Monday, January 10, 2022

 AHA --- I knew it might come to this - catering to the girls!! Elle suggested a BENCH for the girls at the living room window. It would be an excellent idea, and I'll see what I can come up with. It's funny enough to just see their heads poking over the window sill, but to see them full-blown in the window -- that would be cute!

OH MY -- if you search online for raised dog beds, there are tons of ideas. I will have to check that out! This could solve the chair jumping and the window sill problem at the same time!!!

Do Murphy and Lexi need one of these?


Today, it's all about scraps. 

I think the biggest issue with scraps is, what do you keep? There are numerous ideas, and it all depends on how you use your scraps. 

Some people generate their scraps. Each time they touch a piece of fabric, they cut a strip -- 2½", or 1½" or whatever size they most commonly use. This can also be a great way to use up those ugly fabrics. 

Some people also suggest cutting your scraps into squares. So if you have bits left over, cut them into squares. What size? Again, that depends on how you work. If you don't do small, then don't cut 1½" squares. 

You would find a storage solution to keep the similar-sized squares or strips together. 

I have a problem with precutting any scrap. I did this years ago on the advice of an online quilter. However, years later, most of those strips are still sitting in the drawer waiting to be used. These are ugly fabrics, so not likely to go into anything but an actual scrap quilt. And I haven't had time to make a scrap quilt lately. 

Ugly fabrics cut into strips

And here's another drawer with precut strips at 1½". 

Fabric cut in 1½" strips

The same thing with the squares. I have some cut or from exchanges, but they have never been used.

Leftover fabrics cut into squares

Why? Usually, what I want to work with doesn't fall in those scraps' color/style or size. 

I want MAXIMUM flexibility when I'm working, so I do NOT precut scraps. 

Therefore I need to find a way to store them. This is what I do, and I see from many other quilters that they do the same thing. It works like a charm, and your scraps are always at the ready. I've made entire quilts (The 100 block modern Sampler by Tula Pink is one that comes to mind) from these scrap buckets. And as mentioned -- if you haven't precut anything, it's more likely that you'll find what you want. 

One of my scrap boxes

And the other question you must ask yourself is, what is a scrap? I LOVE to work in miniature or a bit larger, so I keep pretty much anything that I can cut a 1" square from. You will have to decide what works for you. 

Remember my log cabin quilt -- those bars are ½" wide (finished). 

Scrappy log cabin

And the smallest squares in this scrappy quilt are cut at 1¼". Hopefully, you get the idea -- you have to retain scraps that you will USE. I use my scrap bins all the time, and they are fabulous for applique and definitely scrap quilts. I have an entire lecture on scrap quilts and how I assemble them, but I'm not going there today. I am presenting my scrap quilt lecture to the Oakville Quilter's Guild on February 17 via Zoom. If you contact them, you might get to sit in on the lecture for a small fee. I'm not sure how they are set up.  

Triple Four Patch quilt

And this is how my scraps are stored. I sort them by color and theme and keep them in clear shoe boxes on two shelves in the stash room. OK, two shelves, and I sort by color and theme. And most of the boxes are labeled, but it's easy to see inside since they are clear. 

Two shelves of scraps

Labels - not pretty, but labeled!

YES -- the lids on a couple of them are exploding, so it's going to be time to make some scrap quilts SOON. 

Let's look at how others are storing their scraps. 

Mary -- Beautifully labeled!

Mary -- MANY scrap boxes

And this is how Stephanie sorts and stores her scraps. Again -- nicely labeled.  

This is Linda's setup. She has two cube bookcases that her cutting table sits on. 

And she has bins that fit in the cubes. Again -- labeled! I love this idea for a cutting mat or work surface as you get the surface AND storage!

Cube storage for scraps

And Gwen was sorting her scraps. Here's an UNSORTED bin, and that does NOT look appealing at all to find something. 

