Ok. My cutting mat is on a small wooden table about the size of a card table. When it gets to the point where the table is piled high and I only have a 9 x 15 inch space or so left to use of my 18 x 24 inch cutting mat it is time to do something. First I put away all the big pieces of fabric and the chunks. Then I sorted out the bigger and longer pieces that were in sizes I save in bins which happens to be widths of 4.5, 3.5, 2.5, 2 and 1.5 as you see in the flat above. I also sorted out some strings that didn't fit into any of those categories and/or were wonky and threw them into the string box. There's still a big pile of stuff left to sort through as you can see in the background but I'll get to that later.
I started with the 3.5 inch scraps from the table...
...and the bin of 3.5 inch scraps.
I've been trying to clean out those bins too. So I worked those scraps. It's an easy thing to pick up and put down in between garden work.
The bin of 3.5 inch scraps and the table scraps now have a purpose.
First I assessed what UFOs I have that use 3.5 inch scraps. Six inch Broken Dishes is one of those UFOs I've worked on off and on over the years sometimes as a Rainbow Scrap Challenge Project and sometimes when I had some leftover HSTs. I found that I had 86 blocks. I've been trying to make at least twin sized quilts this year - most to be donated locally - so I figured a quilt with blocks with a 10 x 13 layout would make a nice sized 60 x 78 quilt. So, I got out my Easy Angle ruler and paired up some of the 3.5 inch scraps and cut enough HSTs for 44 more blocks.
I've already started sewing those HSTs together in between other projects. I throw them in a little basket after ironing and trim the dog ears at night while watching TV with hubby. I don't really ever do any squaring up.
Wishing Rings that finish at 3.5 inches is another block I've been making from 3.5 inch scraps. I cut the two inch center and four 1.5 inch corners from a 3.5 inch scrap...
...like this - one two inch cut and two 1.5 inch cuts. That leaves an extra pile of 1.5 inch squares that I've been using to make Plus Postage blocks. Those tiny rectangle pieces are the only waste which is not waste around here because it goes into the flower garden path or compost pile.
I cut enough centers and sides for 45 dark corner blocks and 25 light corner blocks. (Later I'll cut the side pieces from 1.5 inch scraps).
After all that cutting for Broken Dishes and Wishing Rings I put all the 3.5 inch strips that were longer than two 3.5 inch squares back into the 3.5 inch scrap bin. Not sure what I will do with those right now.
Next I cut a big pile of 3.5 inch squares. Use to be determined later...
...for now I added them to my new bin of various sized squares. I need to get more baggies to separate the sizes better but for now the new pile of 3.5 inch squares is in the corner there.
The rest of the 3.5 inch scraps I cut into 3.5 x 2.5 pieces for a future scrappy quilt to make like I saw at Blue Elephant Stitches.
Any pieces left that were more than an inch wide were sorted into piles by color...
...and sewn into strips to be used in a Chinese Coin quilt someday along with strips of other sizes.
I've been making the strips for over a year so I'll probably have enough to make a big Chinese Coins quilt at the end of this year.
Next I tackled the 1.5 inch strips I found on the table as well as some from the 1.5 inch scrap bin...
...and I cut those sides for the Wishing Rings - two 1.5 x 2 pieces and two 1.5 x 4 pieces.
Now I have all the pieces cut for 45 Wishing Rings with dark corners and 25 Wishing Rings with light corners.
The rest of the 1.5 inch scraps went into the 1.5 inch scrap bin. After I finish making my Plus Postage blocks I will probably cut all of the 1.5 inch scraps in the bin into squares or make a Lego quilt or something. For now I'm just glad they are in a bin and not on my cutting mat.
Stay tuned for more table scraps. I still have 2, 2.5, and 4.5 inch scraps left in that cardboard flat and in bins to deal with as well as that big crumby pile on the table.