Sunday, May 13, 2012

Scrappy Thoughts

I have a lot of fabric.  My closet is full of yards of  beautiful cotton fabric: charming prints of all colors, elegant batiks, lush hand-dyed fabrics.  I'm not shy about using it, either.  And yet, I seem to have this thing about scraps. I can't seem to throw them away.

Maybe it's the blessing/curse of the creative imagination: anything is fodder for a great creation.  We see the possibility in everything, so it can be hard to let things go.  I'm not one who saves every little bit -- I hear tell of folks who keep everything that's at least an inch square.  I have a hard enough time with the bigger pieces.  Last year, some friends and I decided to make "art parts" -- the description coined by Freddy Moran and Gwen Marston for the scrappy blocks they made for their collaborative quilts -- and at some point in the future we figure we'll pool our blocks and make three fun quilts.

So a few months ago, I pulled out my scraps, which I'd been stuffing randomly into a huge plastic bag.  Or two.  Or three.  And I spent a lovely afternoon sorting them by color, placed in even more separate plastic bags which are stored in a little rolling cart under my table so I can wheel them out and have instant access should the urge to sew scraps strike.

And you know? Having them all sorted HAS made me want to sew with them.  I've made all sorts of art parts, although I've found I run out of enthusiasm quickly when I'm not sewing with a specific project in mind.  And recently, I saw a scrap quilt in the beautiful book "Sunday Morning Quilts," and was inspired to pull out my white-background scraps and make my own variation.  It'll probably be a donation quilt, but considering that it has been a fast and simple quilt, I feel amazingly satisfied because I've used scraps.  I've just finished quilting it today, and I'm looking forward to sewing the binding on in front of the tv tonight.

I know I'll get to that fabric in the closet soon. But in the meantime, these scraps are calling to me.

What about you? Do you save your scraps?  Do you use them?


  1. I don't save anything smaller than my hand. Well, sometimes I do. Especially if it is something really choice and I don't have any more of it. But mostly I can throw scraps away without much difficulty. If my friend Jeri is with me she fishes my scraps out of the trash and takes them home. I had a friend who swore her mother who saved scraps had a box labeled "scraps too small to use."

  2. I am embarrassed to say how many scraps I have. I have them at least sorted according to colors in drawers and have thought of only working in scraps this summer for fun small projects.

    But that is just a thought as I took walk tonight!

  3. Yup! The scraps are taking over my studio too and having read your post, I just may use your method of using some of them. Sorting them out just might be the ticket! Thanks for sharing.

  4. I am on a serious mission to use alot of my fabrics. What I have found is that when I don't like the fabric, it's even more difficult to use the scraps.

    Overall, though, I do use alot of scraps. I am also working very diligently to use most of my scraps before I let myself cut some new fabrics.

    The other thing I do is to use the scraps of the last project as the starter for the next project. It's been interesting to see how I can change the look of the scraps by the other fabrics to which they are paired.