BCQuilter's Weblog

Scraps, scraps, everywhere there are scraps or my version of Scrap Busting!

Posted on: 26 February 2009

Well, that may not be entirely true.  To be honest, I do not have a large scrap collection, at least I don’t think so.   I have them sorted as miscellaneous size and shape, strips (sorted again by width), squares (sorted by size), and pieced scraps (left overs from making blocks or trimmings of borders and such).  Each “category” fits into a bin which is about 17″x12″x6½”.  That is MY scraps.

My DD#2 on the other hand has been receiving bags of scraps from guild members.   To be honest, her scraps fit into a box that 10 reams of paper fit in.  But we haven’t completely sorted them yet.

How did I acquire these scraps?

It began with making quilts. A piece here, a piece there. Strip piecing leftovers. Trimming of half square triangles. All these bits of fabric, and haven’t even mentioned the strips and squares that have accumulated. What to do with them? Sort them of course. Strips sorted by side, 1”, 1½”, 2”, 2¼, 2½”, etc. Okay, now sort through the squares. Wow, still a lot of fabric bits. Okay, all the “dogs ears” and other various triangle bits. What am I going to do with the left over “pieced” bits, another bin for them.


Somehow, guild members thought DD#2 was into scraps (maybe she is, but you would never know it, trying to get her to do some quilting with me these days, is like pulling teeth, oh well, she’ll do it when she’s ready). So now, bags and bags of scraps!

One of the guild members suggested that DD#2 use the scraps using the mile-a-minute technique to make quilts. After a search on the internet, I found out how to make mile-a-minute quilts. The following are a couple of links that are “how-to’s” to make Mile-a-minute quilts.  Do a search on Google, and you can find photos and more.

They are sort of like log-cabins, but not really. I started off with some scraps, and started cutting and sewing strips. I soon realized some of my strips, were not in fact strips, but chunks. Smaller than 22” long. They still worked for the beginning of the mile-a-minute quilts.  I kept on sewing, and adding strips, in some cases sewing some of the chunks together (pieced on the diagonal for interest), and using them as strips. I kept sewing and pressing until the blocks were larger than 12” square, okay admittedly most were not square, but they were larger than 12” on either side.

blocks-under-construction-2 pieced-block

Then trimmed down to 8½”. I used my 12½” square ruler, and tilted it, to get some very interesting results.


These are some of the finished trimmed blocks.


Egad, I was running out of strips, I didn’t really want to cut into my stash, what was I to do. As I was trimming the blocks I noticed a new pile of scraps accumulating. I’ll never have enough strips to add to these new blocks. Wait a minute, hold on, what if I take this pieced scrap, and sewed it to this pieced scrap… Hey, look at this.


Now I know what to do with that bin of leftover pieced pieces. I’ll just add them to what I have here. As I started this, I took a break, and looked up scrappy quilts on the internet. Apparently all those itty bitty pieces, are called “crumbs”. Very cool! So now I’m making some really crumby quilts.

I haven’t started it yet, but I can sew some of those triangle bits together to make wonky half square triangles… doesn’t matter if they match or not, and then sew them together to make a 4-patch block. Ohhh, the possibilities are endless.

I’m planning to use the blocks to make some quilts for the house, and possibly even a few for charity. I know I’ll have lots of scraps to make lots of blocks to make lots of quilts.

I’ve been teaching a dear friend how to sew and quilt. I think I’ll get her going on sewing some of these pieces and blocks together, will give her great practice on working on her ¼” seam. OH!, Speaking of ¼” seams… I was using mine, but I’m thinking, you don’t need to. Who cares if the seam is a tad more here or there? And for thread… I have a few bobbins (correction, “had”) of thread that were left over from other projects, and well, I used them up. Now I’m going through my thread, and using up left-over spools that were for other sewing projects.

What do you do with your scraps?  Do you organize them?  Perhaps give the mile-a-minute or crumb blocks a try, its a great way to take a break from larger projects.



8 Responses to "Scraps, scraps, everywhere there are scraps or my version of Scrap Busting!"

Wow Alice! I just love the way you have cut your blocks on the angle like that. They look terrific. I love scraps and am collecting a bunch to make another quilt. Have you seen Bonnie Hunter’s site – Quiltville? She has some amazing patterns for crumbs and the like. There’s a link on my blog.

I have been piecing some 2 1/2 inch strips together to make some binding for my Job’s Star quilt (which I haven’t quilted yet).

Cheers…Ann 🙂

Another one weighing in on scraps. I’ve recently decided to tackle years of scraps and unfinished blocks and tops. One at a time.

I love the mile-a-minute idea. Great stuff!

Oooo, I so love scrappy quilts! Especially when pieced together in such a random fashion.

My scraps are sorted into boxes of lights, mediums and darks, with another box for left over cut fabrics – you know, odd squares and strips. They’re so so handy!

Jen 🙂

Hi Alice,
as to guild members gifting all their scraps to S., I find it’s fun to try to put together a interesting mile a minute or a log cabin block with scraps so you can play with variations in color, play with how different values go together and play with how different prints work together- so perhaps those scraps will come in handy for S. at some time or other.
It’s also nice to try a technique with scraps before you try “good ” fabric and there’s always applique for those tiny bits.
I use a lot of my scraps for leaves, petals,bugs bodies( add a circle and embroider legs )
But you asked how to organize? I’ve got mine in color families yellows to light orange, bright orange to reds, purple reds thru to lavenders, greens and blues, browns and earthtones.
Never know when you need a small stem ( like last night)
I only make my mile a minute blocks about 6-8 ” and i don’t cut them wonky, just keep them straight and add sashing between ( after I’ve squared them) Nina

Great idea! I like your blocks! 🙂

Hi Alice,
Absolutely love the blocks. What a great idea.
So glad I had a minute to pop in.
Can’t wait to see this one progress.
Love it.

Cool idea. I’m not much for scrappy quilts, but I do hate wasting all those pretty little pieces. And this would be great for charity quilts.

Another method of using up tiny scraps, going for the sizes below crumbs, is making “quilter’s jelly.” I read an article on it in an old Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine. She used fusible web, the jelly, and lots of machine quilting to make bushes and skies and other multi-colored things that really gain depth with all the different fabrics involved. There’s probably something on the Web about it too (if it wasn’t almost 1 a.m. I’d try to find a few sites).

BTW, how’d your Guild show go?

Crumb quilts? I have to agree that there should be some distinction in what we save below the size of a fat quarter, but “dogs ears” and such? I’m already being blinded working on black Aida 18 as my evening TV project..you want me to add small triangles to my days? Glad to hear somebody files strips by their width besides me. When Theri came home for Xmas and opened a drawer to find strips filed by size and color, she said “well, this is really anal!” Guess who went home and bought new cabinets and promptly refolded all her fat qtrs., etc.?
Love the blog, Alice… Mary

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