Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Is getting rid of ALL your scraps a good thing?

I recently had that quandry. I kept thinking that it would be nice to get rid of ALL my scraps by using them, or letting other people have at it or just tossing them. They do seem to get old and stale at times. But just a few days ago, I was working on finishing a quilt I had made for a sample for a class and didn't finish. (Tennessee Waltz--done all out of my leftovers--except the black) I thought it would be good to go ahead and get it done. I should leave notes to myself on what I was thinking when I quit working on it, because it took me over an hour to figure out where I left off, what fabric I needed to finish cutting, etc! As it turns out, I must have cut what I had and then quit. My black was easy enough--I always have Kona cotton in black on the bolt, but it was the little brown dot on tan that I couldn't seem to find anywhere else. I needed just 3 more 9" blocks cut and didn't have anything left but scraps. I sewed them all together, end to end (they were the ends of the strips from when I cut the others) and was still short. After digging through all my stash (no wonder that closet is always a mess! ), I could NOT find any more. I thought, well, my last chance is my scrap bins and my neutrals IS overflowing...could I possibly find some in there? Now this fabric is OLD--at least 10 years old, I would venture to say. I kept digging and digging and fluffing up the scraps and lo and behold--I found ONE scrap--it was 9" x about 12"!!!! I sewed it to the end of the other scraps and by golly, I got my 3 9" squares. Another SERENDIPITY day!


That also got me to thinking--should my goal REALLY be to get rid of all the scraps? Or just keep them to a manageable size? Meaning, not overflowing the bin, like they are now? There is some benefit to having scrap bins........

1. great to dig through for applique projects

2. great for grandkids to go through and practice their cutting skills, playing with designs of their own



3. great for when you need just a little more of that fabric you used 4 years ago

4. great to make wonderful scrap quilts for "FREE", yes I know--it's not free, it still costs the same per yardage, but I somehow feel that these are 'bonus' quilts because I made the quilt that I intended to out of the fabric

5. great for testing blocks or designs and you don't want to use "REAL" fabric from the stash!

And so my thoughts are that it's okay to have scrap bins--just keep them manageable. If they get too full, start the scrap quilts again. More Heartstring blocks!

Here's how I sort my scraps:

1. Neutrals--whites, creams, tans

2. Blues and purples

3. Greens

4. Reds and pinks

5. Blacks, browns and some yellow

6. Brights (I keep these all together because they all play together so well!)

And I keep anything in there that is really less than 1/4 yard pieces. I have separate drawers for my cut strips (another story). If they get too small, I have a basket that I keep the small pieces to make more diamonds (which are currently my leader/ender project).

So, how do you sort and handle your scrap accumulation?

19 comments:

Mary said...

OK, for a minute I thought I read that you went into your scrap bin - as in one bin - I have 3 bins and 2 totes just sitting by my sewing machine not to mention all the other places those scraps are hiding.

I obviously don't manage mine. Typically, all my leftover strips and bits have always gone into my scrap bin, which became 2, and then 3, and so on. I don't keep drawers of strips but I'm thinking about starting 2.5 and 4.5 inch strip bins because I use them a lot in my scrap quilts.

And I just realized that all the leftover bits of backing and border scraps are also a reason my bins keep overflowing no matter how many string quilts I make!

Giving them away and starting over would be tempting but I don't think I could bear to part with them.

Kim West said...

The quilt is just beautiful! I did give away almost all of my scraps. I have very few left - only some purples and pinks that I may need for a project that I am currently working on. I also gave away all my fabric that I don't have earmarked for a particular project. All-in-all I gave away about 50-75 yards of fabric to my guild's community quilt project. I really didn't want to, but I had to get rid of a bunch of things before our move and that seemed to be the best way to do it. I also gave away about 50 books and 100 magazines. It was really hard to do that.

Clare said...

I keep every bit within reason. If it can be used for a Tonya/Bonnie type quilt then keep it, if not chuck it. I've got one plastic box full of scraps, but am going to sort through it one of these days. I'm going to use the tubs that the pool chemicals come in - washed out and rinsed of course. Waste not want not.

Pieces From Me said...

Scraps are something I have been thinking alot about lately. Like you I have been thinking of getting rid of them and then I think of a postage stamp quilt I keep in the back of my mind. I bookmarked the scrap users system but have not looked at it yet. It is on my list though! Your quilt is beautiful!

Laurie Ann said...

Sometimes I can't wait to get a few quilts done so that I can then make a scrap quilt! Since I make a lot of scrappy baby blankets for my blanket brigade charity project here at work, I seem to use them up pretty quickly.

Helen in the UK said...

I think scraps are wonderful and should be treated like stash. Both are fine in whatever quantity YOU feel comfortable with!! Enjoy your resources :)

Jane Weston said...

me too me too...I sort mine the same as you do! I think scrap quilts are great...and perfect for Linus quilts.

Lindsay Jean said...

I like to use my tiniest scraps for what I call extreme paper piecing. Once I did a 4"x6" church block - with stained glass windows! You can imagine the tiny little pieces. I also like the detailed paper piecing for postcards.

Susan said...

I love your scrap story. It's why I never get rid of my scrap box, and I'm so sad each time I use the very last bit of a favorite fabric. =)

Annie said...

This makes me rethink my scrap bin, which happens to be very small!! I only let it get so big and then I cut them all up to go into the string bin. I guess this is the way I use my scraps but if I were to do a project that need a little of this or that - I won't have it!!!

Rose Marie said...

Your quilt is striking, that black really sets it off! I can't give my scraps away just in case I might need it. My scraps are now sorted in smaller bins pretty well what you have done with yours.

Meredith said...

I keep my sraps and use them. I sort like you do by color. The wild ones like sock monkey fabric go together. I am glad you were able to find what you needed for your quilt. Sometimes for inspiration I look at my scraps.

swooze said...

Love the quilt top! Nice colors. I have to tell you I am always surprised to see you are a grandma...must be a very YOUNG one!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful quilt! It is just stunning. I'm really into scrap/stash quilts right now. Last 5 out of 6 quilts were made from what I all ready have. Doesn't even appear that I've put a small dent into my stash! I buy only the "B-type fabrics" (per Bonnie at Quiltville) - Blenders, back-grounds and borders.

Niki said...

Just poppin' by to say HI. I'm on the Q4P blogring as well ;) Love your blog!

Samantha said...

That's simply stunning. As for scraps, I'm terrible. they're all together regardless of size or color, and I rarely use them for that reason. Maybe my summer project needs to be organization by color?

jovaliquilts said...

My scraps are getting just enough now that I have to figure a good way to manage them, so I'm glad to read everyone's comments. I like playing with them to see color combinations that might work, even if I don't have enough of something left to use that exact fabric. I'm going to have to start my first scrap quilt soon!
Cheri

Jenni @ Fairybread said...

I can't bear to use everything up, especially if I love it. You just never know... Anyway, if I use it all up I won't be able to touch it or look at it again!

Vicky said...

Mine aren't sorted by color - yet. You may have inspired me here.

The only "wise" thing I do is keep all the tiny bits of scraps from a quilt together with the project until it is finished and bound. Too many times I've had panic attacks when I realized that I might be 1" short on something. Those scraps have saved the day often!

Your top is gorgeous!