Every once in awhile I have to make a committed effort to tame the scrap monster. No matter how many scrap quilts I make it seems like I end up with more scraps than I started with. I’ve had this stack in my sewing room for quite some time so I brought them upstairs to do a little cutting whenever I have a few spare minutes.
It took many years for me to find a scrap system that works for me. In 2000 Debbie Caffrey came and taught at our shop and she recommended cutting scraps into 2-1/2” strips. This was around the time she published the book Open A Can of Worms (still one of my favorite scrap quilt books). So that’s how I started cutting scraps into usable pieces. This was long before jelly rolls and the myriad patterns developed for 2-1/2” strips. This worked for quite awhile especially since I led a Strip Club for several years and was making a quilt using those strips every month. Eventually I wanted to branch out so I started cutting several different sizes of strips and some squares. Now I strips 5”, 3-1/2”, 2-1/2”, 2” and 1-1/2” wide. I cut the same size squares: 5”, 3-1/2”, 2-1/2”., 2” and 1-1/2”. Here’s what I’ve cut so far from that big stack of scraps.
I store them in rolling plastic drawers. When a drawer get full I start looking for a pattern to use that particular size. When I’m making any quilt I start my fabric search with strips or squares that are already cut. My Sunny Side Up quilt is cut from the scrap drawers. I wanted to make mine a little bigger so I’m making 12” blocks instead of the 9” blocks that Judy made for her quilt. The bonus was that I was able to use 2” strips and 5” strips that were all ready to go. Win-win!
This system doesn’t work for everyone. It may seem like a lot of work to cut all these strips that may never be used. Several of my quilting friends just keep bags of scraps and root through the bags when they need small pieces of fabric. I’m all for anything that works as long as those beautiful scrap quilts keep coming?
How do you organize your scraps?