5 way quilters can honor Earth Day
I love this place we call Earth. It constantly offers its resources and beauty without discrimination. Since it’s April 22, I’ve come up with 5 way quilters can honor Earth Day. There are small things we creatives can do to conserve and preserve our home for a better future.
5 ways Quilters can honor Earth Day
I like to think of myself as a “green” person. I recycle plastic, glass, and paper. I compost my food waste. I keep the thermostat within the suggested temperature range. I plant my own vegetables. I have eliminated plastic water bottles from our home. I’m doing my part, right?
No, not really. I’m better than some, but I have a long way to go. Take one look at my fabric stash and you’ll see more than I can possibly use in a life time! Quilters typically have enormous amounts of fabric, tools, thread, and other supplies. Fabric is what we love about quilting!
I’m not saying you have to give up your stash. I’m saying to be purposeful about what you buy, and think about where it’s sourced from. Let’s take a look at five ways we can honor Mother Earth and, perhaps, bring some peace of mind to our creative habits.
On the top of my list is to destash. That means to go through my fabric inventory and get rid of anything that doesn’t appeal to me anymore. I don’t mean to throw it away. I mean to find it a new home. Our tastes change as we grow – why hang on to something that doesn’t bring us joy? I know, Marie Kondo said it first.
A wonderful resource for our community is FeelGood Fibers. This is an online marketplace for the sale and purchase of secondhand fabrics. They have made it easy to have your own “destash sale”, and more importantly, they help lighten our footprint on Earth. In their words:
We believe having a bigger destash community is a win for us all, and that “all” also includes our planet. That’s because shopping and sewing with pre-loved fabrics is an easy and effective way to be an eco-conscious sewist. By buying from one another’s existing stashes, we can lessen the impact we have on the planet. Every yard of fabric that we reuse can save tons of water and other precious resources. And we think that’s something to feel (really) good about.
FeelGood Fibers offers tips and planning suggestions to make your own destash successful. Checkout their How to Have a Sucessful Destash Part 1 and Part 2 for some great ideas.
Other ways to destash are donate to a charitable organization, have a fabric swap with friends, or give it as a gift to a quilty friend. Check out How to destash your fabric sustainably at Sewrendipity for more ideas.
Purchase with intention
You’ve heard the term, “less is more”. It’s true! Less stuff equals more time, more money and more inspiration. Try to get it in the habit of buying only what you need and only what you’ll use. This will obviously save you money, but it will also save you time because you’re not trying to locate stuff amongst all the clutter, and you’re not spending time buying things you don’t need. And finally, you will be more inspired because your mind and your creative space are clear and ready for action.
Re-purpose and use what you have
Our ancestors were masters at repurposing old clothing, feed sacks, and drapes, etc. to make quilts and garments. They didn’t let anything go to waste; they had a very utilitarian aspect to their quilting. Even though most of us quilt as a hobby, that basic principle can still apply. Use old jeans to make a denim picnic quilt or a tote bag. Take the buttons off an old shirt and add them to a project, or use an old wool sweater for wool applique.
Quilters are very resourceful and some of us save every little piece of fabric. This is a perfect opportunity to use what you already have and make a scrap quilt. When my scrap bins start to overflow, I know it’s time to make something scrappy. There are SO many quilt books dedicated to scrap quilting. One of my longtime favorites, No Scrap Left Behind by Amanda Jean Nyberg, has plenty of ideas to use scraps in modern quilt projects along with fabric sorting and storage tips. If you have lots of tiny scraps, check out the book, Crumb Quilts: Scrap quilting the zero waste way by Emily Bailey for ways to use them.
Choose sustainable fabrics
Look into sustainable fabrics as an option for your quilting needs. Organic fabric should be certified by GOTS, the Global Organic Textile Standards, which ensures that every step of the production meets strict social and environmental standards.
There are just a few companies that offer organic fabric, Cloud 9 Fabrics being the most widely available in the US. They use 100% certified organic cotton and eco-responsible low impact dyes in their manufacturing process. Cloud 9 offers rayon, flannel, canvas, laminate and quilter’s weight cotton fabrics.
Birch Organic Fabrics is another leading provider of organic material for the quilting and crafting community. They believe that “the sustainability of our planet begins with consciousness, and can be successful with real action.” Their fabric is produced from 100% organic cotton and printed with low impact dye.
I recently discovered Monaluna Organic Fabrics which is based is California. This company was started by Jennifer Moore, a fabric designer, because she saw a need for more eco-friendly and sustainable fabric options in the industry. I purchased some half yards of their Modern Love Collection and I absolutely love it. The fabric has a nice drape, beautiful color and excellent quality.
Watch out for microfiber
Microfiber is huge source of pollution for our oceans. Whenever we wash fabric (including clothes), tiny pieces of microfiber gets released into the water and ends up in our waterways. Fleece and plush fabrics are high on the microfiber list. Be aware of your choices when making quilts and buying clothes.
What else can we do to reduce microfiber? An easy solution is the Cora Ball (not an affiliate link). When you place this little laundry ball into your wash, it collects the smallest microfibers and catches them in its stalks. Studies show that it also reduces the amount of overall shedding in the laundry.
I hope you enjoyed this list of 5 ways quilters can honor Earth Day. It’s easy to be creative and lighten our footprint on the earth at the same time!
Thank you so much for passing along how microfibers are getting into the watershed. As well as the information on the destashing and reselling fabrics. I had no idea there’s a site for that. Can’t wait to check it out.
Thank you for sharing such wonderful ideas for repurposing fabric. Had no idea there were places that recycles fabric. At a recent quilt meeting one of the members mentioned collecting tiny pieces of fabric to make pet beds for shelters. Will be looking a fabric in a different way now.
Julie- thanks for taking the time to do an Earth Day post. I didn’t ever think about the micro-fibers from my favorite fleece impacting the rivers and oceans. I too try to be very environmentally aware. Thank you for the idea of the Cora ball, I will research that.
I love the color-coded binding you have on your scrap boxes. How did you attach it?
Super informative post! I plan to check out the links you included. I do a de-stash about once a year. It feels so good to let go of things I know I’m not going to use and there is no longer any guilt about it. There is nothing quite like seeing all the things we love in our sewing rooms and not all the clutter! Now if I could just sew faster………… 🙂
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