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Quiltville Custom Quilting
Are you a Scrap User's System Convert? Share your story here!
Lisa in Georgia writes:
I have been reading about Bonnie's scrap system for a while now and I just couldn't get a grip on it on how I would start it and what I would end up
with. I finally bit the bullet on Saturday and read it again with a notebook in hand. I read her "scrap users system" piece and made notes of the
different sizes she cuts her scraps down to. She tells us on there what to do with 6 inch or larger pieces....just tuck them in with our Fat Quarters.
So, for two days, I cut and cut and cut some more of my scraps that were left overs from quilts and projects I have made that were just in
containers. I put those new strips, squares, bricks, and odd shaped pieces in different ziplock baggies labeled with their sizes.
I even have the habit of while I am in the process of making a quilt, I keep all fabrics even little scraps that I am using in that quilt in a grocery
sack. I won't re-distribute any of those fabrics while I am making that quilt. So, I have finished a lot of quilts and had lot's of stacks and bags
of fabrics left over from other quilts and projects and have started going back through those bags of finished quilts/projects and have straightened
out all the fabric. I have put the bigger yardage (1/2 yard and up) in with my other yardage pieces in my stash. I have taken the 1/4 yard sizes and
added them with Fat Quarters. I have cut the smaller pieces up into Bonnie'sscrap system. I still have lot's of scraps to finish doing this with and
will continue this process until it is done.
What was overwhelming me was what to do with all those bags of leftover fabrics with all kinds of sizes in them. I was scared to separate the
fabrics because I just might need that one little piece when I make another project out of those fabrics. I finally said to heck with it and am feeling
a lot of relief by doing this.
A lot of us just did a Mystery quilt called Carolina Crossroads that Bonnie created and directed. Bonnie and a lot of others did theirs scrappy. Scrappy
in 3 color sets. For instance, Bonnie did hers in blues, reds, and tans. She used all her blues, all her reds, and all her tans. Her quilt is beautiful.
All the other scrappy quilts are beautiful too. I so much wanted to make mine scrappy too, but I didn't have a handle on my fabrics as I thought I
did and didn't see that I had that much scraps of any one color to be able to do it that way. So, I made mine in 3 different controlled colors. I used
the same 3 Christmas fabrics throughout the quilt. I did have to get a new fabric for the border though that goes great with it.
Now that I am organizing my scraps via the Bonnie system, I will be somewhat ready for the next project like this. I didn't think I even had enough
scraps to do this system. Boy was I wrong. They are adding up as I cut those scraps down and organize them. Also on Bonnie's "scrap system" guide, she
even suggests to even separate our sizes into lights and darks which I will do when all is done. I have several baggies now and need to get a handle on
this first step first.
From now on, when I finish a quilt/project, I am going to immediately cut upthose smaller pieces and put them in their correct baggie's.
While cutting up those smaller pieces, I first cut the largest pieces according to the sizes Bonnie suggested, that I could get out of that piece.
Then as the piece got smaller, I cut the pieces out of it that I could get until I had just little teeny sizes under an inch. Then I put those teeny
pieces in a bag that I will donate to either a teacher for small kids to glue on construction paper to make collages or I will do what someone else
on here suggested about putting them in tshirts to make dog and cat beds for the humane society. I already keep a bag of those tiny scraps always going.
In these tiny pieces, I see flowers and think a little child would love to use those tiny flowers on a collage to make a flower garden of sorts. They
can use the solid pieces to make houses and fences and such.
My one inch strips are going into a bag all to themselves for the stringblocks I am making for string quilts. I will use the smaller triangles I
have to go for the corners on those string blocks and have them in their own baggie.
I hope all this helps someone else out there that has been overwhelmed withjust how to manage their scraps. This is time consuming at first, but I am
seeing a lot of new space in my sewing/studio room. A clutter room, makes a clutter mind and my mind is getting uncluttered finally. I love this system.
THANK YOU BONNIE HUNTER!
