Wednesday, February 04, 2015

scrap storage

Today I'm going to talk about my scrap storage methods. I'll come right out and say that they are very extensive. But, scrap quilts are my thing! I use scraps ALL the time-even more than my stash-and having them neat and tidy is very important to me. If my organizational schemes make sense to no one but me, so be it! Having my scraps organized means I don't spend a lot of time searching for just the right piece.
One more disclaimer....I have been quilting for 14 1/2 years...so it took me quite awhile to fall this deep into the rabbit hole. Ha!

(My cutting table is from IKEA. It formerly served as a kitchen island in our previous home. It's one of my favorite pieces of furniture in my entire house...and not just because it holds my stash!)
Most of my scraps are sorted by color and stored in quilted storage boxes. I LOVE these things! They are made from scraps of fabric, cardboard (from cereal boxes) and scrap batting--items you probably have on hand already. I made these 4 years ago and they have held up beautifully, even though they've been carted to more quilt guilds than I can count. The more fabric you put in them, the sturdier they are! Ha! (The pattern can be found in Sunday Morning Quilts.) They aren't difficult to make, but I found it was better to make them in batches of 2, 3 or 4 at a time. I wouldn't try to make 12 in a weekend. Just a little working experience there!
I have a quilted storage box for each color of the rainbow, plus black, brown, gray and white. I also have one for multicolored fabrics, which is tucked between the two rows of boxes shown. I made the storage boxes years before I got my cutting table, and I felt like I won the lottery when I discovered that 6 boxes fit (like a glove) on each side. It was meant to be!
They look so tidy and orderly lined up in a row. I love that!

Smaller pieces of fabric are stored in this roller cart. Each drawer holds a different size of scraps: ticker tape pieces, strings, skinny strings, 2 1/2" squares, and triangles. I have this near my cutting table, so I can sort scraps and put them away as I produce them. It's very helpful to sort as you go, whenever possible!

The third place I keep scraps is another drawer cart. It was a roller cart at one point, but I think the weight of the scraps was just too much for the poor wheels. Doh!
The top drawer holds solids or nearly solids--whites/neutrals/light grays/linen scraps, and the like.
The second drawer holds solid scraps. I had them (kind of) sorted by warm and cool, but that line got blurred. Eventually I will need a drawer for each. Having the solid scraps separated out from my print fabrics is a relatively new thing for me and I really like it! Solids, when stored together, are endlessly inspiring to me--and that's the point! If your scraps inspire you, then you will actually use them. This drawer is FULL, so much so that it's difficult to shut. I expect to dive into an all solids quilt project before the week is through.
The bottom drawer is my drawer of shame. If you watch Friends, this is like Monica's closet. (Ha!) If I have a scrap combination that is inspiring to me, I bag it up and put them in this drawer. I don't know if/when I will get to them all, but really, that's ok. If the bundle becomes un-inspiring to me, I can always sort those scraps back out among the others. That has happened once, maybe twice.

I have a few other places that I store scraps. These don't have a permanent home, so they float around the craft room as needed.

My bowl of selvages/super skinny strings, which I use to knit or crochet rag rugs.

I have a basket of strings sorted by color. This category is redundant, but I think it's because out of all the scraps, I have the hardest time keeping up with these.

I have a cute basket of tiny solid scraps. This was a by-product of working on several different projects using solids in the last few months. I don't know what they will become yet, but eventually I will use them for something! I've already started sewing them into strings and ideas are brewing....

And then, I have a basket of multi-colored scraps. These are smaller chunks of fabric that would just clutter up my color boxes, but they are too big to put in my ticker tape drawer, so they get their own basket. They are used mainly for improv piecing....going into quilts like scrap vortex and the family couch time quilt.

So, there you have it! A complete look into my crazy scrap methods. I feel the need to point out that my scrap storage methods parallel my quilting habits. I add and subtract (mostly add) categories as needed. I hope that this inspires you to get organized, find a scrap storage method that works for you and within your space constraints, because it really can make all the difference.

Can I just say....I had so much fun writing this post! I'm thankful for the sunshine today. It's AMAZING how much easier it is to take photos when we have light!!! :)

If you have any questions, I'll try to answer them in the comments!

And I'll answer this cringe inducing question before I close so you don't have to ask...

