Scrap storage and using up the scraps

A blogger friend of mine and I were chatting about know what to cut and how to store and use our scraps.

Right now, mine are a mess.  Oh, I have used them; but I continue to create scraps and more mess.  I want to try and get it under control somewhat.

I currently have a narrow table to the right of my cutting table that contains baskets of varying sizes into which I toss the bits and pieces as I cut.  (currently some of the baskets contain nice little “parts” from previous projects.)

I spent part of yesterday and plan to spend this afternoon really sorting and organizing.  I have all my fabric tubs out getting “folded” into orderly stacks; and grouped into better color waves.  I’ve got lots of the blues and purples folded, and all of the greens. Now to the reds and novelty prints.  I will try and take some photo’s today when the light is good.  (Before and after???)

But, here is where I am going with all this — back to the conversation: My friend said she was cutting her scraps into 2″ squares.  I asked ‘WHY’ 2″?  I mentioned that I like to keep 2.5″ strips,  2.5″ squares, 3″ strip & 5″ squares & 8.5″ squares.

Her question was Do you know where I could print something that tells what size you should cut for a particular size block? ” 

So DO YOU???? 

I am not sure I answered her question; but instead filled her email box with lots of stuff – which I thought…hmmm…there is a blog post here –  So; this was my answer and the basis of this blog post: 

“Are you asking with regard to your scraps?  So that when you cut up the scraps they are usuable in any given pattern?”
My mind says you want to know how big or how small to cut those scraps up to have them “ready” to go for a block.
  So; given that, I would keep things with 1/2 increments.    For example –  A 2 1/2 inch block joined to a 2 1/2 inch block gives you a 4 1/2 “( not 5″ because of the seam allowances.) If you made it into a 4 patch you end up with 4 1/2 ” square; which when finished into a project would finish at 4″.
Now are you really confused???
If you have an android smart phone; try downloading Robert Kaufman Quilt Calculator – I use it on my phone and LOVE it.  Very handing when trying to figure out how much I can get out of a piece of fabric.  It is a great app!!  ( I am sure you can find it easily at your APP store through your phone.)
There are two really great blogs that talk about their scrap storage system — one is Bonnie Hunter (the queen of scraps in my opinion) –
The other, I dearly love is The Gourmet Quilter!   She has two videos I recommend and really talks about her method:
This video shows her USING the leftovers from her previous storage –
Personally, I would NOT cut anything down that is bigger than 8″ wide by 15″.  I fold those and put them with my fat quarters.  (And yes, I did that yesterday).  I do have a lot of odd shaped pieces left from garment sewing; aprons, sundress etc; all cotton that I cut into strips if possible, and then into squares with what was left. I’ve been using my 2 1/2″ squares for hexies lately.
So; those are my thoughts; and of course, the more I write the more I think I need to get out to the sewing room after chuch and GET busy!!!  I need to really embrace Bonnie Hunter or Susan Claire (Gourmet quilter) system and CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN up my scraps.
How do you contain the chaos of scraps and store them; use them?  Do you have a system??? Love to know.  And if you know the answer to my friends question; post it back to me please!!!
Cheers to you Judy !!!  I haven’t blogged for a while  because I didn’t have much to write about! 🙂

8 thoughts on “Scrap storage and using up the scraps

  1. I’ve been fighting scraps for years and never did get them completely under control – I refuse to throw them away. I agree with everything you mentioned and thank you for the links. I personally like to cut whatever scraps I have into strips from 1-1/2 (which are good for log cabins) on up to 5-1/2. Then, cut the strips as you need them into squares. The strips can be rolled and pinned – easier to store.

    I’ll be anxious to see how other quilters have handled this problem.


    • Hello Lillian — I like your point about rolling the strips ! What a good idea ! (I bet the inventor of JELLY ROLLS has seen your stash!). I used a bunch of scraps in 2012 when I made “wonky log cabin” blocks for Hurricane Sandy quilts; and then this winter when I did my “artful oven mitts”. It felt good to clear a bunch out, and they were just heaped into baskets. I am looking forward to the answers and solutions other quilters have too!!


  2. You are my hero! I started cutting those 2″ squares because I had binding pieces left but I had to put them together to realize four 2″ squares equaled a finished 3 1/2″ square. Then I was wondering what did I need to get a finished 4″ square. I got A’s in accounting in school but not so much in the rest of the math courses. LOL


  3. I have only been quilting for a couple of years so I don’t have a crazy amount of scraps yet but this is what I do. I try not to buy too much fabric and calculate as close as I can to the amount I need before I buy. If there is any left, I make a pillow cover or sew extra blocks and use them in the backing for the same quilt. Having just read your post again, telling you not to create scraps in the first place is probably not the best suggestion. Looks like it’s a little late for that LOL. The scraps I do have are in storage boxes sorted by size and colour. Good luck! Avis x


    • Avis – thanks for your comment. I agree; about buying what you need and using it!! I am a natural hoarder I think; and can’t throw anything away! My husband said the minute you through it out you will discover 10 uses~~!!~~ I have some orphan blocks that I need to make into something, but that will be at another time I think. My project list now is so long; with self inflicted deadlines looming. I procrastinate so must make an artificial deadline to pressure myself to get going – then I distract myself by other things; like sorting scraps! Just can’t work in the clutter, so have to prioritize and get on with things. 🙂


  4. Pingback: Greeting September with scraps | stitchinggrandma

  5. Pingback: In between things 5.5″ squares | stitchinggrandma

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