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.’

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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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