Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Some Scrappy Self-Discipline

At some point in the past year, the scrap scene at my house spiraled out of control. I had imposed a rule on myself a while ago: I could only keep scraps that were at least 2½” x 2½”. After all, would I really use anything smaller than that?

Someday these will be a quilt

What has since muddled my judgment? I think it was piecing my Penny Sampler, in all of its paper-pieced glory. During that project, I found myself using—and as a result, collecting—tiny bits of fabric.

I decided over the weekend to remedy the disorder in my scrap collection. (The fact that I have in the works a thousand more important projects with a holiday deadline didn’t sway me from this goal. I may be a little lacking in the reality-skills department!) In general, I organize my scraps by color in clear plastic bags and store those bags in a big plastic bin. It’s completely unsexy, but it works for me.

While examining those bags, I unearthed fabrics for two projects. First, I found enough 6½” x 7” rectangles to make quilted tissue holders for the 20-plus staff members at my younger guy’s preschool. Making these tissue cozies is addictive, and sewing 20 of them is doable by Christmas break, some six weeks away.

Second, I found and cut many, many squares for Obsession, the project pictured below, from Laura Jane Taylor’s Quilt-opedia.

Obsession, from Laura Jane Taylor’s Quilt-opedia

I originally discovered that quilt on Kinda Quilty. It’s a scrappy project that appeals to me. Although it uses many different fabrics, there is still an overarching design and unifying color palette. It’s also a great project for using some of the low-volume charms from the swap Chelsea and I organized last month. (That swap is over, but we’re hoping to run another in the new year. I’ll keep you posted.) I have zero time to begin constructing this quilt right now, so I’m shooting for a January 2015 start.

Farewell, beautiful fabric—see you next year!

Two Three things in conclusion ...

How do you tame your scraps? What do you keep, and what do you toss? (I threw out some slivers of Denyse Schmidt’s Chicopee and Hope Valley lines, and it about killed me!)

Also, have you voted for your favorites at the Blogger’s Quilt Festival at Amy’s Creative Side yet? One of the contestants is Kinda Quilty’s version of Obsession. Many of my blogging besties also submitted quilts. Check out the festival for some good quilty inspiration, and cast your vote for your favorites through November 7.

Update: So I was just on the Lark Crafts blog, and there’s a giveway for John Q. Adams’ Pretty in Patchwork: Holidays. Few people have commented for a chance to win. But hurry—the giveaway closes on Wednesday, November 5, at 9 p.m. EST.

Linking up to Let’s Bee Social, WIP Wednesday, and Needle and Thread Thursday ...

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  1. I'm very particular about managing my scraps quickly, before they get out of control. Mind you, I also define a 'scrap' as a piece of fabric that is fat quarter sized or smaller.

    I cut these pieces into 5", 3" and 2.5" squares, since these are pretty universal sizes for piecing into a variety of pattern. I separate these squares into plastic shoe boxes, based on color.

    I pieced this https://flic.kr/p/e66o5g and this https://flic.kr/p/nr7Acz using 5" and 2.5" squares from those cutting sessions.

    Any fabric leftover after cutting the scrap into those nifty-sized squares, I evaluate for possible use in strip quilts. If the piece is at least 1" wide and 4" long, it goes into another plastic tote. I'm currently making this: https://flic.kr/p/oX9twz with those strips of fabric.

    And, yes, I do save those weird sized pieces that are leftover even after all that, for some crazy piecing: https://flic.kr/p/eq2se4 and https://flic.kr/p/cPT1XS

    So, do I actually throw anything out? Sure, when it's too small too take a seam!

  2. Tame scraps? Are you supposed to do that? :D Mine is in some serious need of attention. I'm lucky if they all make it into the same pile on my desk.... Also, making 20 tissue holders sounds like a quilted version of a nightmare. Bravo to you for attempting it!

  3. I also throw out squares less than 2.5" x 2.5". If I am never going to use it (realistically), then I get rid of it.

  4. I organize by color mostly. I have a special scrap bag for really small scraps although even those need to be at least 1.5 inches square, larger scraps go into the color bins. I do minimal trimming before they go into the buckets pretty much removing fuzz and dangling threads. I realized that I was spending an awful lot of time cutting up scraps into neat and tidy squares or strips (instead of making fun stuff) only to find out later I needed a size that I didn't have. I don't have too many scraps so that's what works for me. I've been known to throw out small scraps only to decide later that they are too good to throw out so I go digging through the trash picking out the larger pieces muttering to myself about a potential developing hoarding situation...

  5. I organise my scraps by colour :) I have small tubs on my shelves that hold them so i can see them all the time incase any will be perfect for what i'm working on at the time as I have nothing in particular planned for them usually :)

  6. I know I am not going to be paper piecing. But I have trouble throwing out fabric bits. Your fabrics laid out for future projects are very pretty. Obsession is a beautiful design. I look forward to seeing your wip on that one next year!

  7. Oh dear, I'm nowhere near as organised/disciplined as your other commenters. I throw out shreds, everything else is in bags which I root around in when I want something. I feel I need to raise my game now!

  8. I'm terrible, I put them all in wicker basket and then complain I don't have any the right colour! Having said that I have managed to get nearly all this years Bee blocks from my dis-organised mess! Like the idea of bagging them and then putting them in the basket! One small step at a time...

  9. I love those squares in that first picture. Gorgeous color scheme!

    I organize my scraps by color. However, I wouldn't call my scrap collection tamed... My bins are getting a little out of control. ;) As far as size goes, I try to only save pieces where the smallest side is longer than 2 inches. Any smaller than that and I won't use it, regardless of what I tell myself. And I don't save triangles.

  10. Have you looked at Nana company's website she has some great ideas for those small scraps. I have mine stored in pre-cut sizes or a small box of scraps. Scrappy quilts are my favorite so they go quick.

  11. I keep my scraps in transparent plastic bins, loosely by color, but I combined them (blue/green, orange/red). I work on a lot of miniature stuff with paper piecing so it's really hard to throw any out, but they're usually at least 1 1/2 inches on a side. It kind of depends on the print. At this point I don't save selvedges, which I'm sure makes some quilters cringe.

  12. Scraps larger than an inch are kept in color drawers. They play in a plastic tower right be where I sew and sing a siren's song...you are not the only one who gets rabbit-trailed into scrap land!

  13. I do the same as you! I have scraps organized by color in gallon-sized plastic baggies, which are all thrown into a large bin in my closet. It is very, very unsexy. But in house that lacks storage, it's really the best solution, and I do know where to go if I need a particular colored scrap for a certain project. Looking forward to seeing your finished scrappy quilt. . . next year!

  14. Wow, I am glad you liked my Obsession quilt! I think I will be making another one after the holidays. I was amazed that a pile of scraps could make such a cute quilt. I guess it depends on how you put the colors together that make a nice quilt.

    For scrap management, I throw everything in a large box or shoe boxes and I keep everything it seems. I have declared 2014 the year of getting the scraps and stash under control, but every time I think I made a dent in scraps I find another box!


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