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Thread: Scraps, ugh!!

  1. #1
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    Scraps, ugh!!

    So I used to sew and quilt several years ago, and obviously, at that point, I accumulated scraps. So Im taking inventory of what I have now, and I pulled out my old scrap bag, and everything is a mess! I just thre pieces in there, and now theyre wrinkled and messy. Im just curious as to how everyone handles their scraps. Do you throw them in a bag and deal with it when you need them? Do you fold them neatly and store them in a box??

    Im so excited to get back into quilting (I made it to maybe competent beginner on hand sewing last time, my biggest piece was a nine block sampler Im about seventy five percent done with), and I cant wait to keep learning and mastering these skills thanks for your help!!

  2. #2
    Power Poster ube quilting's Avatar
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    Search Bonnie Hunter, Quiltville. She is a specialized scrap quilter and has a regular system she uses. She has a web site and a blog.
    no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Aesop

  3. #3
    Power Poster Mariposa's Avatar
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    Welcome to the board! I'd suggest that you check out Bonnie Hunter's site Quiltville. She's got scrap control ideas, and lots of free quilt patterns.
    www.quiltville.blogspot.com
    Be a blessing to others, as you may entertain angels unaware!

  4. #4
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    There are several threads on here on this very topic. Just search the key word "scraps" and you'll see a plethora of suggestions as to how we deal with them.

  5. #5
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    My smaller scraps (less than a FQ) and some of the larger pieces are sorted by color or type (30's, batiks, florals, etc.) and stored in plastic shoe boxes. They stay pretty flat and easy to find that way. The picture shows just a few of them. I just got an AccuQuilt, and the plan is to cut them into strips and squares. I'm not sure how I will organize the storage then.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6
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    I have a clothes hamper that I throw my scraps into. I iron pieces when I think they will go into a scrap quilt. Others keep theirs trimmed into certain sizes but that doesn’t work for me.

  7. #7
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    Welcome to the Board! My first question is - do you like making scrappy looking quilts? What do you intend to make? For years I have saved scraps and finally ended up sending them to people that actually want them. Someone here showed they had one of those large pretzel containers - it's about the size of a 5 gallon water bottle - that she put her scraps into. When it got full then she did something with them. I now fill one and when it gets full I ask if someone wants it and the scraps go into a box and away it goes. Large left over pieces of fabrics I put on comic book cardboards and put them in bins. I separate the fabric by holidays, kids fabrics, sports (MLB & NFL), florals, and solids. Then I put them in color groups. My largest is Christmas and then Halloween - there is something about those fabrics that follow me home even when I have no idea what I am going to do with them. I also cut off the selvage edges and save those until I have enough worth sending along. If you haven't noticed - I have a real problem throwing things away.

  8. #8
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    Oh how I envy my US quilting sisters’ scraps problem! To have so much space and such a selection of fabrics to choose from must be wonderful!

    My sewing room is small and my entire fabric ‘collection’ would probably fit into 10 of Duster’s shoe boxes.

    Most of the things I make are for charity - I donate to Project Linus and a local cancer charity. Working with a limited budget I tend to only buy enough of a particular fabric to complete that project. Even so I still end up with small scraps that I can’t bear to throw away.

    At the moment I’m on a mission to use up as many of my scraps as I can. Sometimes I just get bored with the fabrics that I have - then it’s time for a purge. I’m making cushions from fat quarters and yardage remnants - they will go to the local cancer charity. Any left-over pieces of binding I find will be added to a scrappy binding for future use. Small pieces from jelly rolls go into a box to make house blocks for a small child’s quilt. I’m also cutting fabric into 5 inch squares and will make HST from them. There might be enough for a colourful lap quilt. Those little pieces that are left over will be thrown out.

    Happy sewing folks!

  9. #9
    Super Member ScubaK's Avatar
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    I can second Bonnie Hunter., Quiltville for her specialized scrap system. She makes sense out of scraps.
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  10. #10
    Junior Member Bobbinalong's Avatar
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    I too am on a mission to make a dent in my fabric, but the question is do I make 'basic', large pieces, patchwork quilts which leaves me with scraps that I cannot bear to bin, or do I try to work through the scraps that I have? All are for Project Linus at the moment.

    When I began quilting I bought a lot of fat quarters (thinking of variety) and now a lot of them have become 'what was I thinking' fabrics. Surprisingly, they do disappear a little into scrap quilts but this leaves a stash of strings and squares which grow faster than I can use them. Friends have begun handing theirs to me as well!!

