Thursday, January 31, 2019

My Personal War on Scraps -- Fabric Twine Trivet!

I'm serious about sorting and using my scraps this year.  As I'm going through my sewing room bin  by bin and bag by bag I'm find leftover fabric bits stashed EVERYWHERE!  I've been talking about this all month and many people ask me what I'm doing with the leftovers.  Here's my system:


Yardage -- Anything 1 yard or over gets put together in a bucket of yardage.  I pull from there when I need larger pieces (background, borders, backing, etc.) for a new project.

Half yards -- I keep a drawer full of half yard cuts

Fat Quarters -- I keep a drawer full of fat quarter cuts, either purchased or leftover from larger projects.

Fat Eighths -- I design Cutie Quilts which use 16 fat eighths (9"x22") for each quilt.  I cut my leftover fabric into fat eighths.  When I'm designing a new quilt and need to test the pattern, I often pull 16 "cuties" from my drawer to make the sample.  Sometimes they aren't very pretty, and sometimes they work together beautifully!

5" squares -- I'm a sucker for charm squares.  I love the Nickel Quilts books and find 5" squares incredibly useful in many projects.  I have a few patterns in the works that use charm squares, so stay tuned!  When I cut through my scraps, I cut 5" squares from the larger scrap pieces.  I have a humungous bucket of squares that I hope to deal with later this year.

2 1/2" strips -- I cut a lot of 2 1/2" strips from my leftovers.  I have made so many quilts from them because of all of the Jelly Roll patterns available.  I also use them in patterns whenever a 2 1/2" cut is required.  I have a HUGE bucket of 2 1/2" strips that I also hope to deal with later this year.

2 1/2" squares -- I cut 2 1/2" squares and store them together.  I make simple 4-patches, 9-patches, or use them in patterns requiring that size.  I don't have tons of them, so I keep them inside the 2 1/2" strip bucket.

1 1/2" strips -- This is probably my favorite bucket.  I have SO MANY 1 1/2" strips and each new project I finish has leftovers this size.  My absolutely favorite thing to do with 1 1/2" strips is make my Sweet Tooth Cutie pattern.  I have made about 5-6 of them in the last six months and have enough strips for another few already.  Why is this my favorite strip size and quilt?  Because I get to quilt ribbon candy in all of the strips!

Strings -- long pieces thinner than 1 1/2" go into a string bucket.  I just started making string quilts and I'm totally addicted.  Check out Bonnie Hunter's string quilt books.  She is the queen of strings!

Mini-strings -- I don't know what to call these, but they are strings that are too skinny to sew


I just started twisting them together to make fabric twine:


This is totally addictive.  Once I had a sizable ball of twine, I decided to sew it into a trivet


Here it is finished:


How large is it?  I didn't measure it, but I quit when it was the size of a mailing envelope.


I send my mom a package every week and thought ahead enough to make this easy to mail!  I plan to make more of trivets and also coasters.  I'm not sure that I'll ever make a rug, but it would work the same way.

Any piece of fabric that doesn't fit into the categories I already mentioned gets thrown into a dog bed for stuffing.  I have a friend who works with animal rescue and I deliver a dog bed or three to her every few months.  Hopefully they are bringing comfort to animals when they are most in need of love.

Do you have a system for scraps?  Are there sizes you cut and keep that are different than what I do?  Do you cut with projects in mind?  Or just stash leftovers (like I have done for the last 17 years)?

8 comments:

Crystal_235 said...

I store my scraps by size and color. Do you just store by size?

The Calico Cat said...

I have fallen in love with spider web quilts. (When trimming, I allow my self to toss the off cuts.)

Shasta Matova said...

I've been throwing my scraps into a container and when it gets full, getting another container. I am now promising myself to always have a scrap quilt going to keep the scraps under control. Right now I have two scrap quilts going since I did not follow that rule for a few years! I really don't like cutting specific sizes unless I have a specific quilt I am cutting for. I am going to have to add fabric twine to my list of uses for scraps!

judabelle said...

Can you share some tips on how you make twine? Love the trivet idea, and I’ve probably got enough scraps to make a room-size rug!!

Barb Johnson said...

I've been making fabric twine for a few years now. I wind it onto a big spool that I had left from some lace edging. I wasn't sure exactly what I was going to do with it. Now I know! I think that I will try to make enough for a throw rug!

Pamela Arbour said...

My sorting method is similar to your except I don't save 1-1/2" strips specifically. Anything less than 2-1/2 goes into my string bin. I also have a mini-string bin which I have been using to make fabric bowls but I have been wrapping them around clothesline rope. I like your idea with twine. You are doing a great job with that. I watched the video link and I was wondering how you are doing that since you have so much trouble with your hands. Did you find a different technique for doing it?

Glaze Gazer said...

I recently organized my art glass scraps. Similar process! I found the perfect storage piece at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore for $5! I think it may have been used for rolls of blueprints.

Carol Andrews said...

My system for my scraps is to cut various sizes of squares, triangle and strips. They then go in to labelled pizza boxes (they fit so nicely in my cube shelving). Once the box gets full I have to use it. Fat quarters go in one bin which I take to my Guild class for my students to “use” in small class projects (foot pedal pads, pin cushions, thread catchers). My scrap bin is about 8” x 12” and 10” high. Trimmings go in to it and when it is full I have to clean it out. I have one little 3 drawer unit which my strings go into (white/lights, medium tones, dark tones). As I need to pull colors for string blocks I can just sort through each drawer. Seams to work for me! Love the cheddar string quilt. I seem to be addicted to cheese these days, and not just the fabric colors.
Carol Andrews
https://quiltschmilt.wordpress.com/