Quirky question: “ugly” quilts?

Posted by on April 9, 2014, in quirky question

Martingale's Quirky Question

Thanks for stopping by for the weekly Quirky Question—where questions are just for fun, your answers are always welcome, and you could win an eBook for free!

A Fresh Look at Seasonal Quilts

Today we’re spotlighting A Fresh Look at Seasonal Quilts by Julie Popa (eBook only). See a slideshow of all 19 projects from the book below.

It’s time to clear the air—no need to feel ashamed. If one quilter’s done it, many more have too, and it’s okay to admit it. If you haven’t done it, you’re one of the few, and we salute you. It’s ’fess-up day at Stitch This!, and here’s what we want to know:

Have you made an “ugly” quilt? What happened…and where is it now?

Post your answer in the comments before noon (PST) on Monday, April 14, for your chance to win. The carefully selected winning answer will be posted on Wednesday, April 16, along with the next question.

Last week’s Quirky Question was, “What was the first quilt block you ever made?” Here’s the winning comment, from Janet:

“Well, I have never let ‘that’s difficult’ stop me. While growing up, on my bed was Grandmother’s Flower Garden made by my Grandmother. At 10 years old, I decided I could do that. So I did. I traced a pattern from my bed quilt and started making hexagon flowers. I made a doll quilt which I still have and when I look at it, I love how brave I was.”

Congratulations, Janet—look for an email about your free eBook.

Spring Bouquet table topper

Spring Bouquet table topper

Spring is Sprung quilt

Spring is Sprung quilt

Spring Penny Rug

Spring Penny Rug

Iris wool table runner

Iris wool table runner

Star Spangled lap quilt

Star Spangled lap quilt

America the Beautiful table topper

America the Beautiful table topper

Cherries wool table runner

Cherries wool table runner

Summertime Picnic quilt

Summertime Picnic quilt

Fruit Salad wall quilt

Fruit Salad wall quilt

Sunshine lap quilt

Sunshine lap quilt

Fall Harvest table topper

Fall Harvest table topper

Pumpkin wool table runner

Pumpkin wool table runner

Pumpkin Patch lap quilt

Pumpkin Patch lap quilt

Autumn Leaves penny rug

Autumn Leaves penny rug

Autumn Splendor wall quilt

Autumn Splendor wall quilt

Warm Hearts table topper

Warm Hearts table topper

Snowflake lap quilt

Snowflake lap quilt

Heartfelt wool table runner

Heartfelt wool table runner

Be My Valentine wall quilt

Be My Valentine wall quilt


  • haven’t quilted enough to make an ugly one.

    elr on April 9, 2014
  • I found a very ugly table runner when I got back into quilting after many years. I can’t believe I ever thought that was going to look good. I never completed it……thank goodness!!

    —Connie Kudsk on April 9, 2014
  • All our quilts are "characters" , good or not so good.

    —Susan Stone on April 9, 2014
  • Sometimes my quilt group will have donated fabric that at first glance is, OK, ugly. We are encouraged to use up the donated fabric for our charity quilts to keep the fabric out of landfills. So much love goes into these quilts that I don’t think any of them are ugly when completed.

    —Karen on April 9, 2014
  • yes I have. I wanted to throw it far far away. MY first ever quilt top.I copied the pattern from a mag. but had no idea about size. It turned out to be a bed spread for a king size water bed. My mother sneaked it away and quilted it. She was so proud of me for finishing a project.

    sheila lewis on April 9, 2014
  • Yes. I used small pieces of leftover scraps of all different colors, prints, designs, to make a puff quilt. Not only is it kind of ugly, I over-stuffed the squares so it is too heavy and too warm even on the coldest nights. It has taken up residence on the top shelf of a closet and will only come out if we have too many overnight guests at the same time. It makes a wonderful padding for youngsters sleeping on the floor.

    —Linda on April 9, 2014
  • I’ve actually made more than one ugly quilt. Maybe ugly is not exactly the right word, but they definitely are not the best looking things I’ve ever seen. One was made from a "not so pretty" cheap jelly roll. Well, you get what you pay for in fabrics. I gave it away to a couple who wanted a quilt and they really don’t care that it was not up to my standards. Alas, we live and learn. The other "ugly" quilt is hidden in a closet and shall remain there until I pass away and someone comes looking and taking.

    —Debbie Wilson on April 9, 2014
  • In my early quilting years, I made a dozen pineapple blocks in rainbow colors. They looked pretty good considering my quilt-making experience at the time. The ugly part came in when I decided on this lavendar print that had red and blue X’s and O’s on it for the corners of each block and the sashing. That was a horrible mistake although I finished it anyway. And a few years later, I gave it to a friend’s cat. The cat loved laying on it on the couch. I think she must have been color-blind!

    Tammy from quilt-pictures.com on April 9, 2014
  • I tried to make an ugly quilt once using bright un-matching prints but you know it didn’t turn out as bad as I thought. But I have made some that were pretty ugh to me so I just pass them on to my mom who gives them to a homeless shelter – figured the warmth counts even if they don’t please my sense of color!! Someone gets a good use of them and I had fun making them.

    —Cindy Wienstroer on April 9, 2014
  • The first full size quilt I pieced. When the top was together, I hated it and folded it away. Seven years later I was looking through the shelves and discovered it was really quite nice. Quilted and bound it became my brother’s 50th birthday gift.

    —Darla Zimmer on April 9, 2014
  • Yes, I have made a very ugly quilt. I used the Stack and Slash technique, which is okay. What was unfortunate, was my fabric selection. All mid-range with no value change what-so-ever. The results were very muddy especially since this was back in the day when the only fabric available was in the ‘country’ colors (think black added to the color). Anyway. I tried to salvage it by appliqueing pre-printed blocks of seed packets. Nope, didn’t help. I ended up sandwiching it and tying it instead of quilting it and donating it to the quilt guild’s community service.

    paula.thequilter on April 9, 2014
  • A few years ago I pieced a quilt and thought it was, indeed, ugly! It was one of the first quilts I sent to be quilted. It came back looking gorgeous and I entered it in the local county fair, where it won "Best of Show"! I guess it was the goose that became a swan.

    —Roberta Breuer on April 9, 2014
  • Well, I have made quilts that were not as pretty as others. Was it the pattern or the fabric or the workmanship. I’ve probably had at least one in each category. You can learn to make a different pattern, choose more pleasing fabrics. However if you do not improve on workmanship, that is the most glaring. When I was first learning to long arm quilt was my most frustrating workmanship time of quilting. It all takes practice. Here’s a quote to live by. "Practice only on the days you eat."

    —Mary Dahlberg on April 9, 2014
  • Oh, YES! I have a very ugly quilt top in my sewing room closet…it is not finished. I couldn’t even bring myself to put it together and bind it. I had a great thought. Great pattern. Great fabric. Just NOT great thought, pattern and fabric in combination! Once I got it all pieced I realized it was so busy I couldn’t bear to look at it! I have given lots of thought as to how I could fix it and I come back to the same solution each time. Leave it in the closet!

    —Pam Hall on April 9, 2014
  • Heavens, yes. I’ve made several and kept them all. And, I’m glad I did. They show me how far I’ve come as a quilter. And, I can see that I had some good ideas, but didn’t have enough experience back then to complete the picture that was in my head.

    —Mary on April 9, 2014
  • Memories!!! My first quilt was made of big squares of pink and blue fabric.—I did not have much money, so a friend’s mom, who worked in a suitcase factory was given the lining fabric in pink and blue, so she gave it to me, I put the squares together, then embroidery by hand each square with little flowers, blues in the pink and pink in the blue squares. I thought it was pretty at the time but as the years went by, I really notice how ugly that suitcase lining was!!!! It ended up in the garage, it was used as a drop cloth!

