Tuesday, March 22, 2016

My newest quest

The fabric club has been going for five years now. Sometime last summer I ran out of the tissue paper I had been using for wrapping the selections before putting them into the envelopes to be shipped. I was using that because it was there – I had at some point bought it to wrap quilts in, which I found rather tedious, though, because the sheets were smaller than most of my quilts and basically I had turned to making fabric bags for the quilts. After I had run out of those tissue papers, I kept thinking I needed to get some additional protective wrapping, but I was busy with the refugees, sometimes low on money – I was putting it off. So I took an easy way out and sent the selections in the plastic bags which up til then I had only been using for the packages to be sold at market. One friend asked me whether that was going to stay like that... no, it wasn’t, but then I went to New Zealand, I was stressed out, and I just did not have the leisure and nerve to sit down and look for a new solution.
After returning, I tried to find a good deal on bags made from recycled newspapers, but wasn’t successful (yet).
Then I read an article about a blogger in Germany, and heard about her on the radio, who is trying hard and – according to the marketing – successfully to live a life without plastic. I bought her book (the title translates as ‘Better living without plastic’) and, as much as I love her approach, I realized that although it is a very worthy cause, it is very difficult to follow through. Try to go shopping without buying anything in plastic – impossible! Even in an organic store. And out here in the country there is no such thing as one of the obviously coming shops for 'shopping without plastic'. What is worse in terms of effects on the climate change and environmental pollution – driving 60 miles to Munich in order to get to such a store (time, energy, pollution, cost!) or buying a packet of something sealed in plastic?
I have long since stopped taking plastic bags in supermarkets (we don’t have the big brown paper bags as they do in the US), I always carry a little bag or basket with me, and I have even had a little bit of success in driving the point home with my husband.
So I resolved that I would try hard(er), but not stress myself about it too much: be aware, look for options, but don’t stress myself or fret if it’s not possible.
What I have done is I sewed a few reusable see-through bags (organza) for packing fruit and other loose items which I take with me when I go shopping. They prevent apples from rolling around, they are washable, and they last much longer than any plastic bag which, of course, could be reused as well. Organza rather than any other piece of ordinary fabric so that the cashier can see what's inside, and doesn't get upset.

They make a good present, too. I 'wrapped' a present for my friend into one of these bags a couple of days ago, so that made two presents for her! 
I’m also thinking about designs for these reusing scraps, but that is still in the very beginning.

And on Friday I finally sat down and ordered my paper bags for the coming fabric club selections. 


  1. Well done!It's so difficult to avoid excessive packaging.I've been using onya 'weigh' bags for years for veggies(http://www.onyabags.co.uk/products/onya-weigh)Your bags remind me of the ones I made for the glasshouses at Kew to protect plants after pollination(http://magsramsay.blogspot.co.uk/2010/10/sewing-for-conservation.html)

  2. Very desirable, these bags - simple and, dare I say, elegant! I have a stash of organza of various colours and can just about see some frenzied production of bags coming up....

    1. You're absolutely right, Margaret, about the desirability of these - must-haves, I would say. Alas, I only have the white organza, but plenty of that. So I won't have to envy you your future colored ones! Enjoy the process, and the feeling-good-when-shopping afterwards!