Quilts and Other Stuff from Frances

Climbing out from under your quilting stuff….


Last week I received the following email from a friend……

“I tried to get into my sewing room today to straighten it up because I can barely find my Bernina for all the mess.   Who wants to sew when their creative space is in such disarray she can’t even find the full spool of white thread she knows she used two weeks ago!!!???

I am finally admitting, I need serious help.  I’m holding on to those tiny scraps that I think I might need for an applique hat on some project in the future. I’m clinging to 1″x3″ remnants of fabrics I loved and used at one time.

I’m looking at projects I know for sure I’ll never complete and trying to find a place for them on the shelves – valuable real estate that could be used for far more important (not to mention possibly completed) projects.

I need to purge in the worst way and I don’t know how to begin.  One scrap at a time isn’t going to get the job done.  I know I would be so much more productive if my  sewing room was clean and clear of this fabric baggage I tend to wrap around me and not let go like Aunt Frannie’s mangy fur coat.

If anyone has any suggestions/helpful hints of how to make that first bold move to just get rid of stuff, I’d appreciate it. It’s ridiculous when your fabric scrap (I mean scraps) collection so voluminous you can’t even get to your sewing machine to sew!!!”


Haven’t we all felt that way at some time!!!


I wrote back that I thought the hardest part was to actually throw stuff away, so my suggestion was that she give it to someone else.  I was able to make a few suggestions including giving her tiny scraps to a group of ladies who use them to stuff dog beds for the local animal shelter.

I also told her that several years ago I went thru several BIG boxes of scraps and cut them into usable sizes of strips, squares or rectangles.  I did this based on Bonnie Hunter’s Scrap User System .     I did add some other size squares to her list. 

I have these stored in two plastic drawer sets and have used these bits to make several quilts.  I also use the squares a lot when I am needing small pieces for an applique.  Instead of going thru my big pieces of fabrics, I first grab the
squares and see if I can find one that works.   They are easier to go thru and doesn’t cause NEARLY as much mess!!


Later in the day, I had about two hours to work in my studio and wasn’t sure what to work on….until my eyes landed on the basket of scraps that needed to be cut down…..


My first step was to pull out all of the larger pieces, iron them and cut them into strips.

The next day, I finished up by cutting squares and rectangles.   The final result of my labors looked like this…..


The basket at the back contains the little string bits that will be put into dog beds and the small stack on the back right went into my “string piecing” drawer.

I am so glad that my friend ask the question because it made me think about what I needed to do too!!!

2 thoughts on “Climbing out from under your quilting stuff….

  1. Great suggestions and ideas.My week has also involved a clean and sort in the sewing room. More of my crazy Spring cleaning week. But it has been well worth it as I now have plenty of useable space and know where my projects are.Tell your friend she can also sell some of her stash on eBay as another way to reduce her collection.

  2. Going to your scrap first is such a good idea, that way you keep your larger pieces intact and don't generate more scraps. I had a real purge recently and anything under a fat quarter went. I have too say that I have no regrets and haven't missed anything that I threw out.

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