I'm not a world's-about-to-end environmentalist. I'm not worked up about plastic straws or any other sudden crisis that's really meant to divert our attention from other things. Instead I'm more interested in thinking about consumption in general. I don't judge your consumption, only my own. I try to really think about things I want to buy and whether I really need them. I don't buy note pads, for example, because we generate plenty of scratch paper from printing my mailing labels every day. I don't like having a lot of collectibles or stuff that needs to be managed.
Right now I'm most annoyed that my cell phone is dying after only 5 years. It has all the capability and function that I need but I'm going to have to buy a new one anyway because some of my apps will no longer work and it's starting to overheat. I was able to extend it about a year with a new battery but I can't keep going to the Verizon store to have it restarted when an app crashes and shuts it down. If I could keep this phone 2 or 4 more years that would make up for a ton of straws. I don't know why I'm talking about straws, I don't even use them.
But I've got no control over controlling technology so I have to focus on what I can control and one of the things I can control is trying to reduce the amount of garbage that we produce in this house. This is one of my garbage reduction projects.
Quilting my quilts plus 40+ veterans quilts each year produces a lot of scrap batting and backing. I save the wide end pieces (12" - 20" on average) along with extra backing fabric and give it to a woman in our quilt club. She makes dozens of baby quilts for a local hospital. These batting chunks are easy to piece into baby quilt size batts.
Since I trim the veterans quilts I have all of the trimming scraps. I chop up the bits like this.
All of those bits get stored in this white trash can but I had some overflow this week. I'll also add in here some chopped up fluffy clothing (like sweatpants) and pillow filling. I do not add in fabric cut offs. Plain chopped up fabric makes the pet beds too dense and heavy (in my opinion). Fabric attached to batting is fine, plain fabric bits are better for scrap quilts or fabric postcards.
It was time to deal with all of the batting scraps because it's gotten out of hand.
My main rule is that I will not purchase anything to make these. Occasionally I find someone wanting to get rid of a stash of decorator fabric. In the case of the green fabric, that's some old double knit polyester! A friend was clearing out her MIL's house and came across a stash of fabric. I figured I might as well try the poly. It made a pretty soft bed and I've got plenty more. The brown print was a heavy cotton jumper that the MIL had made but never added buttons to. The skirt was big enough to make another pet bed.
I got 6 beds out of all of that and every bit of it was destined for the landfill. Now it has a second life to make some dogs comfy while they are at RAL (Richmond Animal League) also waiting for a second chance at life. I asked my friend to let me know if the double knit actually works out because I have a ton more of it.
Now, don't get any ideas. I am often offered other quilter's scraps but I can barely handle my own garbage! You'll have to be responsible for your own and I don't judge if yours goes to the landfill. Time is also a valuable resource that has to be factored in and after all, that's why we made landfills.
10/9/2019 11:41:44 am
I am with you! I try hard to not buy and to use and repurpose as much as I can.
10/9/2019 11:45:14 am
Love your idea to have a trash can reserved for your reusable scraps. Have thought about making pet beds...thanks for sharing your techniques.
10/9/2019 12:25:49 pm
If the double knit does not work for pet beds consider a theater group. Knit spray paints very well. When stapled to plywood and such, it becomes wonderful backdrops and keeps on giving cause they take the staples out and paint it again. Yes, the spray paint makes it stiff but it cracks off when man handled and can be used over and over.
10/9/2019 01:32:25 pm
Great use of "waste" pieces. As for the poly fabric, it will probably last well as long as the dogs like it. Polyester seems to last forever so it is great that it isn't going into the landfill.
10/9/2019 06:14:13 pm
Good for you Vicki! Those animals are going to recline in comfort because of you. Just today I went through our collection of sheets and there's a set of fleece ones heading to the local animal shelter tomorrow. I could hang onto them just in case company comes but if they aren't good enough for us then they aren't good enough for company either!
10/10/2019 09:08:12 am
i was just thinking of dog beds the other day. i use up everything i can, but sometimes those smaller batting pieces are a challenge. thanks for the info.
10/10/2019 10:05:36 am
I'm with you about being practical! My kids are in their 30's and I had reusable straws back then, for the rare occasions that they were needed. I'm with you on the whole "technology" lifespan. I also have a windows 7 computer that is 8 years old and will have to be replaced soon. We need to think the big picture. Glad you have found some great uses for your batting small pieces. Do enjoy looking at your beautiful hand dyes and your wonderful projects. have a good day.
Becky in VA
10/10/2019 11:20:36 am
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I'm Vicki Welsh and I've been making things as long as I can remember. I used to be a garment maker but transitioned to quilts about 20 years ago. Currently I'm into fabric dyeing, quilting, Zentangle, fabric postcards, fused glass and mosaic. I document my adventures here.