After spending 12 hours stitching on quilts at the Sr. Citizen's Center, I discovered a huge donation of fabric on my doorstep. The spouse of a fabric sales representative had spent countless hours pulling sample fabrics from their cardboard backing and had packaged them up and delivered them to me. I was so excited to receive them. Hundreds of pieces of new fabric! It was better than a shopping spree. The pieces are not large, for the most part, but my hands were itching to start cutting and sewing at that late hour.
The next day was spent in sorting the fabric to get it ready to use. How to sort scraps is always a dilemma as each assortment of scrap donations is different. Each quilter has individual taste, so things differ from person to person. My first storting is usually by size of the pieces. I try to sort according to the designs that I most commonly make or have need of pieces for. Narrower strips go into my "string" collection, which is one of my favorite uses of scraps. Using sew and flip technique I can be quite thoughtless about the fabrics that go into a block, and since the base fabric or paper to which I stitch determines the shape of the design, I can stitch for a long time without great convern about what I use. I have a goal to make 100 string quilts, and am at 27 or 28 right now. Why 100? Why not? String strips go into a large plastic tub under the sewing machine which can be pulled out when sewing, and pushed back when not in use. If there are a large number of strips in one color family I may put them in a ziplock bag and then into the tub.
Four-patch and Nine-patch units use squares, usually 2 or 2-1/2-inches in size. Squares and strips go into plastic storage drawers which I can pull out when working on a design using those pieces, and slipped back into place when not needed, awaiting new additions to the collection.
When I have larger pieces that will have to be cut before they can be used I use different methods to sort them. Most often I sort them by style unless there are a large number of piecies in one color. I recently sorted some scrap from a woman who was moving and gave me a box of scraps. There were quite a number of blue and of red scraps, so I put them together with the idea of using them together in a future project. In the case of my new fabrics, the categories of sort were:
tone on tone prints
bright contemporary prints
dark reproduction style prints
plaids, checks and stripes
light background prints and toiles
theme and holiday prints
wall paper prints (what I might see on my grandparent's walls)
Kiddie theme prints for I Spy quilts
I recently discovered the paper storage boxes of clear plastic that are sold in scrapbook stores for the storage of scrapbook paper. Sizes 8 x 11 and 12 x 12, they have attached lids that close securely, and they stack very well. Shops in our area are packaging their quilt kits in them, and tied up with a nice ribbon they are very presentable. I put all of my nicely sorted scraps in them and sadly, put them away until the next quilt project comes along--which won't be long! I'll report later on about how useful the boxes are for storage of my scraps as well as in-progress projects.
This past week I completed a quilt top from a raw edge applique string project where I used the nice florals I had just received. Alas, my camera has died and has to be replaced so I can capture some pictures of it to post. However I am most pleased with it, and a second one is on the way. When cutting the background squares for it (another donation), I had leftovers, so cut 2 x 5-inch pieces of it. I cut scrap prints to go with it and have sewn the blocks for a rail-fence quilt. I just need to select some setting and border fabric, cut some triangles from it, and then the on-point set of that quilt will be under-way. I also cut the red and blue fabrics for another quilt, and it is ready for the block constructions--also all of donated fabric. I hope to soon have pictures of these projects posted.