Waste Not, Want Not

My mother was ‘green’; reducing, reusing and recycling years before it was the thing to do.  We washed and reused foil, we reused paper lunch bags until they were ragged.  The oven only got turned on if there were several things to bake, lights were flicked off when we left a room and the dishwasher had to be really full before it was started.  We had a huge, braided circular rug that Mom made out of strips of wool yardage.

As a surly teenager I didn’t appreciate the importance of all of this.  In fact, I probably thought it was pretty uncool.  However, as soon as I left home, I tried to be as responsible as I could.  I use fabric shopping bags, favour products with minimal packaging, take the bus whenever possible, make my own granola and, yes, I wash and reuse foil!

When I got interested in quilting I said that there would be no ‘stash’ of fabric.  I’d only have what I need for the current project.  That didn’t work so well – the stash is excessive and now I’m back to buying only what I need for a current project.

A lot of scrap is created during the making of a quilt and I’m trying to find a use for all the bits and pieces.  Here’s a wall hanging that is made from the selvedges, or bound edges of fabric:

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The selvedges are always cut off before using a piece of fabric, as they are tightly woven and would cause the project to pucker.  Also, as you can see, they have writing on them – the name of the fabric, the designer and the mill where they were made.  For someone who loves words and language I find these fascinating and will continue to collect them.  This little hanging is about 24″ x 24″ and I named it ‘Salvaged Selvedges’.

I’ve also begun saving scraps of fabric, thread and batting and plan to use them as stuffing for a dog bed.  Still working on the logistics of that one, but I hope to have it figured out soon.  Tug thinks it’s a good idea!

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I’m happy to say that the Postage Stamp Quilt is well under way and it’s such fun to pick up and work on for an hour or so.  The finished size will be 64″ x 72″, or 4,608 pieces.  I’m really loving this project and it’s using up lots of little bits.  Here’s one block that is 16″ x 16″:

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It’s going to take a while to whittle down my stock of fabric.  I look at some of it now and wonder whatever possessed me to buy it.  Those pieces will go to a fabric exchange or to the Salvation Army and someone else can enjoy them.  Nothing new will be purchased and I’ll be left with an uncluttered place to create.

After I hit the ‘publish’ button on this post I’m going to spend some time organizing the  8,000+ photos on my laptop.  It’s a perfect job to do while watching the amazing Jordan Spieth as he heads toward a back to back win at The Masters.  Incredible golfer with such poise, and he’s only 22!

Thanks for reading.

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