Hello and happy Monday! This year has been all about scraps for me…I’ve tried to focus on finishing up projects, continuing long-range works in progress, and organizing and using my scraps. I‘ve posted quite a few times about this topic and thought it would be beneficial to put my best ideas on the topic into one post.
I hope this is one of those posts you’ll be able to refer to again and again to
refresh ideas and get some motivation for using your scraps! And…most of these ideas apply just as easily to all of your quilting projects and goals!
- First, clean off all
of your sewing/quilting work surfaces. For me this meant cleaning off
my cutting table, my sewing machine table, and my ironing board. These
are the places where clutter accumulates first. Try not to get
distracted by fabric and projects you find while doing this task! If you
don’t have a designated place for some of your sewing tasks make a
concentrated effort to keep the surfaces you use extra clean: I did all
of my cutting and sewing for over 15 years on our dining room table–not
ideal, but you can make it work.
- Second, make a list
of works in progress. You can use any method you’d like for this–use
what works best for you. I find it’s really helpful when I have a paper
list I can keep in my sewing room. I’m also going to keep a spreadsheet
on my computer as well. For a terrific free download, AllPeopleQuilt has
this handy form
for tracking 12 projects. I think the most helpful part of this list is
noting the status of the project today. I also added my goal for the
year below each work in progress on the list. I don’t plan to finish all
of these projects–for some of them I’d just like to make some good
- Third, make a list
of projects you’d like to start this year (or this quarter). This was the most fun: there
are always so many possibilities. I try to narrow this list to just a
half-dozen projects since I know more will get added to this list as the
year goes on. Hopefully you’ll also be able to use fabrics on hand for
some of the projects on this list.
Set Simple Goals for Organization
- First, decide when
you are going to spend time on organizing each day/week. Doing even a little bit of organizing really helps me get more sewing accomplished. I feel
like having a set plan for when I’m going to organize has helped
already. I’ve picked Saturday mornings for weekly organizing, and last
Saturday morning I knew that I needed to do at least an hour of
organizing before I could start sewing for the day. I’ve also decided
that I will pick up and clear off all of my flat work spaces when I’m
done sewing each day that I’m in the sewing room.
- Second, decide on a weekly or monthly organizing task.
I picked just one organizing project for January because it’s kind of a
big task I’ve needed to do for awhile, but for other months I’ve picked several smaller tasks (like going through one older project box a week). I’m going to organize and label
all of my notions. I have notions in a lot of different plastic bins and
drawers without labels.
- Third, pick a project to start and finish this quarter…using
your stash! You have a few options for this task–you can start
something from your works in progress list you made last week (since
everything for that project should be in your stash) or you can start a
new project from your “want to make list” if you have fabric on hand for
it. Finally, you might want to consider a scrap project. My goal this
year is to make a scrap quilt every quarter that isn’t already a work in progress.
Make Scrap Quilts with a Theme
- Use fabrics from one designer or just a few different designers whose fabrics work well together.
- Plan a scrap quilt around a holiday theme: Christmas, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, etc.
- Choose a color scheme.
- Start with a bundle of fabric by one designer and then add in other fabrics to make it scrappy.
Ideas for Accomplishing More
have something ready that you can pick up and sew. This can be handwork
or simple machine sewing. I’ve really tried to do this over the past few
years, and it’s really helped. You can accomplish a lot in even ten
minutes if something is ready to work on without any preparation needed.
the “leaders and enders” method of scrap sewing. This entails having
something quick and simple to sew at your machine as you begin and end
your regular sewing. By sewing scraps together at the beginning and end
of chain piecing other projects you can get a lot of extra sewing done
in just a little extra time. (For a great explanation of this method
read Bonnie Hunter’s ideas on Leaders and Enders).
- Cut out
a small or mini project…and use your scrap bin! I’ve decided to make all of my mini quilts completely scrappy.
- After finishing a project, immediately add left overs to your scrap bins (see this post for ideas on organizing your scraps).
- Go over the lists you’ve made and re-evaluate what you might want to focus on next.
- If you
really don’t want to work on a particular project, put it away until it
inspires you again. Find something to work on that you really want to work on at this time.
Some Final Ideas
- When you’re lacking the energy for sewing, try cleaning and organizing your main work spaces…it’s amazing how quickly clutter can pile up on your work spaces.
- You can also sort or cut scraps when you can’t sew. Sometimes I think we feel
like we need to start and finish a scrap project quickly, but that’s
just not how it is. Scrap quilts take time, and some of that time needs
to be spent with preparation tasks.
- Make a
scrappy binding. Every so often I go through my left-over binding bin
and make a colorful scrappy binding. See my tutorial for making a scrappy binding here.
- Finally…really try to sew just a little something every day. You’ll be amazed at how quickly projects come together even when working in small blocks of time.
Thanks so very much for stopping by!
Susie Hoover says
Great post! I too love Bonnie Hunter's Leaders & Enders. I also am a BIG fan of APQ's UFO Challenge each year. Even though the first year I only followed until about March, the past 2 years I've been faithful. Thanks for all your organizational tips!
Thnaks for your tips! I love scrap quilts but sometimes it's really time consuming to make one.
Great tips Sherri! I'm always working on several things at the same time, so the tip on cleaning your workspace every day is something I'm going to try be better at. There have been quite a few times that I can't find a ruler I need because it's gotten shuffled under projects. Thanks for the inspiration.
Great ideas! I used to think that scrap quilts meant everything goes and then wonder why my quilts were a hot mess!!! Great tip to choose one designer or a couple that compliment each other. Thanks for sharing so many tips for scrap success!
Thanks for your tips, I love scraps quilts,
Hi Sherri, I love these type of posts! Thanks so much for sharing your great ideas and for continuing to be an inspiration!! Have a scrap happy day, Kelly
Thanks for the inspiration.
Thank you for such an inspiring post! I definitely need to be sewing much more from my stash.
Anne / Springleaf Studios says
Great tips Sherri. The scrappy trip quilt is one of my favorites for sing up scraps.