Late for Earth Day

When I saw photos of scientists carrying signs it occurred to me that I missed Earth Day, celebrated last week. In the interests of promoting recycling I’ll present a few of my quilts made of at least 50% re-purposed fabric. Despite the constant appearance of new fabric collections I like to use what I have, even if it isn’t quilting cotton. I’m no expert on the environmental impacts of growing, weaving, and dyeing cotton (see this article on the life of a garment from Apparel Business systems for a broad overview); but I want to re-use where possible.

First, two quilts, which I’ve shown before, that say and indeed make do.

The only new material in the quilt above is thread. I even used up an old skirt on the back, in addition to selvedges, shirts, batting scraps, and trimmings from cropped quilts. You can see I used a discarded block from the quilt below for the K.

Here I focused on men’s old shirts, and learned that shirt material is hard  to work with for binding.

Continuing with the shirts theme, I made a small quilt with my husband’s dress shirts as a way to celebrate his retirement. A few striped and yellow quilting cottons from my stash managed to sneak in.

Most recently,  in “Repurposed/Resurfaced” I used a drop cloth that began life as a tablecloth. I also included a damask table napkin and color test swatches from silk screen printing, in addition to fabric I screened and painted. There’s a smidge of commercial fabric and the bias tape is store bought (I lost good karma points there.) Lesson learned – woven polyester tablecloths take fabric paint well but smell horrible when ironed.

How did you celebrate Earth Day?

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10 Comments

Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects

10 responses to “Late for Earth Day

  1. I have a shirt quilt in the works but it has stalled out. I have always wanted to make one, and I really like yours.
    And I also love your dropcloth/test swatch quilt! That is the kind of piece I aspire to. It has been a whole year since I did a bunch of dyed pieces and I still haven’t done anything with them, but someday I will!

    • Thanks. The shirt quilts were fun to make, but I found some of the very fine weaves frayed a lot. Really, pull out your dyed pieces and at least play around with them to see if something emerges.

  2. I love the retirement quilt. The striped border really helps “make” it.

    We went to our local Science/Climate/Earth Day march. There were a handful of inspiring speakers and an enthusiastic crowd of supporters. I guess mostly we try to celebrate Earth in general by being fairly minimal in our consumption choices. While we’re not off the grid nor living lives of ascetics, we try to be thoughtful about our footprint.

    Thanks for posting the quilts again. They’re all winners.

    • Melanie, Thank you for marching!

    • Truly, it’s Earth decade, not just Earth day. I’ve been saddened by the lack of general interest in not creating so much throw away stuff to begin with. I did find that Best Buy takes in old electronics for recycling, though it’s small potatoes compared to our inability to repair rather than throw out devices. But, back to quilts, thanks for your thumbs up on my recycled pieces.

  3. It’s neat to see these all together–it seems to me that using what you have taps a particular well of creativity!

    • I find it helpful to have some limitations imposed from the beginning, like the size and shape of the fabric pieces I’m reusing. Also, the pressure not to “ruin” a beautiful piece of fabric doesn’t exist with this type of piecing.

      • You make such a good point! – “Also, the pressure not to “ruin” a beautiful piece of fabric doesn’t exist with this type of piecing.” What is the size (approximately) of your husband’s retirement quilt? It is nice to see these pieces. Thanks.

      • The retirement quilt is about 36 by 40 inches, and is backed with big pieces of my husband’s shirts. When I go through my pile of hand dyed fabrics I notice that only the pretty ones are left; I’ve used all the uglies.

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