Felted Woolies are things made from reclaimed, recycled wool. I find wool at thrift stores and garage sales. I clean it, felt it or unravel it, and make new things. I seem to have a bit of trouble focusing on just one project--so I make a lot of different things, practical and not so practical.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The oldest kind of recycling

Fabric and textiles have long been recycled.  Think of all the beautiful scrap quilts our mothers and grandmothers made.  Think of the dish towels and quilts made from feed sacks.  The first ones were plain, later they were pretty prints.  (The person that thought of putting animal feed into pretty feedsacks was brilliant.  See this link for a complete history.)  Now you can find recycled goods made from burlap coffee sacks, and you can buy the burlap bags online from several sources.

I found a nice assortment of fabric scraps at my last visit to one of the MCC thrift stores, as well as a partially finished quilt top that seems to be made from mens' shirts.   I'm not sure what greedy impulse made me purchase these; if I had any sense I'd take some better photos and go list them on Etsy right now....  I do NOT need any more projects in the house, but the vintage fabrics called to me.   If they are calling to you, and you want them, I'll be glad to send them your way, just leave me a message.

 I've seen statistics that in the USA we discard 68 lbs. of textiles each year, per person.  My source is the SMART website--stands for Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles.  It has to do with the fact that clothing is just so cheap we now consider it a "disposable" item.  Our moms and grandmas remember when clothing was expensive.  I remember when it was cheaper to make my own clothes, but about the time I got out of high school, it was cheaper to buy readymade.  You could no longer buy the fabric for what you could buy the ready made.  The quality wasn't and isn't as good as homemade, but the time and effort to make your own was huge.  The last "homemade" clothing I remember wearing was a beautiful tailored silk suit I made and wore at my first job.  Wow.  I'm a long way from that now.   I'll wear a comfortable blazer with "good" trousers on a dress up day at work.

Less than 25% of the 68 pounds of textiles each of us discards each year is donated to charity, resellers, or recyclers.  The charities put less than half of what we donate into the stores.  They sell it in bulk to companies that sort and distribute clothing overseas, and make rope, furniture padding, carpet padding, etc.  Interesting fact:  they send the vintage things to Japan!  4% of the solid waste stream in this country is textiles.  OUCH!  We must do better.  Growing cotton and raising sheep consumes resources.  Making synthetic fibers consumes resources.   I even read that although wool decomposes in the landfil, it creates methane gas, and thus contributes to global warming.  See!!!  I HAVE to keep these wool sweaters out of the landfills!!!   I have to make cute bunnies and kittys!!!! 

1 comment:

  1. It's funny, because I wear homemade stuff every week :) This is what happens when your mother is a seamstress and she has no grandchildren to sew for.