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May 25, 2014

The Daily Ditch Returns!



I can't explain it but for some reason I am very magnetic to stuff.

Take this 6-cup espresso maker, still in its box.  My mother gave it to me a few weeks ago as she wasn't using it.  Why she had ever purchased a 6-cup espresso maker in the first place is a mystery since she lives alone.

I use a 2-cup espresso maker.  (That's about all my body can take in a day.)  I have no use for a 6-cup version, so out it goes.  I hope I don't sound ungrateful.  Somebody out there will enjoy it.  If you're interested, check the Chelsea Salvation Army come Tuesday.

Also headed for the thrift store is this bag of old clothes, some mine, some Michael's.



Baby Simplicity is now walking so there's no need for this collapsible stroller, itself a garbage find.  Gone!



How (and if) to discard fabric remnants too small to turn into garments is an ongoing dilemma I've solved in different ways.  Once, I had about four bagfuls and I listed them on Craigslist.  A Filipino woman who worked for an organization that upcycles fabric scraps came over and took them off my hands.  But it took a lot of energy and time to make that connection.  We now have a fabric and clothing recycling bin a few blocks away, and this bag landed there today.  I needed it gone.



I have a tendency to wear my pants to shreds.  These me-made jeans from a few years ago were so beaten up in so many places I couldn't give them away and I'm not the patchwork type.   They ended up in the big recycling bin too.





We had a huge number of clay pots on the balcony left over from the days when Michael was interested in gardening.  We carted them downstairs and they were gone within minutes.



Readers, there is still so much more ditching to do.

I can live with a lot of disorder but even I have my limits and this holiday weekend seems like the perfect time to address the mess.

I hope to ditch daily for at least the next week and I hope you will join me -- or at least cheer me on.

What do you do with all your fabric scraps?

Have a great day, everybody!

Michael and...can anyone identify this YouTube celebrity?

42 comments:

  1. Oh, I so badly need to start a pitching project!!! Perhaps you have inspired me.

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  2. I make lots of little patchy things so I hang onto anything at least 3" x 3" . Garment fabrics have to be 1/4 yard. Yes, I have lots of fabric!

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  3. I use scraps for practice. I can never get enough of them because I can never practice enough.

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  4. Either I cut hearts out of the fabric that can be used as patches or embellishments. If it is the right material, I cut it into the appropriate size and make dish towels out of it. Flannel is especially good. One year I went through my stash and made bias tape out of things too small. Now i cut leftovers into a fat quarter and save just that part , the rest gets thrown.

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  5. Congratulations on getting rid of your scraps and clothes. When I've asked the better known sewing teachers I've had (Betzina, Lynda Maynard). They say to toss them or become overwhelmed. You are inspiring me to ditch more.

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  6. I have also given away bags of scraps via Craigslist. My city also has this great place called Scrap where you unload all sorts of unneeded crafty supplies, although fabric pieces need to be at least 1/2 yard. I purged my stash earlier this year to get rid of some of the "what was I thinking when I bought this?" fabric and ended up donating 90 pounds of stuff!

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  7. Wool scraps go to the friend who felts. Cotton scraps go to my mom, who quilts. Silks, velvets, and other fancy fabrics go to a friend who teaches preschool for the children to craft with. I'm lucky to have these resources as I live in a rural area with limited options otherwise.

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  8. I have given a lot of scraps away to a couple of new sewists to give them some different fabrics to sew with and practice on. The scraps are not big enough to make a garment, but there is always enough for a few seams, buttonholes etc. I do sew with quilting cotton, so leftover fabric is moved to different containers that make smaller and smaller items. For example, I may make a skirt or some PJ's, with the larger leftover fabric there may be enough to make a pillowcase or use in a wall hanging/or a wallet, smaller pieces are used to make appliques for mug rugs or cut into squares to make a (future) scrappy quilt!

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  9. Almost all of the fabrics I use are natural fibers, so as an avid gardener - I compost my scraps!

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  10. I guess I do a yearly ditch, a garage sale. My cotton scraps are put together in a nice neat bundle and some quilter always buys them. This year I had a flannel bundle, a tulle and nylon net bundle and an odd bundle. They all sold.