    I have a whole room with two wardrobes and drawers for storage, the scraps are in size labelled boxes and some sizes now have more than one box. Before they are cut to size they are 'stored' in an open box under my cutting table.

  11. #11
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    Hi and welcome from North Carolina! You will love this Quilting Board! You'll get all kinds of help and ideas here.

    I just throw my scraps into a large tote bag and 'deal with them later.' Actually I do the same with all my stash... in totes, boxes, bins, on shelves, in closets, etc., just in a confused mess. I tried the 'cut into squares' system for a while, but ended up with dozens of bins of squares!

    I find that the best approach is to sew them into quilts as quickly as possible and have fun!

  12. #12
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    I almost never buy more than a yard of any fabric unless it's for a back. I keep larger pieces by color as noted above, and also cut some sizes of squares a la B. Hunter. Then I have a basket for "strings" (I like making string quilts) and a tote bag of selvages (I like making things with them). Have to admit, I do quite a bit of ironing when I making anything scrappy. I recently ordered a grab bag of scraps from a hand dyer, and every piece needed ironing. But they were beautiful and very useful! I love "The Big Book of Scrap Quilts," by the way.

  13. #13
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    Welcome from western NY and happy quilting
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  14. #14
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    I throw my scraps into boxes and totes, I was making good progress with cutting them and putting them into the pre-cut drawers, but then had to stop because the drawers were full, so now I have to use the pre-cuts. LOL

  15. #15
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    I mostly work in scrap quilts and I keep all my fabric sorted into color/theme sorted boxes. I use cardboard "banker" boxes because they stack well and keep out the light and I don't have any issues with bugs. To some people even though I have been reducing it, I have a huge stash. For me, I figure it fits in one room and I know people with entire basements and storage units of fabric... I prefer to prewash my fabric so it is ready to be used, I press and fold ready for cutting -- the box size is very convenient for that.

    For years I used to throw my scraps into a hamper but it was a terrible mess to work with, it wasn't pleasant to sort through and I always had to spend a bunch of time with the fabric once I found it refolding, ironing, etc.

    A few years ago I started cutting my leftover fabric to pre-determined sizes, badly cut ends went into their own "string" box which periodically got sewn together into "fabric" for use in various projects. They stacked neater and I could sort through them easier but I realized that no matter how I had them organized, there was no single answer. I keep them loosely color sorted but maybe this time I want all civil war or 30s or florals or whatever. Still, I can sort through a large amount of fabric quickly and easily.

    In the last year or two I've decided I don't want to keep/store anything smaller than 6.5" wide. because although I can cut a piece smaller I can't make them any bigger. I had a moment recently with finding some Y2K squares and looking around and realizing that I could spend my entire quilting career with nothing but 2.5" cuts... while that could be sort of fun and satisfying in one way, in another way I was horrified! I made up a top for me and the memories and sent all the other strips and squares away.

    So that's what I do now with my small scraps. Fat quarters and up go into the sorted theme/color boxes. Smaller than that and they get cut into a 6.5" WoF which goes into the 6.5" strips box. The remnants get sent to a crumb quilter I met here on the board. I keep a flat rate postage box by my cutting area and the scraps get put in there (neatly as I go) until I fill the box.

    I've been working on reducing my stash, largely because I am dealing with progressive vision loss and no, I'm never going to use up all this fabric I've collected over the years. In the race about "she with the most fabric wins", I've already placed. Had to face a bunch of things and look at life with a different perspective. Life is too short to burden ourselves with the things we don't want/care about and that includes at least some fabric! Keep the stuff you love, ditch the rest.

    First to go was my garment construction stuff, I found a textile student from the local arts college on Craig's List and gave her all non-quilting yardage. Another person into Cosplay took the fancy bits and pieces of velvet and lame and such. All the craft stuff went to a local elementary school art teacher. Bags of fabrics and orphan blocks and UFOs (mostly ones I picked up at thrift stores and not my own, but a couple were mine) went to a church group that supported various causes. It's easy to find people who want larger pieces of fabric. There are people here (and at most quilt groups) willing to take the small bits, some are willing to pay for the postage even.
    Last edited by Iceblossom; 06-17-2019 at 04:35 AM.

  16. #16
    Super Member KalamaQuilts's Avatar
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    welcome back to quilting and the board!!
    I was blessed with one of IceBlossom's scrap boxes. I did a fast presort into main colors, setting aside the ones hand size or smaller.
    I then pressed the stacks and as I pressed I sorted each color stack down into largest to smallest, so when cutting down I could make best use of the same size cuts, all the 2.5" strips at the same time, for efficiency.

