make do with me

feedsack quilts found in the dump

As I mentioned in my last post, one of my goals during my four month residency at Recology San Francisco, is to pay careful attention to the experience, process, practice, and mindset of making do, so that I can write, blog, post, start a conversation, and get the word out about it.

Why? Because it is an important legacy that we as makers, especially quilt makers, know something about through the work of our great grandmothers, mothers, and aunts mostly and in realms outside of home craft from our grandfathers and fathers too. The earliest roots of patchwork in this country comes from making do with what’s been left over, with the less worn patches from old clothing, feed sacks, mill remnants and tailors’ scraps.

I see quilt making as a model for understanding and reclaiming this legacy of making do with what’s at hand and left behind –as opposed to constantly consuming and buying more– at a critical time of cultural, economic, and environmental transition. And most importantly, it’s not a burden to make do, but the opposite, its a liberating choice to live simply and make new in more meaningful, imaginative and intimate ways with less.

Explore with me, through your own creative endeavors, whether it be patchwork quilting, home keeping, cooking, building, fixing, problem solving, painting, drawing, gardening, music making, parenting, relationships and more.

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “making do?” What does it mean to make do in life and in your craft? In what ways do you make do on a regular basis? How do you understand making do as an aspect of improvising? How does it support your creative flow? … or not? Making do means different things to different people. How does your economic heritage effect your perspective?

Some of you have already been sharing making do stories of grandmothers using pantyhose for batting, questions about the trash stream, tips on making design walls with old felt lined tablecloths, thoughts of awe and dismay by what’s being thrown away. Keep it coming! Let’s have a conversation!

Make Do with Sherri Lynn Wood

Subscribe to my blog (top right sidebar), follow me on Instagram, or like my artist page on Facebook to join the conversation and share your experiences, memories, stories, thoughts, tips and question in the comments. AND please tag your friends to help me get the word out!

I believe quilting with meaningful materials that carry narratives from our daily lives, quilting with more attention to social issues, and an interest in flexible patterns are some of the new frontiers for modern quilters. What do you think?

More on that and my take on modern quilting trends in future posts!


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4 Responses to make do with me

  1. Monica McGregor says:

    grandmothers using pantyhose for batting

    My grandma made braided rugs out of old pantyhose! They made good bath mats.

  2. patty says:

    More than making do I think my eye leans towards asking the question is something still have some use or can it be repurposed. At work we were cleaning out one of the rented job trailers that we are done with. There were carpet samples that were going to go into the dumpster. I saved them and made myself a new rug for my studio. I salvaged several sturdy corrugated plastic signs to make printing surfaces and now I don’t have to go and buy something to use as my substrate. I am always on the lookout for things like this.

  3. Brigette says:

    While I was raising my kids, I lived by a motto: Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make Do, Do Without. It became the foundation of how I learned to live my life. Now that I am economically sound, I have drifted away from that lifestyle. Your posts and experience are helping me reconnect.
    Thank you.

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