Leftovers Are Not All Bad

When I was younger, I used to dislike leftovers.  I was young.  I liked variety.  I didn’t like tired, reheated, old food.  New things were more exciting than old things.  Of course, when I was young, I really didn’t have to cook much.

Now that I am older, I still like a lot of variety, but my dislike for leftovers has gone by the wayside since I’ve had to cook my own meals.  Now, I purposely make LOTS of food so that I will have leftovers and not have to cook more than I have to.  It isn’t because I do not like to cook.  I do.  I really do.  I just really prefer to cook when I want to cook and not when I Have to cook.  See the difference?

Cooking way more food than we can eat enables me to save some for a day when I don’t want to cook.  Not only does this save us money, but, if I freeze stuff, it means I can have the variety I like without the work that it would be to make a new meal every night.  So, I have made my peace with leftovers.  At least in the food department.

I am having mixed success dealing with leftovers in the crafty part of my life.  I’ve been knitting for almost 10 years.  There have been a lot of finished projects in that time and each one of them has resulted in leftovers.  My leftover yarn from my finished projects can fill two large sized paper grocery bags.  I have tried various things to use them up, but have largely come up empty.  I think my main trouble here is that I like starting new projects and a new project with leftover yarn just doesn’t seem truly “new” to me.  I am not sure what the solution here is, but I am sure the guilt of that leftover yarn will continue to haunt me.

Meanwhile, in quilting and sewing, I have the benefit of starting over, more or less, since I gave away all my fabric a long time ago and am now acquiring a new, fresh stash.  I have a resolve to “do something” about the scraps “as I go along” so as not to get myself into a state of  “leftover guilt.”  So far, I have a little success.


Here is my Hopscotch quilt top, pieced from leftover strips from my Dad’s quilt.  There was quite a lot leftover and I am happy with the size of the quilt.   The great thing about this quilt is that it is what I will call a “secondary project.”  Secondary projects are projects that are made without a specific intent or desire to use.  This is not meant for a particular person.  It is not something I really love and want to use.  But, it will be perfect for practicing my free motion quilting.  If I think it is really hideous when I am done, it will be okay, because it was never something I invested a lot of emotional energy into.  I actually find that really freeing in a project–the emotional detachment will make it easy to experiment with and maybe it will be able to teach me something.


However, secondary (or leftover) projects do have a tendency to be pushed aside in favor of other projects, so it may be awhile before you see this one again.  It’s just like that pork stew that I made a couple months ago and is just sitting in the freezer, waiting for its day.  It could be eaten tomorrow, if I am having a bad day, or it could be a month from now.  Likewise, I could miraculously get a five hour chunk of time tomorrow to get this quilt basted and start free motion quilting (practically impossible) or it can wait until I am done with another project that is more urgent.  Who knows?  It doesn’t matter, the leftovers will be there waiting for me when I am ready.  That’s the great thing about leftovers.

Posted on April 12, 2012, in Knitting, Quilting and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. what if you took all the leftover scraps from sewing and turned them into a blanket (there are places to donate said blanket to) also you could do the same with your leftover yarn. Pick all the like yarns (texture) and knit a blanket and again give it away. Who cares if it’s funny looking, it’s something to keep somebody warm!

  2. Yes, I have a lot of left overs too. I think Stumbing Through Motherhood’s idea is fantastic. Use the leftover to make a quilt or knit for charity. What a lovely thought. You use your left overs for something meaningful, enjoy the working progress and then pass it onto a good cause…

  3. What a great blog! I’ve popped over thanks to The Modern Home Economist. Your quilts are gorgeous…I’m inspired! With regard to your left over yarn and fabric…why not organize a swap? Call up a few crafty friends and have them bring their remnants too. Sit around and swap stories, patterns, tips and perhaps a wee sip of the grape or a big pot of tea. It’s kind of like Christmas and you have the added perk of the inspiration of friends and a share in their finished work. btw…my hubby LOVES leftovers. He thinks someone should open a leftover restaurant 😉

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