Good Morning, everyone ---
Rain is gently falling here in north central North Carolina. It started last night and hasn’t stopped.
I had been hoping for an opportunity to get some photos of my red & white antique pineapple quilt to link up into the Red & White quilt show at SewCalGal, the deck and deck rail make a great place to photograph a quilt, but as it is soggy cold and wet out there –it’s going to have to wait until things clear up.
I’ve had quite a few emails lately asking how I store my strips, squares and bricks for easy access – and since the studio was "*mostly* clean ((A minor miracle, only attributed to the fact that I have not been home much!)) I’ve taken a few photos to share with you.
Strips ready to roll!
The basics are pretty simple, and you can read more in my Scrap User’s System article HERE.
I cut scraps into strips in the sizes that I use THE MOST. This may change a bit for everyone, but the most useful sizes for me are 1.5”, 2”, 2.5”, and 3.5”. This works for the sizes of piecing that I like to do – and these strips can combine easily with each other to give me the unit sizes I use the most in traditional piecing. The stack you see here are purple 2” strips ready for the 2” drawer.
A strip to me is generally anything that is LONGER than 10”….see that purple short stack above the pile of purple strips? These are candidates for cutting down into squares or bricks – because really, they are too small to use as anything else and are just clogging the drawer. They are on my cut-down list!
I do separate my strips by size AND color family because that is what works for me. What’s really nice is that stacking them up this way, and rolling them to store them keeps them from being crumpled and tangled, and also keeps the unraveling edges to a minimum.
Give it a roll!
While “Jelly Rolls” are round, this is more of an oval/rectangle. It stacks in my drawers better making better use of space. I fold it over and roll it so that it will fit in a gallon sized zip lock bag like this:
2” Purples contained!
No, I do not CLOSE the bag..the end is left open to breathe, but this makes it easy for me to grab which colors I need in which strip size and I am ready to go without messing up all of the other color families in the drawer.
2” strips in their drawer…color for quilts ready to play!
I store my drawers under the table side of my long arm quilting machine.
The first column of drawers holds notions and machine quilting supplies. The second column starts my strip storage with a drawer for 1.5” 2 drawers for 2”, 2 drawers for 2.5” and one drawer for 3.5”. There is a drawer for extra large squares for backings (mostly 10.5”) and the smaller 3 drawer carts are each designated for 1.5” squares, 1.5” X 2.5” bricks, 2” squares, 2” X 3.5” bricks, 2.5” squares, 2.5” X 4.5” bricks and 3.5” squares.
Further on down the line are bins of crumbs, UFOs and a bin of solid strings in rainbow colors that I wanted kept together. It’s a great use of space that would otherwise be wasted. I store my batting in the other room.
Every scrap quilt starts HERE. I start with the pre-cut strips, squares and bricks in the sizes I need for the quilt I want to make.
For instance, for this quilt:
Split 9-Patch Top Done!
If you are new to Quiltville, this quilt was our 2013 Leader & Ender Challenge. My blocks were made beginning in July as pieces sewn together at the end of lines of chain piecing instead of using a folded over throw away scrap to keep my piecing continuous. It's amazing how quickly these blocks grow when not even thinking about them! Click HERE for more info on the challenge.
I didn’t have to cut a single square for this quilt at all…they all came from the 2.5” squares drawer. ((Which is still half full! I need another project!))
I used 2.5” strips of color and neutral and my easy angle ruler to cut the triangle pairs for the blocks –I focused on using up the weird strips that I really wanted to “GO AWAY”. Maybe they were shortish, or old, or just plain ugly or definitely weird – but I used them.
I also keep leftover units from other quilts labeled in baggies – and several of the 2” finished half-square triangle units came from other projects and found a home in this one.
But let’s say I’m making a Red & White Quilt ((Yes, still thinking about the SewcCalGal Challenge) and I’ve chosen my design and it uses 1.5” red strips to start with. I’ll grab that bag of 1.5”red strips from the pre-cut 1.5” strip drawer….and use what I can there, and if I need more, if the variety isn’t enough, or I run short or whatever – THEN I go to my fat-quarters and then onto yardage from there. But I try to use what is already pre-cut and ready to go in the drawer first.
And then if I AM cutting more – I will cut EXTRA at the same time so I can replenish the color that I have depleted from the drawer so I always have strips in that size and in that color to work with.
This keeps the older always going OUT and leaves room for the NEWER to come in.
When taming the scraps –my rule for myself is: Anything LESS than half a fat-quarter is what I will cut up and distribute amongst my strip drawers in my sizes. If it is bigger than half a fat-quarter, it isn’t a scrap and needs to stay whole.
You can tailor it to how it works best for you, but I KNOW this works.
Now that there are THREE unquilted tops on the rail of my quilting machine – it’s time to start thinking of some BACKINGS!
Have a great Wednesday, everyone!