Scraps on a String
Howdy Quilty Friends –
Are you hooked on lovely bits and pieces of fabric that most people would throw away? Some people might suggest this fabric is “trash”. However, I’m elevating the importance of this trash and calling it “POSSIBILITIES”! There are so many potential quilts that can happen from a pile of scrap fabric. Instead of being overwhelmed by a growing mountain of chaos, let’s have some fun, create some usable fabric and turn that fabric into scrap quilts.
I admit, I have scrap fabric as old as my children. That doesn’t sound so bad until I confess that all of them are now in their 30’s. To take the sting out of that realization, I’m classifying those scraps as “vintage”. Anything I make from those scraps will be instantly valuable. Right?
The crazy thing about scraps is they multiply very quickly if you don’t have a system in place. In this example, we’re going to tackle 2 ½” squares. There are a zillion things you can do with 2 ½” squares but being overwhelmed by them won’t be on this list.
Any time I have half-used jelly roll strips, I’ll cut them into 2 ½” squares, throw them in a bucket, give them a good scramble and begin stitching them end-to-end to create a long chain of scrappy goodness. Most of the time, I don’t even waste the energy to match colors; I just start stitching. Of course, music or a good audible book makes this process even more productive.
This is my go-to project especially on days of chaos because, sometimes, we just need a little mindless sewing. Stitching together a couple pieces of fabric always brings me back to center. Creating a long string of scraps gives me a sense of accomplishment AND ready-to-use scrappy sashing. WINNING!
It’s very easy to create 9-patches, 16-patches, and 25-patches with this method too. Leave a comment or DM me on Instagram if you would like to see a tutorial on how I make 9, 16, and 25-patches using my scraps on a string method.
As a longarm quilter, I end up with an excessive amount of empty cones. Once upon a time, I threw them away until one day, I had a Eureka! moment.
Made from heavy plastic, they are sturdy little soldiers with a wide base. They stand at attention wherever I put them and are not prone to toppling over.
To begin rolling the scrap string onto an empty cone, I press all the seam allowances going in one direction. Using a piece of masking tape, I secure the beginning of my scrap string to an empty cone and then roll this yummy usable fabric onto the cone. It’s ok to roll the fabric on tightly to make way for future 2 ½” squares.
To keep your awaiting scrap string from unraveling off your cone, secure with a pin or tie a piece of ribbon around it. These even make the cutest gifts for that quilty friend that has everything. If you want to get really clever, how about stitching a scrap string of fussy-cut pieces.
It’s amazing how much can be stored onto each empty cone. They are adorable lined up on a shelf, like little warriors, waiting for that moment to become useful in the next quilt. If you like your scraps organized in specific colorways, assign a cone to each of your favorite colors. As you accumulate more scrap, match the colors with your string-in-progress and keep on adding to the string. You will end up with some very useful, ready-to-go fabric.
And don’t forget about all those bindings! These cones also work great to store bindings as they await the quilt you’ll pair them with.
“But Curly, what if I don’t have empty cones?” So glad you asked. True Confession: I used to throw mine away until I realized the chaos control they offered. If your local quilt store has a longarm machine, they will have excessive empty cones. If you’re in a quilt guild, you will probably have at least 1 longarm quilter there. Ask if you can have some empty cones. No doubt, they will be throwing them away. They might call them spools but either way, they have a second purpose.
I hope this inspires you. Your “future self” will adore you for making these scraps on a string. Not only will you contain the chaos that happens when creating quilts but you will have usable fabric for future blocks or sashing. I would love to see all the projects you can imagine with your scraps on a string.
Until next time we meet…
HUGS! And many Blessings
Ps – For a limited time, I’m offering my fun Mishmash Medley scrap pattern for FREE. Just imagine all the scrap quilting fun you’ll be having! Happy Stitching, my Friend!