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Thread: What are you recycling in your sewing area????

  1. #26
    Super Member mpeters1200's Avatar
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    Someone beat me to the punch on the crumb question. What's a string quilt?

    I have saved every piece of denim in this house about ten years. Haven't gotten around to cutting them up yet, but in due time I'm sure.

    I have cut up my thinnest and most worn bath towels and converted them into hand towels. I also took a couple and didn't cut them up. I used them as padding when I made my own ironing board.

    An idea I hadn't seen on here yet, but it is a bit of a pain. I have a TON of apholstery samples. I ran around to some interior decorators and asked if they recycle their sample books at all. I got a great big NO. I asked if I could pick up their cotton sample books when they were finished with them. I have to rip the books apart which takes a bit of umph to do and cut off all the industrial glue on them. I also cut of the label glued to the back. I haven't found an easy way to get the label off yet. Yes, they shrink like crazy, but I use pinking shears on the edges that already aren't pinked and just wash and go.

    I find these fabrics to be heavy, beautiful colors and very versatile. They can be used for and in about anything. They have wonderful designs. I know some kids who, when they lay down, like to rub their fingers over something bumpy to be soothed. I've made some smaller twin tops in one of my charity groups, and these kids just love them.

    Also, they are great for making a foundation pieced strip quilt. We used a thick white material for the foundation, and just stitched the strips on top.

  2. #27
    Super Member mimee4's Avatar
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    I'm going to save all the selvages I cut off to crochet rugs or knit raggy scarves. Love the idea of saving the threads for the birds. Everyone is SO creative.

  3. #28
    Pegggy's Avatar
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    I loved your idea of using the tissue paper from old patterns to wrap gifts for friends, thats really clever

  4. #29
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    I am best with blue jeans. I have made about 20 rag quilts, a few other quilts, slipcovers and throw pillows, tote bags and smaller cosmetic/jewelry bags, and lately rag rugs on my loom. You can use almost the entire pair of blue jeans and pieces of denim after you cut out pieces for quilting and sewing by cutting it in 3/4" strips for weaving. I gave 6 rag rugs for Christmas this year. I have made jeans for my 4 yo granddaughter from an old pair of her uncle's, and I also cut out and save all the zippers. Zipper replacement is the most common alterations job I have, so this way I don't have to go out and buy them (22 miles away when Walmart finishes closing out their sewing dept).

  5. #30
    Super Member GailG's Avatar
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    I save a lot of the above, but two other things that come to mind are:

    I'm a scrapbooker, too. Many of the items (papers, page protectors, etc) come reinforced with a heavy piece of cardboard. I keep the cardboard to wrap fabric around. I also make "bolts" of bindings ready to sew. They are all cut and pressed in half.

    I keep the little plastic zippered pouches that things in the linen dept. come packaged in. Pillow cases come to mind. Those little pouches are the right size for cut pieces, scraps of a certain color or size, etc. I also use them with my scrapbooking supplies. Nice to assemble smaller items. And you can see what's in them.

  6. #31
    Super Member GailG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ksusan
    Homemade pin box ---or --- portable sewing kit


    recycle empty Altoids or Velamints metal tin/ cut down magnetic fridge calendar from 2008 to fit bottom of empty tin

    use a metal bobbin for thread source--- I only use metal bobbins as portable "spools" as my sewing machine requires plastic bobbins


    pins/ needles/ metal bobbins/ small seam ripper fit neatly inside without falling out if the opened box is tipped upside down

    Piecefully yours,
    Kay Susan
    I also use the hard cases that come with eyeglasses. (My glasses are always on my eyes. :lol: I put a piece of magnetic strip in the bottom. When I carry handwork, the eyeglass case comes with me. There is even a tiny pair of scissors that fits into my little kit.

  7. #32
    ksusan's Avatar
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    GailG, I think your idea is much, much better than mine. I will get my empty eyeglass case set up per your instructions right away!!

    Thanks...

    Piecefully yours,
    Kay Susan

  8. #33
    Junior Member Arizona Sunrises's Avatar
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    There are always little bits of fabric that are too small to be used in crumb quilts. I keep those in ziploc bags and will be using them instead of fiberfill in handmade stuffed animals.

    We have shirts with the company logo that we've been asked to not donate to Goodwill--the company doesn't want anyone taking the shirts and potentially masquerading as an employee. I have the group giving me their old shirts that are stained or torn, and I'll eventually gather enough material to make a quilt for one of our charities.

    I have bags of blue jeans that aren't quite good enough for donation that will eventually be made into a rag quilt.


    :oops: I'm seeing a lot of saving for future projects and not so many projects being done now.

