Quilt With Us

What do you do with your left over bits and pieces from you quilts? How do you save and/or store them? This is one of my biggest problems in cleaning up my sewing room!

I'm just old enough to have been raised by people who never threw out anything they might be able to use some day. "Waste not, want not" (After all, you never know if that little two inch piece will be just what you need for that appliqued wall hanging you'll make some day.)
I have two sets of those plastic drawers so that I can save my left-over strips and they're sorted by color. That's not the problem.
It's those "trimmings" from FQs or the left-over bits from a curved cut that are really cluttering up my space. I seem to have a small stack of those pieces from every quilt I've ever made and I would love to know if any of you have that same problem and what you do about it.

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I just saw someone using adding machine rolls to take care of this problem in a very unique way. They were essentially crazy quilting all those tiny pieces into long stripes. The Adding machine paper ensured a straight line and little or no stretching of the fabric while sewing all those little pieces together. They can be sewn on any which way you please. Then, when they had about a dozen strips of this crazy quilted stuff, the length that they want them, they would sew them together with a solid strip. And.....wow.....what a neat way to take care of all those little bits and pieces. This would be a great charity quilt, or for a child done in lots of primary colors. Or very elegant if done with many similarly colored bits of fabric.
I don't know if this would work with left over pieces. But Diana's suggestion to sew little pieces together is brilliant. Try looking at this website and see what someone has done with selvages that we all throw away!


I too hate to throw any fabric away. Small or large ;-)
I've seen those amazing quilts! Aren't they incredible?
I, in my *brilliance*, thought I had a better idea for those selvages and long skinny pieces I've trimmed off my finished quilts.
I have a friend who moved away and besides doing quilting, she also had a loom. Since she was selling off anything large she didn't want to pack up, I bought her loom. (I have absolutely no idea how to set it up OR use it, but it seemed like a good idea t the time!) I thought that would be a great way to use up those uneven strips and selvages.
I now have what used to be a box about the size of a milk crate and it's over-flowing all over my sewing room floor. Now THIS I have a solution for, I just haven't done it. I plan to wind *like* colors into balls like you do yarn and put them in baskets on a shelf! Isn't that a great idea? Maybe I should put it downstairs in the TV room so I might actually do it...
Uh oh, I think I just invented a new *UFO* : UnFinished Organizing. LOL
That is beautiful! Using the foundation makes it easier to work with the smalles pieces. I like working with tiny pieces. My pieces are 1/4 inch in a lot of areas of my mosaics. Also when I am making miniature quilts, the tiny pieces adds variety. Some just like it small. My quilter friends can't understand why I am attracted to small pieces. They did put in bids for my miniature quilts! I called any block larger than a 4" square a "Big Girl" quilt. Yes, I have made a few "Big Girl" quilts and given them away. I do have one left to sell.

When I use the scraps, I just keep sewing until I get a nice size piece and store it for later. The foundation does makes it easier to get a perfect shape.
If they are at least a fat eighth I save them and sort them by color into those drawers. Anything smaller than that. I cut into strips. I have a 2 1/2" box and 1 1/2" box that I throw the strips in. When I get enough different strips, I make a log cabin quilt or other type of strip quilt. I have come to realize tiny pieces go in the trash if I can't put it in one of those 2 boxes.
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH the "crazy quilt" thread/forum here would LOVE you! A member named Mary taught us all about "crumb quilts" there and I'm going to box up all my scraps (I'm just like you...throwing away even a fleck of fabric goes against my nature AND my upbringing!) and mail them to her! That way I know they are being used by another quilter who has WAY more patience and time than I do!

I also suggested on the "Quilt with Us-Community" forum that we start a category in here somewhere that allows us to post things we are looking for (patterns, notions etc) and things we want to get rid of so that we can combine our resources (and often unused "stuff) to share with each other.
Running with Scissors, I think that is a great idea! Sometimes I realize later that I have duplicates in books. My tastes also changes and I may have fabrics that I will not use anymore. I didn't want to just throw them out. I have given plenty to charity. I would love to give it to someone that will ake use of it! It would even be fun to see how it was used. I may also find something useful that others may throw out! Diana
Hello from Houston! Both my parents were "depression babies" and never throw anything away. My mother at 77 has a "horror" of a house as a result. Every time I come back from visiting her I toss out something from my own apartment home for fear of ending up this way. Believe me, it's horrible and she will NOT let any of us do anything about it.

When I sew I wil keep bigger pieces of the scraps for repairs later if needed. These scraps all kept together in one large bag. When the garment goes the scraps go. When quilting, if I love the fabric and the color, I will keep scraps 4 inches or larger. If, when the quilt is completed and I'm done with the fabric, I enjoyed it while it lasted and can move on, I toss out all scraps. I take a picture of each finished quilt to remember it by. I only have so much space and so little time. I am totally comfortable with this practice. I know myself well so this works for me. Learn what gives you piece of mind and develop your own way. I admire the hard work and artistry of the quilters who turn such small pieces of leftover fabric into such lovely quilts, but I do not have ambitions to be one of them.
It's interesting that the generation of depression era moms have created a generation of us who refuse to become hoarders! When my 90 year old mom, my husband and I moved 4 years ago, I thought I had disposed of all the double knits that she had hoarded, but they have been breeding in the dark corners of her closet or something. As a result of her excessive habit, I tend to toss more than some folks, but my real ace in the hole is my grand daughter. At 11 years old, she's learning as she goes and loves to have a whole bag of scraps to do whatever she wants with. I make sure those bags are packed as full as I can get 'em, and I make sure she takes them home with her at the end of our sewing sessions! This may come back to haunt me in some way, but for now it works!
You can also talk to grade school/daycare teachers in your local area. They will sometimes use small scraps in projects the kids do. Doesn't matter how small when it's getting glued to a paper....
I have a lot of respect for you, Deb. I wish that I could be so brave. It is reassuring to know that you get over the pain. Smiles, Diana
Has anyone heard of Mile a minute quilts. I saw them done at a shop once and they just keep sewing strips together. Also you can use a foundation and sew strips on to it, kinda like paper piecing and make squares that way. This is neat when you lay a square ruler on top of the square that you pieced and then turn it 1/4 turn or so then cut your pieced square what ever size you want. Kind of hard to explain but hopefully you get my drift. Rhonda


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