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Thread: scrappy quilters - help me organize my stash

  1. #1
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    So I'm a newbie quilter with a couple finished quilts under my belt. I love love love scrappy quilts and have like a mental list of 10 different ones I want to do. So I went out and bought several hundred dollars worth of fabric (don't want to add it up - ignorance is bliss, right?) to develop a stash. I'm still working on prewashing/ironing everything but I am overwhelmed by how much fabric I have. Most of it is at least 1/2 yard long, some fat quarters and some a yard or two long.

    So, my question, I've been reading www.quiltville.com and Bonnie recommends cutting up your scraps into usable pieces like strips, square, and rectangles. But I'm starting a scrap stash from scratch. So what should I do? I'm thinking of cutting my 1/2 yards into fat quarters then cutting 1 of the fat quarters up into strips like 5", 3", 2.5", 2" and 1.5" then saving the other fat quarter. you can always make squares, and rectangles out of strips, right? I just don't want to waste my fabric since I spent so much money on it but its overwhelming to have it folded up into piles. What do ya'll do? Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Super Member PurplePassion's Avatar
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    I leave my fabric in the large pieces that I bought it . And cut it up as I find the need for it . Not all quilts are made from small strips and pieces. Some lovely quilts are made up from 10" or 12" pieces too. I would hate to chop it all up and then find a pattern that I want to make using larger pieces.

  3. #3
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    I wouldn't recommend cutting up useable yardage into scraps. Believe me, do a few projects and you will be overwhelmed with scraps before you know it. Those suckers multiply like rabbits.

  4. #4
    Colorful Quilter's Avatar
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    I LOVE bONNIE'S ideas for fabric storage.....I too LOVE to do all kinds of scrappy quilts, happy quilting

  5. #5
    Power Poster cjomomma's Avatar
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    Wow, you have been busy! I have some of mine cut into strips and different sized squares. If I spent my time just washing, ironing and cutting I would never complete a quilt. Most of what I do have cut up is for future quilts that will be made, everything else is folded neatly and put away. If I'm not using it right away then no reason to worry about it.

  6. #6
    Super Member quilting cat's Avatar
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    DON'T cut in advance! You can't change your mind!
    I organize FQ's in shoeboxes, by color and/or theme, folded edge up. One box holds about 30 FQ's. Half yards, 3/4 yd., 1 yd. can all be folded to the same size and stacked neatly, or make a stack of each size.

  7. #7
    okiepastor's Avatar
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    I agree--do NOT cut it up!
    i organize by color---solid reds, then prints; solid green, then prints, etc. from dark to light.....I do not stack them quite evenly--easier to see what I have wider at the bottom of the stack, then narrower towards the top....

  8. #8
    Super Member vintagemotif's Avatar
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    I don't prewash or cut my fabrics until I'm sure what quilt pattern I will be using them for. I then will wash, starch, and iron the material before cutting. I also don't like to have a very large stash since I don't have a large place to store the fabrics.

  9. #9
    deema's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Candace
    I wouldn't recommend cutting up useable yardage into scraps. Believe me, do a few projects and you will be overwhelmed with scraps before you know it. Those suckers multiply like rabbits.
    This is my thoughts as well. I have two large totes FULL of scraps...I've only made four quilts, a hand full of purses, some oven mitts and place mats. Once I finish my Christmas projects (which will just generate MORE scraps) I'm going to sort through them and THEN cut them into usable bits.

  10. #10
    Super Member grammyp's Avatar
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    When I purchase my fabric, I wash, iron, fold and store by color. I have 3 stacks for each color (light, med, and dark). I cut what I need for a particular project, return anything larger than a FQ to the shelf, and as I make my blocks the bits left over are tossed into a box under my cutting table. From time to time (it is now time) I go through the box and cut strips and squares for my scrap quilts.

