Anita's quilts and quilting

A professional longarm machine quilter for hire and some of the work I've done.

Organizing scrap batting pieces

I’m a very thrifty person.  I hate throwing away usable stuff when I know I will use it IF I can find it.  Being a professional quilter means I end up with scraps of usable fabric or other STUFF.  Batting scraps is one example.  Batting scraps are the excess batting that’s cut off when the binding is attached.

Organizing 2014 120

I keep batting scraps to be pieced together and used in charity quilts.  I also keep batting scraps for when a customer’s batting comes up short at the end.  If I have the right piece it’s easy to add on and keep quilting.  Knowing which piece to keep was impossible because I wouldn’t know which I would eventually need.  So I would keep them all “just in case”.

Batting pieces stuffed into a box

Batting pieces stuffed into a box

In the past I simply folded and stuffed the pieces into a box.  When I needed a piece to fill out a too short batting or when I wanted to sew some pieces together for a charity quilt I’d go through the boxes to find the right piece or pieces.  Looking through several boxes of scrap batting would result in lots of batting spread out all over the place.  

My time is my income.  Using up my quilting time searching through boxes and boxes of batting scraps does absolutely nothing to help me pay the bills.  I knew there had to be a better way and last year I finally figured it out. It just took me awhile to start using it.  I have the batting scraps sorted and super easy to find.  Within five minutes or less I can locate and retrieve just the right size and type scrap I need.  Yippie!

Usable scrap batting

Usable scrap batting

I measured the length and width of each piece and wrote it on a small piece of paper along with the batting type.  I stapled that information on the corner of each piece.  You can see that in the picture above.   Bottom right corner.

I decided to organize the batting scraps the same way I organize the food in my upright freezer.  Like books on a shelf.  Or,  in this case like books lined up in a box.  See what I mean?

Bags hold pieces of batting like files.

Bags hold pieces of batting like files

Yea!  I don’t have to unload the whole box to locate the right piece.  All I have to do is pull out the right bag number from the right box. Yup, just like retrieving food from my freezer.  The bags are the two gallon size.  The numbers are from a previous organizing project.  The bags weren’t being used but are given new life for this project.  The bag numbers don’t really have to be in correct order but it will be nice.  I plan to get new bags and renumber the bags. When I find them.  The two gallon size are hard to find around here.

Boxes are used as if they were file cabinets

Boxes are used as if they were file cabinets

Alright the boxes now have locator bags in them.  Now what?  I need to know which box contains the bag with the right piece of batting for my need.  An index is always good for locating an article in a book so why not an index of my batting scraps?  An index is simply a list.

During the process of getting the batting scraps organized it occurred to me I don’t need to sort by type unless I want to do it.  For storage and retrieval purposes a list, a bag number, and a box number is all that’s needed. Here’s how it works. Let’s say next week I start saving new pieces of batting.  I keep a numbered bag in the studio.  I measure and tag each scrap with a piece of paper.  I put each piece into the bag as it’s cut and repeat until the bag is as full as I want it to be.

Starting a new bag of batting scraps

Starting a new bag of batting scraps

As new pieces are put into the bag, I write the size, type, bag#, and box# on my list.  My list is kept in the quilting studio.  The boxes are in another room out of the way.

New scrap batting sizes are written on the list

New scrap batting sizes are written on the list

To make the list pretty and easily readable I type it and print it.  Ok, every once in awhile I’m going to be pulling out a scrap piece or two to use.  That’s the whole reason for organizing them isn’t it? When a scrap is used, I mark through it on the list so I know it’s gone.  Like this.

Typed list of batting scraps and marked out ones already used

Typed list of batting scraps and marked out ones already used

Let’s say I want to piece together some scraps for a charity quilt.  I need a batting that measures 40 by 60 in a cotton. I look through the list to find all the cotton batting at least 60 long or longer that can be pieced together.  I find the right box numbers and the right bag numbers.  I take out, one by one, enough pieces to sew together.  I return the bags back as I go.  Mark those pieces as gone.   Ta Da!  Took 5 minutes max.  When the list starts to look kind of messy and there are a few empty bags I will update the printed list and re-use those bags.

Was this description or explanation understandable?  I’m never sure.  I know what I want to say but I’m not sure I write it that way.

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6 comments on “Organizing scrap batting pieces

  1. kathi
    January 21, 2014

    I LOVE THIS idea!! I thought i was “getting better” with my scrap battings. I DO write their size on paper and attach it, via safety pin, to the scrap. then put them in a HUGE CLEAR plastic bag that gets put on a shelf in the studio. I STILL need to open the bag and LOOK, but not the hassle of the unmarked hunks all over the place. YOUR IDEA is MOST excellent and i MUST remember it.. IF i ever get back to any even semi serious quilting that is.

    • Na Na
      January 22, 2014

      Thanks Kathi, the list is the key. I hope all is well with you. I’m feeling yucky today. I have been meaning to ask. Do you still have the oops glove I sent you? If you are not using it could I use it for awhile? I need one for Ladybug to use.

  2. Theresa Alsup
    January 21, 2014

    This is impressive– a great way to run a business.

    • Na Na
      January 22, 2014

      Thank you Theresa.

  3. Cindy Nielsen
    January 21, 2014

    Anita, this an efficient way to make it quick and easy. Last year I sewed a bunch of batting together for charity quilts and the left over pieces I wrote the size on a sticky and pinned it to the batting. It sure helps when I need a smaller piece of batting for a project. I am sure you have allot more leftovers than I do and this looks like it will work well for you. Great idea!

    • Na Na
      January 22, 2014

      Thank you Cindy. The list sure does help locate the right pieces quickly and easily.

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