My goal during my residency at Recology is to make eight bold quilts from materials found in the San Francisco dump in four months. I’m at the half-way mark and I have five quilts made. All the work has to be made with 99% of materials found in the PDRA (Public Disposal and Recycle Area), including the top, back, batting, and thread!
The first quilt of the residency was made from a stack of jeans, a purple chef’s shirt, and some red plaid wool all found in the dump on my first day. The next visit to the PDRA (public disposal and recycle area) turned up a quilted coverlet which will serve as backing and batting, dark blue embroidery floss, and the men’s shirt I will use as the binding (see above).
Did you know that a significant percentage of the stuff that goes into landfills is discarded clothing and textiles? Textile waste is a huge problem which will require changes from how the industry runs business to how we run our homes. If every one of the 16 million occasional quilt makers or 1 million active quilt makers in the US made one quilt a year from discarded clothing and linens, imagine how many pounds of material waste would be spared from the landfill.
Ikea’s head of sustainability proclaimed that consumers in the developed world had reached “peak stuff.”
But this isn’t just about the environment. Making do is also a creative challenge. It’s about intentionally setting limits that push you towards imaginative solutions.
Whether you like to follow fixed patterns, or prefer to improvise with your patchwork, I challenge you to make one quilt top and back from salvaged clothing, linens, curtains or other household materials within the next 365 days. Scavenging your batting and thread is optional – but extra points if you do!
You may not have access to the local dump, but it’s easy to save these materials before they hit the dump. Or you may choose to use personal clothing of your own or of family members that carry memories and stories. Host a swap meet and glean from the extra clothing no one wants. Check the dollar rack at the thrift store. Make late in the day rounds of the neighborhood yard sales and pick up clothing and textiles for a dime.
If you take on the Make Do Quilt challenge I definitely want to hear about it. Many of you are already making do with exciting results! Please post a link to any make do blog posts or quilts in a comment on my FB page or my blog, tag me in IG feeds and use the #makedoquilt hashtag on any images you post. I want to spread the word and I want to highlight your efforts at making do!
Make Do Quilt Challenge IG Giveaway
If you are up for the challenge then help spread the word on Instagram to enter the giveaway. To enter… first like my Make Do Quilt image and follow me on IG, tag three friends in the comments and then repost the image (at the top of this blog post) with #makedoquilt @sherrilynnwood on your IG feed.
After my residency on October 15, I will choose one winner plus an additional winner for every 300 new IG followers (currently at 3700) gained by the close of the contest, from the reposts at #makedoquilt. The prizes will be curated make do quilt bundles of salvaged (laundered) materials with an original make do score with design guidelines/prompts, plus a vintage apron. Winners outside the US will receive a vintage apron plus some other little surprise that will fit in an envelope, along with the make do score and design guidelines.