I did something similar for paper, not quite as comprehensive, I had paper tossed in an unsorted pile in large drawers. I made drawer dividers from foam board and now all my paper scraps are stored by colour. I haven’t worked out a good system for fill sheets of scrap book paper though, so that’s just in a stack.
Do you ever have regrets? Because that’s what holding me back with regards to pre-cutting my scraps. I imagine myself thinking ‘oooohhh I have the perfect leftover bit of fabric for this project’ only to find I’ve cut it up into strips. Does that actually happen?
Honestly no it’s never happened to me. And it feels so much lighter to move the scraps from lying in box to becoming usable. The fabric gets to fulfill its destiny rather than hanging around for ages and getting moved from one spot to another.
Foam core dividers sound genius!
I was thinking you could cut paper into:
- Long strips
- Card-front sized rectangular
- Quarter sheets
…and recycle any leftover bits that were too small.
Of course, you’d also have to have a place for full sheets.
You could divide things into three color groups: cool colors, warm colors, neutrals. (Or whatever color groups make sense to your own brain.)
I haven’t had that problem so far. The idea is to cut as big a piece as you can from the scrap fabric you have. At least, that’s was the goal of the quilt blogger Edel got this idea from. She has a few commonly used sizes that she cuts to. I can’t remember exactly, but I think it’s 5" strips, 5" squares, 2.5" strips, and 2.5" squares. There might be others. The goal isn’t to slice and dice all the fabric you own. If you have a fat quarter of something you love, you leave it be until you’re ready to use it. This is specifically what to do with leftovers from things you’ve already made. I know that when I buy the fabrics for a quilt, I do overbuy a little, but not by much, since fabric costs really add up.
To be honest, I found this incredibly helpful when I did it last year. Edel & I swapped quilt tops during the early days of the pandemic. We figured sending the smaller tops, rather than finished quilts, would be lighter and therefore cheaper to ship. The quilt I made for the top I made Edel called for 2.5" strips. Since I’ve done so many strip quilts, log cabins, and Irish chains in the past, I had many 2.5" leftover strips already. I pulled out all of those, then sliced up some more scraps. It felt so good to toss out the scraggly bits, and be left with ready to use strips, that I actually ended up making a whole other quilt top for myself after, and the remaining strips have been calling my name lately.
Yup, I never do the 5" inch ones as I prefer the smaller sizes. I mostly only do the 2.5" and just make as wide a strip as I can from what’s left.
I hope I didn’t give the impression that I came up with this system. Nothing I do in quilting is original, it’s just what works for me.
Oh, not at all! I know you referenced her several times, here and in the Quiltalong thread. I just couldn’t remember her name off the top of my head.
It’s Bonnie Hunter, it’s her blog that I linked in the post above- about leaders and enders. At least I think that’s where I saw it first, although she doesn’t do much with the 5" strips either.
I basically only have scraps, I only buy fabric with specific projects in mind. I think “scraggly bits” is a pretty accurate description. But sometimes they are exactly the right size for the back of a stitched ornament or something. Right now my craft room is a big mess, but when it’s no longer a mess I’ll look into that blog and see if I can come up with a system.
It’s a beautiful quilt full of so many little squares of memory. I love it.
I checked out that link but still don’t quite understand leaders and enders… off to investigate!