• Strings, Strings, Everywhere!

    Posted on January 23, 2017 by in Stash Tales

    It’s a fact that I am unable to throw away even the tiniest scraps of fabric. I have buckets and bins of all sizes and shapes of scraps. And I have most of them sorted!

    One of my buckets is for strings:

    The string bucket lives on the bottom shelf in the end of my cutting table, and any time I have more strings, I just add them to the bucket. Now the string bucket is getting too full, so I’ve decided to spend a bit of time sewing some of them together so I can do something with them, and make more room in the bucket — for future strings, of course!

    These are leftover scrap strips that are all smaller than 1 1/2″ wide (because I can’t bring myself to just throw them away).

    I’m sewing them together randomly, but I am separating the brights from the darks.

    I’m just choosing strips that are close to the same length, and sewing them together. If the strips are short, then I sew several of them together to make a strip of the length I want. This adds more variety to the strip set.

    I’m not paying any attention to the ragged edges just yet. I’ll be cutting these up, so they don’t matter at this point. The plan I have for my dark string sets requires my piece to be at least 6″ wide, so I have this one ready to cut up. I’ll show you how I’m cutting them and what my plan is in a later post when I have enough done for it to make sense.

    I’m not sure yet what I’ll be doing with the bright ones, so for now I’m just sewing them together in sets.

    Notice they’re not even, they’re not straight, and they’re not the same widths. This is what is gonna make them so interesting! I love how the narrowest strips make just a tiny strip of color in the set.

    It’s gonna take me a long time just to sew all theses strings together!

    Oh, and the parts I trim off of these? If they’re too small to do anything else with, they go into recycle. So really, none of it gets thrown away!

    Do you save strings?

    What is the smallest size scrap that you’ll save?

    I can’t be alone in this . . . can I?

26 Responsesso far.

  1. Lori East says:

    You are definitely not alone! I save strings too…I have a couple of those plastic storage drawer thingies and two of the drawers are crammed full. One drawer contains strips that are more or less neatly cut, the other has those odd bits that you get when you trim the end of a piece of fabric.

    I absolutely love string quilts, and I think this is probably the least expensive way to make a quilt there is. If you just save what others would throw away (ahem), before long you have enough for a bunch of blocks. Win!

  2. Judy says:

    I’m with you, girlfriend! Love those strings.

  3. Oh my dear… my beloved gramma saved so much. After she passed away I found a little box filled with bits of ribbon… she had penned on the top… “pieces of ribbon too small to save.” You are in the very best of company.

  4. denniele says:

    I have a ziplock on my cutting table…..all scraps go into it. Then I give the entire bag to a friend….that is how I deal with scraps. Everyone is happy and I do not feel the need to use them up knowing they are going to a better home!

  5. Maxine E. says:

    Definitely not alone! I save inch wide strings for string projects but smaller bits get thrown in a paper bag to refill the dogs’ pillows when their pillows are getting flat. I may need to make floor pillows just to get rid of the smaller bits.

  6. Karen Edwards says:

    They’ll make bright, wonderful quilts for charity, or place mats (which is another charity project for our guild this year), pot holders, etc. I save strings as narrow as 1″ wide for a someday Log Cabin miniature. A woman in my guild sews scraps into pet beds, so no fabric goes to waste here.

  7. Vickie says:

    Hi, I have the same addiction and I saw an idea recently (of course at the moment I cannot give credit where credit is due so if this idea is known by others please credit it). The picture used selvages but strings would also work. Sew a bunch together and then cut out a shape to applique onto solid colored fabric. I was thinking that a bird shape for baby quilts could be adorable.

  8. Carole S says:

    For regular piecing, I usually stop at 1.5″. Any smaller than that and I just get frustrated with the seam allowances getting in the way.

    We have a local no-kill shelter where they’ll take little quilts for cats and kittens, so strings of all sizes come in handy to make tops. The quilts get to go home when the furbabies are adopted. It’s a win-win!

  9. Kathy Fraser says:

    I made a string quilt for my grandson about 8 years ago. It’s still holding up really well. I’m anxious to see what you do with yours.

