Scrap smarts: how to build a stash + how to organize said stash (giveaway!)

We’re thrilled to welcome back Martingale author Kathleen Tracy and to spread the word about her beautiful new book, Small and Scrappy!


You know Kathleen from her popular books, including The Civil War Sewing Circle and Remembering Adelia. Her style is traditional, sentimental, and oh-sew scrappy. Her quilts will whisk you back to an era when the time-honored quilt blocks we love today were just making their debut.

Square in a Square; finished quilt size: 17½" × 22″

Scrap quilts are Kathleen’s passion, and nineteenth-century reproduction fabrics are her medium. In Small and Scrappy you’ll find that Kathleen has thought a LOT about how to manage her reproduction scraps—namely how to build a fabric-scrap collection, and how to organize scraps of fabric once you have them.

Scrap-Box Strip; finished quilt size: 26¾" × 36¼"

Building a collection may sound like a no-brainer—just buy more fabric, right? But Kathleen’s approach will help make your fabric acquisitions sensationally scrappy. Here’s one of her tips from the book:


In this scrappy scenario, size DOES matter. Here’s a quick video that illustrates Kathleen’s belief that smaller is better:

Reading this post in email? Click here to view the video.

In essence, buying smaller cuts of fabric (fat quarters, fat eighths, charms, and the like) means you can quickly create a wide variety of scraps without breaking the bank. Plus, smaller pieces are easier to store and they make it easier to create one-of-a-kind scrap quilts—no two alike.

Treasure Boxes; finished quilt size: 11″ × 11″

A copious collection of scraps is a good thing—but only if it’s organized! Kathleen has a smart way of storing scraps that will end the chore of bin digging and make it easy to use your scraps whenever you need them:

Kathleen-Tracy“When I sort my scraps, I’ll sit on the floor and toss pieces into different-colored piles in a mindless (but organized!) fashion. The last time I did this it went a lot quicker than I thought it would. But if you can’t get yourself motivated to begin, ask a friend over to help you sort away. Have a scrap party!

Here’s my way of tackling organization: I place larger scraps that are left over from previous projects into separate boxes or bins according to color. Then, I place the tiniest scraps into zipper-lock bags, again according to color. I’ve become adept at tossing out really small scraps I know I’ll never use, along with scraps that just don’t speak to me anymore.

When I begin working on a project and I need a few little pieces (a small scrap of pink, purple, gold, or poison-green print to add a little ZING to the blocks), I bring out my little bags of colored scraps and keep them nearby. I can pluck just what I need. The bags don’t take up much space on my table and I can easily see the colors through the bags. I go through the sorting steps again from time to time as my scraps accumulate.”

Scrappy Pinwheels; finished quilt size: 20″ × 26″

Kathleen’s system is a perfect plan for getting ready to create the beautiful little quilts in Small and Scrappy with your unique collection of scraps.

Hexagon Garden; finished quilt size: 14½" × 14½"

See more from Small and Scrappy >

So, do you need to a) build a scrap collection, or b) organize your scrap collection? Tell us in the comments and you could win an instantly downloadable copy of the Small and Scrappy eBook! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win.

Ready to start a small-and-scrappy adventure right now? Buy the book and you’ll be able to instantly download your copy of the eBook version—it’s free with your purchase.

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Thanks to all who entered the drawing. The winner is Chris, who says:

“I could use more scraps, but definitely need to work on organization of scraps.”

We’ll email you about your prize, Chris—congratulations!







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