15 October 2007

Quilters and the Planet: Blog Action Day

Have you ever stopped to think that it might be too warm in the (near) future for quilts? I have. And I have taken steps to help the environment and since today is Blog Action Day I have joined in. I have always based my premise on waste. We are, as a whole, a wasteful society. I started my green tendencies way back in 1978 when CarGuy and I built our first and only home -- we still live there. It is passive solar. I think I've told you about this before. Anyway, it hasn't stopped there. I like the saying "Reduce, reuse, repurpose, recycle" and should be quite common amongst us quilters. I try to do that in my daily living.
  • I drink a lot of water and use a refillable bottle. In fact, I have several.
  • I plan my trips and routes when I drive my car. I'm trying to get better at riding my bicycle daily.
  • Unplug those rechargers when not in use!
  • I have a clothesline that I use. And before you say, but my towels will be stiff, I have found that if the item has never gone in a dryer then it doesn't get stiff.
  • I don't use fabric softener; vinegar works really well.
  • You know I knit too, right? Well, I wear those sweaters and socks that I knit. I hope that the people I gift knitted items to wear them also.
  • Along that same vein, I have been known to unravel a thrift store sweater just for the yarn. Ahem.
  • If you have a serger or know anyone with one, it is really quick work to whip up a set of cloth napkins. Think of the waste of paper towels and paper napkins in land fills. A good size for a cloth napkin is about 16". I cut mine 17" and then do a narrow or rolled hem on the serger. You can get 4 napkins out of 1 yard. They make fabulous gifts and I've had repeat requests for them. And best of all? It's a wonderful STASHBUSTER!
  • I have canvas grocery sacks. I keep them in my car and I actually use them. It took me a long time to remember to use them but now it's second nature. Bags are a hot item right now. Why don't you make some for yourself and for giving. And to repeat myself: it's a wonderful STASHBUSTER!
  • Have you heard of energy vampires? I am taking steps to reduce the amount of energy CarGuy and I consume. I unplug things. Things like teevees in sewing rooms, sewing machines, stereos, dvd players, the computer. You know the things I'm talking about. The ones that have a constant trickle of juice (power) to them. I can't remember the last time the stereo in the main room was used but that little red light on the receiver told me that it was consuming power. I unplugged it. I use the 'go to sleep' mode on my computer too.
My goal is to leave as small a footprint as possible.
What have you done for the planet today?


  1. Great ideas! Oh, yes, cloth napkins -- we use them every day.
    I'll check out my appliances and see what I can turn off today.

  2. I love my reusable shopping bags - tucked safely under the seat in the car for whenever the shopping urge strikes. I'm trying to get better at remembering to unplug those chargers and the extra things that don't often get turned on. Every little bit helps - I just have to try to remember some little bit every day.

  3. We just finished replacing the last of the old lightbulbs. we are using the more energy efficient ones that last for years.. I am sure there is a name for them and my DH knows it, ahem I don't, but they save a lot of electricity!

    Its great you posted about this, I have denim I got to make bags to take to the grocery with me,This reminded me about them! I need to whip those totes out and stop getting bags at the store!

    We are also am shutting down the computers at night now :O) that has been within the last couple months.

    Great post keeps us thinking!

  4. Good for you! We started years ago as well. We have lapsed at times, but for the most part have tried to reduce our impact on the environment. We used cloth diapers for both children and have always used cloth napkins. A roll of paper towels will last us for months because we only use them for really gross things (I'm not a fanatic). We have used canvas grocery bags for a number of years and own a Honda Civic Hybrid. We have recently changed to CFL bulbs and I have also started using natural cleaning products. Easy, environmentally friendly and they really work. http://www.channel4.com/4homes/style/eco_cleaning-2.html

  5. I hope that the people I gift knitted items to wear them also

    I wear mine. Especially when I know I am going to be sitting with my shoes off...

    I need to look more closely at my vampires...

    Ditto the canvas bags - I even re look at my PIGS so that I can use those bags at the store again, ahem. Oh & I need to make a few of the bags that I plan to make...

    cloth napkins - ditto.

  6. These are terrific ideas. I used cloth diapers when Sushi was younger. I have reduced the paper in my house by signing up for not getting them, and not subscribing to magazines.
    Today at work, we separated out the dividers (colored paper) from the extra paper packets we had to recycle. The paper is shredded and recycled. The dividers will get reused.
    I have regularly been recycling the yard waste, and just this week my neighbor asked me what the procedure was to do the same.
    I take my bag to the LQS - they don't give me plastic bags - I just slip my purchases in the bag. I just might take you up on the idea and carry the bag to other stores as well.

  7. Well done. It's a habit thing isn't it. I don't have a big stash of fabric or wool to use up, so keep acquiring a few bits here and there( wouldn't want to run out ).
    For the supermarket I have stacking bins ( 5 ) that I transfer from the trolley into. When out of the car the 5 stack inside each other if not being used for something else. So far they are lasting well after many years.We use them for fruit picking / storing too. I probably should spend less time at the computer....and I do sometimes sew by hand lol!

  8. Good Paula.....your is a great idea.
    ciao ciao

  9. I'm already practicing some of those ideas but I still use paper napkins. I promise I will change it soon ;)

  10. I love your ideas. We use cloth grocery bags. My DH is always bringing home tote bags from conferences and that's what we've started them for instead of giving them or stuffing them in a closet. I didn't think about unplugging. chargers and my sewing machine. I guess I'll have to go around the house and start unplugging. I am a Red Sox fan and I'm hoping they can beat the Indians. But Go Rockies! They have been hot lately.

  11. there is a switch you install that turns off all those vampire things. Flip one switch when you leave home or go to bed and save all that energy. Its a lot easier than unpuging and plugging all those wires. Buy it at Home depot. Saw it on "Living with Ed"