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Scrap Happy Summer Meet Brenda

Today our scrap happy summer guest is Brenda from Scraps and Strings.  I have followed Brenda’s blog since I started blogging over five years ago.  She is a great scrap quilter.  She does everything from art quilts for AAQI to full sized quilts.  She does a lot with strings as her blog name suggests and word quilts which I love and get a lot of inspiration from.  So whatever your scrappy pleasure Brenda has a little something something to meet your pleasure.  

Now let’s hear from the talented Brenda.

Me-     What do you consider a scrap?  What’s too big/small?

Brenda-For me, scraps are fabrics that aren’t foldable. I buy half metre and metre cuts, and fold them lengthwise into quarters and fold them around my 6 by 12 ruler. So anything big enough to fold would go back into the fabric cupboard. Almost nothing is too small for me. I’ve used ¾ inch strips to make free-pieced letters, and I’ve made several AAQI quilts out of the garbage can. Mostly, I throw out bits under an inch wide, but sometimes I do keep them.

Me- Do you prefer big projects or little ones when using your scraps?  Or do you use a combo

Brenda- I make both little and big projects from scraps. I used smaller bits in needle books, place mats, tea cozies, AAQI quilts, zippy bags. Recently I made four single-sized quilts entirely from string blocks I collected from local sewing friends. I’ve also made a double-sized spider web quilt, a throw with Dresden plates from scraps sent to me by Victoria of Bumble Beans, and large string quilts.

Me- How do you keep your scraps from taking over your sewing area?  

Brenda-Well, I’ve never post a picture of my sewing area because the scraps are taking over. I have eight of those plastic shoeboxes which hold scraps sorted by size and colour. At one time I subscribed to Bonnie Hunter’s scrap user system, but I found I didn’t really use many of the sizes she suggested cutting scraps into. Now I have a bigger bin close to my cutting table where I drop miscellaneous scraps. I keep a bag of binding scraps for binding a scrappy quilt. The stuff that falls to the floor usually gets thrown in the garbage or the dog blanket bag.

Me-  Any tips you would offer others when using scraps?

Brenda-  Let them speak to you. Swap them with other people. New scraps are like spark plugs for the stash – they bring energy to your stash fabrics. I’ve been inspired by scrap swaps and playing with bits and pieces from other people’s scrap bins, forcing me out of my comfort zone and getting me to play with colours and prints I might not buy. The flip side of this is that sharing your scraps gives other people joy, and it clears out your own sewing space to work on new projects. After all, anytime you make a quilt, you also make scraps.


  • Julierose says:

    I tend to use my little scraps (baskets and baskets of those!!) to paper piece as in my "on the wall" Sea glass blocks I'm working on right now…itty-bitty pieces sewn together then applied to paper strips…Making small things (mug rugs, pot holders) to me is just as much work and sometimes harder…great post, hugs, Julierose

  • Nedra says:

    It's always nice to see what others are making from their scraps!

  • Needled Mom says:

    Her work is really beautiful. It has been so much fun seeing how scraps are used.

  • suemac says:

    I love scrap swaps. I always get the best scraps.

  • Brenda says:

    thanks for hosting this series, Em, and for inviting me to participate.

  • Quiltdivajulie says:

    Great answers to the questions — love "let them speak to you" and "spark plug for your stash" . . . SO true!!

  • Quiltdivajulie says:

    Great answers to the questions — love "let them speak to you" and "spark plug for your stash" . . . SO true!!

  • P. says:

    Brenda, you do great things with scraps! I love the spark plug for your stash concept. Absolutely, yes. I, too, at one time cut all my strips into a system of sizes, but now I just toss them into whatever drawer of the string stash that can still open, LOL.

  • barbara woods says:

    I love scrap quilts

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