    —maria elena blecha on April 9, 2014
  • I’ve made some "bad color choices" from time to time, and those quilts go through a two stage process. Stage 1 — just stash it in the back of the cabinet –maybe it’s not as bad as I think! Stage 2 — To the trash can it goes!! Actually, once I was able to salvage a bad color combo by cutting up what I had done and inserting some more neutral fabrics. HOwever, once I determine something is "ugly" there’s no salavaging it!

    —joan desantis on April 9, 2014
  • Oh yes,Ugly Quilts are great teachers. It was one of my very early quilts. I had fallen in love with the beautiful periwinkle blue fabric, found some beautiful coordinates with burgundy and green flowers on a periwinkle background, then a red/burgundy accent color. I made beautiful, complicated stars with a 1″ 9 patch center. I sewed it all together and realized the stars didn’t even show up. A rookie mistake, not enough contrast between the periwinkle solid and the print of the background. It’s now a beautiful blanket sitting on the little table by my back door, where my kitties sleep on these beautiful spring days!

    —Suzanne Knapp on April 9, 2014
  • Wellll…. I have a very small drawer with a couple of "ugly" quilt tops in it which is full, but just recently I threw a couple out and gave a couple to goodwill.
    So yes, I still have ugly quilts laying around.

    Donna Levesque on April 9, 2014
  • The second quilt I ever made was a mystery quilt made from flannels. I selected my fabrics, but once I started putting it together, I thought it was the ugliest quilt I ever seen. Once it was finished, I decided it was at least acceptable. Now it’s one of my favorite to snuggle under on chilly days or evenings.

    —Patricia Meixl on April 9, 2014
  • After I started working on my first quilt, my daughter gave me a charm pack to make my next quilt. I thought I had to use every one of the squares in the pack to make a quilt. I could never figure out why it just didn’t look right. Okay, it was ugly. Later on I checked out what other people had made with the fabric online . . . learned a lot of lessons that day about using neutrals and only using some of the fabrics in the line, not all of them.

    —Carolyn S on April 9, 2014
  • I used Terry Atkinson’s Yellow Brick Road pattern for a purely scrappy quilt. I just pieced fabric shapes with no regard for color or value placement. As a result there was no focal point, anywhere. Though "they" remind us to label quilts always, that was one I gave away anonymously!

    Nann on April 9, 2014
  • Yes, I made an ugly quilt top. . .it was so ugly, that I couldn’t stand to quilt it! So. . .I ripped some; added some different sashing, made more blocks of different designs and turned the ugly into a sampler quilt that I just love. It goes with me to keep me warm on quilting retreats.

    —Terry on April 9, 2014
  • My Mother always said there was no such thing as an ugly quilt. She also said that some were prettier than others ( with a smile on her face). Even if they are not the prettiest – there is a sense of accomplishment – you finished it.

    —Bonnie Mitchell on April 9, 2014
  • I made a quilt a number of years ago. My mother collects frogs, not the live ones, but about every other kind I can think of, so I started buying up some different frog fabrics. I tried cutting them into squares and arranging them on my dining room table into what I thought would be a pleasing order. This was to be a Christmas gift and I had it all pieced and ready to quilt and then I realized that it was ugly. It was too close to Christmas for me to tear it out and redo it, so I finished it and gave it to her for Christmas. She said it was beautiful, but whether she said that because of the frogs or or because she actually like it, or because her daughter gave it to her (since there is a rule somewhere about Mom’s having to love what their children make for them even if she is a 50 year old daughter), I’ll never know!

    —Linda Barry on April 9, 2014
  • My ugly quilt was a sampler class I took in the early 80’s. Everything had to be sewn by hand. I dutifully marked and hand stitched 12 different blocks, drunkard’s path,8point star,9 patch etc. There were 80 leaves to be needle turn appliqued to the border (which stopped me there) My work is meticulous! However, the colors I chose~ Well, what was I thinking!!!

    —Carol Deiber on April 9, 2014
  • The second quilt I ever made was a "trip around the world" – I used the same pattern that I made my first quilt from. But, that was a kit – and the second time around, I chose my own fabrics. Being a novice quilter and fabric "chooser" I came up with some awful combinations of fabric. Little contrast, little continuity of colors, it didn’t even look scrappy because of the necessity of putting the right squares in the right place to make the design.

    But, I finished it, I tied it instead of quilting it. Then, I gave it to charity. Maybe it’s someone’s dog bed – I hope it’s being used – but it was ugly!!!!!

    —Valerie on April 9, 2014
  • I attempted to make a "civil war" quilt. It just turned out really bad (color-wise), so I ripped out every seam, made some Ohio stars with a twist, and cut things up a bit, and then I had a nice quilt worthy of hanging on our guest room wall. I was happy I didn’t waste the fabric!

    —Anita on April 9, 2014
  • Lol, I have made one really ugly quilt in particular and it’s still hanging in my closet waiting for me to take pity on it and quilt it! Poor thing, lol, maybe eventually…one can always hope, right?

    Shelley Dionne on April 9, 2014
  • I wouldn’t say what I made was ugly since I love the colors…it’s just that I was new to quilting and I was told that free motion quilting was not a problem, just attach the darning foot and you’re off. Well, I tried to outline a flower print which was used as the center of all of the blocks in the quilt. Oh my, the long travels and then tiny stitches. I really had a lot to learn. I still have the quilt. it still looks nice at a distance and I can use it to guage my progress since trying to quilt it.

    —Ann Dunn on April 9, 2014
  • I have some quilts that I have made and then thought "what was I thinking". I put them away and then when I pulled them out years later, the quilts didn’t seem so bad. I have shared some of my quilts that weren’t high on my favorite list with women’s shelters, kids to use as "tents", a blanket to keep in the trunk of my car in case of an emergency. All in all, most quilts are beautiful in some way.

    —Mary C on April 9, 2014
  • I have! And now it is part of my trunk show, along with a few other failures. I figure it just lets everyone know that no one is perfect (I don’t even come close) but that quilting can be pleasurable, fun and productive despite our failures.

    —Patricia Hersl on April 9, 2014
  • oh my and it was recent too. I made a quilt using the customers cotton and we she loved it, but I thought it was the most ugly thing I have ever done. I am so glad she liked it! I have also made finished one I made in 2010 and turned out the colors were just too much for me so I gave it to a friend and she just loves it! I am glad my sewing skills were up to snuff but the color choices left something to be desired!

    —diane on April 9, 2014
  • I really haven’t been quilting long enough to have anything to ugly. But back when I was a kid, my Mom had all of these scrap squares, and she kept for me to sew together (it was the late 70’s early 80’s), I had the idea that I was going to make a quilt with these. Needless to say I never did finish that, and the color combinations were really not pleasing to the eye. Needless to say when I got married my Mom did finish that into a lap quilt, with the note that I wasn’t to forget my lessons. Even though the color combinations aren’t beautiful the memories are.

    —Lara Trottier on April 9, 2014
  • HECK YES!! When I asked someone at a quilt show for a recommendation for a first-time quilt, they suggested the Take 20 pattern, which calls for a whole bunch of different fat quarters. I bought some material at the show and some months later, visited a local quilt shop looking for something to go with it. I chose several different materials. Mind you, at this time, I had no knowledge of value and how it works for or against you in a quilt, how to choose a color pallette, etc. I asked the shop owner for her advice and she said it would work and briskly walked away. (She no longer has a shop – imagine that!) Well, it didn’t work. It was the UGLIEST thing I’d ever seen. I liked each of the individual materials, so I took it all apart and use those materials for practice blocks or else they’re in my scrap bins. Give me a U, give me a G, give me an L, give me a Y, what have you got? My UGLY quilt!

    —Karen C on April 9, 2014
  • Yes,I made an "ugly" quilt, but it didn’t start out that way. While in graduate school I found a piece of black fabric with tiny violets on it in a remainder bin. I needed to rescue it! I found a pattern, and though I had sewed for many years, I had never quilted before. I picked out "matching" fabrics and bravely started, but school, marriage, a move across the country, and a new job kept me too busy to work on it. Over the years I took up quilting and from time to time I picked up my violet quilt and tried to finish it with fabrics popular at the time, but lost interest. Finally, 35 years after I started the quilt a local quilt shop offered a discount based on the number of UFOs you finished, and I finally decided I had to get it done. While it is an interesting record of 35 years of fabric history, I am not the same person I was when I started it. It might be a great quilt for a little girl, but I have more sophisticated tastes now. So while it is not quite "ugly", it is my least favorite quilt.

