Scrap Blindness

OK, well, the idea was to find a project that wouldn’t need nimble fingers, because Bird.

We’ve been talking about scraps, the care and management of. As I’ve confessed on more than one occasion, mine are like unruly children: they leave a mess everywhere, they’re into everything, they spread out of their allocated space and they darn well keep on growing. I have an uncanny ability to  ignore this growing problem and a deep-seated reluctance to address it. My current inability to sew seemed a perfect opportunity to bring about a bit of order without having to feel guilty/ tempted by a sewing project, because I can’t do that yet, but pulling scraps out of boxes and buckets, no problem.

Here’s only about 50% of the problem. Now, my classification of a scrap is anything smaller than about 3 inches square. Bigger than that, it’s fabric. Usable. It gets put away into my stash, without fail. So, these boxes, baskets and buckets are full of really small bits. Some of them tiny bits. There are one or two garments in mid-deconstruction, being  harvested for the fabric. The only way to bring this lot under control was to arm myself with some plastic bags from my dwindling supply, tip out one of the boxes and get sorting.

My brain seizes on colour first, rather than size, pattern or any other form of organisation. So that’s how I’m approaching the problem. The blue bag is done. There isn’t a scrap of blue left in any of those boxes. So are the aqua/teal and green bags. I’ve actually emptied enough of the boxes to transfer these colours back into them so I can see what’s there more easily than in a nasty grey plastic bag. Next will be yellow/ orange, then red, then pink, then purple, neutrals/black/white and finally all the multicoloured stuff that doesn’t have a strong lead colour. I thought about trying to sort all the colours at once but it didn’t work, I kept getting distracted.

Once they’re all done, I shall sort the individual box contents so they’re sorted, pressed and trimmed, tidy and colour-coded and ready for use. This is how it looks after the blue, teal and green were extracted from the overall mess.

There’s still a long way to go… I wonder how far I’ll get before I lose the will to live get bored.

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32 thoughts on “Scrap Blindness

  1. jmcheney says:

    Understand completely. Do not Despair. Enjoy the sorting & revisiting old friends. Lovely new projects will happen soon.

    • katechiconi says:

      You’re exactly right about revisiting old friends… It’s partly why this is taking so long; I keep stopping to have a think about all the past quilts and how sad I am that this particular fabric isn’t available any more 🙂

  2. What do you do with the teensy weensy scraps?

  3. kathyreeves says:

    Oh well done, Kate! I hate that you can’t sew, but you really made excellent progress! What a great feeling it will be when your finger is healed and you have all these wonderful pieces sorted and waiting for another project!! (Do you feel pumped up yet?😉)

    • katechiconi says:

      Got the yellow/orange box done since this post. 4 down, 5 to go! It gets easier as you go along, too, as there are fewer scraps to sort each time 🙂 I’m feeling a bit of a rainbow scrap quilt coming on; the majority of the pieces are roughly rectangular in any case so assembling a bunch of square blocks won’t be too demanding. That’s ScrapHappy sorted for a few months, then!

  4. NOW I’m impressed! Good work, lass.
    (what do you do if a scrap has a mixture of, say, yellow and blue?)

    • katechiconi says:

      I try to work out which colour is dominant and go with that. If it’s truly impossible, it’ll go into the multicolour box with the other unclassifiable ones!

  5. knitnkwilt says:

    Now that is making good use of not being able to sew! What do you do with mixed color prints? I started out trying to put them with the dominant color, but I have some that won’t play by that rule.

    • katechiconi says:

      I’m going to start a ‘multicolour’ box for fabrics that don’t fit into a single category. Those tend to make great additions to scrap blocks and quilts, adding a good pop of colour if things are looking a bit dull.

  6. tialys says:

    Well, something good came out of something bad and you will feel sooo virtuous once it’s done. How’s that finger feeling now anyhow?

    • katechiconi says:

      Fat and purple, but a little less painful and sensitive. Which is just as well, because I keep bashing this darn splint on everything – it sticks out too far!

  7. modflowers says:

    LOVE the idea of a rainbow scrap quilt! I also have a surfeit of tiny scraps. But as I am now making quite tiny things, they are what I rummage through most often for inspiration. I feel I should be shedding some of my larger pieces, as I can’t think that I will use them and someone else might.

    • katechiconi says:

      I’m pretty sure the rainbow scrappy quilt is a goer 🙂 In addition to the boxes, I have a bag of ‘crumbs’: tiny pieces that are really too small to make patchwork blocks but are too pretty to throw away ruthlessly. Some of them are quite beautiful fabrics I’m very upset to have used the last of. I have no idea what to do with them, but I can’t bear the idea of throwing them out.

      • modflowers says:

        Try ironing your crumbs onto interfacing then machining over (randomly or in straight lines quite close together) to secure them. Then you have a scrappy fabric you can use! I do this to make appliqué patches, which can be sewn onto things.

      • katechiconi says:

        Yes, it’s a good process, especially if you use very lightweight interfacing. You can do something similar if you arrange the crumbs on a ‘grabby’ background fabric, like doing Fuzzy Felt, and then cover the whole thing with a very fine black net to hold it in place, and quilt through randomly. There are a lot of quilters out there who make pictorial quilts this way. I’m not patient enough….!

  8. claire93 says:

    a load of gorgeous colourful scraps to sort through! Yes, I also found scrap-sorting took me back down memory lane, rediscovering fabrics and remembering the projects sewn.

  9. Your scraps are very small on average! Mine are not quite so little, but I think smaller than most people’s limit. I’ve heard of quilters designating anything less than a fat quarter as a scrap. (!!!) If you can fold it, it’s not really a scrap, is it? 🙂

    I did make a nice quilt this year (which I don’t think I’ve blogged about at all) from half scraps, half yardage. I pulled pretty much ALL my pink, orange, yellowy-green, and bright purple scraps for it. And that took care of almost ALL the patches I needed of those colors, so I felt rather virtuous.

    Can’t wait to see your next scrap project. Bet it will come together easily once you’re able.

    • katechiconi says:

      You’re right, foldability is the determinant! What I haven’t posted about is the fact that I am slowly running down my stash. The Cupboard of All Colours is getting very bare *cue whistling wind and tumbleweeds*, and I’m not buying fabric just because it’s pretty, only if I need it to complete a project. Using my scraps is part of this initiative, and having them sorted will make life much easier.

  10. dayphoto says:

    Sorry…but you did make me chuckle!!

  11. You are in deep!! It will pay off in the end:) You go girl!

  12. rutigt says:

    Just keep on going! In the end when every tiny scrap is in the right box you´ll be satisfied. Trust me, been there, done that, happy now 🙂

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