I know you can relate. As quilters, we can generate a lot of scraps. The question is – what to do with them? That was the dilemma my quilt group has been facing for several years now. We are the “proud owners” of about a dozen large totes of scraps.
How did we get so many scraps (you may be wondering)? As it turns out – it’s mostly my fault. For many years I manufactured Tea and French Press Cozies and sold them to tea and coffee companies as well as tea rooms across the country. The unique style of these cozies means that for each one made – 8 fabric triangles are left over after cutting out the body pieces of each cozy. Multiply that by the tens of thousands I made – and that’s a lot of triangles.
For a long time – our group has made small quilts to donate – using these triangles. We would carefully match up the different fabrics to create interesting designs with colors that complemented each other. That was a slow process – to say the least. Our pile of scraps (mostly triangles) was growing instead of diminishing.
Recently we completed a stack of completely scrappy quilts – no regard at all for matching up fabrics – just scrappy. They turned out beautifully. Now – here’s where I tell you that completely random scrappy is normally a really painful concept for me. I can get behind “organized” scrappy – but completely random is quite the challenge.
Nevertheless – I decided that we needed to make faster progress in reducing the volume of scraps we are storing in one of our members’ garage (thanks Cindy!). The only way that’s going to happen is if we pick up the pace and change our process (we all have manufacturing backgrounds so everything is process focused). So … completely scrappy it is.
This past Sunday we got together and I shared my idea with the group. Once they got over their shock – we all got to work. Our goal was to randomly sew pairs of triangles together and then trim them into squares (3-1/2″ and 2-1/2″). Over the course of a few hours we were able to stitch through hundreds (maybe thousands) of triangles and we have an impressive stack of each of the 2 sizes of HST blocks. Mary – who wasn’t with us on Sunday – would be so proud of us. She is the queen of random scrappy!
Once we have converted the triangles to blocks – we’ll be stitching them up into rows, and then the rows into quilt tops. I have to say – it was a very satisfying day. We made a LOT of progress. As we empty out each of those totes – we’ve decided to reward ourselves with lunch out as a group. I can’t wait!
Other Scrappy Options
While we do have a ton of triangles – we also have lots of strips too. That got me thinking about other shapes we could assemble reasonably quickly. Here are a few examples I’m considering for using up those scraps.
If the completely random scrappy process is too stressful (believe me – I get it) – I’ve added some templates to the shop that will allow you to use up those scraps in a more controlled way. They all makeup beautiful blocks that can be used in any number of ways.