  9. #34
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    maggiebooboo I love your idea of saving the thread in a jar for the birds. Going to try it because billsobon bon could have been my exact reply. Love the birds.
    I collect/save old shirts to make a quilt . I take the buttons off and use them on yo yo centers. Church sales are one of my favorite ways to find fabric. I search for dresses.shirts etc.
    I just bought a book on making potholders so love the tip about using old towels. Lots of good ideas,thanks ladies.

  10. #35
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    You mention a 'string quilt'. What is a string quilt? I know that I use just as much thread ripping out seams as I do getting the finished straight line in my quilting projects. Is this what you use to make a string quilt? :?: :?:

  11. #36
    Super Member JoanneS's Avatar
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    I save toilet paper tubes and stuff them with sewing machine cords when I take the machine to classes. Works for extension cords, too.

    I use the same idea with gift wrap paper tubes, to wrap fusibles and stabilizers on the outside. I stuff the plastic directions inside the tube. I store the tubes in an empty wine box that has the dividers to keep the bottles from bumping each other. I use a Sharpie to label each tube.

  12. #37
    Super Member Shemjo's Avatar
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    I think a string quilt is when you take strips and foundation piece them to paper shapes (rectangular pages or star points) and use up your left over pieces of strips. I don't think you actually use the threads. I have a thread catcher at my sewing machine and cath all the snippets. Then I take them and use my rotary cutter and cut them up in smaller bits and put them out for the birds. I don't want anything too long that could get caught and hurt them. :?:

  13. #38
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    Thank you Shemjo. That makes a lot more sense now. :-)

  14. #39
    Senior Member triciasquilts's Avatar
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    I cut up all my scraps in 2", 3", 4", & 5" squares and then package them up and sell them on ebay!!!! Its a great way to get people to visit my store and buy lots more!

  15. #40
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    Where are you in the UP Ksusan? I'm on the Canadian side of Sault Ste Marie but frequently go to Joann's in the Michigan Sault. Sunflower

  16. #41
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    I'm in Iron Mountain on the Wisconsin-Michigan border --- about 240 miles from the Sault. I lived at Kincheloe for a few months in 1979 when it was an abandoned Air Force Base --- that about 23 miles from the Sault.

    I've had fun at Joann's at the Sault. Our closest Joann store is in Escanaba on the shores of Lake Michigan. The Joann store at Marquette on the shores of Lake Superior closed a few years ago.

    Do you ever attend Engineer's Day at the Locks? It is the last Friday of June each year. We went two years ago and had lots of fun. DH is a boatnerd and has been watching the "traffic" on the Great Lakes.

    I sure hope we can have the money to build a new lock. Two locks are out of service and the so called new lock is forty years old. Our economy will really take a hit if shipping is restricted due to one of the two remaining locks being out of commission.

    Well, I've rambled long enough. I have to put some laundry away and get back to my quilting book. I am re-reading my collection of books as a new year's resolution :roll:

    Piecefully yours,
    Kay Susan

  17. #42
    Power Poster Mousie's Avatar
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    this thread is making me feel so good. I didn't think of all my re-using as recycling, but i must recycle 80-90% of practically everything. I was trying to break myself of it, lol.
    let's see...my mom gave me all her sewing, quilting, crafting books, she can't see anymore. I kept gift bags to 'copy' pics to applique and embroider. I use cereal boxes for everything...laces, bias tapes i make, templates, also butter lids. Jars - buttons, etc. oatmeal boxes, cookie tins, shoe boxes.
    I always have a plastic wal mart bag hanging from the lamp by my sewing chair to put all threads in for stuffing pillows. Snippets go in ice cream buckets for landscaping wall hangings. Strips go in another bucket to wrap around wire clothes hangers, crumbs go in a see thru bin for appliques...some strips go in a bowl bc i use to them to tie quilt bundles for each future project.
    mcdonalds milk containers become snowmen. boxes that colas come in hold my ufo projects...i could go on for days. I cut up clothing, especially old prom dresses. somebody put some clothes on a table at our post office and not only did i get some that fit, but i got a prom dress that will become a ballerina/princess dress for my granddaughter. jeans go into tote bags. old towels become wash rags and sometimes i double them and use as bath mats. wow, i am greener than i even knew........

