More on scraps

Funny, I should have know how many of you had the same problem. To be clear, I don’t mind having scraps – I love them but they’re unorganized and taking over. So why is that? I looked back over my spreadsheets for the last couple years. In 2020, I pieced 35 tops and only 4 of them were from scraps/strings. The rest were from precuts or yardage. In 2019, I pieced 20 tops and 5 of them were from scraps and the rest from precuts or yardage.

I quilt a lot of tops each year too. Some are mine, some are Mom’s, and there are always HeartStrings tops pieced by other quilts – that generates a ton of scraps from the backings.

Another issue, we tend to move every 3 – 5 years which forces me to sort and reorganize … we’ve been here 5 and a half years now. Past time to go through all the different bins sitting around and sort into usable groups.

Finally, I know what doesn’t/won’t work for me. I do not cut my scraps up into pieces before I decide what I’m going to make. I like to keep my options open because I frequently change my mind about the quilts I want to make. I also know that the last 3 years I was either dealing with health issues or going back and forth between two places. It’s always easier/quicker to pick up precuts or yardage than to cut a scrap quilt.

So like I said, there will be more sorting through bins and more focus on string and scrap quilts. I’ll try to keep one of those projects going at all times. I’m participating in HeartStrings 365 project this year and if I stay focused I might actually hit 365 string blocks – which will be a combination of HeartStrings blocks, my strips and strings Log Cabin blocks, and I’d like to do at least one rail fence from the string bins too. Those are quick and easy.

And it’s been a long time since I’ve made a Chinese Coins quilt. Good for using up smaller strings.

I’ve always liked making string versions of Roman Stripes quilts.

I could also dig into the scrap bins and the string bins for another Half Square Strings quilt. So I have plenty of inspiration just looking back at my string quilts and I just need to focus on using them!


  1. I’m like you Mary. I have a reasonable amount of scraps but I cut them as I need them, otherwise I’d find it very tedious. For example, This week I wanted to make a 12 inch square postage stamp sampler block to see if I could handle making a larger postage stamp quilt. I cut 120 1.5 inch squares and pieced as I went along. The jury is still out on whether I will do a whole quilt like this.

    When I’m in the groove it’s easy to sit for long periods of time and I need to get up from cutting board, to ironing table, to sewing machine (rinse and repeat) or I become too sedentary and that’s not good. I’ve never understood the attraction of an ironing station right next to the sewing machine.

    My big problem at the moment is that I’m finding that I’m bored with my scraps and bits of my stash!

  2. I tend to use a lot of 2.5″ x 4.5″ blocks in scrap quilts, so if I have leftovers, that’s usually the size I’ll cut. I’ve started accumulating strings too – mostly because I see so many great string quilts, but I’m not sure that it’s going to be my thing…. (I’m currently working on a 1.5″ x 2.5″ leader-ender project, so if my strings are wide enough, I can always cut them up for that!)

  3. I try to make 2 scrap quilts after every 10 quilts. I know it works out to 1 in 5 but the extra variation is necessary for me to make decent quilts. It is the organization necessary that gets me. I want to do the fun parts not the tedious but absolutely necessary parts!

  4. I love your scrap quilts, but I don’t love all scrap quilts.I see yours as more organized looking. I thought I’d be a scrap quilter, but I’m not. I have jelly rolls, charm and layer cakes I use which look scrappy, but are in one designer’s palette. I currently have drawers full of jelly rolls and strips of various sizes that I cut from leftover fabrics, this was from when I thought I’d be a scrap quilter. Looking at your quilts today is encouraging me to try one or two of your patterns and use up that fabric.

  5. There are so many fun ideas out there for making scrap quilts. My “smaller” scraps and strings are mostly sorted by color into bins, but some of those bins are overflowing again. But like you, I can’t bear to just pitch them because I know eventually those scraps will get used. And it is sure fun to be able to just dig into those bins when I’m needing something.

  6. Did you see the pictures from the String Quilt exhibit at the Iowa Quilt Museum? Inspired me to finish my Inspired-by-Fandango quilt.

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