I had a pretty bad system for scraps for a long time. It was just a jumbled up mess in a plastic tub. Then it got worse… my daughter started to play in my scraps so I created a second smaller scrap bin for her.
Good idea, right? Except that then I started adding my scraps to her bin and that bin got bigger than the original stack. She also quit playing with it once there were so many scraps.
Something had to be done about my scrap problem. There are many very smart ways to deal with scraps that I researched as I looked for the solution to my problem. The main methods I found for scrap organization are by color or by size.
- Arrange by Color: Have rainbow colored bins to place scraps in by color
- Arrange by Size: Have bins or bags to place like sized scraps in.
- Arrange by Type: Not so size specific, more a feeling (ie. straight rectangular vs. irregular shapes vs. larger vs. strings)
- Vintage Modern Quilts separates hers into 6 categories based on how they will be used
I find that scrap management works best for me if I make it easy… spending a day cutting scraps from a bin into something useable is not my idea of fun. So, the scraps stay in the bin.
Easy for me: I cut my scraps down to a useable size as soon as I finish cutting what I am working on. Sometimes that means I cut them out the minute I am finished with the fabric, sometimes that means setting it aside and doing it at the end of the day. If I am cutting out a complete quilt, I may wait until I am finished if I am on a roll, but I cut them down before I can start another project.
I do admit to letting the cut squares sit for awhile before I sort them into the ziplock bags I store them in. I would probably claim that sorting goes faster when you have multiple of each size, but I am sometimes just mentally done with those scraps after cutting and need to build up the energy to face them another day.
How do I cut my scraps down? I arrange by size.
- 2″ squares
- 2.5″ squares
- 3″ squares
- 5″ squares
- 10″ squares
I started originally with only 2.5″ and 5″ squares, but found that these other categories were meeting the size demands of my scraps. I arrange them by size with no regard for color. I don’t have enough scraps for a scrappy quilt yet, but I try to draw from these if I have a Stash Bee block that requires anything that fits into these categories. For my stash bee block last month, I had to cut a couple squares that were 1.5″ so I just grabbed a 2″ square and cut it down.
Keeping scraps for paper piecing? Even though I love paper piecing, and those odd little shapes were part of what originally motivated me to start keeping scraps, I’ve found I just don’t use scraps to paper piece. The odds of finding the color I want in the size I need from my scraps was just too unlikely and slow of a process for me. Thus, cutting the scraps down into useable shapes makes me more likely to use them.
I keep the cut and sorted scraps in a green scrapbooking square tote. They sell these at every crafting store, but if you get them seasonally at Costco they come in a 5 pack that is an amazing price. I like the green color because it reminds me to recycle the fabric within my own projects.
There are so many methods to deal with scraps, and this is what I have found works for me after a lot of trial and error. What are your favorite ways to control scraps?
Linking to: Scraptastic Tuesday @ She Can Quilt, Tips and Tutorials Tuesdays @ Late Night Quilter, WiP Wednesday @ Freshly Pieced, Let’s Bee Social Wednesday @ SewFreshQuilts, Needle and Thread Thursday @ My Quilt Infatuation, Whoop Whoop Fridays @ Confessions of a Quilt Addict, Fabric Frenzy Friday @ Ft. Worth Fabric