Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Scraptastic Tuesday


Nicky from Mrs Sew and Sow and I are going to reduce our scrap mountains and you are invited to play along.

We will share our scrappy projects and ideas about scraps on Tuesdays and you can too. We will also host a link up for your thoughts about scraps and scrappy projects - finished or not - on the second Tuesday of the month.  I'll find some prizes if you are willing to play along. We need some friends to encourage us on this scrap reduction mission.


I am a step earlier than Nicky, contemplating my scrap mountain. I need to figure out how to organize the scraps into a system which actually will encourage me to use more scraps. 

First, I need to consider what a scrap is, for me. I have long thought of scraps as very small pieces, smaller than a 1/4 of a fat quarter, and many pieces are smaller than a charm square. 

But then the scrappy projects I want to make use bigger pieces or long strips. I think I need to redefine scraps in my head. How big is a "scrap"? Is it a fat quarter or less? More than 3/4 of my fabric is a fat quarter or less - do you suppose it is all scraps?? And also, what size is just too small to save (or alternatively to relegate to stuffing for some thing - dog bed, footstool maybe)? 

More importantly, I need to figure out how to make my scraps accessible to me when I need them for a project. Right now:

Folded pieces, are they scraps?

  • I fold and put on my shelves anything that is foldable (don't worry, the blues are in another shelf, I have a lot of blues) and I generally put those pieces into piles sorted by colour. I have more recently started adding new fat quarters  and the occasional larger piece (I mostly buy fat quarters, not large pieces) to these colour sorted shelves too, unless I have a reason to keep them with their fabric collections. This part is relatively well organized but I have to take everything off the shelf and cut the pieces up whenever I want to use them.
Scrap bins
  • I have 8 storage bins with lids on wheels that I put a number of smaller pieces - smaller than 1/4 of a fat quarter to very small - and I sorted them by colour as well. I have not opened any of those bins in months. This is not an effective system for me.
    Scraps
  • I have 3 large overflowing shopping bags and a some piles here and there of newer scraps because I realized the bins were not working for me so why bother to put those ones away. This system is both messy and useless - a hodge podge of everything is no fun to face every time I want a bit of fabric.
So I need a better system. I have some scrappy projects to start this week, and I thought I could start them and reorganize at the same time - you see I like sewing more than tidying.  I need a scrap organization plan, and any advice would be appreciated. Here are some considerations:
  • I like to sit down and sew. I really dislike cutting fabric. I don't cut fabric when I am tired or it is late at night, as I adore my fingers. So having useful pieces ready to just start and sew would be helpful.
  • I need to store scraps in a useful way that makes me want to open the bins. Maybe I need to organize by size - but what sizes? I am always worried about cutting fabrics into a size I will never use again. Once cut, should I organize them by colour group - maybe warm, cool, low volume, very dark and solid?
  • I think I need my bins to be near the cutting table so I am encouraged to both use things in them and put bits away, but it is in a different room than my sewing machine.
If you are inclined to help me with any of these questions, either leave me a comment or a link to a blog post. Or tag a photo or tweet or something as #scraptastictuesday, and even better tag me too. I can use all the help you have.

Blended Scraps Blocks - tutorial 7

By the way, my first two projects are to make another Blended Scraps quilt (my tutorial is here and Reflections is here), starting with those four blocks. I want to use all the colours. Cutting strips for this project will be one of the things I start cutting from the scraps.


And I am going to join in with Rene, Michelle, and Cindy in their Choose Your Own Block along, I am finally going to start the Tula Pink City Sampler. They are just making two blocks a week, surely I can manage that, especially if I can make those scraps accessible.

So Nicky and I hope you will join in with us for Scraptastic Tuesday. Feel free to grab our button, and use the hashtag #scraptastictuesday.

By the way, the beautiful texty give away sponsored by Sew Me A Song is still open, if you have not yet entered, go here.

