Friday, September 24, 2010

Ugly Fabric??? Or Hidden Beauty??

Go ahead.....Tell me what you see??!! Please tell me you see the same thing I do......I am wondering what my shrink would say...if I had one that is. Maybe I need one. I wonder most days.

Cotton quilting fabric....the fabric of our least quilters lives. Oh. Stop Me. That was as corny as it gets!! Sorry.

Last month, I signed up for a "Ugly Quilt Contest" via Stash Manicure's Blog. I'm telling you, she had me at "Ugly" so I decided to see what that was all about.....needless to say, I raised my hand and signed up right away. Sounded fun and interesting to me!

The rules for this contest is pretty simple really. You are paired with a partner and you are to send your partner 2 yards total of "ugly" fabrics from your stash. Fabric you either no longer like, know you won't use again or fabric you wonder what in the world you were thinking when you bought it. Oh, that should be no problem for me, I have tons of that!

The two yards were to be (4) 1/2 yard cuts or 8 fat quarters or any combination to equal 2 yards. Once you had your choices to mail to your partner, place in brown bag and send it to your partner along with any information about yourself you wish to share.

Once you receive your parcel of "ugly fabric" you must construct a quilt using 90% of the fabrics sent to you. You may add any fabrics from your own stash and only purchasing one newly piece for the quilt. No maximum or minimum size for the quilt. The quilt is yours to keep.

Contest runs from September 1, 2010 until March 1, 2011 with prizes and awards issued on April 1, 2011.

This is the package I mailed to my swap partner. Don't let the packaging fool you....there was some ugly going on inside that package.

These are the fabrics I sent to Mary in Minnesota. Now, some of you may not think they are too ugly, but I know there are some out there that are cringing just looking at that lot. Honestly, if I had gotten this package, I would be stressed to the max. I don't do well trying to figure color, scale, contrast...and well, this would have my head spinning. Totally.

Now, here are my fabrics Mary sent me. There are 4 pieces in the back, and one larger cut of fabric in the front. I have to admit, this is totally out of my comfort zone.....totally. Believe me, I have spent a good amount of time worried about a design, pattern, fabrics to pair with this....but I think I have a plan....I think.

Now, here are 4 of the 5 pieces Mary sent me and they are not bad. I have never worked with this type of fabric, and honestly.... Mary sorry.....but I would not have gone into the fabric store and snatched these bolts off the rack and carried them to be cut at the fabric station. Not because they are "Ugly"....more so they are not small print, floral, vintage reproduction fabrics I am drawn to.....for me that is safe......for me this is a bit scary......

Oh, who an I kidding......THIS IS A LOT SCARY!!!! Totally out of my level of comfort and my thoughts on my abilities! All joking aside.....this is good for me!  The questions I ask myself is, do I cut this up and turn these images into blocks or highlight the large "face" into blocks and work around that!!! So many options. But if this quilt turns out half the way I think it will.....I will love it!! Oh, who am I kidding...I already love it and it is only in my thoughts....and I will tell you it does not involve any faces!!

The very best part of this process to me is meeting a new friend. No, not a new friend....but a kindred spirit. It is totally amazing how emailing back and forth with my swap partner Mary, we learned we have so much in common. Even the quilting process and likes and dislikes are much the same. I guess the moral of this is no matter how ugly you think something may still attracts beauty in some way. I have never really come across too many things that were entirely ugly....there is beauty in everything, even if it has to be reworked to see something beautiful!

These are the fabrics from my stash I pulled....see my problem?? I always pull like colors and never contrast....that may pose a problem for me! My brain has issues with color combination and contrast. I guess that is really an ugly issue for a quilter....maybe that means I am not a quilter. Oh dear.

What are your thoughts on ugly fabrics? Do you see potential no matter what others think or see? Do you discard your "ugly" fabrics or hang on to them? I can not wait to hear your thoughts.....and don't forget.....Tell me what you see in that first photo....tell me you see a Walt Disney Monster's head. Tell me I'm normal. Please.


  1. S~ my first thought was a snorting, fire breathing dragon..if that qualifies for the disney monster. then we are BOTH normal..
    whatever normal is..
    warm sandy hugs..
    laughing smiles too..

  2. Girlfriend....Disney should be so lucky to dream up a character like that! I have to tell you I can HARDLY wait to see how this turns out. March is a LONG way off! You sure better show us some sneak peeks along the way!!

    Now....I was thinking more of the lines as a friendly monster from the movie Alien....oh, wait...there were no friendly monsters in that movie!!

    Most all of these in both sets are fine alone...but paired with the sets...Oh. my.

    I am giggling!!

  3. Darn I wish I had heard about this...this is hysterical...mainly because no one ever likes what I like and vice versa...I bet who would have gotten my sack would have fainted straight away!! Can not wait to read on this process.

  4. Looks like several critters in one picture. Just give it a name!
    Thanks for commenting on my blog and letting me know I am getting through to the bloggers. I was almost to the point of despair. Happy Quilting.
    I just finished a throw. Need to take a picture as amatuerish as I am. But I am learning.

  5. I see an evil occtopus -- a VERY evil occtopus with stink rays eminating from him! So, you'd better be careful who you gift that quilt to!!

    If I was a child, I'd be terrified to sleep under it. (Although there'd always be something to blame your feet or your farts on.) And as an adult, I'd never use it on my bed because it wouldn't be good feng shui and I'd think it was stealing all my good karma. So, perhaps the only person you could gift this to would be an old-school Catholic priest who is familiar with exorcism and not afraid of sleeping next to the devil because he's got Jesus on his side.

