Sunday, December 18, 2022

Minimize textile waste with upcycled, scrap buster projects

I try my best to minimize fabric, yarn and clothing waste through scrap projects, mending and donating to charities. Looking around the house and my studio lately, I realized the variety of scrap buster projects—for both yarn and fabric scraps—that I worked on in 2022. These are favorites from this past year.

2022 upcycled and scrap buster projects: (from left) knitted dish cloths, fabric twine,
and Zoom Loom sock mug rugs.

Hand knit dishcloths

After discovering the Dishcloth Challenge from Modern Daily Knitting this summer, I got immersed in these scrap-busting, quick knits. Dishcloths are also a great portable project for travel. 

Cotton dishcloths use up multitude of leftover yarn scraps.

Combining small bits of leftover yarns, I enjoy the experimental practice of unplanned color combinations and the surprising results. I have mostly used the linen stitch because it's easy to remember, and the slipped stitches merge the yarn colors within a single row.

Fifteen colorful cotton dishcloths.

Cotton dishcloths qualified for my Slow Stitching Make Nine project in August, but I have continued making them through December. I like that these are colorful and pretty as well as functional.

Dishcloths: Slow Stitch Make Nine Project.

The last one is off the needles with just the crochet edge remaining.

Dishcloth ready for crocheted edge finish.

Fabric twine

In 2021, I started making fabric twine with trimmings and strips from quiltmaking. Any fabric strip that is too thin to use for patchwork—especially if it's a long strip—is set aside for making twine. I've continued making twine this year. It's another good travel project.

Taking fabric twine supplies when traveling.

The Loopy Loom upcycles socks into coasters

A rediscovery of the Loopy Loom/Zoom Loom is converting old socks into woven coasters

Using the Loopy Loom for sock weaving.

I'm still experimenting with these as I've learned that some socks contain elastic and the loops stretch and contract at different rates. So, sometimes the coasters are slightly off-square.

Woven mug rugs from discarded socks.

But this project ticks all the sustainability boxes for me! It takes an un-repairable textile and converts it into a new, useful object. And these little coasters are thick and squishy and so very functional. They fulfilled my Mend/Upcycle prompt for Make Nine 2022.

Collection of woven sock coasters/mug rugs.

Improv patchwork kitty quilts

Of course, a wonderful scrap project is making kitty quilts and charity quilts. In 2022, sixteen kitty quilts were made and gifted to friends, the Cat Clinic of Chattanooga, or are enjoyed by our pack of adopted outside kitties. (Note, our kitties adopted us, not the other way around.)

Improv patchwork quilt top ready for quilting.

The kitty quilts fulfilled the Scraps and Crumbs prompt for Make Nine 2022. Not only are fabric scraps used to make these, but odd strips and pieces of batting are also patched together to make these quilts.

Four improv patchwork kitty quilts.

Twelve scrappy kitty quilts.

Scrap buster 2022 year-end tally

  • 19 cotton dishcloths
  • 8 recycled sock mug rugs made on the Loopy Loom
  • 16 kitty quilts
  • 4 cuddle quilts for the guild's community service project
  • yards and yards of fabric twine

A fulfilling year!

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