Gwen is sorting her scraps

WOW --- that looks amazing, and I think she has some larger pieces in those boxes as well. That's the beauty of the system -- you need to figure out what is scrappy to you! It looks like she made significant progress. 

Gwen's in-progress

WOW --- that was a TON of work, and she just started, not that long ago. Again -- nicely labeled with the label machine. OK -- so all quilters should get a labeler the day they buy their first rotary cutter!

Gwen's scrap boxes

OH -- I found this box of scraps of solid fabrics in Pandora's closet. They were leftovers from when I made my Liberated Quilts (Gwen Marsden), and I guess I intended to make another. 

A large box of solid scraps

However, I went to the scrap shelf, pulled off the solids box, and easily fit all of this into the scrap box that went back on the shelf. That emptied up a big hole in Pandora's Closet. 

The solid scrap box

Hopefully that gives everyone an idea of what a scrap is and how to store them. I think the bottom line is to figure out a way to keep your fabric AND your scraps so that you can easily SHOP at your house. That's easy -- how do you shop for fabric at a store? It's usually by color or theme (Asian, the 30s, flannel), so that's how I store my fabric and my scraps, and it's super easy to find anything!!

I wasn't always so organized. When I first started to quilt, I had NO idea what to do with those scraps, so they went into a garbage bag. GASP!!! 

Then when the bag got full, it had to be sorted because I knew I had a problem by then. Thankfully, it's fixed, and I'm diligent about putting the scraps into the appropriate box. 

Right now, I'm pulling from those scrap boxes for Boho Heart, in addition to yardage. And I'm making most of my Wanderer's Wife quilt from the scrap boxes. 

WOW --- and so our decluttering journey continues. As I mentioned yesterday, this is definitely a journey -- because once you are done, you'll want to start all over and further refine your space. Culling and sorting and getting it spiffed up!

Here's something else to contemplate. With all the talk of global warming, climate change, why are we not promoting the concept of fixing and repairing rather than buying new? Buying new stuff is just perpetuating the problem. I know -- economics, but you could have people make money repairing, rather than creating new things. And that would shift jobs to onshore rather than offshore. OK --I digress there, but you get the picture. 

Now I'm off to search for a raised dog bed, as I don't have the tools to make one. 

Have a good day!!!



  1. Ahhhhh....managing scraps! Like you I tried the famous US quilters strip storage. After a year of cutting strips, I had used....NONE! :-(

    My stash is organized in batik stacks, novelty stacks and then color stacks.

    My definition of scrap? Less than a 5 inch square. Those get cut into the largest possible square. I have large pencil boxes acquired 20 years ago? 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5 inch boxes. Sometimes if it's a short strip it will go into that size box whole for a short stripset in the future?

    All fabric 5" or greater goes on the top of it's "stack". When I start a new quilt, all those smaller bits are assessed first. It is amazing how often those work well, are just the right size and get all used up.

    All of that said, I do have ONE strip bin. If there is just enough fabric left from the stash, I will cut the widest strip (1.5, 2, 2.5). Again, when I'm starting a new quilt I will go into that bin to see if anything there will work.

    I prefer minimal containers/bins. I don't use what I can't see.

    Those squares boxes? When one gets full, a project is decided and those squares become my Leader/Ender. 3 years ago I emptied my 2.5" square box and made 2 quilts. 2 years ago I emptied my 2" square box and made a 100 inch square bed quilt (Growing Up Odd-easily googled, is a terrific use of squares in any smaller size).

    I hope many frustrated quilters are following along on your declutter journey, reading comments and trying systems until they find what feels right. Maintenance is easy once we get in the groove. I don't have to think about what to do with anything in my studio.

    Happy Monday everyone! 😊😊

    1. Awesome advice, Elle! I’ve been stewing over the best way to manage my scraps and I think I am now ready to move ahead. Hmmm…I sense a shopping trip in my future. I need some baskets to organize for size 😁

    2. I'm glad this motivates you to assess your scraps and how best you will store/use them! Just don't forget to use them ;-)