Planning Projects with Leftovers in Mind

>> Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Do you like to work on patchwork projects that are different sizes? I do!
Do you have projects waiting for fabric and can't just go buy the whole store?! I do!
Then you might enjoy this post :) If not, you might still be curious about how I find fabric for projects and keep myself somewhat organized and making the best use of the fabrics that are already waiting to be used in my stash.

To make the best use of my fabrics on hand, I plan to work on projects starting with the one that requires the largest pieces first. It's kind of like planning a big meal for Sunday dinner planning to use the leftovers in other meals. For example I have a project that I really want to work on that has blocks that are less than 3" in size - that project has to wait until I 'make' the pieces for it!

Now this isn't for everyone and it doesn't work all of the time - sometimes the project with small pieces has a deadline and needs to get pieced first. But when it's a project that I'm working on for me or I have a lot of time, then I like to start with the biggest and work my way towards the smaller one.

Here's an example of a project that's waiting for leftovers: 

I've been working on this project for several years. It started when I made donation blocks trying out the slab block design from Cheryl Arkison. She was right - it's hard to make just one! I started to make them keeping one fabric consistent in each block - it's full of trivia questions about Canada. 

slab patchwork block modern scrap block

Then I gave myself another design restriction to make a block using just greens and tan or just blues and tan. When I sort my leftovers after making a couple of projects, I set aside the blues, tans, and greens into a storage box for this project.

plastic project bin organizing quilt projects

Now this project is slowly moving to the front of  the line as I think I will make a quilt to give as a thank you gift. I have been working on another thank you quilt that has lots of blues and greens in it so I have been making the fabrics to use in this quilt while I make the first one. I should be able to make several more blocks now!

slab blocks scrap piecing modern patchwork

I do have a few other projects that are waiting for their fabrics.

scrappy 9 churn dash block scrap patchwork

These pieced scrappy 9 churn dash blocks require small pieces too. I kept my white and neutral off cuts from my Canada 150 quilt and they are now designated to be used in this project. I have a tutorial for this block too!

Scrappy 9 churn dash block tutorial

Notice that both of these projects require the same color fabrics - this means I know that I can pick up an extra fat quarter or two in these colors and they will quickly get put into rotation. 

The neutrals and reds might also get set aside and used in this project that I've been resisting - so far! Have you seen these cute little churn dashes?!

That's another bonus with planning your projects - you start to think through the possibilities of the fabrics you purchase. Instead of buying something for a specific project, you might start buying fabrics that could work in multiple projects. This results in different kinds of fabrics being added to your stash which brings possibilities for new directions and projects.

I never even used to BUY red fabric!!

I tend to work for a while on several projects in the same colors but they are different sizes and themes. This keeps me interested and the scrap pile low. When a project gets finished, I decide whether to focus on finishing another one of the projects in this group or to start another one with different colors and start down the path of picking new fabrics for new projects!

Let me know what you think? Do you plan ahead to make leftovers for other projects? Or do you just make one happy scrap quilt? Leave a comment to share with other quilters:)

With Joy,

Sarah V.


Laurel's Stitches October 3, 2019 at 1:45 PM  

Really liked this post, Sarah! You have given me some great tips.

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