Wednesday, March 16, 2016

I May Have A Scrap Problem - But What Sizes Should I Cut?

Hi, all!

Hopefully you've started looking at your scraps with new eyes now - eyes that see the potential in those bags or boxes or tubs!  But when you look at those scraps, do you wonder how to cut them up? So many choices - do you leave them big "just in case" or cut them up into usable sizes and make them work?  Today I'm going to present the case for several different options.

Have you ever done a Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt?  I never have, and really wasn't ever tempted to do one until I saw Celtic Solstice - and fell in love!   So I went exploring on the Bonnie Hunter blog, Quiltville's Quips & Snips and found a great page on her blog called Scrap Users System.  On that page she shares her tips for storing scraps, and how she cuts them up.  It seems to me that if you want to make a Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt, you should seriously think about cutting your scraps the same way she does - because that's probably the sizes she's going to use in her mystery.

Another option is to take advantage of all the publications that publish designs for quilts made from precut fabrics, and cut your scraps to those standard sizes - 2.5" strips, 10" squares, 5" squares, and 2.5" squares.  Moda Bake Shop releases free patterns online that utilize their standard precut sizes, and their site can be searched by precut size, also.  Because of how widely accepted those sizes have become, there are many patterns available and you're sure to find one or more that you like!

You may find a book that really speaks to you with a great way to cut and use your scraps.  I found this book a while back - Cut The Scraps by Joan Ford.  In it, she suggests cutting your scraps into 2", 3.5" and 5" squares, and provides 20 patterns for quilts that utilize those sizes.  We use this system at church and it has proved to work well for us.  I've found that not only do we use patterns from the book, but we also tend to make the sizes we have cut work for us.

Or you can use my most recent technique - stumble on a pattern that you love and cut the pieces for that particular quilt!  I've done that this month with a bow tie quilt, and I've also sorted out strips for string blocks (and even made a few!).  

As you add patterns to your repertoire, you could even set up boxes for each type of quilt or block, adding to them as you cut up your scraps.  Sew them up when you need a quick project, make a few blocks or a whole quilt's worth - over time you'll have plenty of quilt tops to give as gifts or to charity!

I'm sure there are many more options for cutting up your scraps - the trick is to find the way that works best for you.  Do you have a favorite method to your scrap madness?  Share it with the rest of us - because most of us are still trying to figure it out!

Keep working on those scrappy goals - we're halfway through the month!  Just think how virtuous you'll feel when you share what you accomplished - and how useful those scraps will be in the future!




  1. I must admit I'm a stumbler! I find a pattern and cut scraps to fit. I did find that I have lots of 2.5" strip scraps from bindings and I have lots of 1.5" strips from who knows what, so I have a bin for each of those. Going through a bag of scraps for this month I found a lot of 2" strips, so I decided to go ahead and make a bin for those. I have an AccuQuilt with 2.5" squares and half square triangles, so I tend to cut scraps with that and so that's what I have! I think I have landed on making lozenge blocks from some of my scraps this month. Bonnie Hunter has the pattern with instructions using 2.5 wide rectangles and 1.5" squares - which I have tons of. So I've started there. I'm so glad you decided to "share" your scrap problems!

  2. I leave them big "just in case" until they get to the funny shape when I don't know how to fold them. Then, they get chopped into smaller managable sizes. So I end up with lots of 1.5, 2 and 2.5 squares but that's okay... for me. I haven't done a Bonnie Hunter Mystery quilt yet either and I too fell in love with Celtic Solstice and regret not jumping on that wagon. ;^)

  3. I wouldn't consider a 5 or 10" inch square a scrap but more of a large piece. These left overs are put into my fat quarter drawers that are organized by color. I also have drawers that are for yard or more pieces. Any extra triangles or squares that I have cut while making a top also have a drawer. Strings (less than 2 ½ " wide) are kept in a bag. Like Linda M. above, I have an art-bin full of 2 ½" squares and HSTs. I am going to make Bonnie Hunters "Split Nine Patch" one of these days. To me, a scrap is something I can't cut to a smaller, useable size. My smallest size then would be the 2 ½" HST. Thats my system, simple and not too much thought behind it.

    1. Our church like to use the 10" square from 2 1/2 in strips. We use the scrap square & then a solid piece of fabric next to it.

  4. Well, I'm just still impressed with how you jumped into your green bin and made the bow tie quilt. I'd say you are into a fantastic start! I'm kind of using Bonnie's method. I lean towards 2" squares with 1 1/2 and 1 1/4 leftovers. I will have to plan for the smaller pieces but the 2" sq are immediately put by the sewing machine to be leader/ender blocks for charity quilts. I have a lot of bricks cut that should go in a border for one of those quilts. I'd say the biggest trick is not buying all these gorgeous fabric lines that keep coming out! If I could avoid purchasing new projects and stick to working on my own stash and some scrap quilts...I would see some real progress ;-) But man oh man, there's some beautiful new fabric out there!

  5. 1. Your bowtie inspired me to grab a trash bag full of scraps... I often get drivebys.... drive by scrap dumps - so I started in on it. And the first part was all tiny bits of old 30's and 40's prints.... are you ready? I gifted them ( ironed and all) to a quilter who is learning to be a quilt historian!!! Yay!! Keep it up - you are inspiring me ;-)

  6. I got a cutter for Christmas. It is nice but it is time-consuming (I think) to cut squares. However, they are perfect squares. I've begun spending an hour every so often (not toooo often!) cutting scraps into 2.5" squares and throwing then in a box. In a few months I'll have enough for a great quilt that's "free". Ha. We all know the truth about that!

  7. I don't cut my scraps and leave them as is for the next project

  8. I leave some big, and cut some into squares or strips. I love scrappy quilts :)

  9. All such great advice Sarah! Someday I hope to have enough scraps to put it into action.


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