Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Repurposing

I have always loved taking "nothing" and making something.  Amazingly enough, that is popular and encouraged in this culture at the moment, which I think is pretty interesting......been doing that for years and come from a long line of Iowa farm women that knew no other way.  I thought we were just frugal, clever & economizing....  and sometimes border on the ridiculous....my grandma saved foil, plastic bags, wax paper out of cereal and cracker boxes, and my MIL was known for washing and drying styrofoam plates and cups after church functions and taking them home to use later.....bless her heart.  That is stilled talked about in some circles.  :) They always cooked the bones of every turkey, chicken and ham bone to get the remaining meat off and broth for soups and casseroles.  But they were a product of their time....growing up on farms, raising their own food, sewing their own clothes, canning their excess for winter and not having much means to do all of this for fairly large families by our standards today.  They didn't know they were "short on means" because everyone around them lived the same way.  They all worked hard and had a sense of community with their neighbors.


Goes to show ya.....nothing new under heaven....recycling and repurposing have been around a LONG time!

I recently finished a floral scrap quilt and with any project of this size, you end up with a pile of leftovers. 

What to do with them.....easy, would be to throw it away.  But I can't seem to do that.  So here is the pile I started with.......

Let's start with the pile of batting scraps to the left.  I lay them out and find similar lengths and straighten edges as needed with the rotary cutter & ruler.  Then butt the edges together and stitch them using a 3 step zig-zag stitch or just a plain zig-zag, which ever you prefer.  I also adjust the stitch width and length to the very widest and longest.  I also use leftover thread....if I have spools that are almost empty and bobbins that have different colors in them, I like to use them up and stitch away.

Starting with the smaller strips/pieces of batting, then adding the larger pieces.....trimming off what is too long.  This is not rocket science here......just making a new batting out of leftovers.  I stop whenever I end up with what I think will be a usable size.  The great thing about this.....you can always add more.  I keep a basket of these pieces and when I go to quilt something check out my basket to see if I have a piece that would work.....or take several pieces from the basket and stitch them together to make a piece big enough.  I can't tell you how many quilt pieces I have finished out of the "free" batting basket.....lots.


Back to my pile.....next on to the pansy floral print in the foreground.  You can't tell by the picture, but it is machine quilted fabric that was in the border of my quilt.  I got everything loaded in my frame only to discover that my backing fabric was not quite wide enough.  As this was a "mature" project and I had no extra fabric, sooooo what to do.  Just decided to quilt it as is, and luckily the quilt started with quite a wide border.....I just trimmed it down to the width of my backing when I took it off the frame.  So hence a whole pile of double sided quilted fabric.....I can't just chuck that either.

So I laid out the strips and flipped them top side/back side alternating and cut them a length so they were some what close to even and serged them together using a woolly nylon thread in the loopers.

I gently pressed the seams in one direction.

Then trimmed off the edges.


Then I serged around the outside of the whole piece.....threading the corner tail with a bodkin and glue with fray check just for some added security. 

Now I have a small table runner to put outside on my patio this summer.  :)

Back to the pile and the remaining fabric strips.....

I take all my small leftover pieces after a project and cut them into strips, in sizes starting at 1", 1 1/4", 1 1/2", etc. If I have bigger piece, but smaller than fat quarter size, I put them in Ziploc bags by color.  So when I was done, this is what I ended up with......

My batting pieces all ready for the basket and my fabric strips already to be put away.  Another pile cleaned up!!!!

2 comments:

Jan said...

That's a good lesson for us all and you have made something so very pretty and useful out of your scraps. I really must take heed of these suggestions.

Sheri said...

Test message from Sheri