I do not seem to generate a large amount of scrap fabric. I think I do not have much because I make a lot of small projects and only a few large quilts each year. Also, many of my quilts have small pieces; I find I end up with more scraps when making quilts with large, simple shapes, like my big blue quilt. As a result, all of my scraps fit in four shoebox-sized containers, even though I keep everything.
Scraps for me are the offcuts. I only count fabric as scrap if I have less than about a 10-inch square. Everything else is ‘stash’. When making a scrap quilt, I look for and try to use up the smaller pieces in my stash as well as raiding my scrap boxes.
When making the humidicrib quilts out of my scraps late last year, I discovered how much I enjoyed using scraps and how easy it was to do so when they were in useable shapes. Since then, I have occasionally tipped out my scrap box and cut what I have into the following shapes and sizes:
- 2½-inch squares
- 1½-inch squares
- small half-square triangles.
I start by trying to cut a 2½-inch square. If I cannot get a 2½-inch square, I try to cut one of the smaller pieces. If I cannot cut one of those, the scrap is too small to use and it goes in the bin. (Even I have my limits!)
I am not very precise when trimming the triangles. I plan to sew them together in pairs and then square them up later.
Now, my entire scrap collection looks like this.
Because I can see the last of my Dear Jane blocks getting close, I have even started cutting up the tiny offcuts of my French General fabrics. Until now, I had been saving every piece; in a Dear Jane, no piece of fabric is too miniscule to use. With fewer than a dozen blocks left to cut out, I have sorted through my bag of leftovers and used the little pieces to baste ½-inch hexagons. If a piece of fabric was too small to make a ½-inch hexagon, I threw it away. I cannot believe I was keeping such small crumbs! Seriously! Am I daft!?
I plan to use these little hexagons to make a bag. When I started looking online for bag frames, I stumbled on this pretty bag by Thimble Stitch, which is close to what I plan for my hexagons. Susan of Thimble Stitch even uses similar French General fabrics in her bag. I love how she has fussy cut her hexagons, but as I am making do with my last scraps, I have rarely been able to do that myself.
At a recent quilting retreat, a friend gave me her French General quilt’s offcuts to play with too! I think I need to buy some more hexagon papers.
Recently I have set myself scrap box challenges, where I gather together a pile of scraps and try to make something with it. I made a knitting bag using up blue scraps and a baby quilt from leftover jelly roll bits. Both were very satisfying!
What do you do with your scraps? Do you keep them or throw them away? What do you define as ‘scrap’? How do you manage your scraps? Do you have a mountain or a molehill of scraps? What have you made using just scrap?