The simple and easy peasy way I use up my scraps

by Nicole

The beautiful thing about having lots of works in progress is that when you get bored with one, there’s always another waiting in the wings.

I’ve set my denim curves quilt aside for the moment and have been working on a scrap quilt I started last year. If you’re like me, you’ve got scraps overflowing in bins, baskets, boxes and on the floor! In an effort to tame these scraps, I decided to make a simple patchwork quilt. I cut yellow, blue, purple, and neutral colored scraps into 4-inch squares.

The reason I chose 4″ is because one of my favorite rulers is 4″ by 14″. It’s the perfect size. The resulting squares finish at 3 1/2″ – not too small or too large. It’s the Golidlocks ruler!

Then I sewed the squares into rows of 4 blocks.

I then sewed 4 rows together to make a block. Simple! Easy! Peasy! I made 30 blocks and laid them on my design wall.

To keep the blocks organized after I decided on the layout, I made a set of labels. Usually I use Post-Its. But they typically fall off or tear. I made this more durable set using a scalloped-edge paper punch, a slot punch, and cardstock paper. And voilà!

Having the blocks organized made sewing them together easy.

So now, it’s on to figure out what to do for the back!

How do you use up our mountains of scrap fabrics? 

Nicole Neblett signoff Modern Quilting blog


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Kathy E. July 15, 2018 - 10:22 pm

4″ squares do seem to be a perfect size to work with…I’ll remember that! One of my favorite projects with scraps is to make improv baby bibs. I’ve made so many and still enjoy each one with its own personality, just like the baby that will wear it. I usually take another scrap and add an applique to a corner. Making scrappy pot holders is another quick, easy project!

Nicole July 16, 2018 - 9:43 pm

Yes, Kathy! Baby bibs and pot holders! I’ll need to remember that! I welcome quick projects like those which also bust through scraps. Win-win!

Lucy July 16, 2018 - 7:14 am

This is a great idea. I honestly never know what to do with my scraps. Sometimes I use them for appliqué.

Nicole July 16, 2018 - 9:44 pm

Thanks, Lucy! There is so much potential with scraps, but at the same time it can be overwhelming. Applique is a great idea, especially for the teeny pieces!

Jayne July 16, 2018 - 8:45 am

Most of my scraps are irregular pieces. I usually do some sort of improv…pot holders to quilts. The 4″ ruler is a great idea. It makes cutting so much easier. Your quilt is wonderful and I’m sure you will come up with the perfect backing!

Nicole July 16, 2018 - 9:45 pm

Thanks, Jayne! Improv is great for scrap busting! And pot holders are so practical. I’ll have to keep that in mind!

Marla July 16, 2018 - 9:35 am

Love your color combo! I enjoy scraps and make everything from lap quilts to coasters in an effort to use scraps. However, I never seem to diminish the piles.

Nicole July 16, 2018 - 9:50 pm

Thanks, Marla! You are right about the piles. My piles seem just as large even after cutting nearly 500 squares!

Rosemary B July 16, 2018 - 12:53 pm

Nicole, this quilt is adorable. It is a great idea. I am also trying to sort through some scraps and make some things with some of the special bits.
Well done!!

Nicole July 16, 2018 - 9:52 pm

Thanks, Rosemary! Scrap sorting can be fun. It usually brings back memories for me of the original fabrics I used. Happy sorting!

Bobbi @ Snowy Days Quilting July 16, 2018 - 1:51 pm

Your quilt looks so good! I’ve wanted to make a simple patchwork quilt for just about forever, but I never seem to get around to it.

I love the way you labeled your rows! I was using numbered pins for a while, but I got tired of getting poked and having the pins fall out. Now I write on little pieces of painter’s tape and use that. But it would be really nice to have a stack of cards that I could use over and over. I may have to give this some thought. Thank you for sharing!

Nicole July 16, 2018 - 9:54 pm

Thanks, Bobbi! I needed some simple patchwork to take away the deliberating – something I can do with out thinking about it too much.

There are so many ways to label rows. I haven’t tried painter’s tape, but it sounds like a fantastic idea! Thanks for chiming in!

Lea July 16, 2018 - 4:51 pm

Your scrap quilt is going to be a beauty an so cheerful!! I use even the smallest of scraps. I enjoy improv quilts. I also have a lot of leftover strips that become string quilts.

Nicole July 16, 2018 - 9:57 pm

Thanks, Lea! Ah, yes, string quilts! They are perfect for those skinny pieces. I haven’t done one in years. I may have to revisit them again!

Cindy B. July 17, 2018 - 7:47 am

Lovely!! I do table runners, sometimes reversible, with scraps. I think I’ll use your idea for the 4” squares to make a block. I like this kind of fun, easy, creatively satisfying projects as warm-ups before starting something more labor intensive. Or, when I can’t decide which project to work on next! Once again, you’ve inspired me!

Nicole July 18, 2018 - 9:56 pm

Thanks, Cindy! You are so right. We all need easy projects from time to time! I like the idea of table runners. They are quick projects that can spruce up a space so nicely. Thanks for stopping by and chiming in!

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