Saturday 15 March 2008

Why do I feel guilty if I use new fabrics?

In the last couple of days I have found some new interesting blogs. I noticed how often here up in the North old clothing is reused in patchwork instead of buying new coordinated fabrics and cutting them up to pieces just to be sewn together again to a new piece of fabric. It may be our common Lutheran working moral; we mostly have to justify at least to ourselves any frivolous behavior. Earnest working is good, thriftiness is good. Vanity is bad, prodigality is bad. It is better to make it than to waste good money to buy it ready made. This goes for food and clothing and household textiles and cleaning washing and you name it. My generation was raised with these ideas, at least in the background of the thoughts of our parents who went through the war as young adults. Even I have woven some carpets. The first one I made for my little flat when I moved from home to live on my own. I dyed some old bedsheets, tore them to narrow stripes and sewed the ends together to be the weft. I used my mother's loom and her guidance. The next carpet was a very little one to be used by our kitchen door. I still like it, especially the busy stripes of his plaid shirt.

I was heavily pregnant with our first child so I didn't want to start anything time-consuming. I cut 5-6 of my young husbands old shirts to make this doormat, and my mother-in-law helped me with the technical problems. Later I have woven several more carpets, but I still have no idea of how to start the whole process. It has in fact been necessary to save all used clothes for this purpose. The largest pieces of my Grandmother's Garden quilt for Kaija come from my mother's "carpet rags" box, like the light blue background around the flowery blocks.

The hand quilting is still fun, the progress is slow but almost steady. The sewing group will meet four more times, because next week will be Easter holiday. The weekend 19th to 20th April will be the exhibition showing the work of the different groups. I'll do my best to have this quilt ready to be shown there.

P.S. I use new fabrics for the immature babies' quilts and for many things I sew for sale, but if I use recycled material, it is a good sales argument.


  1. Ulla, thank you for visiting. Your blog is new to me, but I almost feel as if I've known you for a long time. I had very much the same upbringing where we did not throw anything away, and thriftiness was part of life.

    Your blog is beautiful. I will be back, and looking forward to seeing more of Grandmother's Flower Garden.

  2. How lovely to find another crafty lady...and one who understands the potential of the smallest scrap of fabric :) I enjoyed your thoughtful post here and the book of seasons is marvelous!

  3. Thank you ladies, I found you both today through Pip and the vintage childrens' books. I'll be back too!

  4. Your carpets are so very very beautiful! How wonderful to have so many memories moving from one object to another. I'm so impressed by anyone who can make a Grandmothers Flower Garden!


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