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  11. Lately I've been taking old clothes and cutting them into strips. Then I sew the strips into little blankets called cage comforters for a local animal shelter to give to the pets. The pets use them in the shelter and then the blanket goes home with them when they're adopted. It's really sweet.

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    1. That is so sweet! I've made pillows for kitty safe-home frim my scraps.

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    2. I have 2 rescue dogs, so from the bottom of my heart...thank you for making "cage comforters"!!!! Super super nice!!!

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  12. Don't know whether or not you were serious about the Salvation Army, but if you were, please don't give to an organization that's still preaching that gay men and lesbians will burn in hell -- Housing Works or Goodwill are two good NYC alternatives!

    G.B. Shaw on the Salvation Army; "It is cheap work converting starving people with a crust of bread in one hand and a bible in the other."

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  13. Ok I was poking around in your posts about Cathy, and saw that you purchased saddle shoes............ What happened to them?

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    1. They were immediately returned; they weren't comfortable.

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    2. I am going to go cry now. Oh btw , scrap fabric gets used in quilts since I identify as a quilter. :)

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  14. Not sure whether the same system operates in the US, but in England charity shops sell all their unsaleable donations to the ragman. I have a bin in my workroom for all thread ends, trimmed seam allowances & other scraps which I bag & take to the nearest store. I avoid contributing to landfill & the charity gets a little extra cash. Win win.

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  15. I would've like to buy that Expresso Maker! Oh, and I do know who that famous youtuber is: Miranda Sings a.k.a. Colleen Ballinger.

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  16. Like Trouble and Strumpet (above) I save tiny scraps till I have a bag full and take them to the charity shop who sell them for rag. I also keep some and sort them into colours then make fresh fabric by covering a base fabric with cut scraps, and securing it down under a layer of organza with decorative machine stitches in different colours. It can be as subtle or zazzy as you like. I then use this new fabric to make bags and cosmetic bags which a family member sells to raise money for another charity. Worth checking if your thrift stores sell fabric for rag recycling. It is difficult to part with stuff, there is a lot of research on this, and lots of info on the minimalist blogs. Jane

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  17. In Australia the charity shops also sell to the ragman. I use most of my scraps for sewing machine testing as I repair sewing machines for 'work'. The small one just go in a big bag and I'm not really sure what I'll do with them.

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  18. Sometimes kindergartens will want fabric scraps (even ones too small for patchwork) for artwork . Ask friends with small children about what might be useful. (At the moment I'm recycling cardboard toilet rolls this way).

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  19. Oh my gosh, the fabric scraps...they overran my sewing room, bins, baskets. I could not let them go. I folded them, supposed I would use them in some fanciful couture way...finally filled 3 lawn bags with them and out they went in the recycle bin. Felt so good! Now I either cut bias strips to be saved in a bucket for hong kong finishes and contrast bindings or I save any piece big enough for one side of a tank or cami. The rest goes out...

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  20. Yay for the Daily Ditch return! I BADLY need to start one. I now have Mom's Necchi SuperNova, cabinet and all it's accessories, along with almost all her sewing & needlework supplies. Now to sort them out and make room...And we'll not discuss some of the other treasures I've acquired of hers.

    Fabric scraps - I usually put them in a "too small to use, too big to trash" bag until they marinate for an appropriate time, then to the landfill they go. Other than quilting cotton bits by quilters, and old jeans for upcycling by crafters, I haven't been able to find anyplace for recycling/reuse of fabric scraps. Even free on Craigslist, people want bigger pieces of apparel fabric.

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  21. I need to do a daily ditch. Next up is my sewing room- the one I least like doing :/
    As for fabric scraps i tend to take them to the recycle bins or give them to charity shops. sometimes I'll list them on eBay as fabric scrap bags it's surprising what people will buy for scrap booking, dolls houses or card making!

