The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

October 21, 2009

Warm Plastic-Free Quilt Handmade Just In Time For Winter

Monday was rainy and cold. It sure was nice to have my new T-shirt quilt handmade by Fake Plastic Fish reader Colette Carrabba, who blogs at Carrabba’s World.

T-shirt Quilt

But let me backtrack a little.

Remember when I wrote about how the stuff on and around my desk was overwhelming me? A lot of you left some really great suggestions for ways to get organized. One of the most helpful came from Erika Barcott who wrote a whole post in response on her blog Redshirt Knitting and recommended the book, It’s All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff, by Peter Walsh. He recommends going through your stuff and keeping only 50% of it. He says that if things are important to us, we ought to treat them that way. Hoarding stuff away in drawers and boxes to be dealt with later only makes us feel overwhelmed in the present. While I don’t agree with his admonition to throw the rest away (we all know there is no such thing as “away”) I did take to heart the idea of doing some serious culling.

Unfortunately, my desk is not much better these days, but my T-shirt drawer is newly spacious. It used to be crammed full of Men’s style shirts that had sentimental value but that I would never wear because that style looks like crap on me. So I chose twelve shirts that were the most meaningful to me (one that I’ve had since 1988), took the rest to Goodwill, and set about finding a crafty person to sew the chosen twelve into a quilt for me, along with some scraps of fabric that I bought years ago for a project I never even started.

T-shirt Quilt

The first person I turned to was Cat Domiano from It’s A Green, Green, Green, Green World, who sewed the cloth napkins that Michael and I use in our house every single day. She recommended her sister Colette who, it turns out, had already made several T-shirt quilts and was happy to do this project.

I was careful to specify that I wanted organic cotton batting inside the quilt. Most batting these days seems to be made from polyester, and I wanted mine to not only be made from natural fibers but also organic to avoid the pesticides associated with conventional cotton. (Yes, I know I bought a conventional cotton jacket two days ago. No one’s perfect.) I ordered the batting from Organic Cotton Plus and had it shipped directly to Colette.

What a beautiful job she did! And she shipped the finished quilt back to me without any packing materials inside the box, per my request. Colette even asked me if I wanted the fabric scraps back and assured me that if I didn’t need them, she would reuse them as cleaning rags.

I asked her if she had a few words for Fake Plastic Fish readers about plastic, her Etsy Shop, and her blog. Here’s what she wrote:

I would definitely have to say that you are part of the inspiration behind my reduced plastic consumption. While I am not yet able to eliminate many of the plastics I would like to, it is an ongoing process and improves with time. I know that what I have managed to accomplish has inspired those around me in bits and pieces as well. Through my blog I bring my small steps to light, gladly sharing my progress. I hope that in my small way I am demonstrating that the elimination or reduction of plastic in a person’s life does not take place all at once but in small pieces and that it is possible!

Everything that I sell in my shoppe on Etsy is hand-made from cotton fabrics. I use thrift store finds, clothing and other re-used items when possible. When I package my creations for their new owners, I re-use packing materials as well. There may be plastic used in the packaging simply because that is what I have on hand and I want to give that bit of plastic one more use. I hope that the recipient will reuse the plastic packaging instead of tossing it out! In fact, I will add that to my thank you notes to the purchaser!

I’m just happy to be cozy and warm. Soots and Arya are happy with the quilt too!

You might also enjoy...


ECOlunchbox - Green and Healthy Lunchboxes for People & Planet

I only post ads for products I use myself. Your support helps to fund my plastic-free mission.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
10 years ago

What a fabulous idea for reusing old shirts. Patchwork style quilts are just amazing to sleep under in winter.

Lara S.
14 years ago

That’s a great idea, i had never heard of a t-shirt quilt! I usually keep old clothes like that and wear them to sleep or sometimes when I’m at home and want something really comfortable. But I guess if you have pajamas you don’t need that. I know what you mean about sentimental value of clothes: I sometimes sleep wearing a t-shirt I got for my 10th birthday!! (I’m 22). Sadly it’s too battered to turn it into anything now.

14 years ago

Well, I have to say that reading your blog was very cheering considering that my desk is currently OVER-RUN with school papers I am trying to grade! Thanks for the kudos, and I ever so happy you like it, along with Soots and Arya. You look incredibly warm and happy!
Happy snuggling!

14 years ago

What a great idea!
I have tshirts from the frameline fest and other events- that could be tranformed into something as unique and useful as your memory quilt!
you go, girl!

Beth Terry
14 years ago

Hi, Aurora. I share your concern about local book stores. But I have readers everywhere and have been told in the past that not everyone has access to local independent stores like we do in more metropolitan areas. I joined a different program once… IndieBound… and you know what? The service only worked sporadically. Half the time it didn’t find books in my local area when I knew for sure that they existed. And the affiliate program had no way of tracking performance at all.

In my disclosure, I did encourage people to not only get it from the library or used but to also buy local before going the Amazon route. I’m just being practical. And sincerely, I have been spending a lot of money on plastic-related events, travel, and other Fake Plastic Fish expenses, and I could not do those things without finding a way to support them financially. The advertising on this web site helps a little. But just a little.

I don’t know if this answer is satisfying or not. I have had mixed feelings about the Amazon affiliate program and have finally come to terms with it.

The Green Cat
14 years ago

Beth: The quilt looks great. I hadn’t realized that you had the fabric already as well so this was a great re-use project! A small thing I want to correct: You said “Most batting these days seems to be made from polyester”. While batting is available in polyester, it is also readily available in cotton, wool and bamboo. Most quilters choose the type of batting based on what the final product will be and how it will be quilted. Personally I always choose cotton batting because I hand-quilt and I find that the best to work with. My favorite is Dream Cotton Batting:

14 years ago

Wow she did a great job! It’s beautiful! Reminds me I need to hurry up and get her the info for making my MIL a tote bag for her walker.

aurora fox
14 years ago

Having made a few quilts myself–and since I sleep under 2 vintage quilts I bought at a garage sale–I know the pleasure of a quilt—love that you used the t-shirts!. The Alameda Flea market is a good place to buy used and vintage quilts for a reasonable price…anyway–lucky you to have the nice quilt!

Beth–I’m wondering why are you using Amazon for that book–rather than encouraging your readers to patronize their local independent bookstore? I think we all need to buy our books at the small local independent bookstores–or soon we will not have any to shop at…most of them are struggling to stay in business right now…..may I suggest Diesel or Mrs. Dalloways?

and I do appreciate you suggest they get it from the library or buy it used…those are mostly my first choice….one can save alot of $$$ using the library ;-)