    —Terry on April 9, 2014
  • I managed to make a truly ugly set of blocks in my earliest strip piecing quilt. Now, I don’t mean to sound pompous, my color choices have evolved over thirty years of quilting, but this was truly my only "ugly" piece. Some of my earlier pieces aren’t as pretty as others but none of them were really, really ugly except this one. I got tired of carrying it around and used it on the back of something else. Now it’s still ugly but at least it’s on the side facing the wall!

    Beth Strand on April 9, 2014
  • Oh yes. It was one of my first quilt tops. I didn’t know any better and used a poly cotton fabric mixed in with cotton fabrics. I found this unquilted top last year in the spring and donated it to our church flea market. While I was working at the flea market in the fall, I looked over to another section of the church hall and saw my top all quilted! The ladies’ handquilting group had rescued it and finished it! It didn’t look half bad at all and the price tag reflected this. A nice surprise.

    —linda on April 9, 2014
  • After seeing a tutorial using ugly fabrics to make a D9P, I thought I could do that. Made the blocks and no matter what orientation I put the blocks, they were UHHHHGULY … couldn’t bear to sew them into a quilt top. They been thrown into my scraps to cut up and use for crumbs for a scrappy quilt.

    Sue in CA on April 9, 2014
  • I don’t know if you could call it "ugly" so much as just "seriously messed up". It’s a quilted table topper for a friend in fabric with chili peppers all over it. I figured I could quilt it with invisible thread since I had no black or red. After the 57millionth snarl and snap and re-thread and it curling at the edges…. I gave up. It’s shoved in the back of a drawer because I have no idea at all how to save it.

    —Meghan O'Connor on April 9, 2014
  • My ugly quilt was a hand appliqued jacobean quilt. Hours were spent on applique. I used some hand dyed pieces of fabric and they ran and ruined the quilt. It seems that now I would never applique a Jacobean pattern..guess I am more traditional.

    —marie on April 9, 2014
  • I was excited to make a quilt for a girlfriend using novelty fabric in an interest of hers. I fussy cut several blocks but they weren’t all the same size so I would add a border here and there, or a pieced block. It was pretty awful; it wouldn’t lay flat and the random blocks didn’t really "mesh". I lucked out in that my sister was just beginning to long-arm quilt and was very talented. She made my quilt look wondeful, quilting out all my ripples, but she has teased me about it for 15 years! And the friend I gave it to is not a quilter- another lucky break! J Schlafmann

    —Joanne Schlafmann on April 9, 2014
  • Sorry, I hit send too fast!

    Yes,I made an "ugly" quilt, but it didn’t start out that way. While in graduate school I found a piece of black fabric with tiny violets on it in a remainder bin. I needed to rescue it! I found a pattern, and though I had sewed for many years, I had never quilted before. I picked out "matching" fabrics and bravely started, but school, marriage, a move across the country, and a new job kept me too busy to work on it. Over the years I took up quilting and from time to time I picked up my violet quilt and tried to finish it with fabrics popular at the time, but lost interest. Finally, 35 years after I started the quilt a local quilt shop offered a discount based on the number of UFOs you finished, and I finally decided I had to get it done. While it is an interesting record of 35 years of fabric history, I am not the same person I was when I started it. It might be a great quilt for a little girl, but time changes everything including tastes. So while it is not quite "ugly", it is my least favorite quilt. It sits in my sewing room reminding me to *finish my projects* before I change again!

    —Terry on April 9, 2014
  • Well…no I don’t think I’ve ever made an ugly quilt. But, of all things, our local quilt shop’s next Saturday sampler is called Double Dog Dare Ya, and it features UGLY fabric to make an ugly quilt into something pretty! interesting.

    Deb on April 9, 2014
  • My sister in law asked me to make her a quilt with "spring" colors. When I finished and showed her the end result she said it looked like an "old lady" quilt and she didn’t want it. I happened to be participating in a craft boutique a few months later and sold it there. It was one of the first quilts sold. Just goes to prove one persons trash is another’s treasure.

    —Karen on April 9, 2014
  • My ugliest quilt was the first quilt that I ever made…it was definitely the fabric..yuk!! It also could have been the pattern..the split fence rail! Never made another…Good thing it didn’t put me off quilting!! Thanks for the chance to win!

    Paulette Doyle on April 9, 2014
  • I made a table runner with really cute material from the same line. Well, once put together, it was hideous. It had cute little flowers on one fabric and polka dots on the other. It made me dizzy to look at it when it was done. I knew my sister wasn’t going to get it, as she is epileptic. I think it may have given her a seziure to look at it.

    —Kathy on April 9, 2014
  • I don’t think ugly quilt is an apt description because no quilt is ugly. Some quilts may be liked more than others. I have one on my design wall right now. Just completed a class with a nationally renowned teacher. Purchased fabric from instructions for the class. I realize fabric purchases are one’s own choice, so let me tell you how disappointed I was with my choices. Not, the least to say, I keep thinking about "all that money I spent". So now I will have a quilt that is not going to be one of my favorites.

    —Nancy on April 9, 2014
  • Not a quilt.. but… made a scrap afghan, just tied ends of each ball together and knit knit knit…. one day out shopping, family comes back to the van: our coats and such are still there…but the ugly afghan is gone!! Hope whoever stole it was kept warm..

    —Carol on April 9, 2014
  • Yes, I made an "ugly quilt". It was when I didn’t really know anything about quilting–just had seen other people make quilts. I had a lot of fabric samples (mostly upholstery or home decor type fabric squares) not all of the same size even, and thought I could sew them together to make a quilt to use to cover my sewing machine cabinet when not in use. I used some flannel from a cut up, worn out nightgown, as my batting and another piece of fabric of unknown origin and content. I thought it would work as pioneer women used whatever they could find right?

    Where is it now? In the rag bin. The seams frayed each time it got washed and the whole thing fell apart after a while.

    —Susan on April 9, 2014
  • I collected signatures on bright yellow fabric at a friend’s 50th birthday party and then made friendship star blocks with the names in the center. My friend wanted scrappy fabrics in brown, green, rust, gold, and orange – pretty much the most unattractive muddy shades of those color ways. I didn’t like the color combination but it was what she wanted. I was piecing the top at 4-day quilt retreat in the mountains, and the woman sitting next to me, whom I did not know at all, looked over and said, "Wow, those are REALLY ugly fabrics!" So that ugly quilt is the standard by which I measure all others. The friend who received the quilt totally loved it, and I’m sure would be offended if she knew others thought it was hideous.

    —Julie on April 9, 2014
  • I made an ugly quilt just this year! A friend asked me to make a baby quilt for her daughter and she specified the colors – woo-ee! Worst colors I had ever tried! I tried, tactfully, to change her mind, but she was insistant – so, I searched and searched for the least offensive fabric I could find and dove in! It was NOT something I was proud of, but all the techniques were perfect and the finished product pleased her no end. I learned a valuable lesson – just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s ugly!! By the way, I received the nicest thank you card from her daughter raving about how beautiful the quilt was, so I guess there is no accounting for taste! 🙂

    —Pat Sell on April 9, 2014
  • Yucky-ugly, it was! It started out innocently enough when my daughter picked up a pattern that looked like an old dot-matrix video game on a TV screen. It was to be for her husband. Made of 1.5″ strips cut ever-so-perfectly from only solids (UGH!) and pieced together ever-so perfectly into an 80″ square quilt, the picture on the pattern front was GREAT! Took me months of painstaking work and when it was finally finished, there were chunks of color in the wrong places from where I got off track somehow (???) and didn’t notice because when you laid it out, the seam allowances skewed the whole thing into abstract art! Anyway, I fixed the bad spots and gave the top as the Christmas gift but then HE took it upon himself to point out all of the other mistakes. I took it back to fix it—-knew I wouldn’t—- and ended up giving it to the art teacher at the school where I teach and told her she could use it as a painting dropcloth or cut it up or let the kids repurpose it or whatever she wanted…….it is now covered with brilliant paint splatters and has become not-so-ugly after all…..

