Scrap busting

Scraps. Is there anything in quilting that inspires as much discussion? We love them. We hate them. We make quilts from them. We give them away. We throw them out in disgust. We organize them more thoroughly than the card catalogues in libraries, or we pitch them into bags in case our OCD ever gets so bad we need to sort something.

The scraps that challenge me are those that have already been curated to go together. They are left from a particular project, for which you cut some extra pieces, or you used most of a fabric collection but have little bits left, or you just treasure them too much to pitch into the main scrap bag. Those I put in little baggies, and store carefully in a tub full of similar little baggies, for when inspiration strikes. The problem is, inspiration strikes much less commonly then the bags are added, and the tub is getting full. It is also buried deep in the mountain of tubs relocated to my living room after the sewing room flood.38007832_10214792636784058_7725782168407900160_n

This summer I made Deer for dinner placemats from fabrics that I loved. When they were finished, I was left with a number of bits of strip sets, and some strips, as well as some bigger chunks that were too small for the stash and too pretty for the scrap bin. As I went to get a baggie, I rebelled. “Noooo!!! I will not bag up this fabric. I will not leave it lying around. I will not dig through bins to put it away. I will USE it.” What a novel thought!41532855_10215117997837881_6322789727749537792_n

This is “Something from Nothing”, inspired by the children’s book of the same name. The center is part of Corey Yoder’s Patchwork Flower, block 13, for the Moda 2018 Blockheads #2 block of the week program. It is surrounded by strips, and strip sets, and deer that were too darling to cut up. I even broke out my previously unused blocloc half rectangle ruler to make the yellow triangles. When it was pieced, I sewed together three pieces of batting, then three strips of flannel for a backing, quilted a square spiral over the entire thing, bound it with my last few strips of teal, and called it a baby quilt.


I was thrilled with myself until I looked at my table and saw…more scraps. Still not going to baggie them, I decided to bag them. That is, I sewed them together in a tote sized slab, pieced some more batting strips, and found a piece of neglected fabric in the stash for lining. Le voila, a tote bag!


When it was done, I was left with two pieces smaller than a charm square. I put them in my scrap bag, and patted myself on the back for a job well done. And then I hung the lot of it on the clothesline and took a picture.


The end.

Linking up with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. I’m definitely looking for a Whoop Whoop.


27 thoughts on “Scrap busting

  1. This is so wonderful. I’ve heard this process called generation quilts, each quilt being a child of the next one. Usually when I make them, the child winds up being finished before the parent! I have been trying to process my scraps too as they come along. My scrap box is overflowing and I am trying to keep it at bay while I work on the quilts I have already started.


  2. Congratulations. I’ve tried this but not very often and by the time I get to the end, I wish there hadn’t been so many scraps….but they were all too lovely to throw away!!


  3. Hi Ann,
    What a creative use of those scraps! Now, it’s got me thinking of another challenge … use the scraps from your current project … with the intent that the scrap box (bin, trunk, container truck) does not increase in size … sigh! But I do love your placemats and tote!
    Happy Quilting! 🙂


  4. Hi Ann! You definitely deserve a big Whoop Whoop! Ahh, yes – we all have those favorite fabrics that we just can’t part with even after a project. I don’t have baggies but rather just one bag. It is stored in my sewing cabinet, away from Sue to be used and cut when I determine it is the right moment. So far, that moment has not occurred but it may now that you/I have called attention to its existence. Hmm. ~smile~ Roseanne


  5. What a beautiful example of pushing past one’s natural inclination and then to create more fabulous projects. Thanks for the lovely photos!


  6. What a great idea to keep sewing all the bits of fabric from a project as a way of not adding to the bag of scraps. This takes discipline. I am driven to reduce my scrap bag when I can’t stand the look of it overflowing. I will give your approach some consideration. Your placemats and tote bag are lovely.


  7. You did quite well! I’ve been in that same journey, but with less fun fabrics. I was losing my motivation to complete my personal challenge, but you’ve inspired me to keep going!


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