Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Taming those Scraps - Part 3

 For the past couple of weeks, I have been sharing some of my methods of storing and using my scraps.  Today I thought I would share another of my secret weapons and that is my "specialty bins"

As I shared in my first post, I sort my scraps by color.  I do this immediately as I make them right at my cutting table.  And because I have a lot of scraps, sorting through big piles to find certain fabrics can take a lot of time.  So a couple years ago, I started creating what I call my "specialty bins" that I tuck around my sewing room.

The first bin I created was for leftover binding strips.  I mainly cut my binding at 2.5" wide so I will also toss in any leftover jelly roll strips.  

I can use these strips to create a scrappy binding or use the longer lengths to create a 16 patch quilt like this one (which one of my Scrap-A-Palooza quilt designs).

I made this quilt when I saw a lot of blue and green strips in the bin.  They make great charity quilts!

I also store some 2.5" squares in a project box.  I use some silverware trays I got at Bed Bath and Beyond that fit perfectly. The squares are stored by color and stood on end so it makes it easy to quickly find the perfect piece.  I take this with me to share fabrics when I teach my Geese Migration classes.  Lots of my students will pull fabric from here and some will leave some for me to find when I get home :)

(I am starting to book some classes around the PNW for the balance of 2021 and into 2022.  I am so excited about getting back out there and teaching again!)

When my project box starts to get a little low, I get out my AccuQuilt Studio cutter and the 2.5" multiple die and start cutting from my color bins.  I can easily see what colors of scraps I need to cut.

Two other types of scraps I keep sorted out into their own bins are low volumes and black/white fabrics.  For me, I need rather large bins for these.  In fact, my B/W is needing some attention soon.  These both reside right under my cutting table so I can sort the scraps into them as they are made.  I am in and out of that low volume one almost daily!

I love using black and white scraps with my color scraps.  Here is one of my Well Suited quilts. I have made a couple of quilts from this pattern just like this one but in different colors.

Here is another scrappy example.  This one is made from the Chaser pattern.

I have one other specialty bin I use.  The contents of this bin changes - right now I keep Kaffe Fassett scraps in them.  For a long time, I was sorting out 30s reproduction scraps.  Using this bin means I can start to prepare for a quilt (or a series of quilts) and start sorting scraps as I come across them working on other projects.  Then when I am ready to start the project, I just have to sort through this bin for my scraps.  It is always a time saver!

That is pretty much the crazy scrap system that has evolved for me over the decades I have been sewing with them.  I hope you found some ideas on how to tame your scraps. 

I always suggest to quilters that they just start with a simple system with a minimal investment.  Then start adjusting it as you go so that it fits your scrap needs.  I have seen too many people start with an elaborate and costly storage system to find it doesn't work for them.  Then they feel they must make it work - which leads to not maintaining because the scrap storage has become a chore to keep up.  Look in your recycling bin for storage ideas or repurpose items already existing in your home.
Keep scrap quilting fun!

Let me know in the comments if you have any more questions.  

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Chantal said...

Thank you so much, Cynthia for sharing your system of storage and how you're managing your scraps. I picked up a few pointer. Where do you keep your strings? Wait a minute! Have you ever made a string quilt? So what do you do with the strings?
Thanks again. Now I'm motivate to go clean those bins. ;^)

The Joyful Quilter said...

Are those big baskets truly laundry basket size? I keep thinking about your square holder project box. That seems like it would be SEW helpful!

Alycia~Quiltygirl said...

I just love seeing how you organize - your thought process is pretty cool!

Tami Von Zalez said...

Any scrap too small for me to work with I throw in a plastic tub and then send a bag of it to thrift. I am segueing away from itty bitty pieces of fabric to matched collections.

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

I always love your use of black and white prints to frame bright blocks. I don't have much of a collection of those - maybe I need some! :) You're so smart to sort scraps right as you make them, too.

Cathy in Wisconsin said...

My sewing group saves scraps and use them to stuff dog beds. We donate the beds to our local library; they sell them in their "Friends" store and use the money for library programs.

Susie H said...

These have been wonderful posts! Thank you for taking the time to share with us.

Shasta Matova said...

I've seen all these other systems and they are too cumbersome for me so I just throw everything in one bin. I really like your idea of sorting into big categories so the scraps are easier to use.

Mystic Quilter said...

Love the way you store your 2.5" squares, I must have a look in the Storage Box store next time I'm out and see if they have something similar. I have small KF pieces in a storage box, larger size scraps which will cut into quite a few different shapes and then also I have strips. Initially they are all thrown into a turquoise bin just like yours.

Allison said...

Thanks for your Scrap Taming series. Lots of handy tips and ideas. The lovely scrap quilts you have made certainly show the value of keeping fabric scraps tamed and ready to use!

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