Category Archives: Quilting

Creative Juice #124

Creative Juice #124

Great ideas to get your creative mojo going this weekend.

  1. Two quilt shows.
  2. Cuba in photographs.
  3. Beautiful paintings and drawings by David Harrison.
  4. Lovely tangles.
  5. Paper creatures.
  6. I don’t understand all these artsy apps, but they’re cool.
  7. Reading aloud to older children is beneficial, too.
  8. The stuff at thrift stores just keeps getting better.
  9. Stephen King takes a stand in favor of book reviews in the local newspaper, and his fans support him—and subscribe to the newspaper.
  10. Design trends for 2019.
  11. Photos of forest fauna in Finland.
  12. When life gives you snow, make a snow sculpture.

Creative Juice #123

Creative Juice #123

Twelve articles to help creatives take their artistic endeavors to the next level. Soak up some inspiration!

Ugly Fabric Quilt Challenge


In the 1990s I belonged to a quilt guild. Even though I’d taken a quilting class and read books about quilting and made a few quilts, I didn’t really know what I was doing until I’ll spent time in the guild. I learned so much from the presentations, from quilting next to other quilters, and from guild projects, such as progressive quilts and challenges.


One of the most interesting challenges (I don’t think I participated) was the ugly fabric challenge. I can’t remember the exact way it worked, but I think all the participants brought in lengths of dreadful fabric from their stashes to exchange. I can’t remember if you got to choose a fabric, or if it was just passed out in a plain brown paper bag, but the fabrics were decidedly less than optimal—an ugly color or print, an outdated design, or maybe the dye bled when washed. You had to use the challenge fabric, supplementing it with others from your own stash.

Surprise! The resulting quilts were not bad-looking. Some were actually gorgeous, with the hideous fabrics improved by lovely fabrics that surrounded them.

I wondered if quilters still did ugly fabric challenges. I found some examples online, but most were from as long as fifteen years ago. I thought I’d share some of what I found:

Beautiful leftovers

And now I have a challenge for you. If you are a quilter, you undoubtedly have a backlog of fabrics. If you’ve been quilting for decades, your taste in fabrics may have changed and you probably have some you regret. Maybe your stash exceeds your storage space, and you’ve promised yourself you won’t buy more fabric until you’ve quilted up some of what you already have, but you just can’t get excited about using drab material.

Now that you’ve seen what’s possible with undesirable fabric, take some of those uglies, admit they’re gross, and turn them into something beautiful. Mixing them with lovely fabrics in a traditional scrap quilt pattern will transform those ugly ducklings into glamorous swans.

Take pictures of your ugly fabric quilt, and post them on your blog or Flickr or Instagram. Then supply us with a link in the comments below so we can see what you’ve done. Try to do this before the end of 2019. (If you’ve already made an ugly fabric quilt, share that too.)

Creative Juice #122

Creative Juice #122

4, 6, and 7 are especially beneficial for the new year.

  1. I’ve read a bunch of these memoirs and found a few to add to my TBR pile.
  2. Natural fashion.
  3. For all the writers. Especially the freelancers. Do you deserve a reward today?
  4. How to be a good father.
  5. I love The Frugal Crafter! Here’s an upcycling project she recently posted. I love the video as well as the instructions.
  6. Ways to put failures and setbacks into perspective. (Warning: the F-word is used liberally in this article.)
  7. Using the Da Vinci Schedule to increase your productivity and prevent burnout.
  8. I think my next quilt project for myself should be a red-and-white Christmas quilt. Some of these done up in Christmas fabrics would work very nicely.
  9. I’d love to see the tools this artist used to cut this lacy octopus.
  10. Why art matters.
  11. I find this sculpture particularly moving.
  12. Your creativity requires structure.


Video of the Week #181: Antique Quilt Show


Creative Juice #120

Creative Juice #120

Christmas is a good time to consider books (they make great gifts, just sayin’) and other beautiful things.

Creative Juice #119

Creative Juice #119

Beautiful stuff to inspire you to greater creativity. Get out there and make some art, people.

  1. Sand sculptures.
  2. For the cat lovers.
  3. Quilt show-and-tell.
  4. Beautiful tangles from all over the world, same theme.
  5. The 100 books of 2018 that the New York Times considers notable.
  6. Aachen Cathedral and the wardrobe of Mary.
  7. Crease. Fold. Color.
  8. Favorite recipes. Lovely servingware.
  9. Gorgeous laser-cut light displays.
  10. Prize-winning photography.
  11. Artwork available as prints, posters, shirts, and skateboards.
  12. An artist’s tribute to her dad. (You’ll need a hanky for this one.)