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.
  • 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.