The Ugliest Quilt Ever

54361768_10216422478369079_3308245666945302528_nOnce upon a time, at least a decade ago, I ordered some 6″ squares of Hawaiian shirt fabric. Most likely, it was in winter and there was snow everywhere, and I was dreaming of sunshine. I can think of no other reason to have committed this folly.

More recently, perhaps four years ago, I read about leaders and enders that turn into wonderful quilts before you even realize they are under construction. In an effort to explore this idea, I cut the Hawaiian shirting to 5 1/2″, and found some really ugly mustard fabric and some white wideback trimmings, which I cut to the same size. I decided to make the squares into a modern split nine patch. Each block would have four or five light patches, arranged in any position. ‘

Well, a few blocks got sewn, but mostly the basket of ugly fabric sat beside my small sewing table, taking up space and jeering at me because I always forgot to use it. Two nights ago, I sat at my machine, spotted that basket and said, “Enough! You are leaving here, one way or the other.” I finished the half done blocks, sliced up the completed ones, and sewed them into a quilt top measuring 36×52. It was small. It was ugly. It was done. The rest of the fabric went into a plastic bag and will be given away/thrown out at the next guild meeting.

I found a piece of old fabric for a back, and put it on the longarm frame. I’d been wanting to try a prewound bobbin to see if my stitch quality would improve, so out it came. Stitching was much better. One of my quilting friends posted a shamrock motif by Lori Kennedy Quilts on facebook, so I tried it out, along with some general doodling, to get some texture for the quilt and some practice for me. It was actually starting to look decent.53336759_10216422479369104_7613033822279434240_n

Then I chose some binding. I wasn’t going to sew this one by hand, so I sewed it down to the back of the quilt and flipped it to the front. What better quilt to try a new technique? I glue basted it, and the next morning sewed it down with blanket stitch, trying to keep the line of stitching directly over the line left when the binding was attached to the back. I got my fingers covered with glue, and wasn’t sufficiently precise with my stitching, but the overall effect was good and worth repeating. This is the view from the back.53857889_10216422478569084_1586482763622514688_n

Since everything can benefit from glamour shots, I took it out in the wind this afternoon, ignoring the most basic instruction taught at my quilt photography workshop. It was by good luck, not good management, that I didn’t have to go quilt chasing in the water.


So what came out of this experience? I removed some ugly fabric from my stash. I learned that my longarm likes prewound bobbins better than the ones I wind. I tried a new binding technique that has promise for the future. I attempted a new quilting motif. And I made a small quilt that will go to an longterm care facility. Surely, there’ll be some old soul with failing eyesight sitting in a wheelchair who’ll be happy enough to have something to keep his legs warm. Perhaps I should put some apron strings on it.

May the luck of the Irish be with you!

Linking up with Myra at Busy Hands Quilts

12 thoughts on “The Ugliest Quilt Ever

  1. This post gave me a good chuckle. And endeared you to me for putting effort into something that you weren’t excited about but felt you should finish.


  2. Hi Ann! It seems like you are a bit harsh on yourself to me. There are a lot of things to celebrate about this quilt. Yay for giving a new FMQ pattern a try – it looks very successful to me. You are one brave woman, taking that quilt on the pier in that wind!! Your posts always make me smile. ~smile~ Roseanne


  3. πŸ™‚ You always make me smile!!! Isn’t it amazing when “ugly” turns into something beautiful … or, perhaps in this case, good enough and DONE!!! πŸ™‚
    Happy Quilting! πŸ™‚


  4. So, it’s kinda your Magnum quilt (as in, Magnum P.I.)??? Haha — sorry, I couldn’t resist. Must feel good to have conquered those scraps, knowing you’ll bless others with that quilt!


  5. This is the most delightfully honest and personable post. This is the exact conversation I can imagine likely having, sitting in your lounge room, talking about this quilt. And actually, I like the doodle quilting, I’m glad you took the opportunity to play. You’ve made my moment in a tough week. Thank you.


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