Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Use Your Scraps, part 1

The whole point of sorting your scraps and leftovers is NOT storing them.  The real point of sorting is knowing what you have so you can begin to use your scraps and stash.  :)
Keep your eyes open for patterns that use the stash items you have.  In the meantime, pull out some strips, small squares or half-square triangles.  Press them so they are flat and ready to work with.  Keep a box of them next to your sewing machine and use pairs of them** as "run-offs" while you are piecing other projects. (**Pair up your squares or triangles by light/dark.  Strips can be paired up according to length; choose colors at random.)  Before you know it, you will have enough of these units to use in a quilt top!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Boxes, Bags, Bins

If you are like me, as you've sorted your scraps, you've put them in boxes, bags and bins that you've had on hand. The 18-gallon plastic totes hold a lot!  Large shopping bags do too.  Shoe boxes, computer paper boxes and smaller totes are good depending on the size of the scrap collection.  If you choose clear plastic containers, you can easily see what is inside.  Label other containers with the contents.
My favorite containers for not only scraps, but also projects in progress, are the flat boxes I gather at my local Aldi store (a bulk-type grocery store).  Because of the way I store my scraps, they need to be pressed before I can work with them.  As I press them, I put them into a flat box so they stay nice and flat.  As pieces are cut for a quilt project, they go into their own flat box so they are all together when I am ready to begin putting them together.  I keep a flat box next to my sewing machine.  Pieced items that need to be pressed before the next step can be easily carried to and from the ironing board. And if I get interrupted and the project has to be put away, it goes into its own flat box, ready for me to pick it up and start again. 
(These flat boxes fit nicely inside an 18-gallon tote!  I have a lot of them stored inside MY 18-gallon totes...projects waiting to be completed and already pressed leftovers from previous projects...they will get used eventually!)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Storing Scraps, Part 3

I am not UNorganized.  I am not VERY organized.  I store my scraps and leftovers in ways that draw from both of these styles.  So, I call myself SOMEWHAT organized.
All of the charm squares that I have collected over the years are in one box.
Smaller squares are in their own zip-lock bags, somewhat sorted by size.
1/2 square triangles (those that haven't been passed on to a friend who makes miniature quilts) are in THEIR own zip-lock bag  
All of the strips leftover from projects are overflowing the large antique crock in which I put them. (I really do need to plan a strip-pieced quilt!)
Small scraps of fabric (smaller than 1/4 yard) are stuffed into a couple of plastic totes...a ready source for applique or scrappy piecing.
Larger pieces of leftover fabric (including fat quarters) are stored in boxes according to color.
My collections of 30's reproduction fabrics and late 1800's reproduction fabrics are in their own boxes.
And within my sewing room, I know where to find each of these collections. When I'm ready to start my next scrap quilt project, I dig into the collection I need.  That's when the fun begins! 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Storing Scraps, Part 2

So, how organized are you?  Unorganized, somewhat organized or very organized?
If you are a very organized person, perhaps you don't even like the idea of having fabric SCRAPS!
You are one who takes the fabric leftover from a quilting project and cuts it up right away into pieces that will be useable in a future project.  You cut 2 1/2" strips, 2 1/2" squares, 5" squares, or any other size squares you can comfortably get from your leftover fabric.  You then store these new pieces in their own (carefully labeled) containers so you know just where to find them. (Perhaps you even sort them by color...)  When you are ready to make your next quilt, scrap or otherwise, your pieces are all cut and ready to use.
I wish I were that organized, but I'm not.  Next week I'll tell you how a somewhat organized person stores her fabric scraps.  :)