It’s scrap sorting time, again!…

Robyn R


A couple of times a year I have a try at sorting out the pile of scraps into usable ‘bits’. A perfect chore for either those hot summer days stuck inside when you don’t feel like doing anything energetic or, on a freezing cold winter’s day when sitting in the cosy warmth of a heater - well, we’ve got those finger-numbing days right now, so scrap sorting it is!

What do you do with your ‘scraps’ and how do you decide? Bonnie Hunter’s approach is to use them as ‘Leaders and Enders’ and end up with another quilt over time. We have one of her books in our library - have a look.

There are so many options for what you can do with the inevitable fabric from the just-finished quilt that it can be daunting - does it get put in a tub, or back on a shelf, unless you’re part of the ‘bin it’ brigade! Why is it that we hang on to them? Is it because we have invested so much time, effort, emotional and financial resources that we remain attached until they become years later - the ‘what was I thinking’, or ‘ugly’, or out of fashion, forced on us by the fabric industry? - but that’s another story!

Many years ago I came to the conclusion that dealing with all the ‘leftover bits’ would have to be a simple solution, and then to stick to it, (after all, sewing scraps isn’t the primary patchwork project, but are for those times when you just need a bit of get-away-from-it-all mindless machining). They could be cut up into a myriad of shapes and sizes, adaptable to any number of patterns and methods, but that in itself is overwhelming. So a single-minded decision began a continuous habit. Inspired by ‘Successful Scrap Quilts from Simple Rectangles’ by Judy Turner and Margaret Rolfe, all the bits are cut up into rectangles of one size, 4.5″ x 2.5″.

So that solved the first part of the problem, followed by storing them by colour, then choosing a basic block. Once enough blocks of compatible colours were made, the mini-quilt came into being just at the right time for practising quilting on a manageable size.

Since that start they’ve become toddler playmats, baby floor mats, handy throw over anything covers - not too small and not too big. Have you got any ideas for what could be done with one of these mini-quilts, (and no, not pet beds!)?

Storing in colour:-

Preparing in 3 piles of six colour compatible patches:-

Laying them out to sew as ‘Leaders and Enders’:-

Constructing the basic block, and putting it aside with the others until there are 5 that will go together to make the mini-quilt:-

6 blocks sewn together waiting for binding (37″ x 25″):-

And of course, there’s the ruler quilting!

Aaaah - but there’s more, but not now!

So what is your ‘scrap plan’?