Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Becoming a User--Bust Your Stash post 2

Scraps from Martha's floor sorted into like sizes
In September, I listed some ideas about inspiration behind a design. I hope you have an idea of what you want to create or at least have narrowed your options for the Bust Your Stash challenge! This month, our topic is where to procure our scraps. 

The easiest resource is from past projects! For many years, I purchased my fabrics according to the pattern that I was making. I had one background, one medium, one dark and one light fabric. These days, I may choose a range of fabrics that represent medium, dark and light values. I find the various fabrics make the finished quilts sparkle and these quilts are an ode to the quilts our ancestors created from the scrap basket.
Sorted and bagged into the scrap saving system

The hardest fabrics to collect are the darks. The ones I’m low on the most are the lights! When I started quilting, I was determined not to have leftover bits. As I finished projects, I tossed the leftovers less than 1/4 of a yard or less than a fat quarter size.

Then I got to thinking. . .those smaller bits cost just as much as the bigger bits. I wondered how many possible quilts I had thrown away over the years. So, I started saving smaller bits using Bonnie Hunter’s scrap user’s system. When I’ve finished a project and before I work on the next project, I sort all the remaining bits. I cut the bits into useable sizes and store the pieces into like sizes by color. For example, I have ziplock bags of 2” squares and 2” strips in a variety of colors.
One block cut and ready to sew from the precuts
When the bag gets full, I try to use the fabrics in a project. Our challenge came about because I had many two inch squares. I wondered if others were in my position! Over the years, I’ve been pleasantly surprised when a pattern would call for cutting strips of a certain size and I’d go to my scrap saver system and pull those fabrics needed.  I love it when this works because I’m that much closer to stitching!

When I first started the scrap saving system, I went through past bags of leftovers. I had shoved the fabrics into a plastic bag and crammed the bags into a drawer or a container never to see the light of day. It took some time and it was nostalgic cutting fabrics from previous finished projects.  It was great to have like fabrics together. I was surprised at how much more space I had once I done the cutting and sorting!

If I want to try a specific color combination or I want to stitch a practice block, I’ll go to my “pre-cuts” looking for the sizes of fabrics that I need. As I’ve played with my pre-cuts, I’ve also noticed I’m making better fabric choices regarding value. 

If you are new to quilting, haven’t accumulated scraps, and belong to a quilt guild, check the free table. Often, there are some bits that might fill in the holes in your scrap system. Sometimes, friends will “gift” you chunks that you can use. You can also cut into your yardage that you have stashed. The point is, we all have enough fabrics stashed in our sewing spaces to create lots of projects. So stop petting and start cutting! Using, in this sense, is GOOD! Next month, our topic will be fabric choices.

Remember, comments are welcomed here as well as on instagram at #2020bustyourstashchallenge

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