  11. #11
    Super Member fleurdelisquilts.com's Avatar
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    Oh goodness, I would NEVER cut my larger pieces. You never know what the future brings and you may decide that you want to make a quilt using a focus fabric. That would require large some pretty large pieces. It's also easier to store larger pieces...simply fold them up and stack them on shelves.

  12. #12
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    Welcome to the board from Southern California!!!

    Don't cut it yet!!!! Wait until you see a pattern you want to use, then just cut off however much you think you want to put in your project.

  13. #13
    Super Member gale's Avatar
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    I wouldn't cut it either. I scrapbook and make cards too and I can't believe how many people cut up their paper before they even know what they're going to do with it. I can't do that. My luck I'd cut it and right away find something that requires a bigger piece.

  14. #14
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    I agree with everyone else. Only cut your fabric as needed. The scraps seem to "just happen"

  15. #15

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    Remember too that the scraps have to have a 1/4 inch sewing allowance. If you have a 2" square you will end up with a 1 1/2" block after sewn. I do all my cutting as I do each project.

  16. #16
    Super Member raedar63's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vintagemotif
    I don't prewash or cut my fabrics until I'm sure what quilt pattern I will be using them for. I then will wash, starch, and iron the material before cutting. I also don't like to have a very large stash since I don't have a large place to store the fabrics.
    Great advice! I went on a kick of washing things as I brought them home . Well I then decided to do some iron on transfers onto muslin or 100% cotton . Well needless to say all of the fabric I needed (yards and yards) had been washed. Now I wash as I need it. Except scraps I aquire , that's a nightmare.I had a garbage bag of scraps someone gave me in the basement ,basement flooded , what a terrible tangled mess I had after washing those!

    I have no other organization advice, I hope to soon get mine organized. My youngest is moving out so I am putting shelves in his room to store my acres of accumulated stash!
    (hopefully it will keep me from bawlin and squallin over him moving out)

  17. #17
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    i would leave your fabric in the pieces it is in! the cutting up your scraps kind of applies to 'scraps' the fabric left after you have cut what you need. so if you use a 1/2 yard piece, cut a couple 13" squares out of it...what is left...that's your scrap and that's what you would cut into your 'usable' pieces. but to start, it is so nice to have nice large pieces and sometimes you want those strips to be 42" long...if you cut all your 1/2 yards into fq's you will limit yourself with what you can do with them. so pre-washing, ironing, folding and stacking is enough 'scrap-therapy' for the time being. :thumbup:

  18. #18
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    I agree with ( most ) of the other posters......DO NOT CUT up all your yardage!! Plans change and what you think you will do today, may be totally different tomorrow. I've been stashing for years and years and years ( do not pre wash ) and when the cutting urge hits, I go to my yardage and cut off a 6 inch strip from a hundred or so pieces, then sub-cut those into smaller pieces to work with in a ''new'' scrappy quilt. I keep the majority of my larger pieces in tact and still have lots of ''scraps'' to work with. Beleive me, there will still be scraps left from the scraps I've just cut.....must be the nature of the beast....

    jodi in leavenworth

  19. #19
    Super Member raedar63's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jodimarie
    I agree with ( most ) of the other posters......DO NOT CUT up all your yardage!! Plans change and what you think you will do today, may be totally different tomorrow. I've been stashing for years and years and years ( do not pre wash ) and when the cutting urge hits, I go to my yardage and cut off a 6 inch strip from a hundred or so pieces, then sub-cut those into smaller pieces to work with in a ''new'' scrappy quilt. I keep the majority of my larger pieces in tact and still have lots of ''scraps'' to work with. Beleive me, there will still be scraps left from the scraps I've just cut.....must be the nature of the beast....

    jodi in leavenworth
    Great idea! cutting a strip here and there!

