More Scrapping

Before I get to more scrapping news, I wanted to say how excited I am that we have reached 20 followers and over 500 hits for this blog!  Thank you – you are all appreciated!  Plus it’s nice to know that these words are not sitting uselessly out in cyberspace but instead are being read and shared.  That’s what makes this the most fun of all.  I guess in a way you are all part of our Monkey Tribe now.  Welcome aboard!

I see that Blanche of the Organized Stash has commented on the last scrapping post with her instructions on how she has organized things and I wanted to be sure that everyone was able to see it.  After all you may be sitting on a gazillion scraps, like me, and be on the hunt for a way to better organize them.

Now for Words of Wisdom from Blanche!  “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 selvage to selvage. 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…”

As you can see, Blanche does deserve to be Blanche of the Organized Stash.  As for her pin cushion, it really deserves its own picture.  Unfortunately, I thought I had one but after searching through my archives I found that I do not have one!  Instead I will have to leave you with a picture of Blanche’s chicken quilt.  She would bring it to retreat after retreat to work on.  I have to admit that I was fascinated with that quilt.  So, here is the chicken quilt.  I believe it was some sort of challenge.  I know it doesn’t make up for the lack of a photo of her organized pin cushion, but I promise to snag one at the next retreat.

As far as the big to pre-wash or not pre-wash debate.  Well, that’s up to you and none of us will judge you.  However, I know for fact that Blanche has two laundry hampers in her quilting closet where she can sort by light and dark so she can wash as she has a load rather than coming home from the fabric store and wash.  It gets sorted into one of the hampers and waits until there is a load or half of a load.  At least that’s what I remember her explaining providing she hasn’t changed her methods.  Hopefully I haven’t mis-remembered what she had said…

If you are looking for still other methods for organizing your scraps or patterns for which to use your scraps, let me suggest Bonnie Hunter.  You can find her website here.  Bonnie is a very very generous quilter.  She shares lots and lots of patterns on her website and if you look carefully, you will find a link to her post about organizing and cutting your scrap stash.  If you are having trouble, you can find it here.

I think there are numerous ways to organize your scrap stash, but it can be an overwhelming task to start.  Especially if you are like me and have 2 Rubbermaid tubs of scraps to take care of.  Of course after reading Blanche and Bonnie I’ll probably have to go back to my large squares and cut them down into more manageable sizes.    Just when I thought I had really made some progress.  Of course I could save that until the end.  After all, it’s not like you would really know…although I would probably tell you….

I happy to share that I did somewhat finish a project from the scrap bins.  Right now it seems to be all the rage to make these jelly roll quilts.  Maybe you know the one I’m talking about, where you sew the ends of the strips together to make one long strip and then sew the long edges together?  If not, you can find an example here.  I don’t have any jelly rolls.  However, as I was clearing out my fabric scraps I put all my 2 1/2″ strips together thinking I would use them for something.  The good news is that I did!  I put together one of those easy jelly roll quilts!  I didn’t quite follow the directions from that link.  I kinda just winged it from what I heard other quilters talking about.  Anyway, I’m pretty happy with my result and the only thing left to do is find a border for it.  Curious?  Well, of course I have a picture to share!  The best part is that now they are a mostly assembled project and not strips waiting to be sub-cut for the scrap bin.

  Once I decide on a border I’ll have to decide if I want to jazz it up with applique.  I may not though.  I may just leave it as a neo-modern strip quilt and just practice some different quilting ideas on it.  We’ll have to see how long it takes me to find a border.  In case you were wondering, I did not count how many strips I had.  I know a jelly roll has a certain number of strips and that is part of how this pattern works.  I just had a stack of strips and some of those were assorted lengths as they came from other projects.  I think it all worked out fine.  I did put the strips in a bag and pulled them out randomly to sew them together.  I only allowed myself to put it back if it was attaching two of the same fabric.

If you would like to share your scrap organization methods please feel free to do so!  You never know who you might inspire!

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3 thoughts on “More Scrapping

  1. Blanche says:

    Well, Opal, since I sent you this posting, I’ve accomplished even more organizing. I’ve been trying to clear off the two banquet tables that surround my sewing machine table so that I’m not always worried about knocking things off when I’m machine quilting. I bought two inexpensive white laminated shoe shelves and stacked them under the tabIe next to my sewing machine and found Ikea cardboard boxes/lids that fit on these perfectly – these hold all of the things that i need close at hand, like my reading glasses, sewing machine needles, alternate feet for my machine, and all the rest of the clutter we use when sewing – but keep it neat looking at the same time. I also bought 2 3-drawer rubbermaid sets and put them under another part of the table. These will hold my cones of thread and any projects that I’m working on.

    As for my cutting rulers, I’m still working on getting a nice wooden rack for the wall space behind my cutting table, but for now, they hang from hooks just below my cutting surface…I have to dig thru them to get to the one I need to use, but it works for now.

  2. Blanche says:

    About the chicken quilt – it was a guild challenge several years back. The challenge fabric was not a style that I would ever have let into my house much less put into a quilt (it was chickens and wood fence and hay – greens and yellows and chickens – very country-like), so it was quite difficult for me figure out what to do with it. But my philosophy on challenge quilts is that they should be a learning tool – time to try something different – that way, if you don’t like the quilt you end up with, at least you will have learned something new while you made it. So, in this case, my goal was to make the tree using large snippets of fabric. And so I did…I had this perfect piece of brown fabric with wavy linear shades of brown that I cut up and arranged to make the leafless tree. The chickens went into the tree because they could, but I hope you noticed the owl at the top…he came from the fabric used for the back of the quilt!

    The quilt didn’t win any awards, but it was fun, and it is displayed proudly on my walls at home.

  3. Hattie says:

    Hi, Hattie here,
    I’d like to talk about “Scrap Therapy”. My life has been crazy lately. Like many women my age I am dealing with generations above and below me. My 95 year old mother shares my home as does my 17 year old grandson. It’s a toss-up at times to decide which one is taking more of my time and energy.
    There will be a fabric swap at the coming quilt retreat in order to make jelly roll quilts. While getting ready for retreat and pulling out fabrics from my stash I realized something. There is a certain satisfaction and calming of the spirit when going thru my stash. Buying more fabrics was not on the agenda, so I had to find what I needed in what was here. And I did!
    It took a few times digging through, but I managed to find enough to trade. Doing this fairly mindless activity; touching the soft fabrics and seeing the pretty colors brought me back to the person I am. In the fabrics I saw projects I had made and some planned for the future. Certain pieces reminded me of people and places and the fun we had in quilt shops and retreats of the past. I hate to think how old some of my fabrics are, but my goal lately has been to use what I have and give life to the quilts and other projects that are quietly awaking completion in the crates and bins of my sewing room.
    So, when your life gets crazy come join me in a little Scrap Therapy.
    Hattie

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