Patching and waste

Silk patchwork in progress:
Hand pieced over paper with cotton quilting thread.
And from the back, with the papers still in place:
Waste really bothers me, particularly silk.  Trimming patches to size and cutting circles inevitably leaves some tiny pieces that might be thrown away.  The very phrase ‘thrown away’ sounds somehow distasteful, disrespectful.  ‘Given away’ is OK; even ‘sold’ is OK – but ‘thrown away’… away where?  Everything ends up somewhere.  Everything comes from somewhere.  Everything is made of the same atoms that have been recycled since the beginning of time.  Everything is potentially ancient and precious and may have lived many lives.  So I’m trying to do something with the bits that are left over:
I don’t know what this will be, or how (or if) I will be able to use it.  I laid all the silk waste bits and trimmings onto a small piece of cotton fabric and covered it with very sheer chiffon.  I’ll stitch it all down to secure it.  I’ve also started a pot of thread waste: the 3-4″ ends of thread left at the end of a row of stitching, fibres that fray off bits of fabric, tacking thread.  When I have enough of it, I’ll use it as stuffing or wadding (batting) in something.
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12 Responses to Patching and waste

  1. ancientcloth says:

    I love your thoughts about everything being "potentially ancient and precious and may have lived many times." So true! I think there is nothing new under the sun.:)Great idea for using up those tinybits of fabric…look forward to seeing it.

  2. jude says:

    ah, the thread nest, mine got so big i could sleep in it.

  3. You could give it to the birds for their nests. That's what I do with my wool yarn scraps.

  4. Kaye Turner says:

    To the birds… what a good idea…thanks!

  5. Judy Whaites says:

    I keep all my tiny scraps in ziplock bags in colour co-ordinated shades. Can't bear to throw them out! I use them for inspiration or pinch bits and peices out to incorporate into my work. Also have a thread box for ends that sits under my work table. Have used some to make fabric paper.

  6. karen says:

    I hardly ever throw anything away but hadn't thought of the thread ends idea. I may just give it a try. Love the patchwork and I hope you don't mind me saying but I almost prefer the back with the paper.

  7. Kaye Turner says:

    Yes, I like the back too – and it may just lead to something…

  8. julochka says:

    i feel very much the same about waste…i too have baskets of all of the small bits of trimmings of all sorts of fabrics. i use them sometimes in my art journals, but will admit i'm still waiting for inspiration to truly strike.

  9. julochka says:

    p.s. i love the purple silk patchwork!

  10. iNdi@ says:

    the notion of someone curled up in a thread nest…that's how i think the first felt may have been made…gathering up the wolf sheddings from the cave floor..comfy nest…then a few nights of human nestingandhey prestofelt!and felt is where my tiniest scraps end up…

  11. Kaye Turner says:

    India, what a lovely idea… that is such a great story.

  12. Judy Martin says:

    I like everything about this post. The front of the silk patchwork is so lush – I imagine that it has a serene presence. The back is also great. In the paper piecing I've done in the past, I've left the paper in. Have used women's decorating or fashion magazines to good effect for colour – and my own journal pages or old letters for mystery. I wonder if you could colour or write on the papers.And the threads and bits of fabric being saved – I think this idea has amazing potential as a mending and making do, keeping, saving type metaphor for the environment. Lovely work and blog.

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