    I only cut 2.5", 2", and 1.5" strips so as I cut I just made three stacks, neat and tidy, easy peasy.

    The hand size ones I cut down into those sizes too and boxed. I love my precut "pantry".
    A large priority box took about three days.

    So do a quick sort by color and the rest of the job will fall into place.
    And I'll try not to lust for your treasures

  17. #17
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    If you want to keep those scraps, on a day when you don't have much energy for anything else, sit at your ironing spot, pull out the bins and iron those pieces and place them back in the bin neatly. It sound like a boring job and it kind of is but you will be able to sort through and decide what you want to keep also and you might even sort them to suit your needs.

  18. #18
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    LOL, you go Kalama! I considered that box a "collectors request" and let you do all the clean up cutting work. I will do those from time to time, it helps me organize my boxes and sometimes it's just fun to play with the fabric. I've also realized that while yes, I do need some pieces of yardage there is a lot of what I have that I don't love and will be happier with just that one 6.5" cut. This past year I've sent out quite a bit of fabric to various people for various reasons, right now I think it's time to work on a few more projects...

    I have several (3-4) "fabric intensive" projects where it has taken some time to collect enough for the project. Once each of the tops (and some will have pieced backs as well) is done that will mean the rest of that box is surplus. But before that happens, the poster here needs to get in to her sewing room and get some work done!

    It helps me to keep motivated that I need a portable project to take to my Tuesday small group each week. I have one more Tuesday left of finishing the hand binding of a baby quilt. I need to have something ready to take to small group next week and haven't decided on a project yet. I have some bigger stuff to do like piecing backs and making bindings at home.

  19. #19
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    I lay mine flat in a shoe box type container. I do not want to have to re-iron and re-iron.

  20. #20
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    I think you first have to define what size of fabric you consider a scrap and find a method that works for you.

    My scrap fabrics are different sizes and stored with different methods.Some are plus or minus a FQ size. Those are ironed and edges trimmed neatly. Then ruler folded on a 5 inch ruler. These pieces are stored upright in a plastic bin. Easy to pull out a specific color or pattern.

    Smaller pieces or strips are sorted into smaller plastic bins. I started sewing 2.5 inch strips for mindless sewing. I have no idea how they will finish into a quilt or project. LOL.

    There are times I play with the accu-quilt and simply cut scraps into squares, triangles or strips. Just depends on the mood.

  21. #21
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    I use a system similar to Dunster's picture. I'd hate to dig into a pile of un-ironed scraps. That would be uninspiring!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iraxy View Post
    If you want to keep those scraps, on a day when you don't have much energy for anything else, sit at your ironing spot, pull out the bins and iron those pieces and place them back in the bin neatly. It sound like a boring job and it kind of is but you will be able to sort through and decide what you want to keep also and you might even sort them to suit your needs.
    That's what I did a few weeks ago: ironed, cut to consistent sizes, and chose some to give away. Now my red and orange scrap drawers are organized, and I've made some progress with yellow.

  23. #23
    Senior Member juliasb's Avatar
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    My scraps would fill my bathroom from floor to ceiling with no room to spare. To resolve this problem I have divided the scraps in bins by size or length of strips. I also have an 'active bin" next to my sewing machine that collects current pieces, as they fall from the cutting table. These pieces get wrinkled as they fall and are pressed before they go into a more defined place for use at a later time. I am currently working on a scrappy quilt that has pieces that are more than 40 years old and look new. I am careful with my scraps as there are a number of quilts that I want to always be scrappy. Two of my favorite scrappy quilts are the Double Wedding Ring and Joseph's Coat. They require boundless scraps to make them look perfect! I keep pieces as small as 1 1/2". It is amazing what gets used. It is time to thin them down too.

  24. #24
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    Oh my goodness! I did not expect this response! You guys certainly know how to make a girl feel welcome!

    Thank you so much for all your suggestions. Like I said, I'm just getting back into it after dropping it about five or six years ago, so I'm still sorting through what I have (and I know I'm missing fabric somewhere....). I even found a mini tree skirt I cut out all that time ago and didn't finish! (That was my project last night, I sewed all the wedges together). You've all certainly given me a lot to think about!

  25. #25
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    I just throw my scraps into a bin and hope to get them out sometime and iron them and make a string quilt.

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