How small of a scrap do you save?
The answer is...tiny. BUT!!! I have been working on a fun project to use these little bits. I plan to share it soon!

58 comments:

Ruth / RGT said...

Great post. I like your organization system and need something similar.

Corrie H. @ Mountain Stitches said...

Thanks for sharing. I have been working on keeping my scraps organized as I get them. It sure makes a scrap quilt seem a whole lot less daunting when everything is organized and tidy!

Bennett and Graves said...

Using my Sunday Morning Quilts book as a guide I've made one attempt at sorting. And thanks to your post the other day I am no longer kicking myself for "not doing it better". My smallest scrap is 2 inch square, or strips one inch wide. ***Sigh***

Audrey said...

Great post. I, too, have many organizational methods. It feels good to know that I am not the only one. Your fabric baskets are awesome. So much prettier than my clear shoe boxes. I will be making some of them soon. What a fun scrap project! The smallest piece of fabric I keep has to fit a 3/4" hexagon EPP template so I have some pretty odd shaped scraps. That box is getting pretty full. It is time to start making some hexies. I also keep that small size for applique purposes. Triangles have to be large enough to create 1" HSTs. I recently decided that 1" strings were just a pain for string blocks so I am going to start crocheting them into fabric baskets. Thanks for the idea and for sharing.

Brenda said...

I agree with your point that your scrap sorting habits line up with your quiltmaking. I've changed the way I deal with scraps because I've changed the way I make quilts. Mostly, I try to keep my scraps from taking over my space, but I have sorting sytems for dark, medium and light strings, squares, hst, fabric to cut into shapes, and then the stuff that just has to go together. thanks for sharing your methods and tips.

Art van Mil said...

Hi!
I have the same "problem" with lots (loads) of scraps. Very special, not too tiny ones I store in a compartment folder,

as you can see here

http://sauber-eingefaedelt.blogspot.de/2014/07/ordnung-im-stoffregal-2-tipps-wie-du.html

Best wishes from Germany,
Vanessa

Terri Ann said...

I love how out of control your scrap stash is! Love all your organization tips here too. Scraps make me a little neurotic but I do save them. Usually I save them till I have a healthy Ziploc bag full then offer to send them to either a random blog reader or offer em up on one of the mail/FB groups I'm in. There's someone out there dying for scraps and I can't let mine go to waste knowing someone will use them. Accepting that someone isn't me was a big step.

Sigi G said...

I've just finished 4 Log Cabin Scrappy Quilts. It felt so good cleaning out my scraps at the beginning of 2015. I vowed never to collect anything smaller than 1 1/2 again, but....it is so HARD to throw some of those delicious scraps away, needless to say...a few have 'quietly' entered the basket again.
I LOVE your sewing room. Just seeing all those colorful baskets and all those delicious looking scraps - well the day gets sunnier even without the sun :)!

felicity said...

Thanks for sharing this - I'm endlessly entertained by reading how people sort and store their scraps. I've made some of the fabric storage boxes for my scraps - 9 of them - and I looooove them. They help keep my scraps tidy(ish) and easier to find. My green, pink and blue bins are overflowing though - time for a project, I guess!

Sarah C. said...

Thanks for sharing your system. I've changed my system after reading your book. My aunt's policy on scraps is if it's bigger than a cat's tongue you save it. I may also subscribe to this.

Sarah Craig said...

Oh, thank you, Amanda Jean!!! I'm now looking at the cluttered bookcases behind my sewing table and thinking how neat they would look with some nice color-coordinated fabric scrap organization buckets - now to just find the time to make them!! I need to do it quick, before the scraps run me out of the house!!

Jen W. said...

I love to see how others deal with fabric organization. Thanks for sharing. Your island is enviable and I love your scrappy fabric boxes! I may have to get my hands on a copy of that book!

Mama Urchin said...

So funny. I knew all about your storage methods but it was fun to see them in your new sewing room. One thing I do every once in a while is make single colored log cabin blocks and then I have them handy if I want to work on a certain color combo. But you know me and log cabins....

susan said...

There is a sort of organized quilt pattern called Oh My Gosh. A great project to use the wee size pieces you (I) can't toss out.

Kelly said...