Lisa in Georgia
i want to thank you for your wonderful website and patterns. i have been reading your blog and drooling over so many of your quilts that i finally decided to jump in with both feet.
i am almost done with chunky churn dash -- queen size with piano key borders and am well on my way to assembling cathedral stars. i have all 305 4 patches done and the half square triangles done. In addition to all this I have also organized my formidable scrap collection into 1, 1 1/2, 2, 2 1/2. 3 1/2, 4, 5, and over 5 inch scrap strips -- no small task. it was well worth the time as i can now just pull strips out and go.
i stumbled upon your site back in mid October while my youngest (23yrs.old) daughter was in the hospital. She was admitted for pain management for 12 days-- this was the second admission in as many months -- all a result of a January 2007 car accident, which left her with 10 disc herniations.
usually i like to do things with a zillion pieces and tons of different fabrics but as of late my mind has been too involved taking care of my daughter. your patterns have provided me with a way to still feel productive despite taking care of her full time. i don't have to leave home to get fabric -- god knows i have a more than an ample supply-- i can utilize my scraps and i now have license to cut up anything and everything into scraps!!! i can sit and sew for 10 minutes or if i am really lucky -- for an hour not having to worry if this fabric goes with that fabric and do they all play nice together. of course they all play nice together they are scraps!!!
instead of waking up in the middle of the night worrying about my daughter i can now think about my scrap quilts--- i can only do so much for my daughter and then the whole situation is in God's hands but I can do a lot on my quilts which are in my hands!!
your patterns and inspiration have been heaven sent and i can't begin to thank you enough. when i get my churndash top done i will email you a picture.
thanks again for your wonderful directions and terrific patterns. i am very grateful to you for the time and expense you have contributed to share your love of quilting.
carrie crowley davis
I just got home from a retreat and have to share with you your part in it.
Since I first found your website years ago, I have been making your designs for my family, friends and my charity work. I have a notebook with all of your designs in it.
This weekend, I went to a retreat. My project was to lighten up my string box. I packed my notebook, phone book pages, strings and my plan to make Diamond Strings Quilt. I had never met most of these ladies and after I started working, I spent quite a while with them demo-ing string piecing and my “Bonnie Notebook”. And all of my show and tell for this retreat was your designs. I have changed some thinking on scraps and scrap saving, thanks to you. Several of the ladies were going to go home and cut some strings and make a small quilt for charity. Isn’t that just great?! I have one more retreat to show and tell at and then most of those go off to their new homes.
I just want you to know, you will have some new friends soon and to thank you for all you do for us. I sometimes feel like a Bonnie groupie when I am telling them about your website and your generosity. Sew Thank You.
PS: I did have to demo crumb quilting! We used that for leaders and enders. Does it ever stop??? Lordy, I hope not!http://grammasquiltingroom.blogspot.com/
I just wanted to show you a picture of a top I completed this week. I have been using your scrap organization system for about a month or so now and when I made the border, I did not have to cut any pieces. I used the 3 1/2 x 6 1/2 rectangle bin and pulled the blues from the bin. What a great way to keep being productive.
Sheila used the layout from Random Ohio Stars to set her friendship star blocks!
I have never been a fan of scrap quilts, crazy quilts or whatever they are referred to as. I have only been quilting about 2 years but go towards the planned, organized color schemes. Then I found my way to your website and thought I'd look around. Your article on how scraps costs $9 a yard also just slapped my head like those V8 commercials. Boy what money I was wasting. So with my love of Orientals I decided on my next quilt to keep all the scraps. Would you believe I would have tossed enough to make half of a yellow brick road. After 2 standard lap quilts my leftovers made a whole yellow brick road.
So back to your website for ideas on smaller pieces. I just last night finished your scrappy bargello. I was amazed, it was just leftovers. It was like getting a free quilt. Almost all of my quilts go to our church so saving money was fabulous. I will be teaching a quilt class there starting 8/22. I already made index cards with your website on them to teach them right up front - WASTE NOTHING.
Thanks again for all your insight and great advice. I have become a fan of your site. In fact today I will be looking for my next scrap project.
I found your site and started on control in the scrap department. (It could turn it to a full time job!) Then I saw the pattern for the house quilt and had to try it as I had cut a box of 2" strips. I made 12 blocks and cut the sides 4 1/2 by 14'' and sq them to 11 inches. To me the only hard part was squaring them up. Is there and easy way to do that? But it was so much fun to have that box with all the pieces ready to be cut in the size that I needed . Thanks so much for information on how to keep scraps under control! It will help a lot and I am sure I will be more apt to use them. Now if I can just get to the five or six boxes of scraps that I have ready to cut in strips! It sounds like a good winter project.