  18. #43
    Power Poster Mousie's Avatar
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    i should write a book, lol! just got to list a few more. all that maddening junk mail...doesn't make me mad anymore, bc I can put in printer or put three holes for binders, where i keep pics of quilts, clothes i cut from magazines and junk mail, lol. i use envelopes to write grocery lists.
    I use free stickers, etc. to cover those, "eyes" in public bathrooms that make the toilet flush, bc it scares my granddaughter and when we are done, i put back in my purse or toss it. She thinks her nana is so clever!
    colored paper is re-used to put up cute sayings and inspirational quotes around sewing room. Like this one: The quilter that dies with the most fabric wasted a lot of time!
    That is a great motivator. speaking of time, it's time to go, but I haven't even scratched the surface, lol. good for me. :) C

  19. #44
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    Over two years ago a friend told me about using the small bits for scrappy quilts. I never knew how much I was throwing away. Now that I know better , I have a system. Every time I sew ,I work on one quilt pattern for a while, sew a few blocks from scraps and have one on the table inprogress for tie-ing.
    This way I don't get board, scraps take longer to make a 6 inch block, so by alternating tasks I ENJOY ALL THE PROJECTS!
    chrissyb

  20. #45
    Power Poster Mousie's Avatar
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    christina, i like your system. I get bored too. It's that I love the fabrics and piecing and all, but all the math involved in quilting is the work part. I might have erred in that I am doing my first "real" quilt for my granddaughter and I designed it myself instead of using a pattern, so now I am taking parts of block apart to "square" up rows.
    I rotate projects, but I like the way you keep something close by and jump to it often. I might try that. sounds like fun and might energize me. thanks for sharing that. C

  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by luckylolo
    You mention a 'string quilt'. What is a string quilt? I know that I use just as much thread ripping out seams as I do getting the finished straight line in my quilting projects. Is this what you use to make a string quilt? :?: :?:
    Hi, If you go to www.quiltville.com that will show you string quilts and many other scrappy quilts to make. I have made several quilts using her ideas. Marge

  22. #47
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    Ksusan Have you ever gone in Gloria's Happy Hooker in the Sault? It's on M-129, not far from Joann's. They have beautiful fabric there and lots of it but it is a bit more expensive than Joann's - about $8.00 a yard. Next time you are in Sault it would be worth checking it out. Also, there is a place called Fabricland on the main street _ Queen Street - in Sault, Ontario, not far from the International Bridge. Half of their upper floor is dedicated to quilting fabric in several price ranges and they have frequent sales. I use all three stores for my projects. It's possible that the Joann's store in Sault, Michigan didn't close because they get so many Canadian customers.
    I have lived in this area since 1968 and moved to Canada in 1984 after marrying a Canadian. I have been to Engineers' Day and Art in the Park at the Sault Locks. It's a shame about the Portage Street tourist trap area. Business has been going down ever since 911 and some of the stores have closed. Michigan economy and high gas prices are partly to blame. There are also fewer ships going through the locks than what used to. I have been to Iron Mountain. My mom lives over in that area - in Ontonagon.

  23. #48
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    I don't know if this officially qualifies for "recycling", but I had an empty cabinet (used to use it as a pantry) sitting down in the basement that I had my dh bring up that now I'm using for my stash. Makes me happy to have all my fabric where I can easily see what I have. I had two boxes of old fabric that is cheap fabric I bought when I first started quilting that I'm in the process of organizing by color and cutting into strips to make rag rugs so I don't waste the fabric. And I've "repurposed" a small wall quilt I made years ago when my youngest (now teenaged) daughter was little that has pockets in it for Beanie Babies. She hasn't used it in years, so I've got it in my quilting room to use to put small quilting stuff in.

  24. #49
    Super Member GailG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by minstrel
    I don't know if this officially qualifies for "recycling", but I had an empty cabinet (used to use it as a pantry) sitting down in the basement that I had my dh bring up that now I'm using for my stash. Makes me happy to have all my fabric where I can easily see what I have. I had two boxes of old fabric that is cheap fabric I bought when I first started quilting that I'm in the process of organizing by color and cutting into strips to make rag rugs so I don't waste the fabric. And I've "repurposed" a small wall quilt I made years ago when my youngest (now teenaged) daughter was little that has pockets in it for Beanie Babies. She hasn't used it in years, so I've got it in my quilting room to use to put small quilting stuff in.
    OOOH, I love the idea of "re-purposing" the ex-pantry for your stash. I have my grandmother's armoire that is loaded with books. AND it's in my sewing/craft/misc. room. If I could just figure out what to do with the books (without getting rid of them, of course :lol: ), it would be perfect for my stash.

  25. #50
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    Good morning,
    I have noticed that by using this system I am not always checking the clock. I listen to music and sing far off key and lose all tract of time. Some afternoons I start around 5 pm and my husband comes home at 1 am and I am still having fun.
    I tell peopl I just love to play with fabric.
    Have a happy scappy day!
    christinab

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