Monday, November 15, 2010

A Healthy Exercise

Thanks for the comments on my last post, with a big hug of thanks going to Victoria in particular..
I didn't realize i was in a box, but once you step outside of it, MAN, things become more clear (and fun, and interesting..)

I decided to try a sorting/color exercise and enlisted my favorite little helper.  I started with just the 5" strip bin and the bag of unsorted stuff hanging behind the door.  I found as many empty containers as I could, and we got to work..

For my containers I had to get a little creative.. yes, that's an ice bucket and a gravy separator. 

 Things started out going smoothly enough.  But then he started filling anything with fabric..
 He was having fun though so I just let him play with the unsorted bits as I tried to sort as fast as I could.  He did a lot of throwing fabric all over me and tossing it into a big overturned stool.
 This would be his, "What? Me? I didn't do it." face.
 I think it only took 40 minutes or so to go through that pile, but that was the limit of his patience with this activity (or, with mom paying more attention to fabric than to him) so I was glad I didn't bring down the other bins to sort.
 Now I have nice piles of color and not only was it fun to find fabrics I thought i had used up, but I learned a lot about my scrap stash as well.. for instance, I thought I had more purples.  I was expecting to have lots of green and blue, but I had no idea I had so much white.. the red & pink bin is a lot more red than i was expecting too..
Once they were all nicely sorted, someone decided to "water" the bins with the gravy separator.  How thoughtful of him.. Now I just need to get the bins upstairs and behind closed doors before he wakes up and wants to throw them all around the room again..

I would like to sort my other bins into these, but I'm more than a little hesitant-- first off, this haphazard arrangement of containers is not going to work.  Granted we probably don't need to ice bucket until we throw a party and the Halloween candy bowl is good for another 11 months, the whites are overflowing from the sand bucket, so I need better storage if I'm going to adopt this system on a long term basis.  Next, I really worry about sorting only by color and not by size.  Sure, by stepping out of my "size only" box i realized that my definition of a "scrap" is probably too limited and a lot more of my larger pieces would probably get used faster if I added them to this mix.  But what about when i want to make a multi-colored scrap project again?  I think I'm losing my control of the "random" factor when things are sorted by color.  wait, yes, i did just reread that.  Control of random?  is that my secret to quilting success?  hahaha. 
what i really need is for a few of you to come over and mess my stash up a bit.  then when the threads settle I'll see it all from a different light and get out of my old habits & predictable patterns...  What do you say? fabric party at my place?


  1. This is exactly the problem I have with to organize them to best advantage! Most of my fabric is folded and stacked on shelves which works fine for planned projects but I love scrappy quilts and don't have much storage room for containers of scrap *categories*.
    I look forward to hearing what others suggest.

  2. Great exercise...I just have a huge bin and i go digging...perhaps i will sort in baggies...i still like my cloth bin..its like a treasure chest, but it will be great if it is by color.

  3. Woo-hoo! Party! I'll bring the chocolate... I don't have much scraps to speak of, although with my most recent strip-piecing project that small pile is growing. I have to say I am very controlling of my little pile of scraps, they are laid out flat in one pile of mostly chronological order, although I started reorganizing some of them by fabric type and color. My whole stash in general is very very small, just two small drawers in my sewing table...

  4. Great job, especially with your adorable assistant. I never had scraps because I mostly threw them out. Lately though, being under the scrap influence, my pile has been growing - as has my stash. I recently separated my fabric into color piles and was amazed at which colors I had a lot of and which I needed to add to. (Blacks the most, pinks the least....hmmmm.) It was very eye-opening.

  5. What a great way to include your helper in color play! I used to sort by color, then found light, dark and medium worked better for several projects, so mostly keep them that way. As I piece planned-random scrap blocks I put them on the design wall to tell me what color is missing or too much. There are so many ways to go about it!

  6. Wow - we've been channeling each other or something because I've been attempting to organize and sort my fabric scraps too! Right now I'm going by size and I hope to eventually have it sorted by color. And, of course, Dominic loves it and is so very "helpful" with the sorting process. =)

  7. Now that's an exercise to get excited about!!! I sort my fabric scraps by color, mainly, but then the smaller pieces by shape and size. It is a good system because if you are looking for a specific color, usually a larger piece is called for. By the time the pieces are whittled down, they go into a multicolored bin that is based on size. That way you get the variety of colors all mixed together. I have no idea if that makes any sense whatsoever. But I think the main thing is that it is important to sort the scraps in a way that makes sense for you, for the way you quilt and for your space.
    (ok, so I may be a little passionate about scrap storage at the moment!!!) :)

  8. I've always sorted scraps by light and dark. But after reading your post, I've had a bit of a "why didn't I think of that?" response...I might have to get sorting again!


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