Best,


Leanne

51 comments:

  1. You have some beautiful scraps, if those first four blue blocks are anything to go by!

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  2. I have a bunch of ways I sort scraps. One thing I do if I have at least a 2.75" X WOF "scrap" I trim it to 2.5" and sort those into coordinating self-made "jelly rolls." I have used those jelly rolls in scarp quilts and it is so much fun. I also don't put tiny scraps into baggies by color - I trim them down to a usable size (I bought the Cut the Scraps and use her system for my small pieces). I've got quite a few of the 5" ones and was thinking the other day I should sort them into coordinated bundles and make little charms packs out of them. I also have a big plastic bin with larger scraps sorted by color...and lastly I have a basket next to my sewing machine where I toss recent scraps...when that gets overfilled, I dump them out and sort and organize them, but I do find that I will pull something out of the basket when I am working on a smallish project.

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  3. This post is hilarious, Leanne. I like to think that all quilters suffer from 'too many scraps' unless they are the type who discards all pieces smaller than a fq! and I do know some of those. My description of a scrap is anything that I don't love anymore. Might be 3m but it's not likely to get used in anything I make now. I am on a mission to reduce my stash to make room for some of the yummy new fabrics out there! Good luck with your quest! Linda Schmidt.

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  4. I have the same problem you have, Leanne! Our town has a lot of traditional quilters who love Bonnie Hunter and exposed me to her scrap system. She has a couple books out called "Leaders and Enders" that use scraps (it's more than that, but we're talking about scraps). She recommends when you have leftover fabric from a project smaller than a specific size (that you fold and put back in your stash), that you immediately cut and put into a scrap box. She does recommend clear boxes and I think she has recommended sizes to cut.

    I recently took a few of my scrap boxes, ironed them!, and started cutting. I've got squares and strips in different sizes. I've also cut hexagons in different sizes and started a box for flying geese squares. My strip box has strips up to 2.5" strips. Anything smaller than 1.5" but larger than 3/4" I put in a separate stack. All of these are in clear boxes and arranged by size. I've seen some who organize by color that look great. Whatever works for you.

    I can definitely see this working well for a scrap project, and definitely for the strip blocks you mention.

    If you find a system you love, be sure to share it. Organizing a sewing room is a crazy task!

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  5. I want to hear more about the use of tiny scraps as stuffing. I've always thrown away anything to small to use, but I've wondered more than once if there wasn't something I could do with them. I thought they'd be too hard when packed into a throw pillow for the couch - what do you stuff with them?

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  6. I was going to suggest reading Bonnie Hunter's Scrap User's System and will be mentioning it in my blog post next week! But start cutting to the scraps you need for your first project and keep going as a start! That way you will get the sizes you need. I made a start with my 2.5" squares background fabric....

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  7. A scrap can't be a fat quarter...otherwise my entire stash is scraps!! I think they are much smaller than that. I love that last block - so so beautiful. I really love scrappy projects - I think they are my favourites as they are always unique.

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  8. I define a scrap as the cut up fabric left over from another project. It has to be smaller than a fat quarter for me to consider it a scrap.

    I think organizing by color is the best, but as I don't have it that way, I guess I can't really say. Mine is a hodge podge right now that doesn't make much sense and is all over the place disorganized.

    I often think of doing the method where you cut your scraps into 5", 3.5", 2.5" and long strips. But it is so much work starting with my scrap pile and I don't really like just cutting for hours and hours.

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  9. I used all my scraps in one go, no waste! I put them in zip lock bags and used said bags as packing material in the move.... :-)

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  10. This is a never ending project for me. I have been trying to sew from stash for the last couple of years. I did use Bonnie Hunters system and some of it works really well for me I went through my stash and those fabrics I didn't love I cut it up and I add to the system as I sew from stash as well. I use the 2.5 in strips the most along with 2.5 in squares. I also have 1.5, 2, and 3.5. I haven't used many of the others. I also have strings separated by lights and darks. I am making a light string quilt. I think cutting 5" squares would be handy too. I do save weird sizes that I don't want to size down my color group. I am not a huge improve sewer so not sure I am going to use them.
    I do love scrap quilts and the more scraps the better they look. I do like them coordinated but sometimes I just can't manage that. I have realized I will never be able to sew through them all and need to also do some serious purging as well.
    I am excited to see what you find that works as well. Great post and will look forward to Tuesdays.

