Waste not, want not, with a side serving of the election

I live in a society so wealthy and so wasteful, in global context, that any selection of actions I make about waste reduction can feel a bit arbitrary.  I see so many missed opportunities every day!  But still the principle that waste should be avoided is beyond criticism, and the principle that I should do what I can, is likewise sound.  So this election night, I took the eucalyptus-printed silk/hemp scraps from my previous foray into shirtmaking (I was piecing them together back in this post) and the scraps of my skirt adventure, and created bags from them. I love bags.  I love making them, giving them and carrying them around.  I seldom leave home with less than three, a curious fact I’ve decided to relax about.

Skirt bag 1: has already gone to an enthusiastic new owner who cooked a fabulous dinner for us last night:


Skirt bag 2 is with me now and soon to be introduced to someone I am confident will like it:


I decided to line the hemp/silk bags on account of the method of piecing I had chosen and being unsure of the fabric’s propensity to wear.  I had leftover silk noil from various workshops and from making pillowcases.  Apologies for the dodgy pictures taken after dark, indoors, with a flash.  Some bloggers are so impatient!


There were some small sample pieces that had indigo australis and local eucalyptus leaves printed onto them and then an iron afterbath in the Blue Mountains.  I took these pictures just before they vanished into the interior of the bags to be seen only by the new owners, whom I hope will enjoy having this treat inside their bags!  I personally am the kind of person who revels in pocket linings made of treasured fabrics, whether they are organic flour bags or were formerly part of my late Grandmother’s extensive scarf collection.  Needless to say, I love a bag lining with a story.


I like these bags a lot. The weight of the fabric with the lining works well, to my way of thinking.  I could feel the urge to give these away before they were off the sewing machine, so here are pictures on an overcast morning!

IMAG2170 (1)

This next one has been rated suitable as a gift for my mother-out-law, who is apparently generous enough in her assessment of my skills to talk to her friends about my crafting sometimes.  She has friends who have been weavers and dyers for years.  She herself has been a wonderful garment creator for decades and keeps thinking she has given it up and then changing her mind, so her judgment may not be unbiased but I am flattered by it nonetheless.  Her bag has been finished with a strip from a heavy weight ramie shirt found at an op shop (thrift store)–beautiful fabric and sewing skill but an appalling garment I felt no compunction about cutting up and redeploying.  Most of it became another bag complete with interior welt/flap pockets which had been a beautifully crafted feature of the front of the shirt.  Sadly they were an offence against fashion even to me, and I don’t hold with fashion much!


And for gratuitous images, I have these of our hens.  They don’t stand around waiting for their photos to be taken when there are earwigs to be found.


However, they are glorious, and they are also blissfully ignorant of the election that was taking place the day I snapped their pictures.  We were planting and pruning and mowing and they were seeking insects and seeds.

I feel deeply sad that the people of my country have elected a government that thinks we need to pay less international aid to fund infrastructure here; that expresses routine contempt rather than compassion for refugees taking desperate measures to escape their mostly war torn homelands and get to our shores; that thinks roads are a higher priority than public transport; that cares little for renewable energy and plans to fund it less; and that has expressed little interest in participating in global efforts to halt or turn back environmental devastation or climate change.  Here’s India Flint on the subject, should you wish for more.  I haven’t made a habit of commenting on the state of our nation here, but I felt the need to mark the day.  There will be some serious further consideration given to the forms of action that might be needed in the coming period at our house and in our community of friends.  Thinking about the state of the world and our impact upon it, in all their complexity, will continue to be crucial.


Filed under Eucalypts, Leaf prints, Natural dyeing, Sewing

11 responses to “Waste not, want not, with a side serving of the election

  1. I was saddened to hear about your election results…although it’s not like I can celebrate anything that the gov’t here is doing…warmongering idiots.
    But on a happier note: the bags are fabulous. Do you use a particular pattern for them?


    • I agree, we’re not on our own in this important respect: I’m sorry to be sharing in that way.

      I don’t really use a pattern. Sometimes I use one of my favourites as a guide. They are fairly basic rectangles, often with the corners at the bottom sewn to create a wall. So simple and so satisfying!


  2. indiedyerSabine

    It’s most refreshing to see you mix your plant-and-textile-craft with the art and craft of public life. I share your sentiments about the bags as well as about your government, which seems to have exactly the same kind of vocabulary as ours. I wonder if they went to school together – the “bamboozle the public with non-information” kind of school). When I hear politicians make their pre-election promises in speeches they’ve paid thousands for (to get the bamboozling right) I wonder if they ever stop to think about the reasons they wanted to be a politician. Or what the purpose of a politician is. Or the purpose of government. What is the purpose of a behemoth that seems to have to either fool or force people into line? In our house, we often begin sentences with “after the revolution there won’t be [insert whatever you think might need an overhaul]” We learn from Chomsky. We learn from each other that it is not only possible, but necessary to make changes, however small. Bags are a good way…
    Well, anyway: Love the bags. Of course I love the bags! Not just because I also make bags and give them away, but especially because of the magic you do with the fabrics before you sew them. Thanks for sharing!


  3. I love the bags and fully echo your sentiments regarding our recent elections…


  4. Deb

    Being a happy recipient of your bag (and others!) I thought I would say how wonderfully talented and creative you are; and how much it is appreciated by people like me who look on in awe!


  5. yeah!! make small changes of beauty in our own worlds I say, the bags are stunning, and wonderful and generous and pragmatic- the perfect antidote to looking at current governments. well done! I am thinking alot about the terroir of the land these days, and the possibility of cloth that has terroir- the opposite of big box shopping and globilized markets. keep going, you are on it, small pebbles can make big ripples.


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