One ongoing project I’ve been working on lately is corralling my stash of fabric. I recently rearranged the guest room closet to make way for more storage, and I bought some plastic drawers to better organize my bigger cuts of fabric by color. I keep anything that’s fat quarter-sized or bigger in the drawers, and then I have a separate bin where I dump all my scraps. My stash is pretty well under control, but the scraps are not so easy to find… stuffed in plastic bags vaguely labeled “coins” and “strips” and “small strips”… and then when I need scraps I go digging around but never know where to find what size because everything is haphazard.
Like I mentioned a couple weeks ago, Lori Holt has a great post on her blog Bee in My Bonnet about how she controls her scraps. The main idea is that she cuts all scraps into standard sizes that are used most often in quilt blocks – which makes so much sense! So that’s the goal I’ve been working toward with my overflowing bins and bags of scraps.
On random days when I’m cutting for other projects, I take out the bin and start going through the pile, cutting each piece into more manageable 1-1/2″, 2-1/2″, 3-1/2″ and 5″ squares and strips. I bought stackable bins to keep these scraps in order (post-its are temporary, I just haven’t gotten my label maker out yet), and eventually I may get nicer bins and/or sort them by color too. But for now, this is a vast improvement! I think I’ll actually be able to use these pre-cuts if I start a new scrappy project, which would be a major time-saver.
I also ended up getting rid of a lot of scraps that are under 1-1/2″ big… they really weren’t usable, so I have no idea why I held onto them for so long! Having a system definitely helps weed out the scraps that shouldn’t be there in the first place.
One more project helped add quite a bit of scraps to the bin: dismantling my very first quilt top. I did the bulk of the work a couple months ago, but I forgot to blog about it. This Turning Twenty quilt top was the very first project I ever worked on, but almost from the moment it was done I knew I would never finish it. My color choices have changed a lot since this quilt, I really don’t like the blue/murky brown combo, and a queen size top seems too daunting for my home machine.
So I started ripping seams and trimming, breaking it down into the original building blocks of fabric… it took a solid afternoon, but several months later I’ve already used some of those fabrics in new projects, which is a lot of fun… and also the whole point of overhauling my scraps in the first place. Of course, I’ll never be “done” with this project, but at least it’s getting more manageable!