Scrap-Tastic!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been letting my scraps build up for a while.  Like years.  Now I have a gazillion scraps that I need to cut into usable sizes, otherwise they will sit for more years never getting used.  I really don’t mind cutting them up, what bothers me is how long it seems to take.  I don’t know if you have ever sat down with a gazillion scraps to cut them into more usable sizes, but it takes a really long time.  Plus you can cut for hours and not really see any noticeable difference in the pile that you have cut or the pile you have cut from.  I’m not exactly sure how that works.  I think there is some sort of fabric division similar to that of cell division going on so that the pile to be cut never gets any smaller.  If you have any insights into this fabric phenomenon, please let me know.

I’m sure you are probably wondering why I’m cutting years worth of fabric now as well as how much a gazillion really is.  Well, I have been steadily working on getting my craft room organized and realized that I have 2 Rubbermaid tubs full of scraps.  Yep, two Rubbermaid tubs full of scraps = a gazillion.  I figured that I could get them cleared out and then there would be two less things taking up space on my floor.  However, it hasn’t really worked out that way.  So far I have spent 3 days pressing them so they can be cut.  Yep, you read that right – 3 days.  Thankfully my ironing board will work for a sitting position so I didn’t have to stand the whole time.  The nice thing was that I did find some squares that had already but cut so they could just be put away.  Unfortunately, I didn’t find enough of those.  Even more unfortunately I found some scraps that became projects.    More projects, just what I needed.

Now I have 1 Rubbermaid tub and 1 small-ish box of scraps to cut.  Now that they are all pressed and sorted, I realized that i have more flannel than I will ever really use.  I just don’t work in flannel.  So, that is a tub that will hopefully find a home with my quilting friends that do use flannel.

  Here are the two tubs I started with.  The one that doesn’t have fabrics peeking out over top is the one with the flannels in it.

  Here is my smallish box of scraps.  You can see that it is pretty full.  I don’t even want to guess how many hours it will take me to do just this much.

  Here is the inside of my cotton scrap tub. I know what you are thinking – those look like pretty darn big scraps!  Well, they are, but most of these are cuts off of borders and backings and so they are larger (and longer) but still not wide enough to make up a fat quarter so in the scrap basket it went.  At least it is now nicely pressed and folded.  Sorry I don’t have a true before picture for you of the heaping mess of tangled unpressed scraps that it was.  I’m sure you can imagine though.  You’re good like that.

I don’t know if you are a scrap quilter (or scrap saver) or not.  There are some folks out there who are not stash gatherers.  Instead they just purchase what they need for whatever project they are currently working on and that’s it.  I’m not sure what they do with their leftovers.  I have a feeling that they end up in the wastebasket. I am not so much of a scrap quilter.  However, I don’t want to waste the left overs of those fabrics I have lovingly purchased so I am a scrap saver.    So, I dumped them in the black hole of Rubbermaid tubs where they have waited years to again see the light of day.  I am taking a page from Blanche’s stash organization.  If you don’t remember, see here.  See how everything is so nicely organized?  Sorted by color?  I don’t know if you can tell by the photo, but it is also uniformly folded too.  Vera and I were completely in awe of how she has things organized.  If you look closely you can see some white storage boxes under the shelving.  This is where Blanche keeps her scrap stash.  She brought some to retreat once because the box was full and that meant it was time to do something with them.  I don’t have those type of storage units though (although I’m sure I’ll be storming Ikea at some point or placing an online order with Vera) to get some of those type of containers for my scraps.

What was funny to me was that I didn’t know Vera was also working on taming her scraps.  We are both part of a sit-and-sew group and at my first gathering I brought my small-ish box of scraps to cut so I could visit and not worry about getting a lot finished.  Vera also brought her scraps.  Then we started talking about Blanche’s stash and how she stores them.  I’m not sure what Vera’s plans are for her storage, and I’m not sure that I described what I was currently using overly well.  So, Vera these are for you!

 Pics of where my cut up scrap stash is hanging out.  Ignore the plastic shoe boxes – those aren’t scraps.  At least not yet.  Those are projects and I’m sure they will donate their leftovers to the scrap bin.  This is one section of the little storage boxes I have.  I believe the brown ones are all 5″ squares (I have a lot of those).  The smaller black ones above are 2″ – 4 1/2″.  Yes, I know that is a little nutty to cut them into whole and half sizes.  I was just trying to get the most out of the scrap as I could.

  Here are the other drawers.  They hold 5 1/2″ – 9″.  Mainly because 9″ was the biggest I could fit in the drawer without folding them.

Now I’m faced with the task of finding patterns to work with assorted sizes of squares.  I’m sure something will come to mind soon.  I know where I’m going to start looking though – Bonnie Hunter the scrap queen.  You can check out her website here.  She gives lots of tips and patterns on her site.  It’s a nice site to visit.  Yep, I’m sure that’s where I’ll start.  Maybe you will find some inspiration for your scrap bins too.

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One thought on “Scrap-Tastic!

  1. Blanche says:

    Wow, Opal, it sounds like you are really getting things organized! I’ve found that having things organized allows me to work more efficiently when I get to quilting. Since I’ve been referred to as the “over-the-top” organizer (just ask Opal to tell you about my pin cushion sometime), I will tell you all about my fabric organization.

    Before any fabric makes it to my stash, I wash and iron each one and fold it selvedge to selvedge. Then I wrap my yardage around a 6″ ruler so it is a uniform width, and then in half so each fabric is ~6″ wide by 12″ long…these stack on top of each other nicely. If I were to start over, I would use an 8″ ruler instead, because the larger yardage would fold flatter. I use this for anything from 1/2 to 4 yards – anything larger than 4 yards does not get folded in half – these pieces sit flat at the back of the smaller pieces. Pieces that are fat 1/8 to 1/2 yards are simply folded into 6″ by 9″ and stacked on separate shelves above the larger yardage. All of my fabric is separated by color, and then by light to dark within the color…and there are special categories for batiks, Christmas, cats, food, multicolor (can’t determine what color predominates), and flannel.

    Anything smaller than a fat 1/8 goes to the scrap box, and when it is full enough, I try to spend some time cutting it down . I cut all my scraps into squares in sizes 1.5″, 2″, 2.5″, 3″, 3.5″, 4″, 4.5″. 5″, 6″, and the largest 6.5″…these are sorted into boxes and stored at the bottom of my shelving. I tend to have the most squares in the smaller sizes up to 3″. I do not sort these by color – they are just all piled into the correct box, just waiting for that charity scrap quilt or any other purpose I need.

    Now, I started this system when my stash was relatively small (maybe 2 30″ wide bookcases), and have tried to maintain it…it would be a very daunting task to start to organize a large stash by this manner. And so far I haven’t tried to organize my threads or rulers by any system…hmmm, maybe that is the next step…hmmm…

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