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In Search of Ugly Fabric


Will It Go Round in Circles,© design and piecing by Dana Jones, quilted by ZJ Humbach


I became a quilter September 12, 2003. I'd signed up for a Martha Pullen quilt weekend in Huntsville, Alabama. My drive there took longer than expected. I arrived part way into a trunk show by Alex Anderson. She was saying, "There's no such thing as an ugly fabric. You just have to find the right spot."


Hmm... I thought.


A few years later, I enrolled in a color class with Davida Hyland at City Quilter in New York City. Class 1 she had us write down the three colors we disliked most. Easy: Avocado green, harvest gold, hot pink. Class 3, she assigned our final project: a quilt in those colors.


Detail of Will It Go Round in Circles© by Dana Jones


As I left class with that unpleasant assignment, I spotted the dotted fabric above on a sale rack, the final resting place of many ugly fabrics. I bought what was left on the bolt. The pattern of the fabric became the inspiration for the design of my quilt. I completed the top in time to share with the class.


Then the quilt top sat unquilted for several years. I'd run out of all the fabrics used in the quilt, and I couldn't find other fabric for the binding. I carried the quilt top from shop to shop until one day a shop owner said, "I have the perfect fabric. Just a minute."



Binding on Will It Go Round in Circles© by Dana Jones


She disappeared into her storage closet emerging minutes later with a bolt of the ugliest green fabric I'd ever seen. It was perfect. Alex was right.


When I said I needed a half yard, the shop owner laughed. She handed me what was close to a full bolt of fabric. There were multiple sale stickers on the end of the bolt.


I could have the fabric, no charge, so long as I took all of it.


My favorite ugly fabric has since found its way into multiple quilts, always the perfect fabric I would never have purchased.


BTW: I love this quilt in my three least favorite colors. Recommendation: Embrace that ugly fabric. It will reward you.

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