a giveaway of her scraps one day, I posted a comment, but I told her to PLEASE do not put my name in the drawing!

Right now my scraps are in their own baskets sorted by colors. Greens, Blues, Reds, Blacks,and Neutrals have their own basket. Orange, Yellow, and Brown share a basket (since I have been making fall quilts because I didn't have any I can see now that I need to buy more baskets. I think they get in there and multiply!) as do Pink and Purple. The pink and purple basket has more pink because I love pink.

I have a lot of fat quarters. (Most of them were given to me. Anytime I chair an event for my Guild, or my position as an officer on the board is over, they give me a bag of fat quarters in appreciation.) However, I don't consider fat quarters to be scraps. Maybe they are, but for myself, I'm in denial that fat quarters are scraps simply because I can do that! Again, I would probably start crying! LOL

Fat quarters do not belong in the scrap baskets because they wouldn't fit. I have the same system set up for them all sorted by colors in cute little baskets, on a shelf, in my grandchildren's playroom. (Yes, they know there is fabric in those baskets and not toys. Well, maybe not the kind of toys they like; they know they are my toys! Do I have them brainwashed or what??) Fat Quarter collections that I buy but never use because they're too pretty, stay together in my sewing room as a decoration!

I also have years and years of 6 1/2" squares. I say years and years because I have been in my Quilt Guild for almost 12 years. For the past 11 years or so I have particiapted in the 6 1/2" square exchange. There were some times that I didn't participate because I knew I had too many 6 1/2" squares. Some times you've just gotta say "No, I have way too much!" Obviously I just now learned how to say that! Now we are exchanging 3" strips of one fabric. So far I have a collection of brights, batiks, and neutrals.

The problem with scraps is the more quilts you make, the more scraps you have. Tazzie seems to agree, but she doesn't see it as a problem. They're great, if you can keep them in control and use them. I use them for appliques, or for UFO's where I need one more piece of something, and there it is waiting patiently for me while sitting in a scrap basket!

Okay, so here's the part that I start to psychoanalyze myself: Maybe I'm attached to them! Maybe I'm afraid if I use them there will be an unfinished project somewhere in a deep dark place in my closet that needed that peice! Maybe I'm crazy! That's it: I'm a crazy scrap collector lady!

I could do like Patti. I admire her for realizing that some things just need to be thrown away! You go girl!

Libby did the daunting exciting task of going through her scraps. I was jealous because she only has one basket. It took her what seemed like days to iron her scraps. I guess she got bored with it and realized her ironing board cover was in bad shape and had us that blog with her to share our ugly ironing surfaces. My guess is that she had to break up the monotony of ironing her scraps and do something fun like seeing everyone's ironing board woes. During my time of ironing scraps I envision me thinking "I wonder what quilting magazines my bloggy friends love?", I would get sidetracked and go to the computer and ask you about your magazines. Then I would ask about your favorite quilting tools. The list of things I would love to know about you would go on and on. I would draw the line when I would want to know your shoe size. :)

By the way, Libby has made some beautiful quilts as a result of ironing her scraps.

My question, again, is how do you organize your scraps and what do you do with them? We all want to know! Post pictures because we want to see!

Have fun!



  1. I'll be back to see what others suggest - my scraps are a subject I don't discuss! LOL I don't do anything with them but I can't part with them either! Maybe I'll do a post on my blog about how my scraps are stored now. LOL

  2. My scraps are not organized ... I am ashamed to admit. I think I'm doing well if I put them some place and don't have them laying all over my cutting table!

    If I did organize them, which I intend to do. Some day. I would do it by color, much like you do.


    P.S. I just blogged yesterday about my quilting magazine preferences ... and I wear a size 9 shoe ... :-)

  3. Wow. So you're supposed to have a special place for your scraps? I did not know that! For me, if it's big enough to save, it goes into the regular stacks of color coordinated fabric.
    Yes, those stacks tip over frequently.

  4. Ok, so here's the scary thing. I started participating in Melly and Me's scrappy log cabin challenge. After making 6 blocks from my scraps, my scrap box (I only have one and have scrap envy for yours) was more full than when I started. I think there is a scrap fairy that is playing a joke on all of us. Be careful as you use your scraps or attempt any organization, you may be taken over. I have to admit when I first saw this picture...that these scraps were organized. See what I know. I'm no help at all!

  5. Hmmm...special place? I don't even have a special place to work! I'm like Patti - I trash 'em!

  6. Hello Amanda,
    I found your blog today through another blog called 'Cold Feet'. I have spent the past hour or so reading your posts.(I ran out of time. I will continue tomorrow.) Your blog has been put in my favorites. I really enjoyed it. My scraps were all pressed neatly in bins, until I wanted to use some. Now they are a tangled mess. LOL I think that is what scraps are supposed to look like. LOL

  7. I have two large bins: one for Thimbleberries scraps and one for non-Thimbleberries scraps. I actually USE quite a lot of scraps because I LIKE scrappy quilts. Believe it or not, though, a couple years back, my husband thought it would be nice if he organized my Thimbleberries scraps by color. Have at it honey! So for awhile I had different colors of scraps in baggies inside the bin. Not so much anymore! And when my bins start getting full, I just know it's time to make another scrappy quilt!

