Scrap Management for Oh Scrap!

Cyndy at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework asked me if I would do a guest post for her linky party, Oh Scrap! I was delighted to do so! She specifically asked how I use my die cutter as an aid to managing my scraps. So this is how I handle scrap management.

First, find a container for scraps you want to keep together. Add to this until it is ready to over flow. Really. I don’t want to get all this out to cut a handful of pieces. Most quilters are already at this point.

This pan is filled with mostly scraps from my collection of Denyse Schmidt fabrics. I love her designs and have found that all her lines work so well together. I have a lot more scraps than this, but these are scraps I want to use together. I have a large basket for Civil War Repro fabrics and another bin for solids.

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After my pan, basket, or bin is sufficiently full, I  start sorting into like sizes and shapes. If you have a die cutter, you will likely have lots of similar shapes left over. This is very handy!


Toss bits that are tinier than you will actually use. Someone might uses bits this size, but I won’t. So out they go.


Next, decide what dies you have that you would like to use and will fit with the scraps that you have. For example, I had a pile of these hexies in this scrap bin. I could have cut them into something else, but I really want to make another hexie quilt at some point.

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So I got out the hexie die. I also decided that I would like to cut tumblers, 2 inch finished squares, and 2 inch finished HSTs.  So I pulled all of these out.

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I started with the biggest scraps cutting as many hexies as I could. Then I started in on the tumblers because that was the next largest shape I planned to use. I layered my fabric scraps cutting up to 10 tumblers at a time (check with your die cutter manufacturer to know how many layers you can safely cut with your machine). When I could cut no more, I moved onto to squares and then the HSTs. I ended up with scraps that were still too big for me to throw away so I cut  1 1/2 inch finished HSTs as well.

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When I was all done, these were the scraps that I ended up tossing out.

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And here are my neat little piles of scraps all ready to go. Isn’t that ever so much better?

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I also had some small strips leftover that didn’t fit any of the dies I had pulled out. I could have placed them on one of my strip dies to cut uniform strips. But  I had another idea in mind.

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I started randomly sewing these strips together like this. 

Then I pulled out another die, 3 x 6 inch finished this time.  I cut my random bits into uniform rectangles like this. 


These pieces have so many design possibilities.  I will show you how I plan to use these in my next Design Wall Monday post.

As I create more scraps, I will add to these piles. Or I could make a mini or bag with what I have cut so far.

The big tips here are to choose shapes that you know you will use. I can think of MANY patterns using these squares and HSTs that I would make.

Start with the biggest die you have chosen and work down to the smaller dies.

Don’t save something you won’t use anyway. There  is nothing virtuous about saving scraps that you won’t use!

I hope this helps! Now head on over to Cyndy’s and link up your scrappy project!

Linking up with Podunk Pretties for Podunk Pickin’s!

About katyquilts

I am a wife, mom of four amazing kids, and a librarian. I have been making traditional quilts for ages but have ventured into art qulting in the last several years. I also love to knit socks and mittens and dye my own fabric. I am thankful to God my Father and Creator for the gift of creativity!
This entry was posted in Accuquilt Studio Cutter, Scraps, Timesaver Tips, Tutorials. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Scrap Management for Oh Scrap!

  1. Pingback: Best of 2015 | KatyQuilts

  2. Lea Anne says:

    You’re so organized with your scraps. Someday I’m gonna need to do this, the sooner the better. Thanks or sharing on Podunk Pickin’s. Good luck in the Giveaway!

  3. Nancie says:

    Thank you for the brilliant idea of sewing the fabric strips together and then die cutting them.
    I have 15 pinwheel blocks sewn together so far, and all the blocks look unique.

  4. Lynnwa says:

    The wood dies that you see are for the Accuquilt Studio die cutter that is bigger and uses a different die from the Accuquilt Go cutter. You can also use the Go cutter dies with the Studio dies with an adapter you can get from Accuquilt, but you cannot use the Studio dies with the Go cutter.
    You can use more thicknesses of fabric with the Studio cutter. I have the Studio and just love it, it saves my hurting hands from cutting with the rotary cutter and is so fast.

    I also use the tiny scraps for other things, like confetti quilts and other crafts. Thank you for your ideas on scraps.

  5. Kathleen says:

    I’ll tell you what I would do with that nice tray full of tiny scraps that you toss. I print coloring sheets, then fill a bowl with tiny pieces of fabric like that, set it on a play table with glue sticks and my granddaughters just love gluing the fabric to the coloring page instead of coloring with crayons or markers.

  6. Kathy says:

    Next month, I plan to get into my stash and reorganize. And thanks to your brilliant idea, my first priority will be to pull out scraps and cut them into usable pieces. I’ll probably choose squares and HSTs.

  7. Thanks so much for sharing Katy. I know I am getting a system sooner rather than later. I am getting together my die wishlist. The larger rectangle is now on my list thanks to your pre-piecing idea!

  8. Gina says:

    Thank you so much for this. I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a die cutter but wouldn’t know if i’d use it enough to warrant paying out the money. After seeing this post I think I could justify the price. I now need to research where I can get one etc

  9. lois92346 says:

    I love your tip about sewing pieces together to make a string set before cutting them. I hadn’t thought of that before.

  10. Kathy S. says:

    Thanks for showing us how you manage scraps. I am a scrappy quilter. Accuquilt is my favorite tool to manage scraps. I can’t believe that I didn’t have the 3 x 6 die–Oh Scrap! I ordered it from Amazon as soon as I saw your post. What a great way to use those strings!

    I just have a question about your dies. Why do they all have a wood-grain looking side? Are they older dies? Are they a special set? I know it probably doesn’t matter, but I am always looking for other dies that are compatible with the Accuquilt. Thanks!

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