How to Use Scraps

Most quilters love to save their scraps, even just stuffed in bins or totes, but it can be a challenge to know how to regularly and effectively use them. Let's take a look at several ways that you can make using scraps part of your regular quilty fun. 

PS This post is part of the Summer Stash Busting Event-- Welcome! Be sure to check out the original post to see the full lineup of content here. 

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How to Use Scraps with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story

There are a lot of ways to use scraps-- and all of them are wonderful, so you just need to find what works best for you. If you're brand new to using your scraps regularly, I encourage you to try all of these and see what "fits." See what you enjoy, but also what you will do regularly. For example, I enjoy FPP and improv piecing, but I have found that I won't do them regularly enough to stay on top of my scrap stash. I'll still do them when inspiration strikes, but I'm using the Scrap User's System as my regular method to stay on top of those rascally little scraps. 

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Foundation Paper Piecing

How to Use Scraps with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story

I already did a post and video on this for you, so check it out here! (and you can get the pattern for this cute diamond in a square block). Also, even if more "formal" or "fancy" FPP isn't your jam, you might like string piecing for your selvedges and skinny strips-- more on that next week!

Made Fabric / Improv Piecing

How to Use Scraps with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story

Made fabric involves simply stitching odd and funky bits together and squaring them up as needed so that you can have a bigger and more versatile piece of fabric. It might all be in the same color family so that you can use it to simply replace yardage when making a pattern, or you might be working on a project like the quilt above or the Scrap Vortex quilt. 

How to Use Scraps with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story

 Improv piecing, to split hairs, is more like the quilt above where you are stitching patchwork but without a firm plan and by cutting up your fabric with scissors and your instincts rather than a ruler and rotary cutter.  There are LOTS of ways to do improv, and I highlyyyyy recommend The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters by Sherri Lynn Wood. Even if improv piecing doesn't end up being your regular jam, it's well worth the read. If you're intrigued, in addition to getting the book, stay tuned, because we'll have a more in depth blog and demo in a couple weeks. 

Traditional Piecing and Bonnie Hunter's Scrap User's System

How to Use Scraps with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story

If you missed last week's post about organizing scraps, you'll want to check that out here. What I love about Bonnie's Scrap User's System is that it is designed to make organizing and using scraps part of your regular quilting routine. While many quilters (me included!) have an "initial investment" they have to make to take the time to cut up their existing scraps, if, after that, you faithful cut up the scraps for each project as you go, then you'll never have that overwhelmingly full scrap bin again. Plus, your scraps will be reduced to usable sizes that you can stitch with daily as leaders and enders, etc. 

Leaders and Enders

How to Use Scraps with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story

Traditionally with patchwork, you have a piece of fabric that you feed under the presser foot before you begin piecing and you feed that piece through again after your seam or chain piecing. This little "leader" helps prevent long, annoying thread tails on patchwork and corners from being sucked under the needle plate. When I'm referring to leaders and enders, I'm suggesting that you replace that little bit of fabric with some patchwork-- a couple squares to become a four patch, triangles to make HSTs, etc. By routinely pulling bits from your Scrap User's System and stitching them together, you can always be working on an easy scrappy quilt (like the little throw-in-progress above that I started as leaders and enders for the FPP in the left of the photo). As Bonnie Hunter says, "Build the units and the quilts will come"! 

Scrap Friendly Patterns

Lanterns of Hope Quilt A Long with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story

It's easy to think that scrap friendly patterns have to use small pieces or look very "scrappy." However, all you have to do is keep an eye out for patterns that use the sizes you are saving as part of your system. I save 1.5", 2", 2.5", 3, and 3.5" strips and squares. These are common sizes in many quilt patterns and thus easy to use. For example, my Lanterns of Hope Quilt Pattern was written for yardage but is easy to adapt to the SUS because it uses 3.5 inch strips. In fact, we are about to start a Quilt-A-Long in the Quilting Rockstars Facebook Group that will run through July 2018 (come and join us!).

How to Use Scraps with HollyAnne Knight of String & Story

PS Don't forget to pin this post so you can find it later!

This post is part of the Summer Stash Busting Challenge-- Welcome! Be sure to check out the original post to see the full lineup of content here.