And MORE process: Scraps

Taking care of a fabric stash is easy, but what do you do with your scraps? How small do you go? And how can they be stored?

I used to keep boxes of them, but eventually just quit doing that because I just don’t seem to use them in the way that I work. They would pile up in tubs and bags, which bothers the side of me that hates messy space. But then I would feel bad about tossing them – surely someone could take this fabric so that I don’t have to put it in a landfill!

This year it all fell into place for me… I finally have a process for scraps that seems to flow well for me. And that’s the most important part about YOUR process…. it has to flow well for YOU.

First up – off come the selvages (man, that word looks weird… being a Brit, I prefer selvedge, but for clarity we’ll go with the American spelling :-). They go into the Adva Bag. Adva is a friend who makes lovely things out of them, like this sweet little birdie:

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Every time I see one of her selvage projects I think, waitaminute! I should be keeping them! I should make these cute things! But then I realize that I won’t actually do it – it really is not my way of working. So off to Adva they go, and besides… sometimes I get something cute back, like my birdie! Check out that ORANGE tail. It truly is mine!

Next, I have a staging area… I put all my scraps into a bin until it overflows (or I need to fiddle with something while I’m procrastinating something else).

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These are chunks that are big enough for me to want to fuss with.¬†When I get around to cutting them, I will cut them into 2.5″ strips of any length, and file them in the strip drawer:

IMG_2924The strips are sorted into Solids, Batiks, and Everything Else. Being as I often design with strips, these make for excellent raw testing material for working out ideas, and as I culled them from scraps, I have few reservations about chopping into them to figure something out.

The bits that are too small for strips go into my Megan Bag. Megan is a friend who does quilted portraits (you can commission one on Etsy) and things like this:

crumbrunner2That then get turned into things like this:

Picking up the pieces

Megan made this by using tiny pieces as her “sew-on” and “sew-off” scraps on her machine. Every time she sews something, she pieces scraps together until she has blocks, and then pieces the blocks, and so on.

I’m in awe…. I tend to be serially monogamous to my projects and just can’t wrap my head around sewing bits for this while making blocks for that. So it’s great that Megan loves this kind of fussy because now my scraps have somewhere to go.

And then there is the stuff that is just too scrappy for Megan. That goes into the Barbara Bucket.

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This is a re-purposed red licorice tub, ready for the shreds, threads, and bits of batting that I trim when squaring up fabric and quilts. Barbara uses them to stuff pillows for a local homeless shelter.

I see all three ladies at least once a month at a minigroup meeting, and happily distribute the bags of things I no longer keep. It makes me so happy to know that, even though my process doesn’t make use of such scraps, they go somewhere useful!