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Thread: Whatever possessed me to buy some of these ugly fabrics?

  1. #1
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I am going through a stash box from quite some time ago and I can't *believe* some of the ugly fabrics I bought! What was I thinking??? There was a quilter who gave seminars on how to combine ugly fabrics to make beautiful quilts. Does anyone remember her name? Does she have a book out? I need some serious help!

  2. #2
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    i don't know the author you're speaking of but my experience with ugly fabric has completely changed my outlook on fabric.

    i had this awful pink fabric that i just hated (don't ask how it got in my stash). i decided to use it while working out a design to get the kinks out of the process.

    needless to say, i used the ugly pink fabric in small square/sections about 1.5 inches and i totally feel in love with the fabric.

    i actually ended up ordering 5 more yards of it, i loved it that much.

    so the moral of the story.... even the ugliest duckling can be a swan.

  3. #3
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    I figured out what to do with my "Ugliest fabric in the world".. I sent it to a friend!!! :twisted:

  4. #4
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    I was reading on the website www.quiltville.com and came across this paragraph that seems to fit your situation.........

    "Something you aren't sure you like, but don't want to toss out? My rule? If it's still ugly, you just didn't cut it small enough! Cut it as narrow as possible! 1.5" is good! By the time you take the seams you've only got 1" of fabric showing. And don't forget something I learned from trying watercolor quilts...(which I gave up on, but that is another story! *LOL*)...you can always use the BACKSIDE of a fabric if you don't like the way the front looks...look at the back side before you give up on it!"


  5. #5
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I think I may have found the quilter who gave classes on how to use ugly fabrics. Here's her website:
    http://www.quiltsbylyn.com/index.htm

    Also found this description of her class on a retreat website:

    "Some of the concepts we learned in this class are:

    Value--make sure there's a contrast in value between the ugly and the pretty fabric
    Texture--make sure there's a contrast in texture (this is maybe why a quilt made of nothing but Moda marbles can be pretty boring)
    Scale--there also needs to be contrast in scale, pair a big print with a much smaller print
    Pull the lesser of the colors--for instance, if the ugly has lots of muddy browns & oranges and just a touch of yellow, try putting yellow with it to make it look prettier
    Stand back to observe--this lets you ignore the little details and concentrate on the contrasts
    Without contrast there is no pattern--you can cut and piece until you're blue, but it will all look like one fabric
    Cutting smaller pieces will blend the fabrics better
    Color is not the most important aspect of pairing fabrics
    There really IS no such thing as an ugly fabric--virtually any fabric can be paired with another that will make it look better "

    Unfortunately, I never took her class and apparently she didn't write a book about how to combine fabrics. Sigh.

  6. #6
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    LOL! It's so funny that you brought up the ugly fabric topic. I finsihed up a quilt a couple of weeks ago for my DIL as a Christmas gift. I had the hardest time picking out the 2nd large print to match the rest. Everything I liked was out of stock online and wasn't having much luck at the stores. I finally settled on one. My ugly fabric looked ok at the shop, but when I got home, I thought it looked like PEA SOUP! YUK! I thought the same as you, what ever possessed me to pick such an ugly fabric. But after consulting with some friends, I decided to go ahead and use it. I am posting pics of the fabric and the quilt I made with it. Now I'm so happy I used it, it blends in perfectly.



    The UGLY fabric
    Name:  Attachment-45582.jpe
Views: 29
Size:  61.7 KB

    The finished quilt
    Name:  Attachment-45613.jpe
Views: 27
Size:  60.0 KB

  7. #7
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Wow! I love that quilt!

    My problem is different, though. I have small amounts of many ugly fabrics. Thinking back, I'm sure these are from the days when quilters were encouraged to enlarge their stashes with "out of the box" selections -- things we wouldn't normally buy. I think if I cut them up into smaller pieces and don't use too many of any one fabric in a scrap quilt, I will be able to gradually use them up. I will have to experiment with the suggestions I found online to see if these fabrics perk up when paired with something else. My challenge now is to see if I can make totally unrelated patterns and colors work together. awghhh...........

  8. #8
    Senior Member daisyboo9's Avatar
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    I had a quilting weekend at my house with some very old friends that I hadn't seen in a long time (actually one I hadn't seen since grade 5...the wonders of facebook!) Anyway, she brought us all a bag of small scraps of really, really ugly fabric. I didn't want to upset her so I decided to do a quilt for charity out of it. It was a staggard nine patch with plain blocks of white and background of white. The squares were only 2 inch, so the white was very prominent taking away the ugliness. When I was done I wanted to keep it!

  9. #9
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daisyboo9
    I had a quilting weekend at my house with some very old friends that I hadn't seen in a long time (actually one I hadn't seen since grade 5...the wonders of facebook!) Anyway, she brought us all a bag of small scraps of really, really ugly fabric. I didn't want to upset her so I decided to do a quilt for charity out of it. It was a staggard nine patch with plain blocks of white and background of white. The squares were only 2 inch, so the white was very prominent taking away the ugliness. When I was done I wanted to keep it!
    Oh, that is so encouraging to me!

  10. #10
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99
    Wow! I love that quilt!

    My problem is different, though. I have small amounts of many ugly fabrics. Thinking back, I'm sure these are from the days when quilters were encouraged to enlarge their stashes with "out of the box" selections -- things we wouldn't normally buy. I think if I cut them up into smaller pieces and don't use too many of any one fabric in a scrap quilt, I will be able to gradually use them up. I will have to experiment with the suggestions I found online to see if these fabrics perk up when paired with something else. My challenge now is to see if I can make totally unrelated patterns and colors work together. awghhh...........
    I've done better since I stopped trying to MATCH fabrics and started finding fabrics that COMPLEMENT each other. What if you take some of your fabrics and try to figure out what color would look good with each of them...say a yellow would look good. Then find a block pattern that you can use the yellow in, along with the other fabric. Then the yellow is what ties it together, not the other fabric. Sashing is another alternative. :)

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