Monday, November 4, 2019

Sustainable sewing

Oh boy - I think I've gone crazy. Not that I wasn't crazy before, but this has really tipped the scales.

I should mention that my eyelid has turned many shades of purple. Since it's mostly my eyelid, you can't really see the damage! It would appear that I really fell on my left side as my chest felt a bit sore yesterday and still does this morning. But I'm recovering!

I have an event in Cochrane (November 13) and one in Timmins (November 14). The topics are what's new from Husqvarna Viking, and will be heavily geared towards quilting. If you're in the area on either of those days, call the Needle Works store to get yourself signed up. I hear the seats are going fast.

I should be making new samples for those events. Actually, there are two events each day and the content will be pretty much the same for each event. Am I making samples? In my head I am. Instead, this is what happened yesterday.

I spent the entire day making pet mats! I know!! I was happy as a clam. Honestly, I had a lot of fun. I plugged in my audiobook and away I went. I did finish A House without Windows. It was a great book. Very sad but just goes to show how lucky women are in our country!

The two big blue pieces in this photo were pieces that had been quilted at the CreativFestival on our frame. I simply serged the edges and two very quilt pet mats.

Pet mats

Not sure if you remember, but a while back, I took apart a quilt (more like a comforter) that I had made years ago. The blocks on the front were painted with liquid embroidery. Some of the blocks had deteriorated badly and I wanted to remake it using only the good blocks that remain. On one of our road trips, I sat in the back and took out all the quilting. The blocks have been washed and need to be processed. Not at the moment. The backing will be chopped up into squares to make pet mats - I was hoping to do that yesterday, but I was exhausted at the end of the day and just couldn't bring myself to do that.

The thick and compressed polyester batting would make an excellent filler for pet mats. Among the donations that I had received a few years back was a big box of upholstery samples. I dug through the box and found pieces that would work to make the outer part. I serged the pieces together, cut the batting to fit and voila - I had a whole pile of pet mats. I did throw some extra stitches on those mats so the polyester batting wouldn't shift if the mats get washed.

I was on a roll. It was only this morning when I was finishing up the mats, I realized that the fabrics used in these samples would have made great samples for my quilting and embroidery. Oh well - too late now! I'll check through the box a bit more carefully and sort out things that would be appropriate for me to use in my samples.

These mats have a really nice fabric in them!!

But I wasn't finished. I had bags of scraps and so I made up 9 mats using the fabric scraps as filler and upholstery samples as the outer part. I had some of those made the previous day. And I had an afghan that was in bad shape so it became the filler for the two mats on the right. Nothing to go in the landfill.

More pet mats

I get it that at some point, this stuff will end up in the landfill, but at least it's been given a second life. All this stuff that we buy that has one use and then in the landfill? Drives me crazy. I know not everyone is on board with sustainable sewing. They can't be bothered. Why not? It's OK to just throw good stuff away?? Oh well - each to their own.

I know that some of my readers are as conscientious as I am. Judith was busy on the weekend doing some mending (which is becoming very popular again - yeah!) and saved some garments from being tossed. Apparently, she also very good at removing stains. Speaking of stains - did you know that your dryer sheets are made from petroleum? Guess what happens when they get hot (as they do in the dryer?) The oil leaks from them. Don't believe me? Get one of your dryer sheets and put it on some paper towel and iron it. Yeck!! We stopped using dryer sheets years ago. A total waste of money.

We don't use any product in our dryer and when I washed all that yardage the other day for the pillowcases? No tangles. Everything came out just fine.

Elle is also very conscientious about her scraps. She has a couple of friends who will take her scraps and make string quilts or pet mats from them. The bottom line is that if you won't use the scraps, find someone who will. All it takes is a bag or two on your cutting table. Sort as you go. It's super easy,

I take the leftover batting strips and cut them into 2 ½" strips. Those will go into rugs and the remainder goes in the pet mats.

We currently have a medium-sized garbage cart, but I'm very tempted to move down to the smallest one. Yes - it's tiny, but we have greatly reduced our garbage output and we only put the cart out once a month. I'm trying to reduce the amount of space the cart takes up in the garage. It just means we'll have to put it out every two weeks. I have to think about that for a bit.

I still had three bags of scraps to go through. But by this point, I had run out of steam. So the three bags are sitting on the cutting table waiting for me to deal with them later today. The outer part of the pet mats are made and just need to be filled. What will I find in those bags? Proper scraps or garbage? I opened the first one and it looks OK.

Supplies to make more pet mats

In total, I'm delivering 26 pet mats today!!!! Plus two rugs that we no longer use. I tell you, nothing is sacred in this house anymore. Clocks, radios - GONE! I'm not even leaving myself a chance to think about them. They go in the box and I drop it off.

Now here's the sad part, I can't even look at my kitchen counter (which is pretty clean) without thinking how I can part with the stuff that's there. There a clock under the counter - that's going when I remember to bring up the screwdriver. The phone which I'm seriously thinking of canceling. Two trays (I use those several times a month so they stay). The kettle and Alexis which we use every day so they get to stay. A small craft project made by M (hmm - for the moment that stays), the canisters which are in bad shape - they need to go. The toaster oven and Vitamix. They stay. The set of knives - that stays. The bowl for fruit on the island - that stays. There is NOTHING else and we like it that way.

The rest of the house will get the same treatment as time goes on! Watch out things - become useful or you're gone!

Here's the bag partially filled with the fabrics that I found in the scrap bags. I'll wait until it's filled and then it also has a home.

A bag filled with fabric to be donated

I tell you this is so exciting. I almost couldn't care if I sewed another quilt in my life! But I will and I want to. But not only is quilting expensive, but it's extremely wasteful unless you take steps to make it not so wasteful. There are people out there who want your scraps. You just have to ask around to find them.

My car is filled with stuff to be dropped off today.

Now here's a couple more dates that you need to keep in mind.

In case you don't have these cards yet, here's the information for the Bob Ross (CherryWood Challenge) quilt show later this month in Seaforth. It's being hosted by The Cotton Harvest Quilt Shop. Oh, shoot - they didn't rotate. I managed to get one rotated, but not the other as you can see.

Cherrywood Quilt Show flyer

The back of the Cherrywood Quilt show flyer

Seriously, this will make a nice outing with friends. Get yourself organized and we'll see you there!!!!

Now here's something else. I happened to be trolling the internet and guess what I found???  Check out this website and SAVE THE DATE for the end of July. It's a quilt show!!!!!!  I'll be providing the details as more information becomes available.

On that note, it's Monday sewing and I'd better get myself organized!

Have a super day!!!!



  1. They must have found a new coordinator! I thought that this year's show was going to be the last. This is wonderful new!!

    1. Yep -- from what I hear, they're taking a bit of a different tack and trying to involve more local guilds. I'm very happy that it's going to continue. Spread the word!!!