Saturday, September 26, 2009

Use Your Scraps!

I know we all love to collect our little scraps and save them to make doll quilts someday, but don't forget to use them! One of the best ways I've found to get motivated to do this and actually make those little quilts is to first take the time to organize your scraps. Otherwise, I get bogged down by the clutter and don't know what to do with those little pieces.

Clutter can sometimes make it more difficult to create. For me, it's a huge visual distraction. A clean desk or sewing area definitely helps me be more productive. For others, the mess is necessary for the flow and disturbing the flow can stop the inspiration. I see this in my daughter when she gets creative. For years, before I understood, I wanted to continually clean up after her while she was in the middle of painting, beading or crafting. Eventually, I let go and just let her be. We all create in different ways. The end product is the real point, isn't it?

Does being creative = messy to you??

When I do get around to sorting my scraps, sometimes I turn on the TV, sit on the floor and toss them into different colored piles somewhat mindlessly. The last time I did it it actually wasn't that bad and went a lot quicker than I thought it would (I finished before the movie ended!) and I found quite a few scraps I had forgotten about that I love. If you can't get motivated to begin, ask a friend over to help you sort away.

I put the larger scraps that are left over from previous projects into separate shoebox-sized bins according to color and then place the tiniest scraps into ziplock bags, again according to color. When I begin working on a project and think I'll need a few little pieces (like a pink, purple or poison green print to add a little ZING to the blocks), I bring out my little bags of colored scraps and keep them nearby and just pluck what I need--easy to do since I can readily see the colors through the bags. I wish I could promise that all of my scraps will now stay organized but I know that I'll have to go through the sorting thing again soon, probably many times in the coming months.

I have to admit, my sewing space is often a mess when I'm working on something, especially when it's several projects for a book at the same time (No time to organize, too many things to do! More coffee!). Then it becomes a real chore when it's time to clean it up. But if I do it often and keep it up, it feels SO good to know where everything is, like a cleansing. Sometimes it's almost like getting new fabric because every single time I find a piece or two or three I forgot I had.

Here are a few ideas to help you use up those tiny scraps.

From American Doll Quilts

Also from American Doll Quilts

For the pincushion, I used 1" strips and those decorative stitches on your sewing machine that seldom get used.


Karen said...

Though I love the look of a really neat & clean sewing room, I seem to do my best with a mess around me....but only up to a certain point. Then I have to clean up and put away before I can do more.

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

Ooooo I want to sew like you!!! I do need to organize my scraps and USE THEM :-)

Miriam said...

Thank you for those hints on using your scraps. Exactly what I need now. Great ideas for storage too.

free indeed said...

I need to get at my scraps soon...I almost wish the grandkids were nearby to help sort...that would be a great together project. I have a bin under the sewing table and it is just too full to get any use out of it. I make lotto blocks every month to use some of them up...I joined for just that use up scraps! I don't need to win, but it is nice when I do! Some scraps are so tiny...acht. Thanks for the pep talk!

Renate said...

I like a clean sewing room too, but when I am working on a quilt after a little time the table looks messy and I have to clean it again!
And its nice to read, how other quilters manage this problem. Thank you!
My little scraps are sorted by color in shoeboxes.

Kathleen Tracy said...

While I am working on a quilt I throw the scraps into one of two baskets (big one for the fat quarter sized scraps and a little basket for the smaller pieces) I keep on the floor nearby and then eventually take an evening to sort through them and put the ones I think are worth saving into the bins or plastic bags. Just writing about it inspires me to be more organized, LOL. Maybe I should start writing about a diet??


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