“UGLY FABRIC” (what should I do with it?)

Most of us quilters have come up against the problem of “ugly fabric” (what should I do with it?) After all, it followed me home.

It is just fine to describe a fabric as “ugly” – we are talking about an object. All of us have a different opinion of what we think of as beautiful vs. ugly fabric and there is no reason not to be honest. After all, if everyone liked the same colors and designs there would not be the selection of cloth that we currently have.

clip art - quilt block

The fabric looked great at the store, or quilt show… but now that it is home, I wonder what possessed me to pay good money for that.  And why did I think five yards would be enough? Am I losing my mind?

I have tried several ways of handling the “ugly fabric” issue in my own quilting world. So far, the two most used answers are cutting it up as small as possible or using it as the backing of a quilt (especially if I can donate it or give it away).

When I would complain to my grandmother about ugly fabric, she would smile big and tell me that I had “not cut it small enough”.  Good point, and it generally does work.

What to do with ugly fabric:

  1. Over-dye it which for me is a hit and miss method.  I have come out with a truly beautiful “new” fabric, and I have come out with something far worse than what I started with.
  2. Mix it with a lot of other scraps in a quilt and it won’t stand out.
  3. Donate it (Goodwill, art class at the school, 4-H, or the animal shelter for bedding, etc.).
  4. Trade it because someone else will probably love it and he/she has a chunk of fabric you just love.
  5. Sell it because you can use that money to buy a piece of fabric you like.
  6. Make a simple pet bed for the local animal shelter. This is basically a pillow case that I keep on the cutting table and stuff with left over snippets of batting and fabric. When 2/3 full, I sew the open side shut and off to the shelter it goes. The shelter here cannot get enough of them.

No doubt other quilters have their own solutions to this dilemma, and I wish you would share them with the rest of us.

clip art - bolts of fabric and scissors

I remember years ago using a specific line of fabric to make a quilt.  One of the fabrics was just too hideous (in my opinion) and when I brought the finished quilt back to the shop to show the ladies there, I said something about putting the ugliest fabric on the back.  The owner was totally offended and made sure I knew it.  My comment was thoughtless, but it was my honest opinion.

Ugly fabric is useable:

The point is not that the fabric is ugly, but that we find a way to use it.  In the world of recycle, reuse, and re-purpose, fabric should be used. It has not been many years ago that nothing was thrown away because the item was too expensive or too hard to get to waste. We have so many choices today in the fabric world that we forget how hard it was for our predecessors to get nice fabric. So, let’s find a use for it, if only in honor of the quilters who came before us.

Pioneer woman sitting on porch with quilt top

Some ideas for ugly fabric:

https://www.quiltinghub.com/Articles/ArticleID/66

PLEASE NOTE: 
ALL PHOTOS AND WRITTEN CONTENT ARE MY OWN UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED
.

QUILTING AND INJURY

QUILTING & INJURY
Source: Bing clip art

Quilting and injury are not a fun mix. I have not mentioned my shoulder injury. It has really slowed down my hand quilting, and all areas of the sewing and quilting journey. I am sure other quilters experience shoulder and hand injuries too.

Repetitive motions such as rotary cutting and hand quilting just make my shoulder throb painfully.

I am not even sure what caused the injury in January. However, during a visit to the chiropractor I mentioned the pain in my shoulder. He diagnosed it as “frozen shoulder” and gave me some light exercises to do to help the stiffness and pain.

The exercises were easy to do and as time goes on the issue is diminishing. But I was not mentally prepared to not do any quilting activities for several weeks. That has been the worst part of the injury.

So what am I doing…

Currently I am hand quilting for one hour a day – at this stage I am thrilled with that. Rotary cutting and hand binding are even slower. But there is progress so I am happy.

I have sorted scraps by size and cleaned up the piles of fabrics.

Quilting books have been perused and new ideas marked. Magazines have been looked at and enjoyed. Some have been passed on, and some reorganized.

I enjoy other quilter’s blogs, but there has been time to catch up on reading (that are new to me, mostly) quilt blogs. It is fun to see what other quilters are doing and their projects. I found some really neat projects to possibly make.

Blog clip art
Source: Bing clip art

I also found a few new quilt blogs and thought I will share some with my wonderful readers:

A list of popular quilt blogs for 2021.

A mystery quilt (I like the blue and white version).

Quilts that are refreshingly different.

A different star block.

All kinds of fun ideas.