    —Dotty Bailey on April 9, 2014
  • You betcha. The pattern was lovely but my choice of fabrics was unfortunate. I finished the quilt top & it was too ugly for even a dog bed. Buried it in the trash and vowed to think long and hard about my fabric choices.

    —Donna Miller on April 9, 2014
  • Oh my yes -I did a strippy trip around the world based on Bonnie Hunter’s instructions. From what I had read "anything goes" with those – but when I got my scrappy strips together – the end result was busy and muddy and blech. I had intended it as a gift for my very frugal neighbor – who I thought would appreciate the thriftyness of a scrappy quilt, but I couldn’t bear to give it to her like that. Lucky for me she has two adorable dogs that are like family to all of us – so I appliqued silhouettes of the dogs onto one corner and gave it to the pups -and made another ‘pretty’ quilt for her personally.

    —regina on April 9, 2014
  • There is no such thing as an ugly quilt….beauty is in the eye of the beholder…..if it’s been created by someone, it’s not ugly…..maybe the colour scheme needs to be changed or something, but never ugly.

    —Shirl Hair on April 9, 2014
  • I made an ugly twin size quilt when I was just starting to make quilts. I used it once to cover the sofa for the dog hair, then it was used for a picnic tablecloth, then a trunk cover in the car for messes. It is now being used to make the dog comfortable. You see, even an ugly quilt has a life!

    —Sandra Pardue on April 9, 2014
  • My ugly quilt is now hanging in my garden shed as a skirt for my potting bench to hide even uglier stuff. It was in a box for years but I just knew it too would find a home some day so I kept it!!

    —Deb Wilson on April 9, 2014
  • Yes, I would say my first one! But I was so proud of it I didn’t realize it was ugly until I learned more about selecting colors! I am still ‘color challenged’ in some ways but the first one brings a smile to my face that is ‘what was I thinking’!!

    —Susan Wilkerson on April 9, 2014
  • I found a pattern and a picture in one of my quilt books and I loved it. The colors and various patterns were so stunning. I took my book and went on a shop hop looking for fabrics. When I made the blocks – altho the fabrics were very pretty, all together it was hideous. The scale of the prints was off. I didn’t finish it. It’s hiding in my sewing room. It puts the UGH in ugly.

    —Diane Lindberg on April 9, 2014
  • I made a quilt top for my daughter’s best friend as a graduation present that, in retrospect, is not very pretty! It’s a very bright teal, orchid and black double rising star. I swore off flying geese for a few years after making 8 for each of 20 blocks! It is still a treasured quilt by its owner.

    —Jean Blythe on April 9, 2014
  • The quilts we make are our "babies" and who would dare to tell a parent his or her baby is ugly?

    —Tesuque on April 9, 2014
  • Ugly is in the eye of the beholder. In 1978, my very first quilt consisted of all 50 of the State Capitol quilt blocks from a Dover publication which basically had outlines of the blocks. I used muslin and 5 different bright calico fabrics, then had to add another color because I ran out of the calicoes which were no longer available. The process included drafting by hand, enlarging and reducing by hand, templates by hand, scissor cutting by hand, piecing by hand, quilting by hand (1/4″ from each seam) and finally double fold bias binding by hand. This quilt still resides on my bed and is used all year round. That’s in spite of some of the fabrics rotting away from age – the poly batting manages to stay in place, even after washing. NOT a pretty quilt at all by today’s standards, but it’s my first one and my husband loves it!!

    —Marilyn on April 9, 2014
  • I was making a baby quilt. Chose three fabrics. One was a black background with different kinds of ice cream on it, sundaes, cones etc. Second was a hot pink Moda marble . Third was a white background with ice cream parlor table and chairs. Fabric was precious together but the quilt was horrible. I have that quilt in a drawer as an example of "what was I thinking."

    —Sharon Heironimus on April 9, 2014
  • I’ve made few ugly quilts, more related to inexperience with fabrics and colours than execution, as I could always sew well. One was made from fabric drapery swatches – much too stiff! One was made from a thrift store "find" – too bad it found me! One was made from an Ikea tablecloth – certainly has worn well – you could eat off it! The thrift store one was finished and given to my parents for their 65th wedding anniversary…I had lots of nerve when I was younger. That quilt is now in the bottom of my linen closet, as I am too embarrassed to give it to a charity. The only thing I can think to do with it is give it to an animal shelter or a car wash.

    Gail G on April 9, 2014
  • I was going through UFO blocks from ten years ago. The same pattern in angled strips; variety of fabric in purple and blue. People are having fun – laying out different arrangments.

    —Marilyn Meinecke on April 9, 2014
  • my ugly quilt is from a mystery pattern. It looks like I took two sets of blocks, same pattern, different colors that do not go together at all. It is so ugly that it is still only a top, not completed. I look at it and fold it back up again. I am thinking of taking the top apart and making two lap size quilts.

    —Ellen on April 9, 2014
  • I had this quilt given to me that was black and turquoise checked with some zebra stripes in it. I think I have blanked out exactly, who had given it to me. I tried to "enhance" the beauty by adding a floral accent fabric. Uh, the early 90’s bit me hard in my sense of style!! It was a disaster. I ended up donating to a men’s mission. I knew it would be warm for someone, with an added bonus that no one would steal it from him…..it’s THAT ugly 🙂

    —Nancysue on April 9, 2014
  • Made a quilt at my sister-in-laws request. I call it the kokopeli quilt.
    There were so many prints in it that it made me dizzy sewing it. Lots and lots of southwestern prints. Too many colors, too many prints. Only quilt I didn’t keep a picture of and put a label on. I hated it that much. She gave it to her step-daughter who loves it. To make matters worse, it is king size.

    —Liz Dyer on April 9, 2014
  • I have made a couple of ugly quilts but one in particular that stands out in my mind is a mystery quilt. I used a goldy-yellow that was in the focus fabric but should have been used in smaller pieces but wound up being what you see more than the focus fabric. I still have it but it is a reminder to make sure that when choosing fabric for a mystery make sure that the fabric you like the least isn’t used the most!

    —Marie Atkinson on April 9, 2014
  • I’ve taken many a class where another quilter’s fabric choices have made me cringe, but to see the creative joy in their eyes made me realise something; quilts are like children – If one of ours is ugly we will only see beauty, and if someone else’s is ugly – you’d better never tell them so! 😀

    —Kayt Deans on April 9, 2014
  • The very 1st quilt I made was for my Grandson it was the state bird and flower quilt hand embroidery and quilted and then I fell weak and done the state flower and state quilt hand embroidery and quilted and my grandaughter has it. I was 12 when my Mother passed so I learned from the best Hard knocks in life and that is how I learned to do everything LOL

    —Evelyn on April 9, 2014
  • I have made more than one "ugly" quilt in my nearly 15 years of quilting and they are all stacked in a drawer in my sewing room. I have recently taken a longarm quilting class and have decided that those "ugly" quilts, which never quite seemed worth finishing, are the perfect place to practice my longarm quilting and improve my skills with. Maybe I can make them not quite so "ugly"!

    —Sharon Kirkman on April 9, 2014
  • The first quilt class that I took sent directions to purchase the material before the class and to get a variety of colors and patterns. So that is exactly what I did. It was a "stack and whack" quilt so that all the patterns and colors got intermixed. The end result was absolutely horrible….. I had no concept of what the final product would be and made terrible choices. Imagine floral prints, plaids, geometric designs and stripes in a wide variety of colors.

