Remember to register for the 1 Million Mile Quilted Postcard Challenge! You have until January 15th to send me a comment and let me know YOU want a postcard. The theme for January is ‘TODAY’
The end of one year and the beginning of the next always makes me want to do 2 things – finish old projects so that I can start the year with new ones, and clean or organize my studio space. New year, new projects. Clean slate, clean space.
I recently finished cutting and piecing a quilt top that used over 100 colours of 10″ squares. The colours were great, but there was substantial waste. What was I going to do with the left over fabric besides stuffing the pieces into a container?
I first heard of the Scrap Saving System through friends who are devoted followers of Bonnie Hunter. After all, when a quilt has 10,000 pieces, who doesn’t want to save time and energy? Bonnie has an elaborate system. She cuts, stores and actually uses many different sizes of squares, ‘strings,’ ‘bricks’, and strips in her patterns. Her post on saving scraps is great and I have referred to it many times.
Then I read an article of Joan Ford’s in a 2012 booklet from the Publishers of Threads called Quilt Your Stash! Joan talked about having her scraps neatly organized and even had games for sorting scraps by themes such as Botanicals, animals, goemetrics, earthy, spots and dots, and novelties. According to Joan, the ScrapTherapy sizes are 2″, 3 1/2″ and 5″. These are the sizes that play nice together, whether you are doing a 4-patch, a 9-patch or a combination.
My system had to be simple, so this is how it started.
- If I didn’t like the fabric, it was gone. I no longer want to spend time on fabric I don’t like.
- Larger pieces get sub-cut into strips I can use for binding (2 1/4″ x WOF),or Fat Quarters (18″ x 22″). There are a lot of ‘fat quarter friendly’ patterns out there, and I almost have enough fat quarters to start separating them by theme.
- The remainder was cut into squares determined by the size of the scrap – 10″, 5″, 3 1/2″, 2 1/2″ and 1 1/2″. I decided I didn’t want to cut anything smaller than 1 1/2″ but I do like the look of 1″ finished squares so included that size in my stash. These are all stored in the 12″ see-through scrapbooking containers. Not only do they fit nicely into these containers, the containers also stack well on a closet shelf.
- Then there were the strips and crumbs. I just couldn’t throw them out. It’s amazing what you can do with these small pieces on a postcard. Unfortunately it also takes scrap hoarding to a whole new level! I keep these in a scrapbooking container as well so they are somewhat organized and easy to access.
After cutting for several days, I had very little to throw away. And, there is still a considerable backlog of scraps to be cut. For now, they live in a wrapping paper roll container under my bed. Every time I finish a project, I will add the scraps to this container until I am ready to cut again. These containers are great. They are easy to access and they are not as deep as other containers so it is easy to find and see what you have.
My organized scrap stash is very small and now very precious. It will take more than a few days of cutting, and scraps from a few more quilts to get a stash that ends up being something to work with.
But now I am excited about collecting scraps! I can’t wait to try the Fabric Scrap Grid Art Laurel from Laurel Stitches talks about. And someday I just might have enough to do a Bonnie Hunter scrappy quilt!