I mentioned in a previous post that I really wanted to start making more use of my scraps, I love scrap quilts and while I am really good at saving all my leftovers, I am rubbish at actually using them. Things came to a head last week when I decided to trawl through my baskets to find pieces to make this quilt.
I started with my neutrals basket and gave up after 5 minutes as I couldn't face trying to find anything among the jumble wrinkled mess; the basket was filled to overflowing and wouldn't fit back into its space :(
Time for drastic action! I trawled the internet and watched numerous Youtube tutorials on storing scraps and cutting them into usable sizes, I ended up more confused than ever! There are so many conflicting options on what you should do. Then I read a quote which said that there's no point storing it if you're not going use it - of course! the idea is not to rush out and buy more storage for my scraps but to find a way of using them. If you are a regular reader you will know that I love small pieces and multi fabric quilts - why use one green when you can you can use 40!!
I very rarely buy anything larger than a FQ, I store these and anything larger than about a fat eighth in baskets neatly folded; I sorted those baskets 2 years ago and it is still working for me, I shared how I did this here, it basically involves folding everything into a uniform size so they sit nicely together.
With the exception of Liberty and Batik fabrics which I keep in a different box, I only keep largish 6" + scraps. I use smaller ones for thread catchers on my machine, and while I really admire string quilts and postage stamp quilts they are not for me. My basket was really made up of leftover FQ's either squarish pieces or strips about 20" long. Thinking about what I like to use, I realised that I often buy 10" layer cakes to get some variety, I find a 10" square a really useful size for appliqué or cutting a few pieces for EPP etc. I decided to cut the squarish scraps into 10" squares first. I relaxed the rules slightly to anything over 9"
This worked really well with very little waste. I then decided to cut the strips into 2 1/2" by whatever length they were, I can always cut them down later. Again this worked well leaving one two strips per piece with again very little waste.
Looking through all my templates, EPP quilts I want to make etc this size seemed to be the most useful. There are also hundreds of jelly roll patterns available, many of them free. It's very easy to make a quick charity or gift quilt if you have the strips ready to go! Very few patterns need full width of fabric strips, most have you cut them down so I can just use 2-3 of my strips.
The full to overflowing basket ended like this :) I already had the Really Useful Boxes, I just need to think of an idea for storing the squares so they remain nice and neat.
I will see how this works for me, but cutting scraps down into two useable sizes means I don't need elaborate storage and I will easily stick to it. I might save smaller squares say 6"in future also, but for now I am actually inspired to start using these. I really like the idea of an antique inspired log cabin.
How do you store/use your scraps?