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  11. Super Dupe idea Leanne, I will be following the progress (also hopefully on IG?!) & once "Canvas" is finished I'll be scrappingalong too… am in need of some scrap inspiration that's for sure ;-)

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  12. Most of my stash would be classified as scraps if we're counting anything under a fat quarter. I don't have any suggestions for storage, except the same questions as you! I like Nicky's idea of just cutting for the current project(s). I think I might use one of my vacation days to plan a scraptastic project!!! It's a brilliant idea!

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  13. I'm looking forward to your posts on this! Have you seen this blog post by Lori Holt? http://beeinmybonnetco.blogspot.com/2013/08/from-my-quilty-studiohow-i-save-my.html She cuts her scraps after they are generated into defined strip sizes i.e. 1.5", 2.5", 3.5" and sorts them by size. I've been thinking of using all my scraps to create a unicolored scrap panel in order to make fabric baskets. I must admit I save even the smallest scraps .5" to use for tiny hexies.

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  14. This is a great idea for a linky party! I love using scraps and always seem to make more than I use! I sort my scraps in 3 ways: 1, by collections i.e. leftover jellyrolls/layer cakes 2. colour coded 3. anything smaller than 3" square gets run through my 2.5" sizzix die and put in my scrap vomit box! Looking forward to seeing others scrappy projects! Jxo

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  15. I think definitions of what a scrap is are individually relative. Mine are quite small, anything less than 6-8" square probably but then that's because my stash is mostly fqs. This year I emptied my scrap bins and sorted as much as I could making the strip rolls for my rag rug and cutting lots of sizes of strips and squares from them. Now they are neatly organised but still unused. Perhaps in a month or two (when I've culled some of my current projects ) I will join you and Nicky in using them up.

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  16. Thanks for the link to the choose your own block along. I started the Tula Pink blocks a short while ago, and maybe this would encourge me to keep going.

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  17. I do use the Bonnie Hunter system for scraps - but if you do only make the size of cut scraps you will need. As a friend knows I use scraps, she was at a retreat and brought all the ladies from there 'scraps' to me..... Some of these 'scraps' were big pieces, not what I would consider a 'scrap'. So, because I would rather sew then constantly cut, I went and bought myself a GO system, not something I had ever even considered before but I can either cut or sew and I want to play.

    I love your block you show above. This alone will use up a whole lot of your scraps. For me right now, I am making a Bonnie Hunter pattern called "Fair & Square" and it uses up a whole lot of strings, 1.5" squares and 2" squares - it is a lot of sewing, but if I have the fabric, why not use it??

    I love this idea of yours. I am going to be doing a class at my LQS on this subject this month: what to do with your scraps, how to make them work for you and how to create a system that you will do. And what to make with your new found fabrics!!! :-)

    I will be learning as you take this journey. Thanks for letting me come along for the ride!!! Oh the magic you will be creating from your stash!!!

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  18. I've been working on using up scraps for months and still have a mountain of them. Of course, I save all but the smallest bits. I'll be following/joining you! Your comment about not wanting to cut individual pieces sounded like something I have said. I find if I use the scraps for paper piecing I don't have to cut them so much. Sometimes I don't even iron them until they are on the paper!

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  19. Being afraid that I'll end up with fabric cut into a size that doesn't work for me is precisely the reason I can't subscribe to those scrap management systems that have you cut stuff up right away. I sort my scraps (for me, that is anything smaller than a FQ or quarter-metre WOF) by colour in my colour coded bins (made with scraps by the way). I do try to keep the strings/strips < about 3" wide separated from the other pieces but they all live together in the bin.

    I make myself go to my scraps whenever I'm making random blocks (say for a guild block lottery) or other projects that require small amounts of fabric (guild round robin). But when I start a new project, I don't tend to look in my scrap bins unless it's specifically a scrap project if that makes sense.

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  20. Just wanted to add that it looks like Your blended scraps quilt will be just as beautiful as the last one.