WOW! Loved all those pics! I keep scraps down to 1" squares, only because I have a crazy hex piece I continue to work on with these tiny things! And I have a huge "drawer of shame"! Thanks for the title :)

cityquilter grace said...

always love to see how others store and use scraps....they proliferate ad nauseum! i only save something that will yield an inchie aka 1.5" square; otherwise it gets tossed. and fyi, my solid drawer looks like that too...LOL

eva said...

excellent info,
great ideas.... and the humour is perfect too.
xo
e.

Mary Pat Callihan said...

Hi AmandaJean! It is so fortuitous that as my room explodes with unsorted scraps, you and a few other wonderful, creative bloggers are sharing how you keep up with it all! I promised myself to keep any usable scraps, anything 1 inch or larger, and I have. But without a system, well, you know..... So, I have been sorting and cutting as I go. It makes things go much more smoothly. I am actually using my scraps now! I am also taking time to simply create scrap fabric and save them in 12 1/2" blocks. Thanks for the inspiration!

mac said...

Thanks for the inspiration. :)

Emmbee said...

Isn't the blog community serendipitous? I have just retired and have been thinking about how to manage my huge piles of scraps which are currently lurking in nooks and crannies all over the house. Now I know!! Thanks for your timely blog....now I just have to get going......find them all.... and try to tame them!!

Cara said...

Victoria Findley Wolfe uses teeny, tiny solid scraps to make mini quilts. It's her made-fabric technique with a twist, and it would be right up your alley. It inspired me to start keeping tiny (non-print) scraps that I'd usually toss, and I am definitely not a small scrap girl!

Melissa Corry said...

This was so much fun!!! Thanks for sharing ;)

Leanne said...

Thank you for all the ideas. I sure like the idea of a box for each colour.

Machelle said...

Loved this post! Thanks

whatknotgirls crafts said...

I find this post very inspiring. I don't need that much storage yet as a newer quilter, but I loke having them dorted by color instead of by size. thanks for sharing!

The Farmhouse Quilter said...

I love your cutting table. Thanks for sharing where you got it and all of your ideas for scrap storage.

Laura Chaney said...

I love seeing this! Thanks for sharing!

Mel said...

Ha ha, I guess I had an idea that you were a bit crazy, but I hadn't guessed just HOW crazy (in the nicest possible way)! Am I alone in this quilty secret - I can't stand scraps and sell/give/throw them ALL away! Thanks for writing such frequent and fun posts.

Live a Colorful Life said...

I loved reading this! It also reminded me of the time you dumped all those scraps in a laundry basket to take to Grubers. And then let us pick and choose. THAT was fun!

Susanne vb said...

What a FUN post! Thanks. :)

Teje Karjalainen said...

Hi! Delicious post! I enjoyed every Word and photo! I'm really scrap person and save the tiniest pieces. Your Fabrics and organizing system looks Super! Thank you for sharing colourful, scrappy inspiration! x Teje
http://www.nerospost.wordpress.com

Allison said...

Thanks for writing about your sorting and storage methods - so helpful. And your photos look lovely and bright on this very dull day.

Kay said...

This is really helpful I do envy you your cutting table with the lovely scrap baskets fitting perfectly underneath. x

Jodi Godfrey said...

This is so wonderful, thank you! I've got my scraps just sorted by colour, but I've been finding that not enough and have been thinking about a solution. This is perfect, Thanks!

Mary Burnette said...

I am liking the system of keeping them all separated by color and size. I have to take a whole day just to sort my scraps and get them in usable order! I am certainly inspired to do it now. So I think I'll get started now!
thanks for the post, Mary
mburnette912@bellsouth.net

Ingrid said...

Que gran idea!
La pondré en práctica.
Gracias por inspirarnos!!!

Lisa H. said...

Thanks for taking the time to do a show and tell about your scrap organizational system. I'm envious of your collection of fabrics! You've inspired me to get my act together!

Thimbleanna said...

And THIS is why you get SO much done -- you're organized! And Funny too -- I love the cringe inducing question. What an inspiration you are!!!

bloominworkshop said...

Thanks for the great post! I think my problem when it comes to scraps is that 90% of them are strings and I don't know how to store them. So I stuff them in a bucket or tub and then they are even harder to use. Some of the pieces you are showing as scraps are pieces I would fold and put back in my stash. I may never get my scraps under control! Sigh.

