Ugly Fabric Challenge – Really? Part I

Is there such a thing as “ugly” fabric?  I suppose there is.  There certainly are some fabrics that could be considered difficult.  And turning them into quilting works of art can be extremely challenging.

Every October at Quilter’s Dream, we have our Annual Ugly Fabric Challenge.  Customers who participate purchase 1 yard of fabric in a brown bag.  They are required to use at least half of the fabric in their quilt top.  This week they are hanging in the shop.  Customers all week can vote for their favorite!  There are prizes for the top 3 and participation prizes for all. 

I suppose you’d like to see pics of them, wouldn’t you?  That’s why you’re here, right?  Well, I took my camera to work this week and very nearly forgot to take the pictures.  Horrors!  So I had to take them around a class that was in progress.  You’ll just have to cope with ironing boards and class samples.  More about that later.  On with the show!

How clever this gal was in her fussy cutting of the cute animals in this fabric!  Not ugly by a long shot.

The pineapples carry this ugly fabric very well.  The quilter said the fabric spoke to her and said, “Giraffes or pineapples” and she picked the latter.  Very clever.  And please excuse the cute striped fabric in the corner.  The name of the class was “Fun with Stripes” and they were indeed having a good time as I took the pics!

All of the colors in the border and cornerstones (ugly fabric) are pulled out in this pretty, bright quilt.

Another quilt using the cute animals.  And an iron.  In case you needed to see the iron.  The class needed the iron.  And I was too lazy to move it at the end of my hard day at work.  So please pretend it’s not there and humor me.

This one used bright fabrics too – with an “ugly” that you saw before.  This gal actually submitted 6 quilts.  She gives them to charity after the challenge is done.  Great idea!

This quilt is just happy.  Makes it hard to even find an “ugly” fabric at all.

This one uses the same fabric, but what a difference the colors added make!  And no, that couldn’t possibly be an ironing board in front of this one.  Please disregard.

Here’s another with a fabric you’ve seen a few other times.  She added bright colors too – cute quilt!  And how about the cute little skirt one gal made?

How about this one?  “Fun with Stripes” added free of charge.

Did you bring your sunglasses?  Here’s another bright one for ya.

And how about a Christmas Star?  In the library.  Colonel Mustard.  With a knife.  Sorry.  I reverted to playing “Clue” when I saw the library sign.

It took me awhile to find the “ugly” in this one.  It’s the binding.  And it’s repeated a few places in the quilt too.  Great spinning blocks!

This gal bleached some of her ugly fabric.  There are no rules.  And she made it extra hard to find.  I love tiny nine patches.  This one is a crowd pleaser!

This one was made by my friend, Lani, who is living in NEW YORK CITY!  Yep, I’m shouting.  Along with the Pace Picante guys, I guess.  I really can’t find her ugly fabric.  She made all the fabrics look beeeeeauuuutiful!

Here’s another with the same fabric.  Love this maze!

And another with the cute, I mean ugly, pink & green fabric.  Some were definitely more challenging than others.

How about this one?  You might recognize the sashing.  But what fabulous appliqué blocks!

This one uses the same fabric as the little skirt you saw earlier.  The blue fabric looks like it has teddy bears on it, but it’s really little flowers. 

And that’s the end of Part I.  More to come tomorrow!  And if you live in the area, come by and cast your vote!  Although it really is hard to decide.  So many cute quilts!

Voting for them all,

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9 Responses to Ugly Fabric Challenge – Really? Part I

  1. Lani says:

    What talented quilters!! Thanks for sharing all the amazingly creative ways that people have used their “brown bag” (I mean “ugly”, or not so ugly fabric)! Can’t wait to see more tomorrow!

  2. Cindy Smith says:

    They are all beautiful. Are you sure this is the ugly fabric challenge?

  3. Brita says:

    I was interested to see the ugly fabric challenge, that’s always fun. But the best part? We used to live in N. Richland Hills, so the names of the towns were like re-visiting the old stomping grounds. That’s where we lived when I learned to quilt (self-taught) and I had no idea there was such a thing as guilds, or even quilt shops! I bought fabric at Hancock or Joann’s. Since we left, I’ve learned there are some really amazing shops around FW, and some great guilds. And the challenge quilts are wonderful, too!

  4. Suz says:

    So inquiring minds want to know how this works…do different people get different uglies? And some the same?

    • Barb says:

      Typically there are about 15 yards of fabric on a bolt. So we cut the bolts up into 1 yard cuts and put them into brown paper bags. We give out way more bags of fabric than actual quilts are made. Not sure of the number. We don’t usually have more than one bolt of any given fabric, so yes, there are multiples of each fabric. When you purchase (for $2) your brown bag, you don’t know what you’re getting! Some ladies buy more than one bag, especially if they are unhappy with the fabric they get! They dive in to try again…. It’s always a fun challenge. I should have taken a picture of the sign with all the fabrics on it. Once again…. missed a photo opportunity! So I guess I need to get the sign – and the bowls I missed too (which you’ll hear about in tomorrow’s blog) on Saturday and do a follow up!

    • Sandi says:

      Sure glad Suz asked. I had the same question.

  5. sue says:

    Wow! What else can I say…an inspiration to us all. Thanks, Barb for this look into the Not ugly fabrics and their quilts!

  6. Deb B. says:

    Barb, I am really enjoying your blog. It is becoming habit forming… oh no another addiction!! It is so fun to see the places I go on the web. You are doing a great job.

  7. Socks? says:

    All these fabrics are gorgeous!

    I was looking for REAL tips on how to work with truly ugly fabrics like old pilled & worn socks. But there’s nothing other than using it as un-even stuffing for door stops! Such a shame to waste great material only ’cause it’s got some good wears on it.

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