    It was so bad color-wise that I was embarrassed to be seen working on it! But I did learn a lot and work hard to imagine the final product with each and every fabric selection that I make now.

    —Kate on April 9, 2014
  • My very first quilt was an ugly but I thought it was beautiful. Funny how your perception changes through time. It was 4 inch squares of cottons, polyesters and some thin material I thought was pretty. All sewn with 1/8 seams. It was then tied in the corners with navy blue yarn. I have no idea where it is now. Thank goodness!

    —Marianne on April 9, 2014
  • Had to laugh that so many ugly quilts go to the dogs! I especially laughed because that is exactly what I tried to do with one I made that was apparently beyond "dog ugly" because even the dog didn’t want it!

    —Paula on April 9, 2014
  • The idea was not ugly-it was a pumpkin wall hanging, but the execution was my first and very poor. The appliqué was not satisfactory because I did not know to cut out the center of the fusing material, so the pumpkins were stiff. I tried to use my zig-zag for the first time, and the results were very irregular and finally, I put the whole quilt together at the same time I affixed the appliqué. This resulted in a truly ugly back. However, I still pull this ugly pumpkin wall hanging out every year to remind me of my humble beginnings and how much I have grown to love this art form.

    —Betty Jansen on April 9, 2014
  • Cute quilts in this book! I have never made an ugly quilt, nor have I "ever met a quilt I didn’t like."

    Ida Houston on April 9, 2014
  • I made an "art" quilt. It was for a monthly challenge. When I looked at it, I could not believe I let anybody see it. I donated it to the SPCA.

    Naomi Shoemaker on April 9, 2014
  • It was strips with a lot of orange. I had found some plaid that worked for the back. I referred to it as the "ugly" quilt. I sent pictures of several quilts to my daughters to select a present for Christmas. My youngest daughter selected the "ugly" quilt. I was very surprised to see how well it worked in her den and further surprised when her mother-in-law admired it and asked me to make her one. I’m afraid hers was much less colorful, but I didn’t call it ugly.

    —Deanna Sue Adams on April 9, 2014
  • I won some ten inch squares in our local shop hop. To say the least they were not my favorite. Our guild came across a pattern that seemed just perfect for those squares. I cut and sewed and the more i had to cut and sew this quilt just got uglier. I was never so happy when the top was finished. I turned it over to be quilted for charity. The quilting made all the difference. It went from hideous to just ugly, but i am sure some child will just love it.

    —Sharon Meyer on April 9, 2014
  • The ugly quilt question is totally related to the first quilt question for me! My first one was pretty ugly in my book but I do still have it folded up in quilt cupboard with one door open. Solid green, cream, brown POPLIN, curved piecing with drunkard’s path variation and hand quilted, did I mention POPLIN???? Oh, it’s a real treasure for sure!

    Sylvia Bryan on April 9, 2014
  • I find it hard to make an "ugly" quilt…They can get weird,very coloful,exaggerated but always have something beautiful!!

    —irene on April 9, 2014
  • Not one but two! As a young teen, my first-ever quilt was made in 1969 as a contained-crazy with a truly strange mixture of fabrics in bright ‘flower power’ era hues (all were leftovers I found in my mother’s sewing garments bin). I kept it (and cherish it) for it was my initiation into self-taught quilting as well as my first time of using a sewing machine for a large project. The second ugly was a huge lone star I intended as a gift for my college friend’s wedding. I purchased a deep-purple floral-border print plus bright lime-green fabrics: it was interesting while I was sewing, but it was truly UG-LY when fully assembled (I decided to give my friend a houseplant and promptly took the quilt apart to uses the fabric for other projects.)

    —Marty on April 9, 2014
  • I have made a pink and brown Buggy Barn fabrics quilt in the Hip to be Square pattern. It ought to have been wonderful, but I hate it and so do all my quilter friends! It’s kind of drab and "old lady" looking (I’m 66). So I’m going to quilt it with a bright pink or variegated pinks thread and see if that helps. I plan to give it to charity hoping someone will like it!….arden

    —Arden on April 9, 2014
  • The only quilt I thought looked "ugly" was only ugly when I put the border on. The border was supposed to be about 8 inches wide and it made the quilt look awful. When I narrowed the border to about 4 inches it looked "beautiful" 🙂

    —Wilma on April 9, 2014
  • Oh yes, I forgot the most recent disaster: A five and dime quilt made out of the Nancy Drew collection of fabrics. That should have looked good, but we all agreed that it is a "waste of energy"! Ugh…. I plan to quilt it with a bright red thread to see if it will perk up.

    —Arden on April 9, 2014
  • My first quilt – I hardly concider it a quilt, but I drew up a picture of my best friend’s son’s favorite, pekachu. I traced him onto some yellow fabric and then painted in his designs in a fabric paint. I then put him onto blocks and zigzagged around the edges of the design. That was about 14 years ago. He still has it. Ugly yes, but it was made with love for a little boy who I can’t believe has grown up and is now about to graduate from high school. I did not quilt for a long time after that quilt was given.

    —Tina on April 9, 2014
  • No such thing as an ugly quilt!!!! How can anything so warm and cuddly and comforting to have around you be ugly?

    —Colette H on April 9, 2014
  • I picked some lovely reds, mostly reproductions, for a quilt using 2 1/2 inch strips. The creams turned out to be tonal baby prints. I’d committed to the project, and I decided to continue. Not only did it not look like what I had in mind, but the reds ran and the creams turned pink. My dog now has acquired a quilt!

    —Mary C on April 9, 2014
  • Ugly? I had to think about that one. I think it is one I’ve never finished. When I was taking beginner classes, I made sampler blocks from some nice ripe banana yellows, rusty red-oranges, yugly greens, and sandy beiges. I had taken the color palette from a piece of Hoffman fabric (back in the early ’90’s). They didn’t go in my house, and I never did more than make the dozen or so large blocks. I found them in my stash closet not too long ago, and decided this is as far as these are going to go. When I’m gone, somebody can have them. I’m not putting any more time into that project. Sometimes, you have to give yourself permission to move on.

    —Whiskers on April 9, 2014
  • Several years ago I worked in a small quilt shop in a small town in Oregon. One of my ‘jobs’ was to make samples for the shop to help showcase certain fabrics. The owner gave me a panel I really did not care for at all and I was not excited or inspired. But I finally cut the panels and made an Attic Window hanging. It worked, we sold all the fabric quickly. I was glad to take the sample down and store it away, well out of sight. Fast forward several more years. We were in a mortgage office for a preapproval and there on the officers wall was that horrid quilt. (I checked on the back for the label with my name on it.) The lady told me she’d bought it at a fundraiser and was very excited to meet the creator! I still thought it was ugly, but this lady loved it enough to put in the winning bid and the money went to a great cause. You just never know.

    —Anita on April 9, 2014
  • I donated them to various things….. my guess is garbage somewhere. Why were they ugly…just put together fabrics I had and not always to the benefit of the finished product. You learn from doing though so here I am years later, and hopefully on a better page.

    —Tonie Peterson on April 9, 2014
  • My first quilt was a sampler quilt. I made many quilt patterns, in colors of country blues, mauves, and off-white as the background..I made each block separately ,batting backing and all. Hand quilted. When finished I stitched all the blocks together, each block was 20″. It was queen sized. I finally realized I made it incorrectly, and it looked it.It was ugly! I use it in our camper now.

    —Norma on April 9, 2014
  • My "ugly duckling" was the first trial on a long arm. It was just scraps of various sizes, not really even "stringed" – but after I quilted it and finished off this little ugly thing, it suddenly turned quite beautiful. Yep, just can’t give it away. Nice little comfy size. Nothing in God’s creation is ugly.

    —Diane on April 9, 2014
  • My "ugly" quilt was a result of me trying to use up some fabric to make the remaining stash fit inside it’s allotted space. I went on a "kit building" spree where I matched patterns I had to fabric in my stash. This quilt was a result of that. It’s totally not my style. The colors are weird, I mis-measured for cutting so there is some creative piecing in there, and all these huge wide open spaces that were obviously meant for a focus fabric instead of the random fabric I have there.

