Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Saving the World, One Tiny Strip at a Time!

My family thinks I'm a hoarder.  I don't mean to make light of the disorder that is "hoarding", I realize it is a very serious disease that can ruin lives.  I don't have a house piled to the ceiling with items of no value but I DO have storage bin upon storage bin of fabric.  A lot of it is nice size pieces that will most certainly have their place in the perfect project someday but about half of them are filled with these:


What is this, you ask?  Well, they are very tiny strips of fabric left over from our Accuquilt Cutting Studio.  We cut our own 2.5" strips and 5" squares from the lines of fabric we receive and this is what is leftover from those runs.  Very thin strips of fabric that run the entire 44" width of fabric.  Even though the logical person would look at this and see no value in it, I am CERTAIN they have value and could be turned into something beautiful rather than another bag in a landfill somewhere. 

(The picture above are the remnants from our Gypsy Caravan and Freshcut runs.)

So, with really no extra time to speak of to come up with my brilliant idea of how to put these seemingly worthless scraps to good use, they accumulate.  We've had this machine for nearly 5 years.  That's a lot of scrap!  And I wonder if maybe my husband, in his attempt to straighten the studio up (my perpetual state of chaos) has either inadvertantly...or maybe not so inadvertantly....tossed bags of these without my knowing.  If I ever find out he's done this...it's the dog house for him!  (You've been warned, Chief!) 

I decided it was high time to start experimenting and see what I could come up with.  Have you ever had an idea but were too afraid to try it?  Worried that it might not work out?  Well, I am here to tell you, DON'T BE AFRAID!  I do this all the time.  And to be honest, I fail a lot!  I very rarely have a plan and I just let the organic process of creating happen.  And the process is so much fun!  And how awesome when one of your ideas actually works out into a gorgeous creation that you will forever be proud of!  Follow me during my process!

I went with my first inclination of foundation piecing the strips to a piece of muslin in the traditional "String Quilt" method.  Except, in a traditional String Quilt, you are usually dealing with pieces that are wider than the 1/2" to 3/4" which is what I'm working with.  I know what you're thinking, "How in the world are you getting any fabric to show in a 1/2" piece of fabric?"  Well, I am using a very scant 1/8" seam allowance.  Which means I need A LOT of strips to complete my block!

I start with a 12" square of muslin.

I wanted my blocks to complete a diamond so I started piecing on the bias...I knew I was going to have issues doing this but I wanted to TRY!  Just to see what happened! 

Sew two strips, right sides together onto your muslin foundation and press them open.

Place another strip down on top of the right hand strip and match raw edges.  Notice no pins.  I hate them. 



Sewing a scant 1/8" seam allowance.


Pressing seam open.  You can see here the fabric already starting to pucker.  Against my better judgement, I just kept going!!  So I throw it out if it becomes a huge bubble.  You never know if you don't TRY!  I kept laying strips down on top of the next, alternating sides.


So here it is! The entire 12" muslin square covered with teeny tiny strips!  And NO amount of starch was going to make this baby lay flat!


Flipping it over you can see what I mean about the bubbles!  It was one ripply piece of fabric!


I trimmed it down getting rid of all the straggly strips.


Then I decided to quarter it and see if I might be able to get rid of the ripple by sectioning it down to smaller squares.


It worked!  Love it when it works out!  I trimmed each piece down to 5.5".


And here is what my finished square will look like.....but no, I wasn't happy with that.


So I took each 5.5" square and quartered IT into 2.75" squares.



And here is what I ended up with in all it's tiny strippy scrappy glory!  I think I like!  Three more of these and I'll have myself a mini quilt to hang over my sink in the kitchen which is slowly being redecorated with Gypsy Caravan!

So tell me!  What kind of project would YOU attempt with these itty bitty things?  Would you be tempted to save them and make them into a fun project?  I think this is a fun way of repurposing something that most people would just throw away!  I'm saving the world!  Well, okay, maybe I'm giving myself too much credit but I am proud that I'm finding uses for these scraps!  Give me more ideas!!

24 comments:

Mindelicious said...

I've seen pretty rag rugs made out of honey buns on Moda bake shop: http://www.modabakeshop.com/2009/02/braided-rag-rug.html#more
Could be great in your kitchen. But honestly, I like what you are doing better!

Mary Grace McNamara said...

little zipper bags, tote bags, drawstring bags, fabric baskets, crochet them into a rug, use them as ribbon to tie packages, or just keep doing what you did here and end up with one fabulous quilt! I love that you didn't give up and just toss the whole thing, but instead cut it up and found a masterpiece!

MGM

Miss Beau Jangles said...

I'm saving up 2inch x 0.5inch strips to make a rag rug, I bought a kit specially! I like your idea better though! You must have used a tiny seem allowance - how are going to stop it fraying?

ytsmom said...

Very cool! Great, productive play time.