  10. Pam says:

    No, after i cut the smallest pieces 2 inch sq then the rest gets put in to dog n cat beds for the none kill shelter here

  11. Becka Meyers says:

    Oh yeah, I save scraps, strips, almost anything. I have been able to throw away short pieces of thread. LOL
    I’ve got two different string quilts in the works and I’m thinking about making some placemats from strings, too.

  12. Mary H says:

    I’ll save strings down to one inch in width and make string blocks or units with them. I also save tiny crumbs of fabric for crumb blocks or paper piecing. I’m making Bonnie Hunter’s Wild & Goosey blocks with them.

  13. randy says:

    oh my I told you about using the really thin shreds to make string????

  14. Paulette Bergman says:

    Hi! We are not alone in our silly craziness!! I love bits and pieces, too. About 1″ is the least that I will keep.
    I was trained by my g’ma — the Great Depression and all — so there is another purpose for everything saved. Thinking up new & different purposes keeps my mind bright.
    Example: In my stuff, I came across a little stack of related pink scraps cut about 3″ x 4″, so I began stitching. I alternated one prominent print and came up with a very long strip to set aside until the thought strikes…only 2 pieces of the prominent print left over.
    This is all so much fun!!! pj stitches!

  15. Suelynn Williams says:

    You are not alone! My little basket of strings overflowed and is now a bagfull – and I have lots of little rectangles I’m saving.

  16. I save strips as narrow as 3/4 inch for me.
    I save even slivers (as narrow as 1/8″ to give to friends who bird watch to share with birds building nests).

  17. Susan says:

    I used to say everything had to be more than 1″ wide, but last year I decided that was ridiculous and made it 1.5″ … though occasionally there’s a gorgeous fabric 1.25 … and I save it. LOL Sickness, I tell ya!

  18. Cindy says:

    Anything smaller than 1 1/2″ I sort by color into plastic shoe boxes. I’m getting ready to do a string quilt which will use my 1 1/2″ and 2 1/2″ strips as well as my crumbs.

  19. Meloney says:

    I have 2 laundry baskets full of strings. I used to make heartstring blocks, but don’t seem to do that anymore. I have other leader/ender projects I’m working on.
    I need to do something with them because I can’t stack another laundry basket to contain them all.

  20. Rose Marie says:

    I just throw that stuff away………but I am not wasteful. You know that I give you tiny little pieces too small to save!! LOL And my scrap bin is so large that sometime this year, I have to re-arrange the contents into some kind of order. I will be sorting out the orphan blocks that are currently in that bin and start a new Kitchen Sink quilt sometime.

  21. Marlene Clausen says:

    I am probably compulsive in the opposite direction! The rule in my sewing room is it has to be at least 1/8th (regular or fat) to keep. Two exceptions: any batik and left over binding. I try very, very hard to end up with ZERO scraps at the end of a project. Every orphan block and all scraps are pieced into the back and a larger scrap is kept for a label. If there are still some pieces left, they become mug rugs, potholders or blocks for an always on-going dolly quilt before the top is quilted or a new project started.

    Sew how come, if I have such a passion to eliminate scraps, my sewing room is still such a mess? And even when I do an intensive sort, clean, put away, and file the room looks the same in a couple days????

  22. Darlene says:

    I have a 6X6X2 basket/ drawer organizer on my cutting table all the scraps go into, when it is over flowing I sort cut-into squares and crumbs go in a shoebox. I have a ziplock that I store strings, hopeful to someday make a string quilt!

  23. Stephanie says:

    I save and use everything in Heartstrings quilts. No string left behind!
    That said, I probably have enough strings here already to make a few hundred more string quilts.

  24. Sigh – you are not alone. I find it hard to throw away the tiniest of scraps. And finally, they are coming in handy as I start a mosaic quilt. How tiny – how about a 3/8th strip? No hope for me.

  25. gloria g. Walls says:

    sounds like we are all alike……nothing like saving those little pieces, they do add up. before long you have a quilt top…..love doing them……I save everything……

    gloria g. happy in quilting

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