Wednesday Wonder: Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder

I enjoyed reading a recent response to “A Quirky Question” on the Martingale blog.

The question was: “Have you ever made an ugly quilt?” and the winner’s response was an eye opener.

She finished her response with:  ” ….. Ugly can serve a purpose because I won’t stress over damaging an ugly quilt. Twenty years later, it is still holding strong!”

This jogged my memory of a challenge that I entered when I first started patchwork.

Way back then (1991),  living  in a remote community without access to any patchwork, or even fabric, shops it was a challenge to source fabric, so our small patchwork group decided to share our stash in an unusual way.

We had an “ugly fabric” challenge.

We each had to contribute a piece of fabric that we didn’t particular like … a piece that we considered to be ugly!

Everyone’s fabric went into a basket and we then had to choose a fabric that we liked, and make up a block for a shared quilt.

It was amazing … everyone found at least one piece of fabric that they liked, and the finished quilt looked quite good.

Beauty (& ugly) really was in the eye of the beholder.

In fact the quilt looked good enough to raise over $300 for charity when it was raffled for a $1.00 per ticket.

Sadly, the photo has faded so I can’t share that quilt with you, but making it did give me a fascination for quilt challenges.

The next quilt challenge that I joined was with the neighbouring patchwork group (260km away).

We each purchased one metre of bright, wildly striped, fabric with an instruction to feature the fabric in a quilt design of our own choice.


I cut the fabric into 4 1/2″  stripes, and then fussy cut triangles, using a technique that had been described by Jan Urqhart in the Down Under Quilts magazine.


This method of cutting a striped fabric created 12 triangles, enough to piece the centre and points  of  one six pointed star from each stripe.


I took the instruction to feature the fabric in the quilt to heart, and used every centimetre  of fabric in the quilt.

Sadly, I don’t get that many challenge quilts finished these days but I am trying to keep up with our office Round Robin Challenge.

We would love to hear about your Challenge Quilts, so write a comment, and share the story.


2 Responses

  1. Did you win the challenge? Your use of the fabric is wonderful.

    • Hi Chris, No, I didn’t get the quilt finished in time for the deadline because I didn’t find the background fabric until after the closing date.

      I didn’t want to use a solid black background and, knowing the great range fabrics that are now available, you will laugh when I tell you how difficult it was to find a black self print.

      It was before online shopping so I telephone shops all over SA asking for a Black on Black print and was often told that it didn’t exist. I think it took six months to find that backing fabric!

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