    I was lamenting its existence and showed my husband the finished top. Can you believe he actually likes it?! I’ll eventually sandwich it and use the open spaces as a free motion sampler, but for now it’s just living on the shelf of finished tops waiting for my attention.

    —Danielle Wilson on April 9, 2014
  • I have made a few table toppers that l thought the color combination would work..once completed, l wondered why l picked those colors. I donated them to a bazaar. I spend more time in coordinating colors beforehand to avoid the "why did l pick those colors" and the disappointment.

    —Anne on April 9, 2014
  • I work in a fabric store and wanted to make a corduroy quilt as a promo for the store. The only corduroy in the store was a muddy brown with teddy bears and a yellow gold. I made card trick blocks with the teddy bear fabric for the cards and the yellow for background. It was quite ugly until I added sashing in background fabric and added burgundy stars (to match the bears) at the corners of the sashing. Everyone was amazed by the difference a few details made. I still have that quilt.

    —Sandra Niel on April 9, 2014
  • I have a friend who made two quilts from the same pattern but different fabrics. The second one she explained that she was unhappy with but couldn’t put her finger on why. So I brought my Ruby Beholder tool (http://www.equilter.com/product/10003/ruby-beholder-value-finder-tool) and showed her that the fabrics in the second quilt were not compatible and that was probably responsible for her feelings about the quilt. While I’m not an expert on value, there are many quilters who are or their ability to pick out a fabrics that include an assortment of values comes naturally.

    —Rosemary on April 9, 2014
  • Who hasn’t made one. I just give them away so I don’t have to look at them anymore.

    —Chris on April 9, 2014
  • Being new to quilting i haven’t made an ugly quilt but i made an ugly pot holder….. I nicked the fabric with my scissors & appliqued a patch to cover it. I hated the end result & ended up removing the binding & the added on patches, cutting it smaller & re binding it & now use it myself…. its not too bad & I learned to be more careful making the pot holders to send to the UK as Christmas presents.

    —Suzanne Keal on April 9, 2014
  • MY ugliest wasn’t a full size (Thankfully but a place mat size as a trial for a full size It was suppose to be a heart made with a print fabric in small squares there was not enough difference in the colouration so the heart didn’t happen , I still have it, it took me 5 ears to put a baking on it to use as a place mat.

    —Elizajane on April 10, 2014
  • I have a bundle of cut out fish — all different colors of blue and red. Designed to be sewn together whole, angles and all — no blocks here. Tesselating fish. But at the time I was "designing" that quilt I had no sense of value — when I put the fish up on my design wall and stood back, there was almost no value change. While I could have sewn all those quirky angles, I wouldn’t have been able to see the fish, so it is still a bundle of fish shapes, together with the cardboard template I made.

    —Brenda on April 10, 2014
  • Have you made an “ugly” quilt? What happened…and where is it now?
    When I first read this question, I knew immediately which quilt fit the description. when I first started quilting, my quilt guild had a workshop to make a quilt that was over my level of expertise. I had so much trouble with it. I happened to have it out the other day, thinking how awful it is. I still love the fabrics I selected, but, oh my, the quilt does not lay flat at all. The seams were poorly constructed and in places, it’s wrinkly where even quilting couldn’t quilt those mistakes away. It has a special place on the quilt rack- hanging in my guest bedroom.

    However, now that I’m actually thinking about it, I am proud of that quilt because it represents how far I have come in five years. My quilts DO lay flat now, and if I were to make this pattern again, I have every confidence it would lay perfectly. I am proud of it because at the time I loved it! I had no idea just how poorly made it was. I have come a long way since those days. I love ALL my quilts-the good, the bad and the ugly!

    —Karen Pollard on April 10, 2014
  • My sister, my niece and I have a challenge where we find the absolute most hideous fabric. We give to each other with the challenge of using it in a quilted item. I remember giving my niece lemons fabric with ants on it. She incorporated it into a quilted purse. We usually keep the items we have made but share what we have made with the others.

    —Wendy on April 10, 2014
  • One of my first experiences making a quilt top was placing what I thought were beautiful colors together to make the top. It turned out so ugly that I just didn’t want to spend the money to have it quilted. Usually I don’t have a problem putting color together but these colors just didn’t mesh. I finally took the quilt top apart and used some of it in another quilt which turned out beautifully and donated the rest, along with some other material, to a church group who were having a rummage sale.

    —Lynda Nunez on April 10, 2014
  • I have made an ugly quilt. But it’s alright, I was told I could. My Quilt Club, at the time, was making lap quilts for the local nursing home. (They still do) I was told not to make too nice a quilt or it would disappear. So I took a bunch of 6 1/2″ squares one of the club members had cut, laid them out in a design and made my quilt for the nursing home. I hope it’s keeping a resident warm.

    —Debby T on April 10, 2014
  • We have all made "ugly quilts" but ugly is in the eye of the beholder. I’ve thought the quilt I made was ugly, the person that received it thought it was gorgeous. So, there is no such thing as an "ugly" quilt, they just aren’t made of our favorite colors.

    —connie on April 10, 2014
  • As part of a group of United Methodist women we made 11 "ugly quilts." We used scrap fabrics and made a motley design, modelled on the large blocks in Amish quilts. For the inside padding we used either mattress pads or flannel blankets. We sewed the bottom half folded over to make a sleeping bag shape. Then we used discarded men’s ties to make the quilt into a bedroll. These particular quilts were given to families who lost their homes and possessions in house fires in Sussex County, Delaware. Women who had never attempted any kind of quilting participated. We had such fun doing the problem-solving involved in matching up materials to finish a quilt.

    —Mary Dulany on April 10, 2014
  • As part of a group of United Methodist women we made 11 "ugly quilts." We used scrap fabrics and made a motley design, modelled on the large blocks in Amish quilts. For the inside padding we used either mattress pads or flannel blankets. We sewed the bottom half folded over to make a sleeping bag shape. Then we used discarded men’s ties to make the quilt into a bedroll. These particular quilts were given to families who lost their pplhomes and possessions in house fires in Sussex County, Delaware. Women who had never attempted any kind of quilting participated. We had such fun doing the problem-solving involved in matching up materials to finish a quilt.

    —Mary Dulany on April 10, 2014
  • My best quilting buddy, Linda! and I made a quilt several years ago from assorted scraps in our stash. We started with a clear plan, but it soon became clear we had created a very unattractive quilt that neither of us really wanted. We made a decision then that the first one to die gets the quilt in her coffin!

    —Sharon Miller on April 10, 2014
  • I sat and read alot of comments. I enjoy reading them.
    I enjoy making quilts for people who need to keep warm.
    Please do not throw tops aways. Use them to the outside to civer up ever. Take the quilt top to church or guild.
    Some one will tye them or quilt them.
    The person who gets that finished quilt we love it.
    Quilt will keep them warm on cold days and nights.
    Love is in the quilt

    Angie Reed on April 10, 2014
  • yes I made an Ugly quilt and keep it out on Halloween only

    lynne mulcahey on April 10, 2014
  • Oh sure! Of course some quilts turn out better than others or just don’t match what you originally had in mind. I usually still finish them and donate them to charity or bedding collections for things like tornado relief, etc. Of course what one person thinks is ugly might just be the perfect combo for someone else. And if you are cold or in need of one, you love any quilt that keeps you warm. Kathy Aho in MN

    —Kathy Aho in Minnesota on April 10, 2014
  • I don’t know if there really is an "ugly" quilt, strange maybe; but not really ugly. I have one in my UFO box that has been there for many years just because it has colors that I don’t really care for. I was visiting my sister and hadn’t brought anything "qullty" to work on. We went to a local quilt shop and I purchased a lap throw quilt kit to work on. That was a mistake because when I look at the colors now I wonder where my head was when I purchased the kit. Eventually I will finish it. A side note, Julie Popa’s book is one of the very best I’ve ever purchased from you.