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  21. I am not sure if I have any helpful comments or not... I do not have a large stash, and everything I have has either been given to me, or "found", so I have lots of unusual sizes. I have an ice cream bucket that I put scraps in. When it gets full, I cut things in it into 2" and 5" squares, and 3" strips for binding. Things don't go into the scrap bucket unless I'm ready to use them up in random things. After the ice cream bucket gets full, I sit and cut some scraps for an evening while talking to the kids or watching something. I never try to empty it, just maintain it, because that way it's not overwhellming for me. The other thing I do is always look in the scrap bucket first when I'm looking for fabric. I also go there first to make things for gifts. I also use the 2" squares for leaders and enders, and plan on eventually having a quilt made with them. I don't save anything smaller than 2"; if I like it enough to save anything smaller, I sew it into "made" fabric with other little bits right away. Right now I've had a month of play with someone else's scraps: I won a ziploc bag full, and have been having a game with myself to see how many things I can make with them, adding only backing and binding from my other fabric. I've made a table runner, 4 place mats, 2 pot holders, 12 coasters, and 3 shark zipper pouches. It went farther than I thought; I can see why scraps never seem to get used up! sarah@forrussia.org

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  22. Love the idea of Scraptastic Tuesday! :) Scraps to me are smaller than a FQ. Like you my stash is mostly FQ;s. When I am cutting fabric for a project and there is less than 4 inches left I cut it right away into strips...or squares if that is all I have. Which size depends on my mood. :) I sort these scraps by the strip/square size. I use them in many different ways. I will sew them as headers and enders for some project I've decided on. Like once I made 3 inch nine patch blocks till there were enough (hundreds!) for a quilt. I also use scraps for small projects like zippered pouches and bags. I will go to my scrap drawers first. Right now I am also making Tula Pinks City sampler blocks with scraps and grays from my stash for backgrounds.
    Have you seen Victoria Findlays "15 Minute of Play" blog (book too)? She sews scraps together to make new fabric and then cuts shapes from that. Pretty liberating! http://www.15minutesplay.com/

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  23. I love this idea. I only have one box of scraps, but I want to use them. I will be joining in :-)

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  24. oh goodness! I need to come back and read all the comments! My scraps are not organized - all tossed in a big basket. That does not really work for me either, but I definitely do not want to sort them. And fat-quarters are not scraps in my book - that's half my stash! I am currently cutting smallish scraps into 2 1/2" squares rather than toss them in the basket, with another 'postage stamp' type quilt in the plans. Anyway, I'll be interested in all the goings on here RE: scraps and will certainly attempt to join in!

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  25. I find a sturdy laundry bin a good way to store my scraps, can dive in and rummage about , and because its deep, bits do not spill out whilst I am rummaging. It has a small footprint, good in my tiny flat, and is a rugged material with a strong plastic supporting ring at the top.I am making double wedding ring curves with 2.5 x 3.5 inch scrap pieces. I cut up a few scraps into these bits each night an add to the bag of potential pieces to pick from.
    http://www.johnlewis.com/john-lewis-cylinder-laundry-bin-black/p1271267

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  26. I too have been overwhelmed by scraps, but I only have three buckets of them. I sort them into piles of bits that are the same shape until they get down to silly little bits and then they're in a bucket of their own. I am thrilled to see this because I'd love to join in, and perhaps it will help my self-started project. Today is Day 11 where I make at least one (sometimes more if it works out that way) block of 3/6/or/9" using only what's in the scrap bucket. Sticking to these sizes means they will all interlock should I want to - It takes as little as 5 minutes or as long as I have time but slowly my pile of blocks is growing and I am having enormous fun experimenting with different layouts, patterns and fabric combinations. You are welcome to have a look on my IG feed (or not), @nykiedesigns or #projectscrapblock - There will definitely be some blended scrap blocks coming up because they are stunning :)

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  27. I have been sorting my scraps by size of squares and strips. I find it helpful to take a drawer or clear shoebox of squares and place it by my machine to use as leaders and enders when sewing my project together. That way I have squares and HST ready for a quick scrap quilt.

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  28. This just the motivation I need to get back to organizing my scraps. I started last year by sorting by color and then cutting using Joan Ford's method from Cut the Scraps. I still haven't made anything with them, but they sure do take up less space after they are organized! I plan to make a scrappy X and + quilt.

