Scrap box challenge (part one)

The author of a quilting book I read some time ago wrote that she keeps any scraps larger than 1½ inches. I took this advice to heart, and started to squirrel away tiny scraps.

Recently I have been looking at my overflowing scrap box and thinking that I must do something with its contents as the scraps are starting to outgrow the small box I have them stored in, so I set myself the challenge of making something useful out of my tiny scraps.

The first step was sorting the scraps into three colour piles: cool colours, warm colours and neutrals (mostly white). I decided to start with the cool colours, blues and greens, as they seemed to be the biggest pile.

Tiny pieces of scrap quilting fabric.

I sorted my tiny fabric offcuts into three colour piles: cool, warm and neutral.

I sorted the blue (and green) pile into small scraps, really small scraps and strings, and I ironed the lot. I set the strings aside and cut everything else up into 1½ inch and 2½ inch squares, as many as I could with what I had.

Blue scraps of quilting fabric, ironed and ready to cut.

I ironed every scrap in my blue pile and sorted the scraps roughly by size.

Sorting fabric scraps into useable sizes for quilting.

My tiny blue scraps pile gave me a collection of 2½ inch squares, 1½ inch squares, small triangles (too small to cut a 1½ inch square from but still useable) and long strips.

I was planning to make a humidicrib quilt from the 1½ inch squares. I like making these tiny quilts for the hospital, and I hope they bring a little colour into anxious parents’ lives.

Chain-piecing tiny quilt squares.

I chain-pieced the 1-inch squares to make rows.

I did not have quite enough tiny squares, so I bulked it out by adding in one of my strings as a border. I think I will be able to make the back from my neutral scraps and raid the offcuts from larger quilts for the wadding.

The finished quilt top is only 16 x 24 inches. The whole quilt top came from what most (sensible) people would throw away as rubbish.

Humidicrib or doll's quilt made from 1-inch squares of scrap fabric.

Each square in this tiny quilt top is only 1 inch across.

I still have a small zip-lock bag of 2½ inch squares and half a dozen or so strings for future projects. Now all I need to do is tackle the warm and neutral scraps piles.

I showed the finished quilt top to my husband, who said, ‘Those are really small squares’. (He is a master of stating the obvious.)

‘Yes,’ I said, ‘but what do you think?’ (I was hoping for an opinion about whether he liked it.)

‘You’re psycho, Wifey.’


22 thoughts on “Scrap box challenge (part one)

  1. Wow. This quilt is scraptacular. I love it. I keep ton scraps of fabric too and you have inspired me to pull some of the smaller bits out and make a tiny square doll quilt. Fabulous stuff.

  2. Oh, you are SO focused to have achieved this! It’s beautiful! (I sometimes feel weighed down with my scraps!) Maybe I can add one of this to my ‘to-do’ list!

  3. That’s really pretty! I get a bit daunted by the scrap pile myself. So every so often, I go into it with a square and rotary cutter and I cut the squarish and odd-shaped pieces into the nearest 1/4″ square(s) I can get out of them keeping the grain lined up. I stick with sizes anywhere from 2″ to 3.5″. I roughly organize these by size and colour and have them standing on edge in (currently) 3 small bins so they are easy to pick through. They have come in handy for small, quick projects and playing with colour. I keep the long skinny pieces in another bin because these are usually easier to use without any further trimming.

    • This was my first attempt at such an organised method of keeping scraps. Before, I had wondered if it would be a problem if I wanted a bigger bit for appliqué, etc. I see the merits of cutting and storing scraps as tidy squares and strips now. If I really want a bigger bit for a project, I still have my stash to raid.

  4. Hi Carla Your little quilt is so sweet. Perfect for a lovely spring day. Hasn’t the weather been great! Too busy to sew much at the moment, but the renewal rush is slowing to manage a few minutes here and there. I have a secret santa to finish! Cheers Shari

  5. Pingback: Scrap box challenge (part two) | Granny Maud's Girl

  6. Pingback: Farewell, community quilts! | Granny Maud's Girl

  7. Pingback: Stash-busting baby quilt | Granny Maud's Girl

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