hoarding collecting vintage linens a few years ago with the hopes of making something fabulous… I just never knew exactly what. As I mentioned in a previous post, I started out quilting by using leftover fabric remnants and repurposed materials (mostly in an effort to de-stash while also cutting down on the cost of materials). Little did I know, I was also on the verge of defining who I was as a quilter.
I’ve always tried my best to reduce, reuse and recycle when it comes to my crafting and sewing projects. As I started getting more serious about quilting, I also started thinking more about the environmental impact of fabric manufacturing and the textile waste involved. I knew there had to be a “greener” method of quilting that could make the process more sustainable, without sacrificing aesthetic and quality. That’s when I began to realize the awesome potential of my prized vintage linen collection.💡I played around with a few scraps and was hooked. This was exactly the vision I didn’t even know I had for these floral beauties.
I made the quilt pictured above from the linens I already had stashed away. I loved the look and idea of giving new life to vintage and thrift-sourced materials so much that I decided, going forward, every one of my quilt tops, backs and bindings would solely be made from repurposed fabrics. –And in case you’re wondering, slicing into a gorgeous vintage sheet for the first time never gets any less terrifying, but the end result is always worth it!
Minimizing the use of harmful chemicals is also something that’s extremely important to me. I’m always searching for more natural products and methods to use, not only in quilt making, but everyday living as well.
While doing some research online, I happened to come across an article on the benefits of using wool dryer balls as a chemical-free alternative to dryer sheets. These are in no way a new concept, but if you’ve never heard of them, don’t worry. One can never be too late to a WDB party!
These little guys are seriously fantastic! Not only do they help laundry dry faster, they also soften fabric, reduce static and are environmentally friendly. I’ve always used natural laundry detergents when washing my laundry, fabric and quilts, so finding a chemical-free way to soften fabrics while cutting down drying time in the process was a pretty sweet deal.
Note: These are especially great for using with towels and cloth diapers as dryer sheets add a waxy residue to fabrics, repelling moisture and making them far less absorbent.
Also, if you want to naturally scent your laundry, just add a few drops of your favorite essential oils before tossing the balls into the dryer. Some of my favorite oils to use are lavender, orange, tea tree, peppermint and lemon. You can also combine oils (peppermint + orange, lavender + cinnamon) for endless smelly-good possibilities! Growing Up Herbal has some really great info on Blending Essential Oils for Beginners.
Important tip: After first adding the oil, be sure to run the balls in the dryer alone for a few minutes to set the fragrance and keep oil spots off your quilts/clothing. This should last a few loads, re-scent as needed! Also keep in mind, you may not want to scent your quilts if you intend to sell them. Some folks may not be into citrus-scented-snuggling as much as others. 😉
Are there any more thrifty quilters out there? I’d love to see your projects or hear any tips on staying green in the studio!