Conscious Quilting

Are you looking to be more mindful in your quilting practice? In my previous post I promised to share some ideas about how we might go about this, and how we may potentially be doing harm to the environment and those we share it with. To begin, here are some questions I think we could all consider when it comes to our quilty activities.

Piles of neatly folded fabrics sorted by colour
Fabric: Consider what you already have before purchasing more.

Before Purchasing Anything

  • Why do I want this? 
  • How much use will I get from it?
  • Was it ethically produced?
  • If I leave it a week or more, will I still want to buy it?
  • What is it made from? Will it recycle or compost?
  • Do I already have something that will do the job?

The Fabric Stash

  • Do I still like this, and will I use this fabric? If no, could I gift or sell it?
  • Do I really need more storage, or do I need to use some of my fabrics?
  • How can I organise my fabrics in a way that will make me excited to use them?
  • Am I afraid to cut into this? Could I use it in another way?

Before Considering New Projects

  • Do I have the space (physically and mentally) for another project?
  • Do I have an unfinished project that I could continue instead?
  • Is it a gift? Will the intended recipient actually appreciate a quilt?
  • Will this hold my interest, or will I find it tedious?
  • Why do I want to make this? (e.g. is it for the prize or community in a quilt-along, or do I actually love it?)


  • Do I have tools I no longer use (e.g. specialty rulers) that I could give away or sell?

Magazines, Patterns and Books

  • Is there a digital option?
  • Does my library carry this?
  • Where will I store it, and for how long?

A selection of sewing related books on a bookshelf
How often do you look at the books you've purchased? Is it time to pass them on?

As to the negative environmental impacts, I think it worth remembering that everything we purchase has an environmental cost, whether in the energy used to produce or ship it, pesticides and water to grow it, or the materials it's made from. And of course, there is the question of what will happen to our purchase at the end of its usable life. 

Just as importantly there is also an impact on us and our loved ones: finances, living or working space, the mental load of having unfinished projects or too many to choose from, feeling afraid to use those precious fabrics. Eventually, and perhaps easiest to overlook, there is the added burden placed on grieving loved ones who are left to deal with our accumulated belongings at the end of our lives. 

I could go on for days about this topic, and plan to expand on some of these points at a future date. For now, I hope this has given you somewhere to start if you're looking for a way to be more mindful in your sewing practice. None of it is particularly hard or profound, but it isn't necessarily easy to stop and evaluate and change our habits either. 

Please, if you have any tips to add or any other thoughts on this subject, do share them in the comments.

Bye for now,

Hope x


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