Mary Lou Biedermann said...

Just wondering - what size range are the "scraps" you store in the fabric baskets? I seem to end up with lots of quarter yard and/or at quarter size pieces...

Laura said...

Your Sunday Morning Quilts book really helped me to get my scraps sorted logically (for me!). I feel like I have a much better handle on my scraps and my stash in general now. Next goal: to increase my sewing and quilt production!

Diannia said...

I love your drawer of shame! I have one exactly like that with bits and pieces of collections all bagged up -- BUT mine is 2 LARGE drawers! Sure wish you would come up with something to use them for. LOL!

Dawna Caplin said...

Oh you do make me smile! I love your blog and inspiration and scrap happiness. Thanks so much for great tips.

MamaDaniel said...

Wow!
Forteen years...!

Never try the quilted basket.. will try it!

JanineMarie said...

Your scrap collection is SO happy. I was never sure what the difference was between "stash" and "scraps," and I wondered if I could improve the organization of my stash. Now after seeing what's in your colorful scrap baskets, I just realized something. My whole stash is actually scraps! Guess I don't have to figure out how to store my stash anymore--I'll just try your system. Thanks!

Nancy James said...

First Amanda I always love your posts on your room, stash and scraps. I also love that wonderful table you have.

Terri Ann and Mel I am a new quilter and don't have but a few fabrics and even less scraps. I will gladly take your scraps that you don't want. I would love to have a set up like Amanda's. I can be reached at skysnaina5@gmail.com
TIA....Nancy

Kate O said...

Awesomely informative post! Thank you! I have no doubt I will be employing some or all of these concepts...eventually. :)

Linda said...

You need to come to my house and help me, LOL. :)

Clara Soloaga said...

I love the boxes. I have your book, but I didn't find the right moment to do them!
I use the scraps in little projects, like towels or thermal bags, so I never have enough to make a quilt.
But I adore them!
I only quilt for four years...maybe it is only a matter of time, ha, ha!
Kisses from Spain!

Staci said...

Enjoyed your post very much. Just this week I have been reading your book and trying to get up the courage to deal with my own scraps. Right now I have about a dozen medium sized plastic storage boxes overflowing with scraps sorted only by color. For months I've been thinking about all the scrap quilts I'd like to make, but when I look at those boxes I'm so intimidated by the amount of time it will take to even prepare to make a scrap quilt I give up and cut up new fabric instead! Yes, it is time for me to take control! Thank you so much for the helpful insignts and the inspiration!

Elaine Randall said...

Your scraps look so inviting in their color coordinated storage containers. I need to get busy and make some for myself.

Ginny said...

I love seeing your organization since I just cleaned out a big plastic bin of scraps and have them sorted. Or at least I thought they were until I seen your process. LOL! Great ideas here thanks for posting!

CapitolaQuilter said...

You make a disaster look like a rainbow of delight. I too love little bits and find that I enjoy creating with scraps of possibilities as much or more that fresh off the bolt new releases.

amandajean said...

Mary Lou Bidermann,

If I can't wrap the fabric around a 6" ruler it goes into the scrap bins. Usually less than a fat quarter goes in the color boxes. Good question!

AJ

Наталья Шустикова said...

Thanks! Great ideas!

Nieves Mª said...

iiQué interesante¡¡ Qué cantidad de cosas se pueden hacer con pequeños retales.
Besos.
Nieves-Mª

CurlyGirlMom said...

WOW!! I just today finished my first quilting project (EVER), which was 2 twin size quilts for my twin nephews. As a new quilter, with a GOOD start on a stash, I'm always envious of other quilter's stashes. I just want to sit and pet, stare at and create with all that eye candy!!! Due to the small space that I use to quilt, I'll have to try to stay on top of using my scraps. If I ever get a bigger space, I'll need to use your fabulous sorting ideas! Thanks so much for sharing your space and methods.

Daniela O'Connell said...

Oh it's so good to see that you keep such tiny pieces of fabric like the one in your hand! I sometimes feel ridiculous when I hold my hand over the bin considering: yes - no - yes - no - yes! And it feels good to keep it!
Here's how I organised my scraps just recently:
http://www.blockmquilts.com/2015/03/blockmquilts-turns-one-i-have-organised.html