Last week I had the honor of presenting by “Don’t Get Stuck in a Scrap Trap” lecture to the Dakota County Star Quilters.
I shared my tips on how to determine if scrap quilting is for you and shared ideas on how to set up a scrap system that enables you to actually start using your scraps. I debunked common myths about scrap quilting, shared tips on how to maintain and actively use your scraps, and did a trunk show with many examples of scrap quilts I have made over the years.
This is a lecture that I have done virtually in the past for the Minneapolis Modern Quilt Guild but was able to adapt to an in person format for the first time which made it so much more fun! If you are interested in having this lecture at your guild/group virtually or in person, learn more here.
I was asked to put together a handout with some of the links I referred to throughout the lecture. I figured that since I am putting this together it would be a great blog post to share with ya’ll as well.
Colby’s Scrap System
Without giving the whole lecture away, the main idea of a scrap system is to cut your scraps into usable and consistent cuts so that you know what you have and can easily find and use your scraps. The cuts I use are:
- 5 in strips
- 5 in squares
- 2.5 in strips
- 2.5 in squares
- 1.5 in strips + strings
Other quilters use a similar system and I have experimented with my own along the way. The cuts above are what I consider the “best of” some of the systems below:
- Bonnie Hunter’s Scrap User System
- Lori Holt – How I save my scraps
- All People Quilt – How to Organize Fabric Scraps
- Stitched in Color – How to Organize Fabric Scraps
- Just Get it Done Quilts – Take Control of Your Scraps
I also spoke about how I absolutely love using a leader/ender system. I have created countless “free” quilts by using scraps that I have kitted up into leader/ender projects. At some point I will do a whole post on that, but for now, the Craft Quilter has a great overview for how leaders and enders work.
Another way that I use up a lot of my scraps and/or prevent them from entering my scrap system at all is to integrate them into the backings of my quilts. I have done this for years but loved the video that Just Get it Done Quilts did on how to make what she calls an Afterquilt. She took it to the next level and truly used up everything!
Another great way to use scraps is to reduce the mental load of creating a pattern and use up all the ones people have out that that are “free.”
- Public Library
- Textile Center Library
- Fabric Manufacturer Websites
- Bonnie Hunter Free Patterns
- Red Pepper Quilts Tutorials
Lastly, for those little crumbs that are too small to cut into your system, try out crumb quilting. Missouri Star has a great video showing how to piece crumbs and Just Get it Done Quilts shows 7 ways to use crumbs in ways that might just inspire you to not throw them away!