organizing small scraps, stitch book progress and a cardinal sew along

A new way of saving really tiny scraps happened by accident.  And besides storing them it can provide a bunch of inspiration for stitch book pages. Last year all the little offcuts and tiny scraps saved for the book project were in a basket and everyday I would dump it out and sort through it.

colorful tiny fabric scraps layered on white linen fabric

Lately I’ve started laying them out on a piece of white-ish linen to get a better look at them. I wasn’t thinking about design but while randomly laying them on the fabric appealing shape and color combinations turned up, little places to start.

The linen has enough texture to hold them in place (I think any fabric with some texture would work) and If you put a piece of wax paper over the linen and scraps you can roll it up and all your tiny scraps are saved for next time- easy to see and mess around with, a textile white board for experiments.

day 28 2023

We are 4 weeks into the 100 day sketchbook challenge as of today (2/17) and tomorrow completes page 6.  I’m trying something different this year and thinking about pages that will display together when the book is assembled as one composition. It’s definitely an experiment and we will see if it’s effective when the book is done.

cardinal sew-along

Use the songbird sewing pattern to make a cardinal. This is a quick, mini sew-along, it  begins now and ends on March 1st.

cardinal sewing pattern

What’s different about this sew-along: there will not be additional blog posts – the details for making the cardinal are already on the blog here plus in the other sew-along people pretty much worked at their own pace. I will be making a cardinal too and posting in the stitch club community as well as the facebook group and instagram. To participate use hashtag #cardinalsewalong on instagram, the stitch club community or in the facebook sew-along group to show us your progress. At the end of the sew-along a team of esteemed judges (really just me) will award a prize for the best cardinal. The prize will be a marvelous collection of scraps and your bird will be featured on the blog. The cardinal prize will be announced on Friday March third so please post your photo by the first of March.

And speaking of March, I’m already in full spring cleaning and organizing mode, especially in the sewing room. I haven’t seen this work surface in weeks.

Are you feeling spring cleany? How do you save your tiniest scraps? Will you join us in the cardinal sew-along?  Let us know in the comments.


  1. I will be using the cardinal in my stitching book! Thanks for inspiration!! They are my favorite! Yes I cleanymy sewing room when I started this 100 day challenge for the first time! It’s made me look at my three giant scrap bags in a different way lol. Have a creative day!❤️

  2. Love your ideas. Thank you for the Stitch Club 100 day fabric book inspiration.
    I get so much inspiration from all the posters.
    I appreciate that your blog doesn’t have a single ad. After looking at other blogs I appreciate your blog even more.

  3. Nina Bagley

    Do I save the tiniest scraps? You bet I do, but figuring out how to organize them has forever
    been a problem, and that goes with the rest of
    my fabrics. a conundrum!!! There are little piles of tiniest scraps everywhere, and no matter how hard I try to step in from now and then to pick up and put away, it all comes spilling out and over again. This is a small cabin with few closets, and I refuse to store things in the basement. But I am loving the stitch book project/process/progress and pushing myself on through former boundaries, causing gleeful surprise whenever that happens. thanks for dreaming up this entire adventure that includes all of us!
    As for the cardinal, when you said there would be a contest, I quickly stepped back. No way, for my bird would end up looking like the Charlie Brown version and I would worry for its survival in this world….

  4. I’ve tried keeping up with the 100 day stitch book and was hoping it would help get me out of my funk. I’m still working on it but not every day. Hoping to finish so I get that thrill of accomplishment and can move on! I do appreciate the prompts and reminders and I love the scrap idea. Wonderful!

  5. Nancy Lenehan

    things get done much faster when you do them. love that so much. love you and this stitching journey you are sharing and encouraging

  6. Angela Loomis

    I have been looking forward to the cardinal sew-a-long. They are rather bossy birds when they visit my feeder and bully the little ones away. It will be fun to make a pair for my fireplace mantel.

  7. I love you work station so stitcherly and inviting. You always inspire me, thank you.

  8. A cardinal is just what I need to get me creating again! Yay! I’m going to get my song bird pattern out and start today! And as usual, thank you Ann!

  9. The rolled storage trick is fantastic! Now, how do you store the rolls?
    One of the cardinals who visits my suet ball hovers like a hummingbird. I’m not sure he is getting much to eat.

  10. Liza Taylor

    Thanks for your posts and teaching, always a source of happy inspiration for me.
    Question: Your stitching work surface looks quite different from your “scraps array” work surface. How does one separate wet paint messy work space from clean dry work space? Ideally each kind of work would need no prep, ready to sit and paint or to sit and stitch.

    • Hi Liza- thanks so much – I sometimes sew at my paint table – it’s super sunny there. The paint on the surface is dry.

  11. I may never make a single thing that you share on your blog but i just want to tell you how much I enjoy your beautiful, simple creations.
    They are a joy to behold!

  12. Karen Engelbretson

    I’m heading off on vacation soon and taking my 100 day stitch book pages with me but alas completing a Cardinal as well isn’t possible. I’ll try to catch that next time. Live the contest idea tho. Will be fun to see all the birds.

  13. Holly Hudson

    This is such a do-able & reliable way to store current or multiple projects. Thank you. As I add onto my to-do list, and struggle with minor aches, I find myself with many hand or machine projects going on simultaneously (to dash the possibility of serious injury)…..rolling up these projects & placing them in an organized fashion (for my memory) safely into basket, drawer or wire shelf allows me to hum-along-happily…terrific idea! And, once rolled up, I need to take a short brisk walk outdoors for fresh air & new ideas

  14. Doris Marie

    My tiniest scraps are 1/4″ x 1″, saved on edge like tiny cards, in small Putman’s Opera Cream boxes. There are thousands of them, left over from cutting for charm quilts! I can sort through them, select the ones I want, and hand sew them into tiny rail fence blocks that are kept in a Godiva box. Eventually they will be added to the little quilt I am making with them.

    • Hi Martha – not all the pages will display together “pages that will display together when the book is assembled” As in pairs – when the book is open two pages display together.

  15. theodora hamlet

    The is refreshing to me ,its a long time never tbought of this,se i have so much scraps and dont know what to do with them thanks

  16. Margaret o doherty

    A patch worker for many years, I see this idea and project very suitable for craft, art, shape, colour and development of sewing skills in schools for boys and girls aged from six years upwards. Congratulations and Thanks, keep up the good work and please allow us to share it.
    (retired teacher).

  17. Raven Harper

    I am so excited I found your site, by accident in my “news” feed. Thanks for sharing this scrap storing idea. I will be using this idea.

  18. I spy a gentleman doll cuddled up with Ms. Elegant. Can’t wait to hear more about him!

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