I stumbled across your website while searching for something about five hours ago... I have long forgotten what it is I was hunting for, I am not even sure what my poor neglected husband ate for dinner, and I have a vague memory of feeding my son a few hours ago, my eyes are drooping shut... but after looking at what seems like every single quilt on your website, I am so totally in awe, and so completely inspired, that I want to start a quilt RIGHT NOW! Your quilts are beautiful - the piecing and the quilting - Congratulations! I particularly loved your little lessons on organising the stash and making various uses of scraps. I will be back for further perusal tomorrow!
I am amazed by your scrap system. I thought I would never get it accomplished after years of accumulation. The organization of my scraps has saved me so much time! I have made several scrap quilts since my organization. I enjoy browsing your website, keep up the good work.
I have been completely overwhelmed by my tubs of scraps! I have 2 huge (like Christmas tree storage) tubs jam packed full. At least one tub is lights and the other one darks but that's as far as I've gotten. Every time I think about dragging one out and starting to cut strips/squares/whatever...I get lightheaded.
Then I thought about Bonnie's leaders/enders technique...where every time you start a new string of pieces on the sewing machine you sew a set of "something" else at the beginning and ending and pretty soon you have another whole quilt pieced!
Sooo...I took about a 3 gallon laundry bucket and grabbed handfuls of scraps from one huge tub to fill it up. I set it right at the end of my ironing board and now, each time I pick up the iron to press something I first press a scrap and lay it out neatly on my cutting board...then when I pick up my rotary cutter Ifirst cut a scrap into a strip or a square. I'm not making HUGE progress but, you know what? I've got that first little bucket almost empty!
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Hi again, Bonnie! I emailed you awhile back about your scrap system. Well, I've been busy cutting up my scrap fabric. You really SHOULD put a disclaimer on your website! LOL! Oh, my goodness! This is somewhat exhausting! I still have the greens, solids and leftover scraps from strip piecing to cut. I might not cut up the solids. Oh, and that bin of orphan blocks I need to figure out why I never used. Maybe they were mishapen or something, but there sure is a boatload of them!
The Top 14 Things I Learned While Cutting My Scraps For My New Bonnie Hunter Scrap System
14) Cut the larger strips first. The smaller pieces of left over fabric outnumber the larger pieces so the number of 4" strips will be sparse.
13) Decide what is the smallest piece of fabric you will keep. For me it was .75". Anything between .75" and 1.5" went into the insane "maybe I'll make a miniature quilt one day" bin. All else was tossed.
12) Do a quick measure of the width of the leftover fabric and mentally envision what and how many pieces you can get from it. Prevents waste in the end so you do not wind up with a piece of fabric smaller than your "minimum."
11) To prevent the "jar of flour and jug of oil that never runs dry" syndrome, sort, iron and cut by color groups (reds, pinks to purples, browns, brights etc). That way you can say, "The blues are done! Yeah!" "The pinks are done! Yeah!" I cut for days and days and it seemed that somebody was replenishing those "to be cut scrap bins."
10) If you're cutting fabric for a scrap quilt you already have in mind, DO THOSE FIRST! Otherwise your pea brain will get confused. "This is a blue. What size were those supposed to be again?"
9) Iron all the fabrics from one color group at one time. Besides lending a sense of accomplishment, when you have a spare moment you can just go in and cut a few scraps.
8) It's true. If a piece of fabric is still ugly, it's not small enough.
7) What joy it is to come across a piece of fabric that already fits into the scrap system and doesn't need cutting!
6) Plan to purchase stock in Sterlite. If you're doing this, chances are other quilters are doing it too and stock in that little plastic bin company may go up. Who knows? You may be able to afford those kids to college one day ... with a quilt ... and all because of a scrap fabric system!
5) You will be amazed to find you have enough orphan blocks to make a twin size quilt or two baby quilts.
4) If the fabric is thin or the fabric content is questionable, it's a string, no matter how large it is.
2) Your husband will ask if your new hobby is cutting fabric instead of quilting.
and finally ...
1) Cutting fabric counts as an exercise program!
Thanks for the info on your website. I've already told some new quilters about your site and system so they can start early! Oh, I shared a link on the FlyLadyQuilters list. Some already use your system, but I directed the rest to your site!
Thanks again and have a great day!
Robin in NC