Sunday, July 15, 2012

Taming the scraps

So my scrap situation was completely out of control. - How's that for a riveting first sentence? :-)
But seriously, I just didn't have room for more fabric and that's serious, right? I debated with myself about what to do with that plastic crate full of scraps - it could be put to better use storing my backing fabric, and that would make more room among my other fabric for the new purchases.

Of course the simple solution would be to just go out and buy a new box, but then, where would I put that? So what to do? Throw all those scraps out? No, I just couldn't do that - it seemed such a waste. I had started years back to stitch my blue and yellow scraps together into large pieces, intending to cut blocks from them, but I was lead astray by a new tempting project and they were abandoned to a box up on my shelves (I'm pretty sure I can locate them...).

Now I had time on my hands and an urge to continue that project. My scraps were kept roughly sorted by colour and crammed into paper bags in a crate and I could just manage to close the lid. A brief survey told me that the greens were taking over. Now politically or ecologically speaking that statement might not sound too alarming to some, but in terms of managing my scraps, something had to be done.

I started by pouring the whole mess onto the table and, boy, was there a lot - I must have used green borders on a lot of projects over the years, judging from the amount of strips I found. I sorted strips and smaller pieces and ended up with some semi-orderly piles. Off to the ironing board, where they were flattened into submission and then the sewing could beging. I started stitching the smaller pieces together into strips, trimming them and stitching them onto long strips, working my way through little by little.

I'll admit it wasn't all fun, and it seemed to take ages, but I rewarded myself with other sewing projects along the way (which is probably why I have managed to make two quilt tops so far during my holidays and quilt one complete with pieced backing...), but eventually I had assembled enough large pieces to start cutting. I decided on 8 1/2" blocks, because I happened to have an 8 1/2" ruler nearby ...  I ended up with 54 blocks - enough to make a whole quilt - I know! Isn't that an amazing result from one small paper bag of scraps?

Now while I was out shopping the other day, I came across a plastic crate, half the size of the ones I had, with six compartments inside - well they are actually buckets that you can take out, and oh so handy! I had just the right slot for a crate that size, and promptly started sorting through the rest of the scraps. I still had some greens left over, but not too many. Neatly sorted in piles first and then put into their own compartments, I managed to fit most of them in. Now the blue and turquoise ones had to be crammed in, so I see where I have to go next when I feel up to a new scrappy sewing session. I still have the black, white, cream and brown scraps to sort through, but I did manage to find room for those backing fabrics, so I'm well pleased with my organising so far.
Now of course, I'll have to come up with a quilt design for these scrappy blocks, but I'll have time to think while sorting out the rest of the scraps little, by little. Any suggestions?

1 comment :

Anita said...

I suggest you take some of my scraps! ;) You did so well at wrestling yours into submission!

Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts has some scrappy quilts. What you did sounds a lot like her "slab" method of sewing scraps together.

Also, Emily at Carolina Patchworks makes a lot of scrap quilts too.

I am so proud of you for taming your scraps. I just can't seem to ever manage mine.