The Couch Potato said...

This is awesome!

personally I would probably try to crochet or braid the strips into something, but my sewing machine has been on the fritz for a while now.

Pirate said...

My first thought was that anything sewn would be a mess of seam allowances on the back. Then, it occurred to me that if you used spray adhesive and a raw edge applique approach, you could eliminate the seam allowances altogether and, as a result, you'd see more of the fabric.

Therefore, following along that line of thought, 2 projects came to mind. 1. Spray a foundation fabric with spray adhesive. Drop the skinny noodles onto it and pat in place. When the entire foundation piece is covered, meander quilt the entire piece to secure the noodles. 2. (A more structured approach) Spray a foundation fabric with spray adhesive. "Weave" the noodles onto the foundation fabric. There are several patterns of weaving that could be used, rather than the simple over/under. When the foundation fabric is covered, quilt to secure it.

Anna said...

I love the string blocks you made. Yeah for you for being able to make something out of those tiny strips. When I saw that pile I thought it would be perfect stuffing for dog beds but your solution is much prettier! Thanks for sharing this.

Gemma said...

Good for stuffing too, dare I say it!

Cherie said...

That's such a great idea! I've also been keeping scraps that small. I'm thinking of attaching them to some interfacing. Others I've paper pieced into scrappy charms =D

Sunni @ Love Affair with my Brother said...

I think they could be cool sewn on with raw edges, like when someone uses the selvages to make quilt blocks. IT would give you little frayed edges, almost flannel-y! Or crochet them? Maybe that could work.
But your blocks are really great, too!

Anna said...

Those ittybitty string squares are darling! I love what you've done with the leftovers that almost anyone would toss out without a second thought - bravo! I'd be seriously tempted to keep at it and make an absurdly large quilt with them - that would be really special :)

A Joyful Soul Fabrics said...

Love the rag rugs! Thanks for the link! I'm going to check that out!

A Joyful Soul Fabrics said...

I thought about crochet! My mom will have to teach me....again!

A Joyful Soul Fabrics said...

Is the Rag Rug a pattern? Who is it by?

A Joyful Soul Fabrics said...

Yer a GENIUS, Matey! (Sorry, had to!) I love your ideas! And it would be so much less bulky! I'm going to do this next and make placemats!

A Joyful Soul Fabrics said...

I thought about that too! I have two animals that go through toys like they do food so I thought I might use it to stuff into toys and they might be more difficult to gut than the stuffing. But I couldn't imagine seeing my beautiful fabric being chewed on by these beasts so I forgot that idea!

Gale, Ky quilter said...

Beautiful. Creative. Brave. Wow, those are awesome. I definitely would have made a string quilt with all those pieces and I would not have thrown them away either. However I am sure I would have lost patience quickly and would not have thought a way to take the bubble out. Looks great!

Swedish Scrapper said...

There's hope yet! I don't have a very large stash yet, but I have saved lots of teeny tiny strings like yours. I love your idea! I think the renewed fabric would be great for pillows, and tote bag insets, and even smaller zipper bags!

Josie McRazie said...

I am a HUGE fan of Bonnie Hunter and I think she is the QUEEN of scraps! I love all of her scrappy quilts and just don't have anything to use for it! Wondering if you would ever part with some of these boxes? (VERY NEW QUILTER HERE!) I LOVE the eway your strippy's came out!! :)

Margaret said...

we save all our scraps and give them to the local Humane Society. They have a lady who uses them to stuff the pillows she makes for the dogs and cats. When they are adopted, the pillow goes with them. It is nice because they are washable and they put all those scraps to good usse.

A Joyful Soul Fabrics said...

I never thought anyone would be interested in these! I'll have to think about that. If you've read my blog for a while, you'll see I am rather attached to my fabric stash! It's an illness that I am certain I need medication for.

Cori said...

Really gorgeous! I can't believe those tiny strips worked so well. I remember seeing this other idea for scraps -- tying them to a strand of Christmas lights. I love the look! (I think this was the first thing I ever pinned!) http://whitneycarolinedesigns.blogspot.com/2008/12/to-celebrate-another-successful.html

hclehnig said...

Very cool - looks like a kaleidoscope!
I think they'd make neat looking "chenille" look blocks
OR crochet them into placemats, bags, bowls, etc....

Jodi - usairdoll said...

Oh thank goodness someone else saves these scraps. hehe. I first started saving them just to have in a jar as decoration. I love your idea and am going to give it a try. Love all the suggestions everyone has given. Another suggestion is to wrap the fabric strips around thin rope or cords several times and then "sew" to the row below with the fabric strip. I know they have big "needles" so you can use the fabric like thread but I've forgotten the name. I saw it done at a quilt show before and kick myself that I didn't get it when I saw it. I did this as a child but we used yarn instead of fabric. Thanks again for sharing this!