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  22. I do a monthly ditch. My DH and I purged our belongings big time 15 years ago and now we are in the habit of throwing stuff out (to ReStore reuse store or donations to Purple Heart or suchlike) any usable object as soon as we realize we aren't using it any longer. But still, somehow we accumulate stuff sometimes. So when we get our monthly phone call from Purple Heart veterans, I say "yes" to their request for usable stuff. Then I go around the house foraging. I hate clutter and excess stuff. Claudia W

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  23. I've been doing pretty well this year, when I get a bag full of something to ditch, I ditch it - but I could do so much more. I keep fabric scraps - mostly these days the corners cut off the tote bag bottoms (I've been on a tote bag-sewing kick) and I keep thinking I could make a cool wreath out of those...anyway, I appreciate all the good ideas folks have been offering here! One thing I have developed over years of seeing tips online: a tee shirt can have several lives. When it's too worn or stained to wear, you can cut it into strips and put beads on them and wrap them around your neck for a fun "necklace," or you can knit the strips into rag rugs; you can cut out the logo or image and put it into a lap robe of favorite tee shirt images, or applique the image onto a plain tee shirt to keep showing it off; last, when there's nothing else to do with it, it's a cleaning rag. After that, it can go rest in the landfill. It's had a good life.

    Love your post, thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. It sounds like your tee shirts are having much longer lives than mine, Terry! LOL

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    2. I'm all about the frugality, baybee...

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  24. I use some of my scraps and old towels to make quilted potholders. Old towels make great insulation, and I like to piece scraps. I make about 10 or 12 of them at a time, and use them myself or bring them for hostess gifts or random acts of kindness gifts. I use freecycle to get rid of stuff. I've given away bags of beading supplies and fabric scraps. It's nice because you post it and then, based on when they can come and what they say about their need for it, you choose one of the responding freecyclers to come and get it. I don't just use it for sewing/craft related items, but have gotten rid of furniture, clothes, and kitchen stuff this way, too. I also have acquired things, too. It is a bit more finicky than putting everything in a bag and taking it to the local charity thrift store. So when I have a sizable purge, I take it over to the local charity shop.

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  25. I try to go through my fabric scraps bi-annually and then I bag up what I'm not going to use and take them to our children's museum - they have a recycled art studio and welcome my scraps. I've seen kids making all kinds of things with them and the museum loves getting them.

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  26. I don't have any scraps. I wish I did. I only buy as I need. However, I just started sewing toddler clothes again and I only need 1/2 yard fabric. I have never really been a collector of stashes. Sometimes it is just nice to go through fabric you already have so you can start the projects straight away. I am a very minimal person I don't buy what I don't use. Any suggestions for good online stores for fabric?

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  27. Yesterday I went through my patterns and bagged up 110 patterns to donate to Value Village. Some of them date to the 70's, but alas no men's clothing. I thought of your cousin Cathy with some of the dress patterns, but am not sure they would suit her style. I'm keeping the Vogue pattern for my favorite dress from the mid-60's. Empire waist, long sleeve, collarless, front buttoning bodice. I made it from a small floral kettlecloth and lined it. I downsized last year and gave away one-third of my fabric stash to my mother, who is a quilter and has friends who also quilt. There were pieces large enough for the backs of quilts in there. It was a relief and many people were happy. I'm being more selective in my purchases these days. My huge Koala sewing cabinet was gone in less than 5 hours from the time I listed it for "free" on Craigslist. It was damaged a bit in the move and the people who hauled it away had a carpentry shop to repair it. I bought a much smaller one on Craigslist that suits me so much better in a smaller space. I'm nearly organized now and ready to get sewing.

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  28. I just gave fabric scraps, and yardage to a summer camp. So many crafts they can make! My daughter is working the arts and crafts cabin this year.

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  29. I do get rid of stuff but then other stuff finds me and I find other stuff, so it seems that the balance tips toward incoming...yesterday I gave away outgrown kid stuff, and found a blue vintage suitcase with a lovely purple lining, a stack of Calvin and Hobbes books, 2 movies, Japanese prints

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  30. The pots! A huge garden in South Africa needs them! Love your blog, even though I can't sew a stitch....

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  31. For organizations involved with dogs, pet pillows can use up the smaller fabric scraps (always check no nasties like pins or paper or metallic fibres are inside). Stuff one pillow case about 3/4 full. Sew two rows of stitching at the open end of case (I like folding over the end before stitching). Insert closed pillowcase into another pillowcase. Sew the open ends of number 2 closed with two lines of stitching-you now have a pet bed!

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