Scraps – Making order out of chaos

I know I have shown part of my scrap pile in the past, but every time I think I have a project to use it up, I end up with still more.  I really thought that Scrap Dance would take care of this pile, but I completed that quilt and this still remains.

Scraptastic 4

And that is just one bag. To make it worse, I also had another bag where I had begun to do some HSTs just to get something done.

Scraps 1

I took this mess by manageable piles over to the ironing board and started pressing.

Scraptastic 3

Then I started finding things already done, more HSTs, some quarter-squares, lots of cut squares. So I began making little piles of similar things.

Scraptastic 2-2

I needed a plan, so I looked to the projects I do most, and decided to make the squares into 2-1/2-inch and 3-inch squares. Larger squares were put aside to make into smaller ones using up as much as possible. I had a whole stack of 6-inch squares, but not enough to make a quilt, so those will be cut down to 3-inch squares.

Scraptastic 8

Oh, yikes, another group to press and sort!

Scraptastic 5

The one thing I was sure of, I wanted a very limited collection of sizes, not the six or seven bins of stuff like a famous quilter does.  I’ll only have three sizes, the 2-1/2″ square,  the 3″ size for HSTs, and one strip size for scrappy borders.  I took all the 2-1/2-inch strips and 3-inch strips and cut those into squares if possible. I did a bunch of strips at once by laying them out overlapping on the cutting board.

Scraptastic 9

Then with all the irregular sized bits, I lined them up and cut them into variable width by 3-inch rectangles. These will become leaders and enders and eventually a scrappy border.

Scraptastic 10

Yes, this took all day and part of another day.  But in the end it will be worth it.  I already found enough half square triangles to start another project, all I need to do is square up a few more and I can start designing with them.  That will be a work in progress for another post. All these squares will be needed early next year for the next mystery, yes there will be a Scrap Dance II in 2016!

Stacks scraps

Back in the beginning of my blogging days, I posted a long article on using scraps from all kinds of quilting and sewing projects.  That post is The Scrap Basket if you’d like to see it for more ideas on using up little pieces of this and that.

How do you organize your scraps?

10 thoughts on “Scraps – Making order out of chaos

  1. Barbara Jenkins

    I usually cut end pieces into 6, 4 or 3 inch squares. Then I store them until I have a project in mind. I will buy a jelly roll to use as sashing and go to town……. I also store fat quarters by color.

  2. Your stash of fabric scraps remind me of my collection of magazine photo I tear out to use for collage. They are over taking the craft room and need to be sorted and organized. ♥ Perhaps this week I will start that project as clearing out the studio is on my list of things to get done ASAP!

  3. I have bags for 4″, 3″, 2.5″ and 2″ squares, a bag for smaller scraps and a bag of strings. Good chunks of fabric that are under 1/4 yard are bundled together – I might be able to cut some real things from them rather than just squaring them down to something smaller.

  4. sgrancio

    I cut pieces from 6″ on down from scraps and am trying to not put odd bits back on the stash shelves after I have used them in a project. I use the large plastic boxes that salad greens come in, putting different sizes in each. No color sorting for storage just yet. 2″ squares piece into 4-patches that fit with 3 1/2″ squares, 2 1/2″ squares four patch to 4 1/2″, etc. 5″ because that is the size of charm squares, 6″ because that is the width of the ruler! I also leave 2 1/2″ strips of some length uncut, as they are then fodder for strip piecing. Anything smaller goes into a bag I take to guild each month for the users of the bitty pieces.

  5. Rosemaryflower

    Well done. Really great!!!
    I need to do this some day.
    Right now…. I just do not have the time. I try to file fabrics by color, and sometimes by collection.
    and I have bins for various size bits. Oh my.
    I wish I had a minion to do some of the things I do not enjoy, like my parents medical appointments, esp mom.
    They are always exhausting. My poor mom….
    And I do not get to see my grandbaby girl as often as I would like.
    Happy Fall!! 😀
    I did fill all of the halloween candy bags in front of the tv last week, 😀

  6. Carole, I do understand what you are writing about. I do not remember when, but I was so overwhelmed with pieces of scrap fabrics I just did not know what to do. Yet, I did not want to get rid of them being on such a tight budget and not having much of a stash. After reading several posts, I decided to cut into strips. That went great for a very short time, so often my pieces were not long enough for a strip. So I then chose cutting into sizes from one and a half inch squares up to 6 inch squares each size sorted into a light or dark clear small storage container. Any size larger was folded and sorted into color groups and placed onto open shelves. This system has worked really well for me. I try not to let the scraps get out of hand, but like right now, I really need to spend time doing nothing but the task of scrap ironing, cutting and sorting. Only there are far to many projects and other personal things at this time so hopefully after the first of the year. Thanks for sharing your method and have a great time with them!

  7. Jan

    What some folks call scraps, I call usable yardage. Biggish (or choice) pieces are folded up and put back into my stash, sorted mostly by color in covered plastic bins. Some pieces are just too small to put back, though, so I have a box each of 2½” squares and 1½” strips (at least a few inches long). If the scrap is too small to cut one of these sizes, I feel free to throw it away…yet, I occasionally catch myself cutting 1½” squares! Aargh! Noooo!

    I’ve made a queen-size quilt top all of 2½” squares, which used up a lot; and I made a big stack of 12″ log cabin blocks using the strips, which used up most of these. I also made a quilt of 3½” strips of varying widths, but now feel these are better for scrappy borders. I don’t separate cut scraps by color, though I did sort my strips into relative lights/darks when I made the log cabins.

  8. I favor 1.5″ & 2″ squares. I did cut 4 & 7.5 this past week to put together a scrappy uniformed quilt. I string my squares (upto 4″) on thread to keep them from getting wrinkled. I made a “many trips around the world” with 1.5″ = 4,104 pieces.

  9. I bet that was quite a job but now that you have it done and organized so beautifully, I bet you feel like a weight was lifted off your shoulders!! I feel that when when i go through and organize things. I have been doing that this entire year……
    Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you are having a great day!!


  10. I think oodlesof scraps present so many opportunities. I love scrappy quilts. You and everybody above seem so very organised. Though my fabrics are stashed by colour, I am afraid my scraps are all sitting joyously together in one big hamper….oh dear. =) This new scrappy quilt of yours does look lovely.

I respond via email to comments if I can, thank you for commenting and let's chat!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.