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  29. OOOH! yes, please!!! To sort, to see, to use! Is it possible??? ;^)

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  30. p.s. forgot to mention my awe that you are going to start a City Sampler! Good luck - it's a fun process imho....

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  31. My friend cuts up her fabrics - and separates them by size - various size strips and squares, with about a 7" square being the largest square, unless it is a "background" piece and then it can be bigger. Of course she makes lots of applique kits for students and these sizes work out well. I have my fabrics folded like you do, but try to keep the folded edge toward the front so I can slide my hand in just above the piece I want, lift the entire stack and grab just what I need. And you are right - those big tubs are practically worthless. I would find a friend with a Go Cutter and run all those little scraps through there for some tumbler quilts or something.

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  32. I used "Scrap Therapy" by Joan Ford. It took me a quite a while, but I truly use my scraps now! i highly recommend you check it out. Oh - and Joan doesnt really include strings in her system, so I have a bin for those too!

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  33. Great idea ladies. I need to play along as well :) No advices from my side though. I'm a bit messy when it comes to scraps.

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  34. Ditto to Beth and Brenda's comments about Bonnie Hunter's scrap system at www.quiltville.com. The Go system also sounds like a real time saver! I'll have to check into that myself. Scrappy Happy! svonfumetti at yahoo dot com

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  35. Oh my, so many beautiful Projects in your mind. I ´d love to join too and I hope to find some time for Scrappy Projects ;-)

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  36. how much beautiful fabric you have there re my scraps I put anything less than a fat quarter in my collection, slowly building up the scraps as I do like scrappy quilts!

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  37. As someone new to quilting I did not think I'd find myself with this issue so soon. I can just imagine how many scraps you must have. LARGE BINS..LOTS OF BINS, you have a color system which is the way I've started. I have kept all of my solids together and then made bins for the colored prints. The only baggies I use are those for the very small scraps less than 4". Once I've decided what I'm making and what color scheme it's going to be I first go my new main print and then right to my scrap heap to see what can be used. The only way out of a scrap heap is to use the scraps first and keep the heap down as much as possible. Sure hope this is of some help although I don't know how much help a "newbee" can be.

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  38. If you are afraid of pre-cutting your scraps because you are afraid you won't use that size - what about cutting them into 2 1/2" squares or strips where possible? Quilters always need that size of square or strip. You can start with that and maybe charms - there are tonnes of tutorials and patterns that use just charm squares. That way, you can have some pre-cut that you can store by size and/or colour & then you can still have uncut scraps stored just by colour that are not pre-cut. Also, if bins don't work for you (they wouldn't work for me either - too much lifting of bins on top & opening lids) what about drawers? Like those plastic stacked drawers - and they usually have wheels or are light enough to carry. If you need scraps & they are in a different room then you can bring them over while you are working on that project, then bring them back again. And! and! and! (ooo...I'm getting excited here - can't you tell? lol.) you could interchange the drawers, so if you only need colours 1, 2 and 3 you could put them all in one drawer "system" before moving them to the other room!

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  39. Hmm, yes, you both clearly have a scrap problem! I don't have that many, and I usually use them in bee blocks, I think you and Nicky are just enabling each other to make more scraps ;o)

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  40. I had a brainstorm last winter and came up with something that works awesome for me and makes it easy for my nephew to find certain colours of scraps for sewing with auntie!

    http://citricsugar.blogspot.ca/2014/06/the-great-sort-how-i-dealt-with-scraps.html?m=1

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  41. I hear you on the scrap organization. I have a system but then it's like filing papers - I get behind and throw things in a pile for organizing later. I also have several large shopping bags overflowing. Guess I'm not much help on the suggestions but want you to know you're not alone. Glad you are joining in the Choose Your Own BlockAlong!

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  42. A couple of years ago I spent weeks and weeks sorting out my scraps - they were stuffed in ziplock bags and I was sick of having to empty a bag to find what I wanted, stuff the rest back in the bag and then iron the pieces I'd picked out, all before doing any cutting or sewing! My (ironed) scraps now live in Ikea Kassett boxes (the second smallest size) with a colour swatch (from a paint colour strip) on the front to tell me which colour lives inside. I find that this system works really well for me as the boxes are easy to access and I don't have to do any ironing before I sew. I wish you luck on your scrap organising!

