Here are my top 10 tips for successful scrap quilting:
1. Admit that you have a problem. (Isn't that always the first step?) If you are overwhelmed by your scraps, this may be extremely easy! Do you want to create order and tame the chaos? Admitting that you have a problem (and wanting to fix it!) is a great first step.
bright birch tree quilts, needle books and ticker tape canvases, just to name a few things.
2. Assess your scraps. This goes hand in hand with step one. What do you think you will realistically use? If you don't think you will use it, pass it along to someone who will!
Some days are much better for this than others. If you are in a cleaning or purging mood, this is a good time to assess your scraps. Clear them out, pass them along and don't look back!
3. Clean them up. If you have fabric that was previously sewn together (like strips leftover from a quilt backing), cut them apart and remove the sewn seams. If you have odd cuts, whether you've cut out one circle or a complete garment, cut the remainders into usable pieces, like squares, rectangles, strips or triangles.
Let's illustrate this...just for fun.
knit rag rugs), triangles, strings, a larger piece that will go into my color boxes and the tiny pieces for my ticker tape drawer. On the bottom right are the scraps that I will throw away. Now, these remaining scraps are user friendly! The chances of these scraps getting sewn up has dramatically increased.
here, if you care to read it.
5. Come up with a storage plan that works for you and your space. It should mimic the way YOU work and your storage limitations. This has to be extremely personal, because everyone has different scrap tolerances. :)
6. Work on a few long term projects at a time. Scrap quilts aren't quick and I'm not going to try to convince you otherwise. One can only look at a single project for so long. Mixing up a few different long-term projects is a very good thing! I'm not one to do leaders and enders projects (oh boy, I wish I was!) but I find that doing some prep cutting and getting things sorted and organized ahead of time helps. That way, if I have about 20 minutes to sew, I can sit down with a bin or basket of scraps and get a little bit done. Little bits of sewing time add up to finished quilts, eventually.
7. Edit. This may be the most important step! Just because you are making a scrappy quilt, doesn't mean that you have to put every scrap that you have into one quilt. Make good fabric choices along the way. Edit until the very last block is sewn up.
8. Cut a fresh edge. Strings (which are generally 2 1/2" wide or less and vary in length) are the hardest category for me to get excited about. One of the major reasons why is because they get stringy!
9. Keep the scrap door revolving. This is a bit of an overlap with tip # 2, but I think it deserves a closer look. I have plenty of friends that pass along their scraps to me. I love that, and my quilts are better because of it! Because lets face it...when it comes to scrap quilts, variety is key. The flip side of that is, I have an awful lot of scraps... more than I can ever use in my lifetime. I continually pass scraps along to others, too. I try to put a bag or two of scraps on the free table every month at my quilt guild meetings. This keeps me from getting bogged down with scraps.
cards, and pillows are some of my favorite small projects to make with scraps. These projects are quick to finish and give you a feeling of accomplishment that you may need to carry you through until you can complete a larger scrap quilt.
None of these steps are a "one and done" type of thing. Scrap management takes routine maintenance, much like cleaning a house. I hate to say it, but it's true! However, if you take steps toward organization, it will be easier to maintain your scraps. If you have a spot for everything, you will know where to put things away. Getting organized means you will also know where to look when you need that perfect scrap for your project.
I hope that helps! If you have a favorite scrap tip to share with me, I'd love to hear about it in the comments!
Happy Monday to you!