No matter what kind of quilts or fiber art you create, fiber and fabric scraps are a fact of life.
Many of us hoard these little pieces of textile temptation because we know they come in handy some day: you never know when you're going to need that perfect piece of orange to highlight a quilt design or that amazing bit of silk ribbon to frame an artist trading card.
|Fabric fortune cookies made
But, these piles and bags of scraps do have a tendency to build up and take over the studio. Or so I'm told (wink).
That's when you need a project or technique that's tried and true for zapping that scrap basket pile down to a manageable height. Here are seven ideas, that have worked for me, all of which we've explored on "Quilting Arts TV."
1. Needle felt. Is there an easier way to turn random bits of fibers and fabrics into beautiful, textural designs? I can't think of one. Ever since I got a needle-felting machine, I've been turning fiber "trash" into gold faster than you can "Rumpelstiltskin." I demonstrated this technique in the first season of "QATV" and since then we've had several other artists reveal their own twists on needle-felting.
|Needle-felted fiber art.
2. Fabric charms. Ruth Rae first showed me how to make these in the second season of "QATV." You can turn these tiny mixed-media pillows into jewelry or use them as embellishments for a wall hanging.
|Mixed-media fabric charms.
3. Patchwork. Quilters have always used scraps to make patchwork designs, but the recent revival has a fresh, contemporary spin. Plus, we've learned you can apply patchwork to pretty much anything, like the crazy patch modern purse Darlene Zimmerman made on Season 3.
|Easy patchwork purse.
4. Banish UFOs. OK, they're not really scraps, but unfinished objects (UFOs) take up space in your studio and clutter your mind. In series 400 of "QATV," I demonstrated how to finish your small art quilts in five minutes with no fuss.
5. Make cookies. One of my all-time favorite projects from series 500: no-sew fortune cookies. Just cut circles out of your scraps, stiffen the fabric, fold, and stuff with fortunes. I predict you'll have fun with this scrap-zapper.
6. Give them to the dogs. Not literally, of course, but scraps (of fabric) are perfect for making fabric collages featuring your pooch (or cat), pet apparel, toys, and patchwork bedding. We've shown them all on "QATV," but one of my favorites is the Doggie Treat Bag by Carol Ingram from Series 600. This project uses just a little fabric and it's very stylish.
|Doggie treat bags from fabric scraps.
7. Embellish. Another way to use up scraps is to make embellishments, and Victoria Gertenbach's Boro Bobbles project from Series 700 is easy and fun. After the circles have been cut, you can hand-stitch and stuff them with filler while watching TV or your child's sports practice—a perfect take-along project.
|Scrappy Boro Bobble embellishments.
There you have it: seven ways to bust your fabric scrap and fiber stash, all from "Quilting Arts TV."
Did I miss something? Tell me how you use up scraps in the comments section. I'd love to know some new tricks.