Earth Day: nothing new to quilters

earth day 2011 Earth Day: nothing new to quilters

Tomorrow, in addition to being Good Friday, is Earth Day. Regardless of where we might stand on issues like climate change or paper vs. plastic vs. reusable canvas, I think all quilters can agree that Earth Day reaches back to the roots of our craft. It's true that there have always been quilts made from new fabric. But the American patchwork and Amish quilting traditions are inextricably linked to the notion of thrift. What was once common sense and a way to create beauty with limited resources is now in the 21st century an approach to quilting and crafting that is also tied to environmental concerns. Don't get me wrong — I love new fabric, as evidenced by a few posts I've written for this blog. But I've also amassed a decent collection of old jeans, thrift store men's shirts, as well as a favorite pair of linen pants that got threadbare in an unfortunate location, all of which are part of my fabric stash and intended to be worked into quilts somewhere along the line.

There are a lot of folks out there who are way ahead of me in repurposing fabric for fantastic quilts and other crafts. If you're looking for some ideas, check out some of these sites:

  • Nothing speaks to quilters' use of repurposed fabric like feedsacks. Check out this blog post about collecting vintage feedsacks from Lesley's Collectibles.
  • Sherry Lynn Wood has blogged about her beautiful, improvisational Wool [ ] Quilt, which she made from repurposed wool clothes.
  • Louise Silk found a way to turn the scraps from commissioned t-shirt memory quilts into “yummy, warm, and homey” quilts of their own — now that's a “green” approach to quilting!
  • Jen Eskridge, the quilter behind ReannaLily Designs, blogged about a few ways to recycle old sweaters into scarflettes and throw pillows. Not strictly quilting-related, but super cute.
  • Make a chic and easy throw quilt from fitted sheets using this tutorial from Jan Di Cintio of Daisy Jainie.
  • Designer Stephanie, who blogs at Eden and Eliot, made this sweet and modern baby quilt using outgrown baby clothes.
  • Do you still have sheets that feature bright patterns in your linen closet? If so, you're not old-fashioned, you're trendy! Online vintage sheet quilting bees are producing some really lovely quilts that are just perfect for spring and summer. Google “vintage sheet quilt” to be inspired, and then hit your local thrift shops in search of  hidden treasure.

These are just a few examples of how modern quilters and crafters are finding ways to reduce/reuse/recycle while adding beauty and comfort to the world around them. Please feel free to post more ideas or links to other examples in the comments section.

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