  20. #20
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    I just ''found'' a Walmart bag full of over 200 differnt 12 inch pieces of ''scraps'' that I must have cut off the main yardage in my large stash and then set aside. It was like an early Christmas present........and is going to be turned into 10 minute blocks. Those things are the BOMB!!! I cut mine into 6 1/2 inch squares so they finish out to a nice 12 inch block. It takes 12 blocks to make a nice lap/baby size quilt and yes, you could cut and piece the top in an afternoon.

    jodi in leavenworth

  21. #21
    Super Member quilterella's Avatar
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    [ you can always make squares, and rectangles out of strips, right? I just don't want to waste my fabric since I spent so much money on it but its overwhelming to have it folded up into piles. What do ya'll do? Thanks in advance.[/quote]

    I agree with the above, that you will accumulate scraps from other projects. IMHO I would cut the fabric as needed...find a pattern you want to do and cut the fabric as directed...and you will be able to start your scrap stash from there.

  22. #22
    Senior Member gypsyquilter's Avatar
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    I agree with the comments on not cutting it up - you can make wonderful quilts with collections of 1/2 yards and some with 1/3 yards 9like buggy barn or crazy quilt type patterns) - I recommend the book series 6 halves make a whole. 6 half yards and some background will do amazing things.

    I organize mine by color. anything purchased specifically for a project in mind gets wrapped in a "fabric pack (tied together with an old 2.5" scrap so I dont use it elsewhere), 1/2 yard or larger not specifically purchased for a project goes on the shelf, anything that is a FQ goes in little organizers I bought at Ikea. anything between 9 inches to 12 inches wide (regardless of length) is folded by color and stacked on the shelf. anything less than 9 inches wide is considered scrap to me and I usually cut into 5" squares and any remaining in to 2.5" strips. now, what do I do with all of the scrap? truth be told, I've been quilting for 20 years and have not yet made a scrap quilt with my scrap - some day I will :-) I long ago gave up saving every tiny little remnant (unless it was batki, I can't part with those :-). I also keep one small little box of "leaders and enders" next to my machine. I try and do this after every project, but honestly, usually I let the scap pile up and then when i want to sew but am feeling a little unsure of what to do or seeking inspiration, i'll cut the scraps and see all the great fabrics I've used, and that gives me inspiration to think of something new to work on!

    Have fun with your fabric!

  23. #23
    Super Member Izaquilter's Avatar
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    What I do is fold my larger cuts of fabric around a 6 X 24 ruler, that way the stacks are all the same size. The fat quarters I fold around a 4" ruler & sort them according to color. Much easier to find when looking for something.

  24. #24
    Super Member quiltinghere's Avatar
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    I would not advise cutting up perfectly good sized fabric into smaller increments. I agree scraps will come from other projects too quickly!

    Try participating in a number of swaps on this Board and on the other internet sites to get a variety of charms you want to collect.

    A few months ago I hosted a 2 1/2" strip swap the width of the fabric on the Board. Hang on for that to begin again soon.

    I've participated in Nickel and Dime and Candy Bar charm swaps and most recently a 1 1/2" charm swap.

  25. #25
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    I wash before cutting EVERYTHING that is washable (except the battings that specifically say DO NOT prewash or the polyester battings like Fairfield? that are not needlepunched)

    Most of the fabrics come out of the dryer smooth enough to "hand-press" while folding them. I press/iron right before cutting - that way I get rid of the fold lines that I feel interfere with cutting accuracy.

    My stash is "organized" - for lack of a better word - by the following - large pieces (usually three yards or more) are folded on a bed - I Spy/novelty fabrics are in plastic totes - Cat Prints are in totes - Black and White fabrics are in plastic totes - the "colors" are more or less together on shelves. Small pieces of various colors are sorted into small totes.

    And then there are the couple of totes of - almost trash scrap. The pieces are big enough to make string blocks or crumb blocks - but mostly annoying.

    Take into consideration that I've been accumulating for over 20 years.

    My advice NOW is to spend sensibly on fabric. I went totally crazy for a while. (I've cut waaaaay back for the last 8 years - but it's still hard for me to pass up a good clearance sale)

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