Reuse, REDUCE, Repurpose and Recycle…
… That is the goal. When it comes to my artwork I am focusing on reducing. This has always been my plan since I started quilting in 1988. Sadly, it is only over the past year or so when my actions consistently match my intentions. Nothing like two household moves in 10 years to be confronted with the sheer volume of accumulated tools, books, fabric, thread, dyes, paint, appliances and all the other “essentials” of making fiber art my studio contains. I use the word studio loosely, since these supplies don’t reside exclusively within the four square walls of my studio.
Benefits of Moving
Both moves helped me recycle and reduce my collection of essentials. Each time we moved I culled my collection. I passed along duplicates, no longer used items, and fabric that didn’t speak to me. No matter how ruthless I am during a move, my studio has far more supplies than I will ever go through in life time.
So, how I have I changed? The biggest shift is using the leftover pieces and scraps from my quilt tops to make up the back. This has two advantages. First, in the past I either bought new fabric for my backs or I used large lengths of fabric from my stash. However, with a secondary goal not to buy new fabric, sacrificing larger lengths of fabric from my stash means my stash is less flexible for future projects. Second, why I really love piecing my backs from leftovers, is I no longer have to sort and store those leftovers. I rarely, almost never, use them anyway. Now I do.
How I Do It
It does take a bit of ingenuity to create a backing from scraps. Fortunately, I have developed a few methods to cope. Just as I plan a piecing diagram for the quilt top, I do the same for the back. The backing needs to be larger than the top, approximately a 2″ margin all round, to give a hand hold while quilting. Since the margin is trimmed after quilting I treat that area more like a border I don’t piece this section.
I take a very casual approach, for me, to piecing. This time I sorted all the leftovers into pieces and strips. First I gathered like pieces and sewed them into units, such as two triangles into a square. Cautiously Optimistic used strips in 3 widths. I trimmed the units to match the strip widths. Didn’t fret over points being lopped off or left dangling. The units are interspersed in the strips. This results in 3 very, very long strips I used to piece the segments. The result is a bit of a how mess, still a little mindless piecing with few leftovers to deal with is a big win in my book.
I am linking up with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Fridays.