Monday, July 19, 2010

Scrap Organization... My Way

I'm going to bare it all here. Well, as it pertains to my scraps anyway!

I mentioned in my last post that I originally had my scraps sorted by color. I had them in gallon baggies by color family: reds, blues, greens, etc. When I started working seriously with my scraps last year I quickly discovered that, for the way I was working at least, having them sorted by general size would be more useful. That's when I dumped the bags into a laundry basket and started sorting them by size as I worked. The smallest pieces stayed in the basket and the long strips went into something else. Eventually the strips were transferred to the plastic box you see on the right in the picture below:

You can just see the popcorn tin I crammed the small bits into when I took a break from sewing scrappy blocks. Now that I'm playing in them again I've emptied the tin into the wicker basket for easier access.

One of the other things I've done is to make the decision to cut a few specific size patches from the leftover fabrics that are too small to put back in my stash but too big to qualify as a scrap in my book. I have two tins from the thrift shop. One hold 3.5" squares and a baggie of half-square triangles that go with them. The other holds squares and triangles and a few rectangles in the 2.5" dimension. From these I can make simple 6" blocks and 9" blocks like Shoo Fly or Churn Dash or 9 Patches.

Another component of my scrap system is a glass relish tray that I keep on my sewing table. This allows me to sort scraps by size as I create them while I'm working on a major project. I can either use them as leaders and enders (a la Bonnie Hunter) or dump them into the appropriate container when it starts to overflow.

This system developed as I was making the blocks that ended up in my "Souvenirs" quilt that I shared in my first post. That quilt is made entirely of 6" blocks. I've since been able to put together a couple of other quilts in relatively short order because I had patches already cut and could make up blocks quickly.

I am fortunate to have a room dedicated as my quilt studio so I can leave things out overnight no matter how messy it looks. (Not always a good thing!) Everyone has to find what works for them and their circumstances. It takes time and it takes tweaking.


CharlotteP said...

Great idea to have squares and triangles ready cut...saves time ironing the crumpled scraps too! I'll definitely try it - thanks!

Pat said...

Looks like you have a good system. I'm trying to be as organized as I go along but my biggest decision at the moment is how small a scrap is big enough to keep. What do you use as criteria?

WoolenSails said...

As I was digging through my piles to find a certain fabric, I realize I need to reorganize, lol. Great ideas.


Kim Brackett said...

Great system! Makes it so much easier (and fun) to work!

Nifty Quilts said...

Nice ideas--I'd use them if I ever got around to sorting my scraps.

Magpie Sue said...

After I made a bunch of crumb blocks I realized that it took much longer to get to 6.5" when I started with tiny scraps. (duh!) Since then I've been able to toss more of the smallest bits. I'd say now that I don't keep or use anything smaller than one inch on a side. And more often I think I'm even tossing those that are a little bigger than that in favor of slightly larger bits.