February 2012
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Scrap Busting

If you are a quilter, I am sure you have a pile of scraps. I started out being pretty well organized with the bits and pieces left over from making a quilt. I separated them by color and put them in zip lock bags and begin to fill up a plastic bin which I stored under my bed.

But I quilt a lot.

And eventually, these little bags began overflowing.

And things got progressively out of hand, until today I looked at the overflow (with no organization) spilling out into my work space:

Ugh. What a mess.

Months ago I bought Scrap Therapy: Cut the Scraps by Joan Ford which is a book designed to help quilters master their scraps. Ford recommends cutting scraps into squares and organizing them by value (light, medium and dark) using small plastic tubs. I actually went out and bought the tubs and had them all set to go. So today I decided to tackle the pile in my work space.

After sorting through my pile, I thought I needed to add to Ford’s Scrap Therapy technique. Here is what I did…

Fabric pieces which were 2.5″ to 7.5″ wide and still width of fabric, I cut into 2.5″ long strips which will eventually create a bundle of strips like a jelly roll. I had some fabric which was just shy of width of fabric, and I cut those into strips too. These strips will make a fabulous quilt someday!

I used Ford’s technique of cutting smaller scraps into 2″, 3.5″ and 5″ squares:

But, I also added a fourth size of 2.5″ squares because I am hoping to make a Granny Square quilt (as part of a quilt along) and that is the size squares I need for the project. I put those in zip lock bags, sorted by light, medium and dark:

Everything else which was just too small was filed in the round bin (ie: trash!!):

I still have a lot of scrap busting to do, but I feel like now I at least have a system for controlling things. What about you? Are you a quilter who has a great idea for organizing and keeping control of the scraps?



  1. Tui Tui
    February 25, 2012    

    I haven’t actually made one yet but back in the day when I used to make all my own clothes, I saved every bit of material left over. I had three big boxes tightly packed of this stuff. Sold each box for $5 apiece at a yard sale to a ladies’ auxiliary quilting guild! So there’s another way of getting rid of your scraps. hehe

    You are just too organised for words.

    • February 25, 2012    

      LOL, Tui! Well, my organization is a bit of survival right now. Our house is tiny, and so is my sewing room…if I don’t get this stuff organized, I am in BIG trouble! (and I have a hard time being creative in a huge mess – okay, so I am just a teeny bit OCD *laughing*)

  2. February 25, 2012    

    My sister is a quilter and I will have to pass on this idea to her. She’s got tons of fabric scraps and remnants that need to be organized.

    • February 26, 2012    

      Kathleen: Scraps are such a big thing in quilting. Everyone saves them, but so many people don’t know how to organize them (and keeping up with them is a huge deal!). I would love to know what your sister does to stay organized. My sister is the one who gave me the idea about cutting strips for jelly rolls…and I eagerly follow the quilting blogs for ideas!!

  3. February 26, 2012    

    I have a ton of scraps. Mostly they are sorted by color in a huge box in the garage (I have limited indoor space right now.) But I started cutting a 5″ square out of any piece big enough. I can’t wait to one day make something of those.

    • February 26, 2012    

      Lisa: That is a great size for a scrap quilt. I’m trying now to cut up my scraps into manageable pieces after each project…and keeping those long strips that are WOF in 2.5″ strips is another way to easily store scraps…I roll mine up like a jelly roll and tie it with a scrap of fabric..

  4. March 5, 2012    

    LOL!!! I love this! And will be on the lookout for Cut the Scrap. I have a fair amount of fabric (not a ton), but not many actual scraps. Think that will come when I actually get to working on more quilts. And honestly, scrappy quilts are some of my favorites…

    • March 5, 2012    

      Eventually, if you keep quilting, Trish – you will need a solution to the scrap problem! It is out-of-control!! LOL! I love scrappy quilts too…eventually I’ll make one 🙂

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