    —Betty on April 10, 2014
  • I have a couple of quilts that did not turn out how I had planned or hoped. One of the worse was a Sunbonnet Sue as a grandmother. It is a 4 block quilt and I was trying for cute, but it really did not work out – it just came out "ugly."

    —Janet on April 10, 2014
  • Have I ever made an "ugly" quilt? Yes, many! Our quilt group is given many fabrics to make quilts from and most are what you would call "ugly". A lot of our ladies are afraid of these fabrics and won’t touch them, but not me! I make at least five of these quilts every year and out of every fabric imaginable. I don’t call my quilts "ugly", I call them "challenging" and I grow to love every one of them. They all have their merits! Our quilts go to charity (street people,newborns,Habitat For Humanity,anyone who has lost a home or is abused,etc.). I love trying out new patterns and coming up with the nicest quilts I can with what fabric I am given. I love my "challenges"!

    —Adrienne Kischuk on April 10, 2014
  • When I first started quilting I was at the lake with my sister and I was making very a springy quilt in a pinwheel design. My sister for some reason said that if we cut the blocks diagonally and then sewed them back together they would make a different block???? Before I knew it she had the rotary cutter and was wacking up my blocks. After she finished nothing fit, everything was askew and they were ugly no matter how I placed them as they did not fit. They have been in my UFUQO"a long time. Last week I pulled them out and am trying to salvage them and will be finishing the quilt top this week hopefully. That is my ugly quilt story.

    Jeanne on April 10, 2014
  • At first I really liked the colors in the quilt that I was making. As I put it together, I started to change my mind. It isn’t ugly, just kind of blah for my taste.

    —Marsha Nelson on April 10, 2014
  • I love ugly quilts….I call them maverick or sometimes folk….I love their surprises and that the visuals hold a lot of interest in color and composition….I love to write my thoughts about thing within them and Yes I have MADE what I love to do and I am sure they are ugly or too peculiar for others….and they are on my walls and beds and I do even enter them in quilt shows…they always get comments if not ribbons

    —martha young on April 10, 2014
  • When I first started quilting, I joined a group on the internet, thinking that I would learn alot from several ladies. They started a "Round Robin", which everyone took 1 of their orphan blocks, added some fabric they liked to the box, a small journal, and a disposable camera if they wanted pics. Well being a beginner and gung-ho, I made a center block called crocuses, using 3 shades of purple with a small amount of green. I added about 2 or 3 yds of contrasting fabric and mailed it. There were about 8 ladies and some of the quilts that I got to work on were totally not my colors or styles, but I tried very hard to add to each one using their style and colors. Well the great anticipated day arrived and my quilt was home. The purple crocuses in the center were the only shades of purple. I had the strangest looking quilt with oranges, blacks, reds & teal greens. Oh well, it was fun and I did learn quite a bit about different types of quilting, but it isn’t one that I will be displaying soon. Oh yeah, where is it now??? It is a 10 year old PIGS in my sewing room… PIGS? (Project in grocery sack) 🙂

    Carla on April 10, 2014
  • I too also believed there was no ugly quilts. Until last summer, my cousin ask if I would piece a quilt for the Old Timers 4-H club! They were going to sell chances to win this fine quilt! So she brought me the fabric that was to be used…they were lime green gingham, green tie died and white! Oh and yes.. pictures from the past that had been placed on fabric! By the time I got something put together, I had no words to explain how terrible it was! And to think this ugly quilt was to hang at the County Fair for all to see! I told my cousin how embarrassed I was and to please not to tell whom the maker was! The group made several hundred dollars off the ugly quilt!I was so thankful that people still give when it is a good cause!! -Teresa on April 10,2014

    —Teresa Hertenstein on April 10, 2014
  • A couple of years ago, my quilt group exchanged mismatched fabric to make an ugly quilt. We had a month to do them. We were allowed to add one piece of our own fabric to help "unugly" it. Then the quilts were pit in a bag & sealed.We all put our name in another bag & as our name was drawn, we could pick out a sealed bag. We were amazed at some of the really cute quilts that was produced. It sure was fun to see what became of our ugly fabric. Judy

    —Judy on April 10, 2014
  • Oh, yes, I too have made an ugly quilt – only one. All my others are stellar! [g] I made the mistake of making a quilt for a friend who has tastes pretty well opposite to mine. So I tried to get into her head and do what she would like thus suspending my own sense. It so didn’t work. Neither she nor I liked it. It now sits as a unquilted UFO. Morale of the story – if you don’t like it right from the beginning, it ain’t gonna get any better.

    Pat Daniels on April 10, 2014
  • yes and I gave it away to someone who thoutht it was just beautiful, everyone has different taste

    —Dotty P on April 10, 2014
  • its was a layer cake quilt I started – ended up tearing it apart and it’s still sitting in a shoe box

    —Kathy Luehrs on April 10, 2014
  • I like to make mystery quilts, every now and then. Some come out just gorgeous, while others are just nice quilts, great for that graduation gift for a rarely seen niece or nephew. There was only one that really fell into the "ugly" category. I used a piece of pansy fabric for my inspiration, so there was a great green, a bold yellow, a nice purple and a white background fabric. Now all of these fabrics are found in my garden and they look very nice. Not so for my quilt. The green and the gold were way too strong for the pretty pansy fabric.

    When we all brought our finished quilt tops to the fabric shop, the owner took one look at my quilt and said "What were you thinking when you picked those fabrics!". Never being one to throw a quilt top out, I stashed it away…..for about 3 years. I teach a lot of thread classes, so I decided to pull that top out and see if I could find a kind of thread that would make it better as it was quilted. I used a fine purple thread that really did tone down the bright white background. It did make it better.

    So, on my next teaching trip, I tossed the green and gold wonder in my bag and headed off to Wisconsin. During my lecture, I pulled the quilt out of my bag to illustrate how thread can change a quilt. As I flipped the quilt out, someone in the audience yelled "Wow! Greenbay and the Vikings!". They thought it was a wonderful quilt! Who knew?

    After many road trips and dozens of lectures, that green, gold and purple quilt went to the local VA Hospital, where it was adopted by a young man whose school colors were in that quilt. It brightens his room while he heals and I know it is loved.

    —Nancy Goldsworthy on April 10, 2014
  • When I first started quilting. I was so proud of that purple quilt. I made it for my mothers birthday. I took a picture of it before I sent it to her. I used only plain purples (not a print anywhere). My mother said she loved it, but then she is my mother. I ran across that picture a couple months ago, boy have I come along way. (smile)

    —Robin Armstead on April 10, 2014
  • I made a Yellow Brick Road. The yellow, green and blue fabrics are very strong for lack of a better word. I thought it was going well until I laid it out to layer it for quilting. It is just plain ugly. The top is in my UFO box. My daughter wants it with a denim or flannel backing which in my opinion will only make it worse. Maybe she’ll use for a horse or barn blanket which is where it belongs.

    —Bette on April 10, 2014
  • One of my friendship quilting groups proposed an "ugly fabrics" challenge. We all met up one evening to present our "ugly" fabrics and offer suggestions of how to use them. My "ugly" was a brown colorway batik. I used it as the background color in a simple quilt design: a variety of small bright batik patches and light sea foam green triangles. It won a ribbon at the fair, and currently graces my living room couch. My "ugly"fabric transformed into a stunningly beautiful quilt!

    —Joanne Lenigan on April 10, 2014
  • Of course! Years ago I tried to make a Storm at Sea because I loved how the colors combined and seemed to make the surface move. I tried my best to pick out the right colors but – total failure! Also, the piecing is just awful; it wasn’t meant to be I guess. I just stopped working on it and didn’t quilt it.
    Well, you know how sometimes when something looks terrible, and you put it aside for a while, and then you look at it again, and it’s not so bad? So I put it aside and, now, years later, well, it still looks bad. And that’s where it is now; aside. I intend to look at it every few years until it looks good….it could happen!