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  43. Yep - I'll join in!!! I have lots of scraps and love to use them :) I keep my larger scraps in plastic bin drawers so I can see the colors without having to open the drawers, and I often pull from them. Strings are kept together at the front of the drawer. Crumbs are kept in glass jars - they are so pretty sitting on my bookshelf!

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  44. this sounds like a wonderful idea. I need help sorting my scraps too. they are much like yours at the moment......stashed into shopping bags and boxes. i also don't like the idea of pre cutting them into sizes. my current idea is to attempt the farmers wife quilt using only scraps. i am now following your blog as i am sure the link parties will be a great incentive.

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  45. I read all the comments, and got a couple of ideas for myself! I have started cutting 2.5", 3.5" and 5" pieces, but then I realized I liked the strips better, and if I need blocks I will cut them up. I only cut squares if the pieces is small, then I cut the biggest sized scrap possible from it. I sort by cut size, not color. I love the Jelly Roll idea, and already sort my regular fabric on cardboard from the fabric store(free) instead of comic boards. When I cut for a quilt now, I am cutting my scraps up into strips, preferably 5" first, or the largest sized strip I can, and sort by size. I have been using my 2.5' strips and 5" charms a lot, and need to start cutting and sorting my scraps in my huge 31 tote. I can't stand long due to health problems, so this is working for me so far. Now need to really use those scraps! cdahlgren at live dot com

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  46. For me anything
    Smaller than a fat quarter gets
    Cut down into 2.5, 1.5 strips. Others get cut down into 4.5 X 2.5, 2.5, 1.5 blocks. Strings anything .75 x 2.0 inch wide go in drawers that are the color of the fabric. The container store has lots of storage possibilities. Crumbs are stored in empty and clean litter containers. For strings when the drawer is full it's time to
    Sew them onto foundation such as muslin or a yucky neutral fabric. And like everyone else keeping the scraps under control is a full time effort. BUT I would rather play with scraps over pristine yardage any day.

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  47. I recently started a new scrap use making animal beds out of tiny bits of
    Fabric, threads, batting and any fiber. You'd be surprised how fast these add up. I use less than desirable fabric about half a yard and fill. When full enough fold over the open edge a few times and sew shut. Sign your pillow and donate to a animal hospital or any other animal oriented place. These animals just love the luxurious soft pillows.

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  48. I just joined Scraptastic Tuesday as I am trying to learn to use my scraps more! Wow...your scrap stash is ...well....quite a stash! I just finished organizing my scraps, stash and sewing room to get a clean start on my next project and I want it to be something scrappy! I am not a scrappy quilter as they just look (to me) messy, cluttered, to busy and oh did I mention I am an over organizer? But I was going to mention...and it might not be enough for what you have, but its a start and organized, but I have found that a tall plastic drawer bin on wheels($13) is perfect for scraps! I put colored labels on the front of each drawer for the color in there. I have 2 colors per drawer at the moment but you could get two wheelers and have one drawer for each color. It is tall and has 5 large drawers and when I need the scraps.. I just roll it next to my sewing table and open drawer as needed! Works great! I joined to follow you too so I am looking forward to tips, tricks and fun!

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  49. Love your scraps stash! I just have bins right now, too, for the <FQ pieces. Some day I'll get more organized with that. Can't see it happening soon, though. bleh!

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  50. Almost all of my quilts are scrappy...and my scraps beget scraps, beget scraps...until I either use them up or get tired of seeing those particular scraps and move them on. I attempt to organize my scraps by color and size. I keep my strings/strips in one 3 drawer rolling bin with sections for different colors within each drawer. My larger scraps (smaller than a FQ) used to live together but that 3 drawer bin was overflowing so I removed all the squares and triangles, put them into baggies and gave them their own drawer.... Scraps have a way of resisting organization and my scrap management strategies are always evolving. I'm looking forward to learning and sharing tips with other scrap lovers.

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