Make today amazing.
Source: Bing clip art

Enjoy your week readers. If you are a quilter with an injury, please find other quilt related activities to do while you recover.

PLEASE NOTE: 
ALL PHOTOS AND WRITTEN CONTENT ARE MY OWN UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

DONATED BABY QUILTS TO THE LOCAL CRISIS PREGNANCY CENTER

DONATED BABY QUILTS TO THE LOCAL CRISIS PREGNANCY CENTER

I am a big believer in giving back to my community. Here are six simple donated baby quilts to the local crisis pregnancy center that I made. As I make these quilts, they get donated in batches of 6 – 12 to two local pregnancy centers.

The blocks are a mix of flannel and cotton with the batting being scraps left over from my own projects. The backing is usually a flannel or child print cotton. They are tied with yarn. People know that I make many of these annually so many of the supplies are donated to me for this purpose.

Supplies For the Donated baby quilts:

Nine 9.5” cotton or flannel squares (3 rows of 3 squares each)

Batting

Bright colored yarn

Backing fabric (flannel or cotton – 1.25 yard)

At a minimum they should be tied at each corner and in the center of each block. They could be machine quilted easily in straight lines.

I do a self binding by trimming the batting even with the top, and then trimming the back to 2″ on each side larger than the top/batting. Fold the over hang in half once (so now 1″ wide all around quilt) and sew down as binding.

DONATED BABY QUILTS TO THE LOCAL CRISIS PREGNANCY CENTER

If using fleece as the backing, when self binding trim to 1″ and zig-zag stitch down. I have found if using fleece for the backing, I do not use batting.

Please remember that these donated baby quilts for the local crisis pregnancy center are meant to be loved to death, so make them well and colorful.

Reach out to others:

If you ask or look around your own community, there are people or places who would love to receive warm and cuddly quilts. These are also a simple way to teach people basic sewing skills.

In the past, I have used these quilts to teach basic sewing and giving skills to a group of teen girls at church. It was a fun way to learn and for them to socialize as well. Currently I am making the donated baby quilts alone as the girls have all left for college, and none of the current teen girls are interested in sewing.

https://indianaquilter40.blogspot.com/2015/02/10-crisis-pregnancy-quilts.html

https://indianaquilter40.blogspot.com/2014/09/19-crisis-pregnancy-center-quilts.html

PLEASE NOTE: 
ALL PHOTOS AND WRITTEN CONTENT ARE MY OWN UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

LOST AT SEA QUILT

Lost at Sea quilt

This quilt started out simple enough as an Ocean Wave quilt. And then “disaster” struck and I ended up with this Lost at Sea quilt.

My daughter wanted a bright and cheery quilt. And as always I was happy to make a top that used lots of scraps from my overflowing scrap bin.

This pattern uses two sizes of triangles and normally goes together easily enough. I currently cannot find the old paper pattern from a magazine that I used (it may finally have been used to death), but this quilt pattern is very similar.

Due to the the small pieces, and large amount of pieces needed there is a real need for the time to work on it.

“Disaster strikes”

So how did I make this mistake on the Lost at Sea quilt? Lack of time and being over tired so I just did not catch my mistake. I pieced this top in 1997 and my kids were all under 12, and we were homeschooling.

The blocks went together individually just fine.

It was when I connected the blocks that the mistake happened. The blocks got turned around and ended up in a totally different design. Yes, it does resemble real ocean waves and we all liked the finished top.

At least the gray and pink striped border frames it beautifully.

Another view of Lost at Sea.
Canon Inc

Crisis avoided by laughing about it, and just renaming the quilt. This quilt was a favorite of my daughter’s and it is long worn out from being loved into nothing but rags.

The finished size was 68″ x 88″. It was machine quilted in an all over wavy pattern in 2000 by MG.

And finally…

I love this pattern and it makes beautiful quilts. So far, I have only made these in scraps but it would make a beautiful two color quilt. I am thinking about making a solid colored quilt – maybe like an Amish quilt with black or navy background.

I made the below Ocean Wave quilt in 1990. Here it is in a personal quilt show last spring. It still looks good.

Ocean Waves quilt in green, blue, purple, and gray.

Wherever your quilt journey takes you, enjoy the trip. Learn from it. Challenge yourself. Be happy.

Make today amazing.

PLEASE NOTE: 
ALL PHOTOS AND WRITTEN CONTENT ARE MY OWN UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.