Sorting and Cutting? Save Your ‘Ugly’ Fabrics!

So there you are, sorting through your stash, finding fabrics to slice and dice into postage stamp quilt charms, just waiting for the April Charm Swap to start. I do not know about you, but I always manage to come across some lovely fabric gems that have totally drifted from my “Got To Have” list to my “What Was I Thinking!” list. Whether styles change, my taste evolves, or I just had a really bad idea the day I bought that yardage, that fabric is a prime target for chopping and swapping.

Some Fabrics are UGLY

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or the creative quilter!

Then I dig a little deeper, and before you know it, I have a small pile of these oddball fabrics that I cannot imagine making anything with. So I cut a dozen or so charms out of each fabric, just to swap. Of course there is a LOT more left, and I do not think anyone wants several hundred charms out of just these fabrics. Quilt backings? Donations to charity? Possibly, but…

I pulled out two yards of these ‘ugly’ fabrics just for the In The Bag – Ugly Fabric Quilt Challenge! Hosted by Suzanne from The Colorado Lady, you too can sign up for the fun. Once people are through signing up, SuzanIn The Bag Ugly Fabric Quilt Challengene will assign random partners who will send their little bags of oddly unusual or off-color fabric to each other. People have until October 1, 2012 to create a quilt from these treasures, following the rules on the In The Bag blog. Yes, there will be prizes for the niftiest creations. AND you get to keep the quilt, or you can donate it to a charity, if you are still convinced it is ugly.

Why am I so enthusiastic about this project? Aside from the fact that it is another good stash-buster that is? A complete disclaimer is due.

Colorado Lady Ugly Fabric Quilt 2010-11Last year, while taking part in a similar ugly fabric swap, I was partnered with none other than Suzanne at The Colorado Lady! You can see what delights we sent each other on my post Why are Some Fabrics Considered Ugly. I am the first to admit that she completely outdid me, creating a quilt that started with obtuse green, orange, and brown pieces that wound up being so stunning I found it hard to resist driving to Texas and hijacking it from her!

So look at your own fabric stash. Heck, you could even rummage through the bargain bins at the fabric store. Pick out those odd fabrics that you know you will never use, and join the fun!Needle and thread line copyright The Curious Quilter at WordPress dot comSignature©2012, The Curious Quilter, thecuriousquilter.net, maryeoriginals.com.

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About thecuriousquilter

Quilter, sewer, writer, gardener, mother, sister, friend, always learning, always curious.
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10 Responses to Sorting and Cutting? Save Your ‘Ugly’ Fabrics!

  1. Oh, I SO want to sign up for the ugly fabric swap, but do I dare add one more thing to my calendar!!???

  2. Marianne says:

    I’ve got way too much to do but signed up anyway! What a challenge! I need help being creative and I think this nudge will help.

  3. Bev says:

    It’s clear that you’re saying ugly fabric can turn into beautiful quilts, but another statement really bothers me. First, I’m not *blaming* you; this post just hit me at the right moment. I make lots of charity/donation quilts, and so many quilters feel that anything not good enough for them because of ugly fabric, bad quilting, poor piecing, etc., is a candidate for charity. Is that really charity, or just a guilt free way to be rid of something you spent time and money on and now don’t want?

    There are situations where charities want *ugly* quilts, e.g. a homeless person is less likely to be attacked by someone wanting it for themselves.

    I’m already having second thoughts, but I will submit this for you and your readers to consider. Ugly and charity should not be the same thing. Maybe someone will make a stunning quilt in this challenge and still donate it.

    This sounds like fun. Sign me up please.

    • Bev says:

      Edit: I’ll go to the other blog to sign up. I guess *speaking my piece* just got me all flustered.

    • I agree completely, and I too make many charity quilts.

      That said, I really do think that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I have finished things that you could not pay me to keep, but seen someone else think it is sublime.

      The homeless shelter where I tend to donate requests ANY quilts, and layers them up. As the director says, many go out the door and are lost on the streets, along with the person.

      The other place to donate “really ugly” quilts is to animal shelters or no-kill homes. Cats and dogs are very open to cuddling in ‘ugly’ quilts.

      I would never donate a poorly made quilt. But I would donate one that I didn’t like, firmly believing that there is ‘a lid for every pot’ or a lap for every quilt.

  4. Ria says:

    I’ve only recently gotten into sewing, so I don’t have much of a fabric stash at the moment, or I’d sign up for the swap too, just for fun. I like the idea of it, and it really is amazing what beautiful things you can create by looking at something ugly in a new light. 🙂

    • Ria, and other new quilters with minimal stash, see the FAQ page under postage stamp quilt above. You can start you stash of little charms with ‘newbie’ gifts from other quilters!! Sign up when the April swap opens.

      • Ria says:

        Thanks for the info! I think I will do that, come to think of it. I appreciate that you’re making the newbie kits part of the swap, too. 🙂

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