    —souixZea on April 10, 2014
  • I picked up an "ugly" quilt top at our church rummage sale last year. It was in pretty bad shape, hand pieced, out of square blocks, poor color coordination. I unsewed it, squared the blocks, rearranged the blocks for better color placement, sewed it back together. I tied the quilt sandwich, bound it with some of my scraps. I ended up with a "not quite so ugly" lap quilt which was given to the VA hospital in Topeka, KS.

    —Mary Douglass on April 10, 2014
  • My ‘ugly’ quilt are in my UFO pile waiting for me to figure how to fix them up to something I like.

    —Leslie on April 10, 2014
  • The first quilt I made was in a quilting class. We were told to pick a certain number for fabrics and how much we would need of each. We were then told we would be making a Log Cabin quilt. My quilt ended up so ugly with the selection of fabrics I chose that it hangs in the closet and has never been used. Thinking now maybe I could donate it to the local animal shelter. Do dogs see in color??

    —Shirlene on April 10, 2014
  • An Amish friend asked me to piece "A black and white Dahlia" for her to quilt and sell. I used all black and white prints of nearly the same values. With my inexperience, I didn’t separate the rows with any solids. It looked like a giant lawnmower had hit it! UGLY!!!She laughed so when she saw it and we chalked it up to lesson learned. Years later she pulled it out and tied it into a comforter, and sold it at an auction.

    —CoraVee Caswell on April 11, 2014
  • I made a horribly ugly quilt as part of a guild "friendship swap." There weren’t enough "rules," I suppose. Each block by itself is okay (except for one member’s really lack of trying), but together, they are awful (per my hubs).

    I’m supposed to display it in the quild’s quilt show, but that’s been a train wreck, so I think I’m off the hook for that. I think I will give this quilt to my sister’s cat, to put in his little house outside. 🙂

    —Lauren aka Giddy99 on April 11, 2014
  • Several years ago after some knee surgery I hand pieced a quilt. Recently I took it out of my closet to hand quilt. One day I thought it was a really ugly quilt. Then I was sitting across the room and was looking at it. It is really beautiful. Have you ever thought that maybe there are really no ugly quilts.

    —Jeannette Bessler on April 11, 2014
  • Ugly’s in the eye of the beholder, but I made a top a long time ago in the grayed colors that were popular in the decorating trends of the day, like mauve and dusty blue, that I could barely look at, years later. I finally donated it to the Salvation Army a few months ago. I have a feeling they will have to donate it, too!

    —Deb on April 11, 2014
  • I have two ugly quilt tops in my poissesion. I am locally known as the "log Cabin Queen", as I love doing those. The two quilt tops have the wrong color for their light side and they sit here staring at me until I have the time to fix it. All it would take (yeah like that is easy) is to remove all the light side logs and replace with differen colors. And they just sit and stare….Someday..I’ll make thme better. In the meantime, they make me humble….even queen’s make mistakes!

    —jSusan on April 11, 2014
  • In 1989 I was living in Belgium and wanted to learn to quilt, a friend suggested that I get a quilting magazine and "just follow the directions". I made a log cabin quilt without knowing anything about rotary cutters, mats or rulers. After I finished the piecing I referred back to the magazine and all it said was "quilt as desired". That’s just it, I desire to quilt! I decided to machine quilt in the ditch, I didn’t know anymore about walking feet than I did rotary cutters. Needless to say I ended up with the world’s ugliest quilt and promptly threw it in the garbage, after 25 years of practicing my chosen hobby I wish I had that quilt back just so I could remind myself how far I’ve come.

    —Lori Mercer on April 11, 2014
  • I have two ugly tops sitting right now in the pile of tops that need quilting. However, the first ugly I ever did, I gave to the local nursing home. It was while I was learning to quilt with a group of other beginners, and we intended to make nursing home quilts.Lucky for us, the administrators asked us to please not make them too good, because the really nice quilts had a tendency to "walk off" and the residents didnt get to enjoy them. So that is a perfect solution to any ugly quilts, donate them. They will still get appreciated and used.

    —Madeline on April 11, 2014
  • well, it was pretty unsightly – as my first practice, I didn’t want to mess up pretty fabrics, so I picked all the colors from the pile I absolutely hated…. the blocks came together nicely and I was proud, but the quilt is on the bottom of the bin somewhere…

    —Tatyana on April 11, 2014
  • By profession I’m a longarm quilter and I have a range of finished quilts as samples of various stitch patterns etc for sale. I also die-cut fabric for patch workers using a well-known product. I like to keep some samples of the various dies so people can see how they look when they’re made up. It was impossible to keep a sample of one of the dies so I decided to make a sample with the ugliest mismatched fabrics I could find in my stash thinking I would be able to keep it forever as the sample for that die. I finished it, put it out in the shop in the die-cutting display at 8am and by 10am it was sold. Perfect example of what’s ugly to one person is just perfect for someone else.

    Deborah on April 11, 2014
  • I have made ugly quilts. Once completed I was saying to myself, what was I thinking. The quilts were still used.

    —Bridget on April 11, 2014
  • I have a UFO that is waiting to be finished but it is sew ugly that I am not sure I will finish it. I had lots of odd leftover blocks from many different quilts sew I decided to put them all together because I though it would really be interesting. Not so!! Just plain ugly!

    —Renea on April 11, 2014
  • I joined this free BOM against my better judgment to support a friend who wanted to do it, without knowing what the pattern would look like. It turned out to be a modern design sampler & the ugliest quilt I’ve ever seen. I was going to bury it in the back yard, but my granddaughter loved it. I put a sea turtle backing on it & pretended the backing was the top. I quilted around all the turtles & fish on it which were many. I understand my granddaughter is very protective of it.

    —Becky Couture on April 11, 2014
  • I have quilts that are not as I envisioned they would turn out, but I hesitate to call them "ugly". Two that come to mind are the result of mystery quilt challenges where the directions did not specify value, so the finished tops are not defined as to pattern. I think that I’ll practice my beginner machine quilting on them and who knows? Maybe they will improve but either way they will be finished.

    —Linda Towers on April 11, 2014
  • Before I make a quilt, I take the time to put fabrics together to see how they complement each other. I ignored that process once when I made my husband a quilt from his school colors – maroon and gold. I chose two solids that competed since they were the same value. I didn’t care for the color combination but completed it anyway, hoping it would look better when finished.
    Finishing didn’t improve the look so the quilt was relegated to the back of his car. Through the years, it has warmed sleepy children riding in the back seat on winter nights. It has also covered the ground for numerous picnics and trips to the beach. I would never have done these things to a "pretty"quilt. Ugly can serve a purpose because I won’t stress over damaging an ugly quilt. Twenty years later, it is still holding strong!

    —Kathy Renz on April 12, 2014
  • One of my first quilts was bright green and bright orange. Not just regular bright, but "Sunglasses on a cloudy day" bright. It was a baby gift,squares were 12″- alphabet letters of contrasting color in each block. I hand quilted it 1 inch around each letter. Unfortunately baby and mom left town before birth. Now that quilt resides on a rack in my sewing area to remind me of how far I have come.

    —Lynn on April 12, 2014
  • Every quilt I’ve made has good points and not-so-good points, and taught me something. Some may be the colorway, or pattern, or the length of time to complete. I always have to keep in mind the old saying "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder". Even the round robin quilts I’ve been involved with may not be the prettiest to my mind, but I added my style to it, and sent it on.

    —Ginger on April 12, 2014
  • Do you call all the Gees Bend Quilts UGLY? Well, then I have made several dozen UGLY quilts. Yes, everybody adores a pretty quilt but if I am donating to the homeless of the downtrodden- well then ugly it is. The quilts are for warmth and not to be sold, which a lot of the homeless do with the pretty quilts. Sorry if this is hard but that is my thoughts. Have sent many ugly quilts to the troops and they have appreciated them and also gave them to the locals that had lost everything due to the war. Plan on making more ugly quilts…:-}

    —Shirley on April 12, 2014

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