Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Sorting Scraps

I have been waiting for a good opportunity to share how I sort my scraps. I have written before that I  store most of my scraps by color and I sort them as they are created right at my cutting mat. But occassionally I do get a big bag from a friend. Last week I received such a bag!

Here is what it looked like when I dumped it out in the middle of the floor.

 This can look a bit overwhelming.  And I am not going to lie - it took me a good couple of hours to get it all sorted, trimmed and put away.  But I can say from experience, if I stored my scraps this way, they would never get used.

There are a few tips I can share with you if your scraps look like this and you want to get them sorted.

1.  Plan to do this when you are in the right mindset.  I can pretty much play with scraps all day, any day.  But there are times when I wouldn't tackle this project or I know they would all end up in the trash out of frustration.

2.  When you start to sort, do it quickly and don't over think.  You can't make a mistake so just follow your first impulse and get them into a pile.

I first start sorting them into piles of color.  I just do this quickly by sight and I don't look at the fabric long or I will start seeing a second or third color and questioning myself if it should go into another pile.  You can see my color piles in the top of this picture.

I sort out the low volume scraps as well into their own pile.

Once I get going, I start to see some fun fabric groupings - I just allow myself to put these into their own little pile. You might find you group by designer, colors, type - allow yourself to play a bit.

 In this big scrap bag, there were a number of taupe, gray and cocoa strings that might make a wonderful neutral string quilt.  I certainly have a bunch more similar fabric in my existing scraps to add and make an entire quilt!

 And these two piles of interesting fabrics kind of ran together.  I like the warmth of the golds and reds.  Maybe something to consider....

I also found myself with a pile of pink/gray, a bunch of Sherbet Pips, some bright dots on black backgrounds and a few interesting stripes in turquoise and greens.

Once I get everything into piles, it is time to make some decisions and put them away. 

The color piles simply go into their appropriate color drawer.  Some are now overflowing a bit but I cycle through these scraps fairly quickly.

All of the other piles I need to decide if there is a project I want to pursue someday or if they just need to be sorted again.  Those I want to keep together, I put in a bag and put aside for another day.


I have a basket I keep these possible future projects in.  When I am looking for a new project, I will look through them for quilt inspiration.

From your big bag of scraps, there will be bits that just need to go away.  The little pile on the left is all I ended up sending to the trash, the pile on the right I trimmed what I could into 2 1/2" squares and tossed the rest.

I will admit that this process instantly inspired the making of two scrap quilts. As I write this, one project is already a quilt top and awaiting quilting - the other, I hope to share my plans in the next day or two.  And the keen eye may have noticed I have two piles of low volume - could be I have plans for a new Scrap-A-Palooza quilt!

See how quickly these scraps can find homes when they get sorted!

And if you haven't heard yet, come back this weekend for Orphan Adoption - Maybe you will find a new project or join in and get rid of an old one!

Linking Up:

Love Laugh Quilt
Cooking Up Quilts
Fresh Sewing Day


Lisa Marie said...

Wow, what a great friend to share such fabric treasures!

Lara B. said...

You really know how to turn chaos into treasure Cyndy! Thank you for sharing how you tackle a big bag of scraps. (What a wonderful friend!) I will definitely keep this in mind as I start to build up more and more scraps.

Val's Creative Life said...

I sort my scraps by color right away too and store them by color. Butttt with that said, it is fun to play with them, when, like you said you are in the right mind set. Honestlly though, an over abundance of scraps or fabric overwhelms me and actually stifles my creativity, so I try to keep ahead of both. :) (Or atleast have them organized)

em's scrapbag said...

I also sort my scraps by color. I love your idea for future projects. Hadn't thought of that. Thanks for sharing.

Jasmine said...

So neat to see how you sort them and the thinking behind it. Thanks for sharing!

Bonnie said...

How liberating to just sort these by color. I am into the cutting into usable sizes and then storing by size. Except, it hasn't been a great time saver for me like I thought it would be. Hum. Perhaps it is time to rethink this -- maybe your system would work better for me. I know I would get scraps stashed away much faster if I did. How many colors do you sort into? (I'm thinking how many drawers I would need -- i don't think the three I have would be enough.) Thanks for some inspiration.

Archie the wonder dog said...

I also sort my scraps by colour but have trouble with the 'has every colour in it' fabric and these tend to get moved from box to box, depending on which colour jumps out at the time! Enjoy using your new scraps!

Alycia~Quiltygirl said...

I'm slowly working on the bags that I recieved - but this is very helpful!!!

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