Saturday, March 11, 2006

My Scrap Control System - but sometimes I think it's controlling me!

See my strips? Aren't they pretty. These are my 2-1/2" strips over 10" long. I've been pulling some for projects I'm currently cutting for but that’s barely made a dent in them.

When I'm cutting for a project I toss anything less than about 6" X 12" into a box to later be cut into strips/squares/bricks. Anything over that gets folded into plastic shoeboxes if they are less than a qtr. yd. Anything 1/4 yd or larger goes in my stash cabinets. I also tend to toss larger cuts in the scrap box to be cut down when I'm just tired of looking at it in my stash. Maybe I've used it already for several quilts and I'm down to about a 1/4 yd. Strip it up for scrap quilts!

When I'm cutting into assorted strips anything that I can cut 4 squares of that size from is left as a strip. Shorter pieces get cut into squares or bricks. Whatever I can cut to get the maximum use from my scrap. I cut in 1/2 increments starting at 1-1/2" and going to 5". But the majority of what I cut is 1-1/2, 2, 2-1/2 and 3-1/2. The smallest square I cut is 2". And I only cut bricks in 2, 2-1/2, and 3-1/2 sizes. Oh yeah, and I also cut piano keys for borders in 1-1/2X5 and 2X5 and 2-1/2X6-1/2. Any strip between 1" and 1-1/2" get tossed into my strings box along with all other little tidbits that are big enough to go into a string block. Anything else I toss. But using this system not a lot gets tossed!

The only thing I do not strip down are backgrounds. White, cream, beige, tan. These I just toss together in a bin if I have less than 6" left. I like to cut those down as I need them for a scrappy project. Don't know why but it works for me so I'll continue to do it this way.

Whenever I'm pulling fabric for a project I always look first thru my strips/squares/bricks, then thru the shoeboxes, then the 1/4 yds, then finally in my larger cuts. So I do use my scraps often. But they just seem to grow at such an alarming rate! I thing I could piece quilts from these strip bins all summer and still not use them up. Maybe after I finish a few niece/nephew quilts I just might see how long I can go without cutting into stash fabric. :-) Heck I might just do a few of those niece/nephew quilts from my scraps. The Chunky Churn Dash blocks I posted a few days ago were made totally from these strips. And the Square-in-a-square blocks I posted a few months ago all came from my nickle squares. And I love both sets of these blocks. In fact I think another of my nieces, Debbie will get a quilt using some of the square-in-a-squares. Like the blocks that her sister, Tracey, is getting many of these are made from scraps of fabric Mama made into dresses for the girls. So I’m hoping that maybe these will bring happy memories of their childhood and their MeMaw.

This is for my sister, Susan. Does this look familiar? It’s a square from one of the scraps you left here last time you came to visit. Leftover from the vest and bag you made from fabric you’d purchased the first time we went to the Houston show together.

I don’t know if you remember, but when we went to Houston that first time 2 ladies joined us at our lunch table. They introduced themselves as Bobby Aug and Sharon Newman. That wouldn’t have meant anything to you since you’re not a quilter but they’re pretty big in the quilting world. They do quilt appraisals, lots of classes, and have written a few books together. And evidently Sharon also designs fabric. When I was cutting scraps of that particular fabric down I noticed the name on the selvedge. Unbeknownst to you, the designer of the fabric you probably already had in your shopping bag was sitting across the table from you!

13 comments:

Evelyn aka Starfishy said...

Nancy - it looks like you have established a scrap system that works for you! Sometimes I buy fabric just to cut into strips - I love to add to my strip piles because they are soooo useful! I always grab out of those pre-cut totes too...

Cheers!

Evelyn

Susan H. said...

I still have the vest and bag (don't know exactly where the bag is right now, but I wore the vest a couple of weeks ago). I have fond memories of our time in Houston. Still have the prairie point vest in pieces. Maybe if I get to come visit this year, I will bring it and you can pull out the whip and make me finish it. I also still have and wear the black sweatshirt jacket with all the embroidered doilies and flowers. I also wore it a couple of weeks ago, and always get compliments on it, especially when I confess that I made it.

Dee said...

Your stash system sounds great. It is so fufuliing to use from those boxes and watch the volume go down.

cher said...

nice to hear about your system Nancy. I am just developing mine-and have mountains to cut. I keep putting the cutting off. love the story behind some of these fabrics-especialy the Sharon Newman one.

Tropical Screamer said...

I admire your organization. And thanks for the great picture of your furry babies. It made me smile again today.

Darilyn

Jeanne said...

I strip and sort leftovers as I go along, too. But they also seem to multiply when I'm not looking.
Jeanne :)

Passionate Quilter said...

wow, are you ever organized! I'm trying--but my sewing room looks like the fabric closet exploded! And then there are so many decisions..do I mix brights and others? seperate them? keep strips and squares in the same size together? and it goes on and on! Great job--you inspire me!

Samantha said...

what great organization for your scrap system!

Laurie Ann said...

You're good! Sometimes I worry that if I cut stuff into strips before I have a pattern, I'll regret it. So for now, I am not precutting. You could always do some more pineapple blossoms. I love that pattern!

The Calico Cat said...

Glad to hear that you have a system that works for you. (I am still trying to develop one!)

Tropical Screamer said...

Comment, part 2:

Nancy, what kind of machine do you have? I love seeing other people's machines.

Darilyn

Finn said...

That is quite a system Nancy, LOL, and you DON'T have to duck and run, I won't throw anything at you..*VBS*

The one sentence that struck me was " before I look in the stash, I check what I have in my scraps", or words to that effect. The reason I'm stuck by that and laughing at the same time..is that is JUST exactly how I don't get around to using my stash!!! I tend to work so much out of the scraps(which seem to magically grow when I'm not looking) that the stash pretty much just sits there. What's a girl to do??? *VBS* If you know, tell me..PLEASE!!

Bonnie said...

I have been trimming trimming just like this the past couple of mornings. My son and his g/f are visiting from TX and I didn't want to run the longarm too early in the morning, wanted them to sleep in....so I've been attacking the scrap bins again. I cut strings anything under about 12" down into squares and/or bricks. And I hear you about cutting up the bigger pieces you are no longer crazy about into strips/squares/bricks too! Sometimes it is easier to work them into a scrap quilt that way...in small amounts where they aren't too ugly..*LOL*

Bonnie