    Anyway ..... that's what I see. (But then, I have a very vivid imagination.)

  6. I don't quilt but I think picking out scrapbook paper is much like picking out fabric. Sometimes I wonder what was going through my mind when I'm searching through my stash for inspiration.

    When I first saw "the face" on your fabric - and that's what I saw, a face - I thought of a Disney Mulan-type dragon. I know you'll do a fabulous job and your quilt will be fantastic! Please share some photos when you're done.

  7. Now that you mention it, yes I do see a cartoon monster -- one specifically I am thinking about but can't remember which movie. I ca't wait to see where you and the others go with this project. It is going to be fabulous as you will all in most cases be working outside your comfort zone.

  8. Girl you kill me... My first thought was it looks like Peacock Feathers and then I saw kinda monster looking things and the 3rd time I looked I did see the YOUR fabric was UGLY , the pink morning glories for sure yuck for me. However I think the Fabrics you got were Bohemian looking and that is what's in now.... So see what u can do sister. lol

  9. I see a mess. I have a terrible time picking out fabric. I can't "see" what other people see. I'm always asking people in the fabric store..."does this go with this"? Good luck with your project. Can't wait to see how it turns out.

  10. Not just hidden---it IS beautiful. I see a graceful, many-colored gentle Nether-Beast, with kind eyes and a shy glance, awaiting your command.

    And DO use it as-is---it's too perfectly wonderful to use as prisms of itself. A feature of this in the center, and all those lovely greens and flames in surrounds---simply gorgeous---I can see it from here. This is the one I can't wait for you to finish.

    Will it be for sale?

  11. A gentle Giant.
    I like that.
    I can not wait to see how this turns out.
    It will be lovely I am sure.
    Fun Idea.

  12. First off, Suzanne, I see the face of a dragon in that first piece you showed. Kind of cool actually.

    Secondly, why don't you and Mary just gather up both sets of fabrics and send them to me? ;-) I think they're all great. Of course, you're talking to a scrappy quilter and while I do have my favorite colors, honestly, there are very few fabrics that I dislike.

    I'm eager to see the quilts you and Mary make with your "ugly" fabrics. :-)

  13. I saw the dragon, too! The first time I went to a quilt club meeting - they gave us a yard of fabric for a quilt challenge. It might seem like a pretty easy task when you hear it was purple with golden thread and butterflies. I am not a purple, golden or butterfly person. I struggle for 2 days, bought some fabric to go with it, and it is a masterpiece (if I do say so myself). It is one of the most intricate projects I have ever started (no, it still isn't finished), but it is something I NEVER would have done without that PUSH of uncomfortable. Can't wait to see the finished product!

  14. sounds like fun...can't wait to see what you create

  15. I cannot imagine anyone in the first place even consideing buying this.

  16. What a great idea for a group project! I think it's great how often you mentioned you are out of your comfort zone and it's GOOD... that speaks volumes about your creativity, even if you do tend to stick with tried-and-true favorites in the fabric store :)

    By the way, I saw a giant squid in the "monster" fabric piece - but, overall I think you have some great colors in your stash that will help "tie it all together" so to speak.

    Good luck, can't wait to see how it all comes out!

  17. I am hopeless when it comes to seeing a creative use for any fabric I'm not completely in love with. Way to go with this challenge Suzanne.

    Oh and if it helps any the maccas last night was disgusting so you didnt miss a thing.

  18. LOL, that face is truly awful! But cut it up into little pieces and you will make gorgeous blocks! What a fun challenge!!

  19. Such a cute idea; looking forward to seeing the finished products.

  20. Looks like a dragon! I can see where those fabrics could turn into something beautiful!

  21. It reminds me of the green dragon in one of the stories in the old 6th grade literature book I used before retiring 12 or 13 years ago. Am trying to remember the story but am having a brain freeze. Good luck creating your quit...and if you need any extra ugly material write me. The custodial gave me a HUGE box of fabric he picked up at a yard sale and it is ALLLLL UGLY!!!


  22. I see a fire breathing Yak! But seriously - the ungly fabric question - that is interesting. I don't think any of those fabrics are ugly - they just aren't waht I would buy ya know? And I would be stumped as how to use them as well.

    Good luck!

  23. I'm thinking the giant squid from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It will be very interesting to see what comes of this.

  24. Self portrait, early morning, with bad breath. ;-D

  25. Hi Suzanne, I think it is a monster from the deep. I love the colors. Have fun with it.

    I have so many quilt projects to finish I can't think about a contest. It does sound like a fun challenge though. I hope it goes well.
    Have a happy day.
    Hugs, Jeanne

    PS: this is the 2nd time I have written this comment. I think I forgot to post the first one. sigh!

  26. I see a smoking fantasy-octopus.

    You say no contrast, but to me, khaki green and deep pink are pretty high contrast.
    I think its interesting that I have no problem seeing 4 of the fabrics together, and you pulled all the fabrics that match the 5th one, that was givin me trouble.

    I wouldnt try to feature the 'face', me, unless it was an Arial quilt, and that's the Sea-witch's alter-ego.

    Cant wait to see what you turn out!

  27. WoW Suzanne, you are one brave girl, to figure that out, I would be way out of my comfort zone also and I am a decortive painter! But I know from reading this blog you will make something beautiful. Can't wait to see it!

  28. Suzanne, I HONESTLY LOVE your fabrics AND Mary's. I'm a brown girl so my favorite from your "mailed" ones is the brown paisley. As far as the Mary's fabrics go, I LOVE LOVE LOVE THEM! I honestly would intentionally purchase them. That dragon piece is certainly a conversation piece.

    Lots of luck!


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