Monday, July 30, 2012

Sorting Scraps

Over the weekend our family did what many families were doing...watching the 2012 Olympics on TV.  It's a great family bonding event.  We had a rule of no computers, iPads, cell phones or other electronic devices to distract us from the games.  What I didn't realize is that my husband and daughter would extend that rule to hand stitching and other crafty endeavors.   Luckily for me, after what they considered a painful experience  watching Friday night's Opening Ceremonies the rules were bent somewhat.

So Saturday I pulled out my Sunday Morning Quilts book and a huge bag of scraps and got to work while watching the games.  When I first received the book, I read it cover to cover immediately.  It's awesome!  However, I have been afraid to tackle my numerous scrap bags haven't had a chance to put the sorting section to good use....until now.

Just one bag of many
Scraps on the bed

Just so you know, this is only one of many several bags of scraps I have, but you have to start somewhere, right?!  On page 32, it says "the first step is to dump all your scraps on... the floor...", and let me tell you that was the easiest step ;-)  I ignored (just for now) the part that suggests (if applicable) going through my stash and finding scraps hidden there, etc.  I am taking baby steps here.

Let the games begin
Going through my scraps one piece of fabric at a time, I first separated the fabrics by making a pile of strings, a pile of snippets (smaller than 4"), and then piles of larger pieces (bigger than 4" but smaller than a fat quarter) by color.  Two things soon became obvious:  I've been really good about sorting and storing my selvages and 2.5" strips right away and that most of my scraps are indeed hiding within my stash because the biggest pile by far was of snippets. 

Sorting in progress
Since the snippet pile was so large, I further sorted that pile into two piles:  bigger snippets that can be cut into 2.5" squares for example and smaller snippets to be used for ticker tape quilts, etc. 

I think I need help
 This exercise also made me realize that I may need intervention I simply cannot throw any fabric away. Although, I don't think this is what Amanda and Cheryl meant by "Sort, Store, and Use every last bit of your treasured fabrics", I also sorted and kept those smaller pieces that can't be used for anything but maybe stuffing.   

Treasure hidden among the scraps
While sorting through just this one bag of scraps, I found hidden treasure!  First I found a long strip of leftover binding.  I don't even remember making this, but I'll take it!

Orphan blocks
Hidden amongst the scraps were extra blocks from various quilt projects.  I placed them on the design wall to give you an idea of how many I found.  There were HSTs from the No Worries and Peace, Love and Happiness quilts, patchwork blocks from my son's Beach Bum quilt made many years ago, baby HSTs from the modern siggy swap, quite a few four patch blocks and some 15 minute play blocks. 

Temporary storage
These baskets show my storage in progress:  ticker tape scraps, snippets, bigger scraps stacked by color, and strings.  I still have a long way to go, but I feel good about the progress I've made so far.

What do I do with this?

If only Amanda or Cheryl lived closer to me....I would ask them to make a house call!

Signed bookplate
P.S.  While I was finishing up this blog post, look what arrived in the mail today!

Whoo hoo!


  1. Good progress!! Wouldn't it be awesome if they DID make house calls? Or we could dump our scraps on the floor and have a scrap-sorting party?? *sigh* you live too far away...

  2. So impressed! That's the kind of sorting my Ellzey genetics get excited about! Channeling my inner Ron! ;)

  3. You do beat me in the number of scraps but I too, need to take a moment (or two!) to organize my scraps better. I like your ideas. Thanks!

  4. I save every bit too! I would trim off the edges of your strip with cut outs, and then trim the inside parts and save them too. Less tangles and wrinkles that way.

    (Because I'm an art teacher, I also save paper scraps, but I cut off any parts that could tangle. Then I sort them by color in file folders. Yes, it's an illness! :D )

  5. That's so funny--what do I do with this? I get those when I work with my Go cutter and I immediately cut off the parts too skinny to use and store the rest with my scraps. As long as it's an inch wide, I keep it. But I've gotten much more efficient at my Go cutting, so I don't have as many scraps from it anymore. :)

  6. I am so proud of you!!!!! You have made great progress...heck, just starting to sort is a huge accomplishment! I'll let you know how that works out for me, uh, next year maybe ;-)

  7. Way to go! I still haven't really tackled my scraps. I am trying to tame them as I go right now by sorting them according to size. But I haven't gotten into my one big tub of scraps yet. The whole thing intimidates me, to be honest with you!