Scrap Storage Containment System

We all have scraps….some save them, some throw them, some gift them.  Thanks to 2 of my quilting friends, I am often the recipient of a nice bag  of scraps.wpid-20151017_125044-1_0.jpg

So – what do you do with it.??   I dump it all out on the cutting table and look at it all!!!   I’ve seen some of these pieces before in other bundles this particular person has gifted to me.  I sort it a bit in sizes, and “scrappiness” . Big pieces, little pieces, strips and others.

Then it is “off to the iron”!!  I press a pile, starch it like crazy and take it back to my cutting table.  I cut the scraps into the largest piece I can.  Square it up, and “file it away”.  I pulled a piece 11″ x 44″  out of this bag. That got folded, marked with the size and put in my bin of “STASH” for the primary color. I try to keep pieces that large intact. They could be used for many things, and cut up later if need.

I cut to the following sizes –wpid-20151017_131032_0.jpg

And then I store them away for future use!

So, when you are ready to make a project, you pull out the bin and start there before cutting yardage.  Bonnie Hunter (QUILTVILLE) has a great chart Patterns by strip size on her website. So, if you have an abundance of a particular size (for me it is 2″ squares and 1.5″ strips), you find a pattern on that chart and work with it to reduce your overflowing box.

I’ve done lots of scrap projects this year, using what I had on hand to make two  Grand Illusion  Mystery quilts, the Scrap Happy Little Wishes  quilt and the latest baby quilt pattern Scrap Dance.  And if you have read the blog in the last week you will have seen some other items on my design wall too.

It seems every project creates scraps and I am working hard to contain and control them.  I can be satisfied with one little basket that needs “management”.  I enjoy the cutting so, it keeps me busy. Right now, it is a bit distracting, as I have other projects in the line-up; but I must control the chaos before I begin again.  And NO, I don’t sew 24 hours a day….I’ve hardly sewn at all this week.

And, no, I won’t get this all cut today or tomorrow.  I don’t worry about putting back into the basket what I haven’t gotten cut.  It does help to sub-sort in the beginning, and decide to work on a particular “group”.  If I iron it, I will get it cut on the same day.  (Don’t tell anyone I vacuumed the quilt room before I began cutting the scraps today.  )

One last thing – Scrap Quilter Joan Ford ( Joan’s website ) said to us at our guild in October that “It’s ok to throw it away” when the piece is just too small.  Bonnie Hunter (Bonnie’s blog) says “If it’s still ugly, you haven’t cut it small enough”.   Check out both of their scrap storage systems and books they have written, patterns for using the scraps.  And don’t forget to check out Pat Sloan (Pat’s website ).  Pat also has a collection of “scrappy patterns” and will encourage you to work on your projects even if you only have “just 10 minutes” every day!

What are you working on that is filled with scraps?

note: Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt was a pattern by Bonnie Hunter; Scrap Happy Little Wishes is a pattern by Pat Sloan, and Scrap Dance is a pattern FROM MY CAROLINA HOME blog on WordPress.

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15 thoughts on “Scrap Storage Containment System

  1. For me, something is much more likely to get used if I can find it easily. The containers are a great way for me to things “orderly”. My system has evolved since I wrote about it in Jan 2014. If you take a handful out of the bag, press/cut/store; you can do a little every day. You just have to decide what size you want to work with and keep. I developed my “list” based on several peoples system and what I was seeing in “scrappy patterns”. I recommend starting with Bonnie Hunter on her blog – http://quiltville.blogspot.com/2005/06/scrap-users-system.html . Be prepared to be “WOW’d” by all her info. If you are not likely to every USE your scraps, then donate them to an eager scrap lover. Note; when I put mine in my little containers, they are stacked in an “orderly” fashion, because I am controlling the chaos in the box too. More fits when it is neat. Good luck, let me know what you end up doing! 🙂

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  2. Do you immediately cut your scraps to appropriate sizes when you’re working on a project that creates so many new scraps? My scrap system is simple…I throw all scraps into the appropriate open canvas bins on the shelves below my cutting table. There are 11 of them each marked with a color. Because I use so much blue, I have separate bins for dark blues and light blues. When I need a particular color, I just dump the whole bin out on the cutting table and pick out what I want to use. I also have two drawers where I carefully fold pieces that are too big for the scrap bins but smaller than a yard. They are folded into a fat-quarter sizeish and filed in the drawer with the fold facing up so I can easily see what I have. Also divided into colors. There is also a smaller bin on one of the cutting table shelves that has 2 1/2 inch strips and pieces because I always end up with a lot of these left over from projects.

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    • You win. Of course NOT….I throw them in a basket on the back of the cutting table; and when it gets too overwhelming I start cutting and storing. My scrap storage is by size only. So, if I want blue, I have to go through the particular size bin for the color. I try to keep them in the bins in nice little stacks, since I went to all that effort to iron and cut them. Anything fat quarter sized is in a separate storage bin with my “main stash”. I have multiple containers of fat quarters, and they are sorted by colors in the containers. I do have one “bin” of pieces that includes ORPHAN blocks and strips that are between 5-12″ wide. Anything bigger than than goes in the “main stash” color bins.

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  3. If you saw that room today, you would faint. I get on a roll and make such a mess. But I do clean up periodically, and I do use those scrap bins! They are great for pulling for baby quilts and scrappy projects, charity projects etc.

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