Are you tired of me talking about scrap quilting yet? I hope not! I never tire of making scrap quilts so I never tire of talking about it. From teaching classes, doing daily posts and from other communications with quilters, I often get questions that I haven’t covered yet in a post, so I figured I’d do this one today sweeping a lot of that information into one place. Maybe I will answer a question you have asked or have been wanting to ask. So, sit back and enjoy the fun!
I talked about storage of strips a few weeks ago, but since then guess what I did? I updated how I store my strips! I used to use these deep tubs:
However I have found that, just like with the large zip loc bags I used to store strips in, the deeper the stacks of these strips got in the tub, the more jumbled they became. Towards the bottom of the stacks, I would have crumpled strips with fraying sides. Some were frayed bad enough that they no longer measured the size I wanted.
My solution? A great shallow tub from Sterilite that I partitioned off with acid free cardboard cut to size.
These tubs are only 2 3/4″ deep as opposed to the almost 6″ depth of the deeper tubs. I think I’ll be able to maintain control of my strips better in these!
Here’s how they look in my cabinet by my sewing machine. They are clearly labeled with color(s) and size so when I am looking for a strip for a scrap quilt, I can pull out the right tub quickly.
I still have a few deeper tubs with strips that need to be switched out, but I am making progress! These tubs are also shallow enough to store charm squares or squares that you cut from scrap fabric, if you collect those.
Now it’s time for me to start my next scrap quilt.
On to Random Scraps
So what do I do with a scrap like this?
Yes! I keep these scraps. If you have followed me a while, you know I love to do fabric appliqué. Scraps like these go into tubs like the one below, labeled with colors. This way, when I need a small piece for an appliqué motif I don’t need to cut into a larger piece of fabric.
I just reach into the tub and find the perfect scrap of fabric that will complete my design. Now if there is a fabric in there that I feel I may not use, or perhaps its fairly old, I may then cut it into squares that can be used in a later project.
Some of these random tips tie into my strip and scrap talk above.
Tip#1: Use your scraps to audition colors for blocks. If you are not sure what fabric colors you think look good for your new project, make what I call “test blocks”. Here’s a few I made for a project:
By doing this, I can get an idea of what color combinations look good for my project before I cut into some expensive fabric. I pull out scraps from my bins that hold the appliqué scraps to make these blocks. Or I use some strips from my strip stash if the block pieces can be cut from the size strips I collect.
Now, what do you do with all these test blocks? I actually create small quilts from them to give as gifts. And to make those, I use…. you guessed it… my stash of strips! Here’s one of mine:
As you can see, I framed the star block with a series of borders made from strips. Once I quilted it, I had a cute mini table mat/candle mat to give to a friend.
Tip#2: If you don’t do appliqué like me but still save those odd scraps of fabric, consider making crazy quilt blocks or crumb blocks. I made a brief mention of those in my blog post of April 25th.
A quick google search of both of these terms will lead you to designers who make these types of quilts and who may have some really fun patterns for you to try.
Tip#3: If you go through your fabric stash and find a piece of fabric that makes you say “what was I thinking!” Consider cutting it down into smaller pieces. If it’s a 1/2 yard, you can cut it into a fat quarter and then cut the rest of it into strips. Here’s an example:
Keeping this piece big and using it as a background would be hard to do since it’s so busy. However, when I cut it into strips or squares (below), it tones down the pattern and makes it perfect for a scrap quilt. Since it’s a small strip or square, the pattern won’t overpower other fabrics.
If you really, really don’t like a piece of fabric and don’t think it would even look good in a scrap quilt, consider doing a fabric swap with quilting friends or members of your quilt guild. Someone else might really like it! Or, donate it to a group that makes quilts they give away to needy families or sick children. They’re always looking for fabric donations. Then you know your money spent on that fabric is not going to waste.
That’s it for this week’s post. Comment below or ask any questions you may have. I will enter you into a drawing for my pattern, Follow the Stars:
This pattern uses a lot of scraps and strips! The drawing will be on Monday, May 16th. Good luck!