Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Scraps, more scraps, and even more scraps!

When I got really serious about using my scraps, one of the first things I did was to make bins to put them in. I sort by color, but I've found that many quilters use size and shape as their primary sorting system. No matter how you store them, you do eventually have to use them. I decided to share a few of my ideas for using the scraps that muliply like rabbits. 

Of course, I've made scrap quilts using a variety of colors, and I've made a few using only one or two colors.  I've found that a limited palette is a great way to use up the scraps that have gotten out of hand. 

In fact, I've made quite a few quilts using just scraps or mostly scraps with a solid background. The blue quilt above and the red one below are made from HSTs set in different patterns. Though the quilts look the same size, the blue is a baby quilt and the red chevron is a queen.

This brown/beige/gold quilt was a good way to use up all the scraps I had in those colors. The trick is to limit the palette to colors in the same family and include a variety of shapes, sizes, and textures. My only other trick is my design wall and camera. Though I take bad pictures, looking at the arrangement on the design wall through the camera lens really helps me to see what stands out or recedes. 

Quilts that are going to have a solid background work best if they are wildly asymetrical or give the sense of symmetry. In the khaki coins quilt above, the coins are not symetrical, but they are evenly spaced and have clean edges, which gives a sense of balance and proportion. 

Obviously, I wasn't even trying for any kind of balance or sense of symmetry in these last two quilts. In the one above I was playing with techniques that I wanted to practice or try out. In the one below, I was simply trying to use up some blue scraps. Heavens, those blues just keep mulitplying!

Another way of using up scraps includes making a rag rug for the camper out of fabrics that I don't want to put into quilts. It's not the prettiest of rugs, but it will do the trick and used up a huge amount of fabric scraps cut into one inch strips. 

Additionally, I use my Accuquilt cutter to make kits that sew up extra fast. Those I take with me when we go on vacation so that I have some sewing to do. While I've read blogs suggesting that fabrics be cut into uniform-sized pieces, I do this only when I am cutting the pieces for a particular quilt. Since I tend to sew scraps in an improvisational manner, I like to have all shapes and sizes available. However, whatever works for your needs is what I recommend you do.

I love making small pincushions using my scraps, too. I have a plan for some of them when I go on a retreat in March, so I'll be hitting the scraps again soon to make a few more. In the meantime, I'm working on a scrap project that may prove just how insane I am. Unfortunately, I'll have to keep it on the DL for a little while longer. 

Lastly, I use scraps for many small projects. I've used them for baby items, such as bibs, diaper covers, and changing pads. As a matter of fact, I have a few of those on my To Do List...just need to get to them before the end of April. When this newest baby gets a little older, I'll make a doll quilt or two.

How do you use scraps? Do you have any favorite scrap projects? I'm almost out of ideas for using them, so any suggestion that adds to this list will be greatly appreciated. They are still multiplying!


Karen S said...

It looks like you are very well organised with your scraps and make great use of them.

Mary at Fleur de Lis Quilts said...

Thanks, Karen, I'm hoping this post helps a few quilters who are overwhelmed with scraps. It seems to happen so fast.