I save everything--well, maybe not EVERYTHING--but a lot. Making FREE quilts from Leaders/Enders is something I love to do--I have written about that several times: Lifetime Quilt, and Time Management are a couple posts with lots of info.
When it's time to start a new project, this can be daunting:
Since I often make scrap quilts, I need a way to keep those organized so they can be found and used when needed.
A reader has asked me to discuss how I decide WHAT to save and how I STORE my scraps. So here are a few of my methods:
STRINGS: leftover lengths, no less than 3/4" wide, no more than 2" wide. This large tote bag is close to full--when I teach String Quilts, I bring it and dump it on a table for everyone to share. These are fabrics I don't really care about:
HUNKS: pieces too large to be cut into Strings, these are separated into Less than 2", 2-3", 3-4", 4-5", and more than 5". These are fabrics I like enough to want to use again. When working on scrap quilts, I start in these boxes to find Hunks to use, all colors are in these boxes, so I sort through them quickly to find those that will work:
This is the 3-3 7/8" box:
These boxes are stored on book shelves, always ready and accessible. The best thing about having big feet is I also have BIG shoeboxes:
|1.25" dark and light bags
|1.5" dark and light bags
When I pull fabrics for a project, I gather them together and store them in tote bags while I am working on that project. This keeps everything together until the project is complete. Here is a current one I am eager to start:
These are the two SIZZLE quilts under construction in 2019:
Every once in a while I dig out old UFOs to get started again, here is one where I just need to finish the center applique' block--then the piecing can begin. Having handwork at the ready is a good thing:
LEADER/ENDERS: when I decide on my next Lifetime Quilt, I will cut pieces for it and get started. Now, my fall back Leader/Ender is super simple, 1.5" light and dark squares sewn into 4 patches. Right by my machine, at all times, is a small container of light squares and that green box which has dark squares. Twos become fours, then are trimmed to 2.5" squares, which will be 2" finished someday. They are stored in that larger plastic tub in the back, it once held fresh spinach:
The most important thing is to decide what kinds of quilts you want to make, what is the smallest size you want to deal with, and how much time you want to spend organizing your scraps.
Bonnie Hunter has written in detail about her Scrap User's System. She cuts all her leftovers into specific sizes, ones she knows she will use, and sorts them by color. I quickly determined this was more organization than I want to do. But it clearly works for her so check it out, it might be perfect for you.
Here are a few quilts I have made just from the fabrics stored in the shoeboxes, not from yardage cut up. I always try to use the leftovers first:
|Staying at Grammie's, made for a new Grandma friend
|Trash to Treasure Pineapple Blocks
|I Wish You a Merry Christmas, given away
|A Queen Size Four Patch quilt given away, only the border was yardage
|A quilt-along project from Humble Quilts, only the golds were Fat Quarters
|Scrappy Trips with piano key borders, given away, 2.5" strips cut from the shoeboxes