Fabric for a floor quilt in the style of a farm playmat I have planned for Teddy to go in the new house (moving in 8 days! Haven't even started packing!). I hate these colours. Sorry. I think it needs more solids and more brights. More on this another day.
There are a couple of reasons that we, as a family, do things like grow some of our own vegetables, bake our own bread, make as much stuff as possible and generally don't buy much. While money saving and the environment that we want to bring up Teddy (and any future children) in has an important part to play in all of this beavering away, the environmental impact of our lifestyle is also a huge consideration.
Without getting up on my high horse, I'd just like to reiterate that I believe that climate change and human damage to the world is a real and present problem, and that we all need to do our bit on a local as well as a national and international level to solve it. Sermon over.
As I was pondering some fabrics yesterday to start out a new quilt for Teddy, I realised that with my quilts and other handmade items I'm turning more and more to new fabric, rather than compromising a bit on the exact design I want and using entirely vintage fabrics. As I become more experienced at the whole handmade process, I find it harder to make something that is a compromise in any way in terms of design.
I don't know the specific figures, but I would imagine that the new fabric coming into our house probably accounts for a reasonable proportion of our carbon footprint from bought in goods (we don't buy much in the way of new clothes, and our food is usually local and/or organic).
I could, of course, go back to either compromising on design, or stop making things altogether until I have the exact palette of fabrics I require for any given project, but the fact is that I also need to contribute to our household income, and if I can't make my money through my supplies and handmade Etsy stores, I have to go out and get a 'proper' job. Frankly, that's not an option, as it would mean entirely changing the decisions we made about the way we want to bring up our children (with one parent at home for as long as humanly possible, not using too much childcare, and with an appreciation for a degree of self sufficiency and the nice side of life). Spending less time at home would also mean an end to the veg growing and bread baking etc, which would mean having to earn even more money, and so on and so on.
- Cut as economically as possible when chopping up fabric
- Save every scrap, sorted by size (I know quilters who throw away anything smaller than a 5" square. Not me, my friend)
- Use the scraps in other projects, such as the current hexagon quilt in progress (and likely to be in progress for the forseeable future).
- Recycle bits that I can't reuse, such as cotton reels (unless I can find some nice new use for them. Incidentally, there are some good ideas here for reusing cotton reels if you scroll down, and Google will probably yield even more)
- Organise my stash properly (can't wait till we move!) by colour and size of piece so that I can easily see whether I have something suitable on hand. At the moment half my fabric is in the cellar, which makes working out what I've got a bit challenging.
- Consider every bit of waste (fabric, thread, packaging, blunt cutter wheels) as its produced and work out whether I can do anything with it, or whether anyone else might want it for something.
- See if a local charity can take my too-small-to-use scraps for their scrap bags (I know some charities sell scrap bags of fabric to companies that remake those scraps into loft insulation and other boring-but-essential things)
I know that was actually seven points, but we'll gloss over that...
While I appreciate that this is a long way from living in a wood heated yurt in the forest with no running water or electricity, I'm hoping that these little steps will mean that my work has a much smaller impact on the environment than it might otherwise do, and perhaps inspire one or two of you out there to do the same.
Ummm, nothing to do with the environment at all, but there are the super-speedy-delivery-from-Fabricworm Anna Maria Horner voiles I ordered (I've got another few coming from Sew Mama Sew too). I just thought you'd like something nice to look at after all that dreary green.