Sewing Organization – Scrap Organization

Organize Your Scraps

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.

Scrap Playground

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.

Scrap Storage

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.

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.

Organizing Scraps

How do I cut my scraps down?  I arrange by size.

  • 2″ squares
  • 2.5″ squares
  • 3″ squares
  • 5″ squares
  • 10″ squares
  • strings

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.

Scraps Sorted

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?

-Heather

Linking to: Scraptastic Tuesday @ She Can QuiltTips and Tutorials Tuesdays @ Late Night QuilterWiP Wednesday @ Freshly PiecedLet’s Bee Social Wednesday @ SewFreshQuiltsNeedle and Thread Thursday @ My Quilt InfatuationWhoop Whoop Fridays @ Confessions of a Quilt AddictFabric Frenzy Friday @ Ft. Worth Fabric

3rd Quarter 2015 Bee Blocks

Time for the Stash Bee roundup!  I always enjoy the wide variety of blocks that I get to make, and this quarter was no exception.

I finished up Margaret’s block just in time!  It wasn’t completed the last day of September, but I was pretty close.  This field of flowers is going to make such a cheerful quilt!

Flower Block for Stash Bee

August was a fun month making these blocks for Debbie.  Even though this block was in the middle of some personal projects with too many HSTs, I really enjoyed making it.  I still love these colors, and can’t wait to see the finished quilt!

August 2015 Hive 3

In July, we made string blocks for Martina.  I’ve only made string block once before and they are so relaxing and fun.  Strings are one of my scrap categories, so maybe I’ll make one of these someday.

Stash Bee String Block

Linking up to some of the following: Fabric Tuesday @ Quilt StorySew Cute Tuesday @ Blossom Heart QuiltsScraptastic Tuesday @ She Can QuiltWiP Wednesday @ Freshly PiecedLet’s Bee Social Wednesday @ SewFreshQuiltsNeedle and Thread Thursday @ My Quilt InfatuationWhoop Whoop Fridays @ Confessions of a Quilt Addict

Website Maintenance

My Friday finish isn’t a traditional one… but it was a long time coming! I’ve been meaning to do some site cleanup and add a page for my tutorials and patterns so that they are easier to find, and I’ve finally done it!

updated website

I will be updating these pages as more patterns and tutorials come along. I’ve got a few patterns in the works, so hopefully between 15 page term papers, I will have time to put those together. Let me know if any of these are helpful or if you make any of the projects, because I would love to see them!

Linking up to: Finish it up Friday @ Crazy Mom QuiltsWhoop Whoop Fridays @ Confessions of a Quilt AddictTGIFFLink a Finish Friday @ Richard and Tanya Quilts

Nature of Purple Quilt

I occasionally find myself in an odd place in the quilting world style wise – I am not super modern, yet to a traditional quilter I look modern.  I think one of my old guilds determined I was “modern” simply by my age.  I have embraced the “modern traditional” moniker, but it’s not always an easy category to fit in.

Nature of Purple cropped

This is my first go at a more definitively modern piece.  The pattern is not mine (probably takes away from the modernity, right?), but was a piece for the Carolina Longarm Association.  They are trying to put together a display with modern and traditional mini quilts that will all be the same two designs, but with a wide variety of fabrics and quilting styles.  It should be a really cool display once it’s done.

Quilt Name: Nature of Purple

Size: 29″ x 29″

Nature of Purple from below

I really enjoyed quilting this piece.  I loved combining the straight lines with the curves to create contrast within the piece.  I also really like the design I used inside the rectangles.  It’s a straight-line spiral, for lack of a better description, but is fun to use in a space like that.

I did learn some good lessons from this quilt – such as purple is extremely hard to photograph and the quilting does not show up well unless you are really close to it.

Dense quilting would also probably show up better with either a double layer of batting, or a higher quality puff or mixed cotton/poly blend.  I used a cheap cotton/poly blend I had laying around because I wan’t planning on quilting it this densely when I started.

 

Unfortunately, it is not an impressive piece when you see it hung next to other quilts.  There is a certain beauty in its simplicity, and the negative space leaves a lot of room to quilt, but it’s still a very simple quilt with very little piecing.   I feel like the photo below is a Where’s Waldo game, but you are looking for a small purple quilt that blends into the black background curtains. (Photo borrowed from Christa Quilts, link to her NQA experience roundup).

Christa Quilts Modern NQA Show

I entered it into the National Quilting Association show this year to get feedback and try to improve my quilting. As far as feedback, I found the comments to be very useful. The judges found a couple things on this quilt that I had missed, and called me out on errors that I knew existed.  It was also nice to receive more than one or two comments, which is more normal for a local level show.

Entering this quilt was a worthwhile experience, and it is pushing me to be better.  When I received the quilt back in the mail, I saw that it had been held for the category and a judge’s choice.  It’s bittersweet news in a way – it was good, but not good enough.  It just means I need to improve my work and make a better quilt next year!

Even if it didn’t win anything, I still like it.  I have it hanging above my longarm in my new setup.  I still love the purple.  I wish it quilted better so I could use it more often, but as you can see below the purple just absorbs all light and makes it look like a purple black hole.  Eventually, it will find its way back to North Carolina, but I’m not quite ready to give it up yet.

Quilting Studio

Linking up to some of the following: Fabric Tuesday @ Quilt StorySew Cute Tuesday @ Blossom Heart QuiltsLinky Tuesday @ Freemotion by the RiverLet’s Bee Social Wednesday @ SewFreshQuiltsNeedle and Thread Thursday @ My Quilt InfatuationFinish it up Friday @ Crazy Mom QuiltsWhoop Whoop Fridays @ Confessions of a Quilt AddictTGIFFFabric Frenzy Friday @ Ft. Worth Fabric

 

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