5/6/11

My scrap user's system at work

Yesterday I talked about transitioning from a stressful time into a more relaxed time and how one sign of that change was a need to clean. Well, that and a sharp pain between my shoulder blades where that muscle is relaxing after 4 months of being knotted like a rubber band ball.

Part of cleaning is straightening up the sewing room and moving my pile of uncut scraps. These scraps are left from a period of creativity. When I'm being creative, I am not thinking about cleaning up scraps. So, they tend to pile up, no matter my good intentions to never let that happen. Then the pile falls over, and then they start to spill onto the floor and then I find a 1" wide by 4' long string caught between my toes as I walk through the house, like trailing a piece of toilet paper.

Following the FMQ challenge has left me ready to quilt. Not so much ready to piece, but I am ready to get something pinbasted and ready for some fancy machine quilting and I'm going to need the space where my scraps have built up.

So, I'm working on transitioning a pile of scraps that looks like this, left from shirts and all the quilts I've made this year...



Into strips and piles that look like this...




And, leaving all the wierd ends and points and selvage and serging in a pile like this that can go away.




Then, I store them in a drawer system (1 1/2" to 4" strips, sorted and ready to use)...




And, squares, 1 1/2" to 5" (I used to save 1" squres, but really. ya' gotta draw a line somewhere. I still save 1" strips in a large bag of strings, waiting for a string quilt.)...





So I can keep a box of stuff that's cut next to my machine to use as leaders and enders (the basket has a couple hundred joined pieces for a Texas Braid quilt)...




And, turn them into quilts like this, which came completely from my scraps, except for a few pieces of white that had to be cut from yardage.






Thank you Bonnie Hunter for introducing me to a way to handle my scraps. When I found Bonnie's method, I had two bins of scraps that were 12x18x24 and they were both chock full. Now, two years later, I'm down to one bin of untrimmed scraps that is 6x18x24. I knock them out a bit at a time, when I either don't know what I want to work on next, or I don't have the extended period of time that I need to do something like pinbaste a quilt. Sometimes, I'll take a whole weekend and just pull down the bin and trim.




One mistake that I made in the beginning was cutting scraps too small. I wanted to make the Irish Chain above and needed 2" squares and so I cut everything down to 2", so it's taken me a while, but I'm finally starting to get squares that are big enough to make a Linus quilt with.




I'm also getting to the point where I have a smaller stash, from trying not to buy fabric, and a bigger scrap bin and am looking forward to using that in my quilting. If you're thinking of starting your own system, or you're looking at a system and wondering why it isn't working for you, remember that it takes a lot of cutting to get your system off the ground, so don't get discouraged and don't think you have to cut everything down to a tiny square. We all use strips to piece quilts now, so leave some of your stash in strips. And, don't forget to shop from your scrap users system. The quilts you make from your scraps will be just as lovely as the things you made from the fabric originally, just with a lot more variety.




Take care and have a great Friday. I have big plans for the weekend. Lots of little things that want finishing...like this pile of scraps wanted finishing.




Lane

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

That quilt is beautiful! I'm interested in starting the scrap savers system and have been reading Bonnie's blog. Seeing your quilt is just the spark I need to get going. Thank you.

Amy
abf3615@aol

joseph said...

This is very interesting, I have loads of material, I just can't help myself when I'm out, so now I'm thinking I need to set up something similar to help keep a track of it all...

Crunchy Diva said...

that is such a beautiful quilt. what a great idea to use up all your scraps.

LynCC said...

I can't believe how gorgeous that scrappy Irish Chain is! I, too, love to follow Bonnie. :)

Coloradolady said...

my scraps are OUT OF CONTROL......I think I am going to reread this post and try to do something about the mess I have in my sewing room!! Thanks for a great post Lane. Have a great weekend.

scraphappydenise said...

Lane... your irish chain is beautiful. I am just now in the process of converting to Bonnie's scrap saver system..... We won't talk about how many scraps I have..... but I know what you're talking about as far as trying to stay on top of the current scraps from the most recent projects. I throw mine into alittle basket on the top of the dresser, and then when TV is boring me... i'll just go do a little trimming and sorting.

INKcredible Girl said...

I am blessed that I discovered Bonnies blog ( and yours) BEORE I started to quilt. I actually bought a bag of rements so I had some scraps to start my leaders and enders with.
by the way it took me 3 weeks to read your blog from wen i discovered it right back to the begining well worth the read!

Piece by Piece said...

Your quilt is beautiful. Wish I was as organzied as you, should make an effort to cut up my bits and pieces.
Patricia

Cynthia L. said...

I am ashamed to say that all of my scraps are thrown in a paper sack! There is no organization what so ever! I really like your idea of taking the time to cut and sort. It seems as if you would get some real inspiration going while looking at those wonderful scraps. Your Irish chain is really pretty!

Kate said...

Great post, Lane ! I do so very much enjoy your blog...

Some time ago I started a 'no-scrap' policy - everything less than 1/3 yard has to get cut up and put in the system... the bigger pieces in the stash... so, no more bins of scraps...

The old bins, though - the ones before the 'no-scrap' policy - they are still in the garage!!!! If fabric costs keep going up, they will be worth a fortune!!

thanks for sharing your scraps with us,
Kate the Quilting Professor

ql said...

The other really neat thing about using leaders and enders is the amount of thread saved. When I first read about it on Bonnie's blog, it was a real "Aha" moment for me. So logical.

vtquilter said...

Love how you have made your scraps work for you and such a beautiful quilt! I have the bin that got sorted into colors, but I really need to take the time and cut down to usable sizes sometime soon. I did start doing it with things as I finish so it is a start!