Monday, January 13, 2014

Waste Not, Want Not

About a week ago, I found a piece of fabric in the kitchen trash.  The picture below is a re-enactment.  I was too shocked to take a photo then.
I immediately snatched the piece out of the trash.  What on earth?  Who could have done this?
And then I knew.
My husband had borrowed some of my blue solid fabric for a display he set up at the public library.  He even took pictures.  Here's the evidence.
It's a very nice display on mammoths.  He knows a lot about this subject. 
But even though I've been quilting from the first year we got married (37 YEARS AGO) he doesn't seem to know a lot about quilting.
When confronted, he confessed.  I didn't even have to offer him a plea bargain.  "I didn't think you could use it for anything," he said.
Now, I am not the tidy type who keeps her quilting in her sewing room.  I have had pieces of quilts in progress all over the house for 37 YEARS.  Every single piece in the quilt currently lying on the floor in the living room (that he has to walk around) is smaller than what he threw away.
"But you have so much fabric," he says. 
Well, yeah.  He's got me there.  But I have a lot of other things, too, like beef in the freezer and potatoes in a bushel basket.  And we're not throwing those things away, are we.  Waste not, want not.
Here's the piece in question.  It's ragged around the edges because he had to cut it when it was in the display case.

Thank goodness it hadn't been in the trash long, so I didn't have to wash it.  Here's what I did with it.

The larger piece is 5.5 in. wide by 29 in. long.  I cut it as long as I could until the piece tapered down.  The second strip is 2 in. wide by 18 in. long.  There are three irregular scraps, a string cut from the edge when I straightened it, and a little pile of tiny scraps.
I filed the 5.5 in. strip in the bottom drawer of my scrap/strip organizer.  I was inspired by Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville to tame my scraps into strips I could really use.
The 2 in. wide strip went in with the others in the little suitcase.
The irregular scraps went into the basket of crumb scraps.  I've been using these to "make fabric".  It's kind of fun, although I'm not very good at it.  My inspiration is Victoria Findlay Wolfe and her book 15 Minutes of Play.  (Check out her blog, she's amazing:  I'm using my oldest sewing machine, Lorena, to make these.  She's working well again.

A friend (hi, Debby!) told me about saving the selvedges to make a cute rug.  I resisted the idea at first, but just couldn't help myself.  So now I'm saving the pieces that are too narrow for string quilts, tying them together, and winding them into balls.  When the second ball is the same size as the first, I'll knit them together with big needles.  The pattern is from the Crazy Mom website, and is in the book Sunday Morning Quilts.  Here's the link to the pattern:  Knitted Rag Rug
None of the pieces from this scrap were the right size for the string blocks I'm piecing as leaders and enders, below, but I've been using up lots of odd shaped strings, some from my stuff and some from Debby's.
I'm piecing them on cloth foundations, instead of paper, and using up old bad-quality muslin.  For variety and color I'm adding in some strips from my 1.5 in strip drawer.

Here's all that's left from that piece of thrown-away blue fabric:
These tiny scraps are less than an inch on any side (although they look bigger in the photo).
Here's what I did with them:
Yes, these hit the trash.  I know there are people who use these little bits for pillow stuffing or art projects, etc. 
If you are one of those people, let me know.  I'll save them for you.
I really hate to throw useful things away.
May all your days be pieceful.

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