Two months ago I spent the better part of a day sorting my scraps into color groups. (Instagram pic)

Yesterday I worked on pink-orange-yellow-and-green improv blocks for my monthly charity quilting bee. After my day of scrap sorting, it was easy to grab the colors I needed.

Working on improv blocks

But then I read about Pat Sloan’s Scrap Busting Progress. Pat regularly culls her scraps into 5, 3.5, 2.5, and 2 inch squares.

So I hucked all the tiniest crumbs into a bucket and tossed some bigger scraps into another bag for pressing, trimming, and storing.

Charms and three inch and two and a half inch squares

Then I looked back at the pile which had magically grown as I trimmed.


Now I’m feeling indecisive. I think the best approach is to ask how I use my scraps the most. I most often use pieces of any size in improv.

But, would I use squares more if I took the time to make them? Would I miss not having scraps around for improv blocks? Would I rather have a crazy-wonderful improv scrap quilt someday or a glorious square patchwork quilt?

Holly from hollygetsquilty has an inspiring photo of a scrap sorting system on Instagram that I’m tempted to try. Anyone have advice for me? What do you do?

As for the comments on my last post, I absolutely loved reading about all of the places we quilters would like to go if we could drop everything. (I also loved the nice compliments on the pattern – thank you!) Winners of the Airplane pattern are number 2 and 17. I’ll send out those emails tonight!

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  1. Sarah

    I don’t really sort scraps – I’m lucky if they are all in the same bucket. I’m beginning to think I really need more organization. 😀 But I do like the versatility of leaving them all their ‘original’ size. Otherwise, if you need a large-ish scrap for paper piecing or a quick block, you have to cut into yardage, making more scraps.  Of course, it depends on your definition of scrap too. I know some people think a scrap is anything leftover from a project, even if its a full half yard! I’m more inclined to the less than a fat eighth…but, then again, with my lack of organization, it could be whatever’s closest, or find-able. 😀

  2. Sarah Schraw

    I’ve just recently started sorting my scraps mostly by designer. (In the plastic bags that happy mail typically comes in). Weird, I know, but it’s actually working for me. It seems like I pretty often go to my scrap bins looking for something specific. I also leave larger scraps folded inside my fat quarters and half yards.

    I love the idea of having pre-cut scraps but I would only do that if I had a plan for a specific future quilt.

  3. Rachel at Stitched in Color

    I like the look of precut scraps, but I’ll stick to the flexibility of natural scraps. I think if your scraps are weighing you down or stressing you out, then precuting them makes sense as it imposes order and purpose. But, if not… then I’m not sure it’s as valuable as just working on what you want to work on, scraps or not!

  4. wendy

    I sort them by colour, but I don’t trim them or cut them to size.  I’d find that too restrictive.  What if you cut them all to squares, then wanted some rectangles?

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