Our foremothers knew how to make a quilt using only what they had, from scraps of fabric to natural dyes. But, quilt making the frugal and eco-friendly way was easier for them: they didn’t have much of a choice. Pioneer women didn’t have fabric stores, and even our own mothers didn’t have the Internet offering fabrics, thread, and surface design supplies available at the click of a button.
|In this piece, Lisa Kerpoe shows how to
make a quilt from dyed fabrics using a rice
cereal resist. Lisa wrote a series of articles
on kitchen resists for Quilting Arts in 2011.
That’s not to say that contemporary art quilters don’t save scraps and found objects to use in future quilt projects. We’re geniuses at inventive quilt making!
But if you’re looking to downsize your stash, help save the planet, or just be more creative about using what you have, here are some frugal and eco-friendly sewing, surface design, and quilting tips:
- Save small scraps of fabric, fibers, and thread for needle felting. You can even use them to stuff small projects.
- Turn larger scraps into quilts or small quilting projects
- Make quilts the old fashioned way . . . out of worn-out clothing.
- Re-use parts of abandoned projects to make a new design or quilt sandwich.
- Save thread trash from your washing machine to use in surface design.
- Save the release paper from fusible web to use as a protective sheet when ironing the fusible to fabric. You can use it several times.
- Make beads out of recycled paper.
- Wrap found objects with craft wire or fibers and use as embellishments.
- Make “fabric” out of junk mail, wrapping paper, or plastic bags.
- Save shiny candy wrappers to use as foil for surface design and embellishment.
- Use more eco-friendly dyeing techniques, like kitchen resists, soy wax batik, and rust-dyeing (using water, vinegar and humidity), and natural plant dyes like indigo.
- When dyeing, keep a “clean-up cloth” handy to sop up any extra dye. Those cloths are often the most beautifully dyed pieces in your stash!
- Hand sew or quilt by hand, and you’ll save on electricity.
I just thought of another one: going digital. Digital magazines, books, and videos don’t clutter your home, have little or no packaging, and save on shipping. Have you seen all our digital products in the Quilting Daily Shop? Be sure to check them out.