Top 5 Ways Your Fabric Stash Can Save The Earth

fabric stash

Welcome to Earth Day, crafters! Today, in honor of our one and only home, I’m taking a break from the Fabulous Fabrics series to address a serious dilemma.

If you’re like me, you have a decent sized fabric stash sitting around. In my case, it’s quilting cotton. Yards and yards and yards of it. If you’re like me, you also spend a lot of time thinking about how you can help avert ecological crisis. When the two collide, it can produce guilt about consumption of that much cotton – which uses a ton of water to produce – as well as dyes to make it pretty.

Don’t fret! While cotton is a thirsty crop, your stash can start to make up for its ecological footprint while it awaits that perfect project. Scientists here at Crafting A Green World Laboratories have been working diligently to evaluate all the possibilities and develop this list of the Top 5 ways your fabric stash can help save the earth. (We believe these tips are also applicable to other stash materials, such as yarn and possibly ribbon, but our research is still ongoing into these supplies.)

Insulation For Your Home

While our researchers have not yet determined the exact R-value of a fabric stash, it’s pretty obvious that stacking tons of fabric up against a wall provides some extra insulating power. You want to use a wall that faces the outside, so my stash can’t live in the closet anymore, but on the other hand I’ll get more of a chance to see it when it’s not behind closet doors. Bonus: people who live in energy efficient homes are sexier.

Energy Efficiency for Your Refrigerator

Refrigerators run more efficiently when the freezer compartment is mostly full, so why not use any extra space to store your stash if your freezer is rarely fully stocked? We advise you to store your fabric in plastic bags before using this tip, though, because you don’t want it to end up with freezer smell. (Plastic bags aren’t all that eco-friendly, we know, but you should be able to use the same ones for years.)

A Comfy Guest Bed

Why buy a whole piece of furniture for an occasional use? In the spirit of Use What You Have Month, stack your fabric stash to create a guest bed when company comes to visit. If you have a guest who likes a firmer mattress, slap your rotary cutting mat on top. If they like a softer mattress, top it with some batting. It saves raw materials, and you don’t need an extra room to store the bed even when it’s not in use.

Build a Tiny House

Speaking of extra rooms, have you noticed that U.S. houses are WAY bigger than they used to be? Making a guest bed out of your stash can save you some square footage, which means less to heat and cool (and clean), but why not go one better and downsize your dwelling? If an ice hockey goalie can live in his net, why can’t a crafter live in her (or his) stash? You could even put your tiny house on wheels for taking to craft shows.

Craft for Great Justice

Our colleague Nayelli pointed out in her post on our sister blog EcoWorldly that No Water Means No Food, so if you ever eat or drink, you’ll agree that water is important. In 2006 and 2007, knitters came together with international charity WaterAid for the Knit A River project to raise awareness of the need for clean water worldwide.

What eco-cause are you passionate about? How can you get crafty and get involved? Creativity is what we do, so I look forward to seeing an explosion of crafty activism from Crafting A Green World readers in 2008.

And on that note, I leave you to celebrate Earth Day!

[Image by Asif Akbar.]

Written by Skye Kilaen

Skye Kilaen began sewing at an early age and eco-rabble-rousing shortly after that. Many years later, someone finally told her that there are books about how to make quilts. Life was never the same. In fact, she spent more on her sewing machine than her car. Bringing her green and crafty passions back together, Skye is now happily discovering ways to create beautiful and useful objects using thrifted and sustainable materials. No, that's not just an excuse to visit Goodwill more often. Honest.


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  1. I use my kitchen towels to wrap heads of lettuce in to wick away moisture and keep them fresh. I used to use paper towels, but kitchen towels (the ones I use are kind of a thin fabric) do the trick! I’m sure you could use cotton as well.

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