After the previous post on Cleaning Up, a number of you asked about my scraps and the system I use to keep them organized and usable.
So, here I am with a very realistic (but not necessarily pretty) guided tour of my sewing space and the ways and means used to keep those scraps usable and used.
We start to the immediate right of my sewing machine. Here you see a little basket with scraps to cut and organize. Usually these are small pieces created by trimming quilts when I bind them, or small batches of inherited scraps from friends. When it gets full, it is time to address it. You can see this is nearly ready for a workover.
Also shown is my current leader-ender project: Sweet Sixteen. It is going to be a simple checkerboard quilt of alternating colored and background 2″ squares in 16-patch blocks. I have 73 blocks finished. It will take at least 144 to create a good-size quilt (72″ x 72″). If I needs to be larger than that, I can always keep going.
Having a leader-ender quilt constantly running along with a primary project is one of the most important ways I use scraps and create quilts out of so many small pieces. I don’t think I could stand to just do the tedious and repetitive day after day.
If you keep going to the right you go past the shelf of big pieces of fabric sorted by color. Nope, it isn’t very glamorous. The shelf was $15 at a surplus store and the fabric bins came from a number of different places–garage sales, second hand stores, etc. You can tell. But, they do hold fabric. The top shelf is larger pieces that could be backs. The bottom shelf you can see is background fabrics in various sizes and planned projects or works-in-progress that are not actually making progress at the moment.
Next is the “scraps cut to size”. I have shoe boxes with 5″ squares (which I hardly use any more and probably need to get rid of, cut down or reconsider), 2-1/2″ strips and 1-1/2″ strips.
We continue the “cut to size” theme with 1-1/2″, 2″ and 2-1/2″ squares. Yep, one size in a shoebox, one in a vintage metal tin and the babies in a decorative paper box.
There is also this cardboard shoebox with small strings and strips, meaning smaller than 1-1/2″ wide but more than 3/4″. I use them occasionally but also share them with people who love string quilts.
Now for the part that I hate to admit to, but this is the box of scraps waiting to be cut. If you want to know where to get scraps, I’ll tell you: Let people know you use them and they will give them to you. This is a 10-ream paper case stuffed full. I do get into it regularly. Just two days ago I dumped it and sorted out all the black and grey to cut for the Sweet Sixteen quilt. I needed some black and grey fabric and was all out in the “cut to size” 2″ bin. Today I picked out two pieces for background fabric on the newest blocks of the Circa 2016 quilt along. This box will probably never be empty and I am not sure I would really want it to be. But, it isn’t a museum or a hoard. Fabric is happiest used.
So, there it is! Any questions? I’ll try to answer them, maybe in future posts.
ps–If any of you
love strings or would really like a bunch of 5″ squares (NOTE: ALL SCRAPS HAVE BEEN CLAIMED. SORRY!) , let me know. I would share them with you for the cost of postage. A small Priority Mail box is $6.80 in the USA. It would come stuffed!