  8. At one point I did have a large baggie with 1" strips, 1 1/2", 2", and so on, baggies with squares and several that were misc. in nature. If you want to get rid of some, pull out your strips (since that is what is being swapped at your guild) and just offer them to whoever wants them (not swapped for more!) I'm sure they will find a loving home!

  9. I do a coupla things.

    If I made a big quilt using a "line" or grouping of fabric, I then try to turn out a small doll quilt with the same fabrics - so I don't have scraps from a few of those efforts.

    I have my "regular" scraps - 5 inch squares, 2.5 x 4.5 rectangles, and 2.5 inch squares.

    I have different color ideas or scrappy quilt kits that are started - so I have cutting directions at the ready for blue & yellow scraps...

    Some scraps I just toss... (Worst case scenario, I can cut a scrap from yardsge...)

    other that those few bits, I don't organize by color, strips, style, etc.

    Fat quarters are not scraps - neither are 10.5 inch squares or bigger. (Those make great scrappy backs - if your quilt is 90-ish inches square - you need about 100 10.5 inch squares...I use a long armer, so I have to have more all the way around. I can to multiplication by 10's so that is my measurement.)

  10. Oh dear . . . there is more than one basket. I've just shared the one (and trust me it was a biggie *s*)so far.

  11. I must be too anal, as I cut to avoid making scraps. (Takes me twice as long to cut stuff up tho!) Any scraps I have used to be put back with the remaining like fabric or thrown away if too small. I just learned about keeping scraps, so I'm putting them in one big bag now (I'm not much help here). But the scraps that are too little to sew, selvages, etc, I use my rotary cutter, cut them into tinsy tiny bits, and add them to my compost. They are cotton, right! And besides colorful flowers in the garden, I have bits of colorful fabric in the soil. LOL How about a scrap give-away?

  12. Hi girl. Just found your blog & I think we have a lot in common. I'm grew up in W Ky and like everthing you do. My quilt scraps are sorted by color roughly in clear Rubbermaid tubs in the closet of my sewing room. Which, by the way, is like yours in that it has the grandkids toys in it so we share. They know also not to bother my toys. Good kids, huh? Nerm

  13. Hi Amanda,

    I laughed this morning when I read your post, as last week I started a draft post for my site to publish next week, entitled, Taming my Stash.

    I too have the same problem as you, what to do with all the scraps. I've read Bonnie's scrap system, and gathered some great ideas. Here are a couple of sites I was planning to link to, that gave me inspiration on how to get started.

    Folding Fabric and Organinzing your Stash.

    I plan to follow the first link above to get all the big pieces neat and tidy and the same size. Currently, fat quarters are in baskets that don't quite work, size wise, so I'll look to either replacing them or storing FQs and other sized pieces an empty dresser I have.

    All the scraps will be cut into usable pieces, much like what Bonnie has. I love doing strip piecing, and have tonnes of strips already cut. I'm hoping this taming of my stash will get me motivated to get more quilts done, and less overwhelmed with the current disorganized state.

    I'll post my progress on my blog next week, once I return home from a six week trip. I'm eager to touch, feel and even smell my wonderful cottons again.

    Best of luck with your scraps, I know how overwhelming it is.


  14. Thanks for your welcome to Blogland!
    I tend to pitch the scraps I don't think are big enough to use and store the rest with the regular fabric. My biggest problem is buying new fabric for each project rather than checking my stash first! Oops something will have to change...

  15. I love your blog. Very fun reading. I cannot believe you have grandkids! You look so young! Maybe having a large fabric stash is anti-aging!

    I will post pictures of my scraps on my blog. The cute ones are in plastic containers that look like candy jars in an old fashioned candy shop, on a shelf by the machine. Yummy.

    I try to use them up as I go by making pot holders, small NICU quilts and random art project-y things.

    But not all get used up, so any other scraps are tossed together by color, or by project they were leftover from, in ziploc bags, then stuffed into baskets and containers where I discover them like found treasures months later when I am looking for "that one fabric I bought two years ago that would be perfect for this quilt." It's better than finding last year's hidden easter egg. Good thing fabrics don't spoil like food leftovers!

    I loved Bonnie's tips, too and I am going to try to set aside some time each week for ironing and cutting into usable sizes. good luck on that, eh? I printed off a couple of her patterns to inspire me.

    I am also teaming up with a friend to make some Quilts of Valor for our soldiers, with the rule being we pull from our stash and scraps only, so that should be a feel good times two thing.


My busy little quilting friends said...


Follow on Bloglovin