Quilting Gallery Blog

Vote for the “The Ugly Quilt”


Please cast your vote below for the “What was I thinking?” – The Ugly Quilt Contest. View all of the submissions, read the funny stories and make your selection below.

Since this is an Ugly Quilt Contest, please vote for the quilt most deserving of the title “The Ugly Quilt”. Which quilter deserves to win one of the fabulous prizes below for sharing their quilting blunders with us all?

The prizes are:

Thanks to all the contestants; I really enjoyed reading your stories and seeing the quilts. A huge thank-you to the three sponsors for this contest.

Voting will close Sunday July 19, 2009.

One vote per IP address. What this means is, if you share your Internet connection with someone else, such as at work, then only one person will be able to vote from that address. This is in effect to prevent someone from voting multiple times.

Quick stats:

  • Total submissions: 20
  • Total countries: 5
  • Total provinces: 3
  • Total states: 11

You can click on the photo to view a larger version.

ADD vegetable quilt ADD vegetable quilt
By: TC,
Texas, USA
Blog: Thimble Chick

I call this my “ADD quilt,” because looking at it causes me to feel like my brain is going in six directions at once.

Apparently, I missed the quilting lesson that teaches one not to use too many busy prints in one quilt. I chose only 3 fabrics for this quilt top – a print of scattered peas, a print of scattered carrots, and a print of assorted vegetables – but the end result looks like a bomb went off in a backyard garden.

So this is the quilt that I let the dogs sleep on. This is the quilt that I allow – no, URGE – my kids to take outside for picnics. And this is the quilt that I will someday give to someone to wrap around a piano when they move, and I will pray with every fiber of my being that it (the quilt, not the piano) will blow off the back of the truck and never been seen again.

Animal lovers, please do not fret about the pug on the quilt in the photo. He is already blind, so no worries about the quilt affecting his vision.

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Another Scrap quilt Another Scrap quilt
By: Lee Dueck,
Alberta, Canada
Blog: Lala’s Lovelys

Oh this one is taking forever to get done. Started originally in 2004. Started again in 2009 and only needs the stippling finished. I used scraps from previous projects from the 1990’s.

Somehow this quilt got really long and narrow. I had to add really wide side borders just so it would hang over the edge of a single bed. My daughters call it the “Ugly Quilt”.

I keep telling myself to get this done before I start something else, but since I don’t like it I am not sure when it will ever get done!

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Beach Quilt Beach Quilt
By: Pat in Sarasota,
Florida, USA

This quilt is for my son’s girlfriend who lives in Ind. I was going to make a beach theme quilt for her to wrap in during her cold winter. It was to be a lap quilt. Then they announced they were getting married so the quilt needed to be larger. Ordered more fabric and ended up with way too many different patterns. I thoiught a “water” fabric would be good for the borders. I went online and found what I thought were crazy quilt blocks. Unfortunately the blocks were for paper piecing (who knew what that was) and had no seam allowance. Needless to say my blocks weren’t very square. So, I started adding fabric to the sides. the borders look as crazy as the blocks. It looked so wild when I laid it out that I made it reversible so the back is more of the same wacky blocks. This is my 3rd quilt, first 2 were baby quilts, so I can only plead ignorance and the truth is I wasn’t thinking! It will be a looong timebefore I try another crazy quilt! It will make a great pet bed if they get a dog.

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Cardio Cardio
By: Penny Globe,
Ontario, Canada
Blog: Harmony Hopes Studio

“What was I thinking”? I can’t caption this any better. I made this quilt when I was recuperating from a heart attack 20 years ago and because my job was very stressful had to take extra time to regain my strength.

I had always wanted to make a pattern for a variegated attic window. That was pretty easy to do, then, I went very Amish, like many quilters, a phase in my journey in fiber art.

I never finished it before I went back to work. Over the years I would psyche myself to put it back on the frame to finish it and perhaps give it to a charity to auction.

I am sure it is 80% quilted. But…like the main colour, it is from the black period of my life. I am still plagued with cardiomyopathy, that will never go away and chances are the quilt will never be finished.

So now you have the story about my ugly 3 dimensional quilt.

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Crazy Daisy Crazy Daisy
By: Lori Draeger,
Texas, USA
Blog: Lori’s Weblog

This pattern is from The Buggy Barn’s Certifiably Crazy book. Which is what I must have been when I put these fabrics together! I made it for a contest at a quilt store. Guess who didn’t win a prize?

It might be ugly, but it is a good warm lap quilt!

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Feedsacks gone bad Feedsacks gone bad
By: Quilty Conscience,
Arkansas, USA
Blog: My Quilty Conscience

My Mother had given me a stack of old feedsacks . I sKetched out a design on graph paper, and I very carefully measured and cut triangles.

It was all down hill after that.

First, I used a very cheap white fabric, it was see through and flimsy.

Then I paid no mind to seam allowance. I had seams that were ranging from a 1/8 inch all the way to 3/4 inch.

And as if that weren’t quite enough, one of the the two pinwheel borders I made for the ends was at least 6 inches longer than the other, and neither border matched up to the middle.

The more I pieced, the wonkier it grew. I finally stopped piecing it and stashed it in a box where it stayed, haunting me, for more than 10 years.

I did not finish this quilt, but I desperately wanted to salvage the precious feedsack fabric, so I spent several hours taking the horrid thing apart, and I am currently working on remaking it.

I am happy to report that the remake is going smoothly.

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Just that my ugly quilt test Just that my ugly quilt test
By: Betweens,
Ontario, Canada
Blog: Patchwork Sanity

Fons and Porter was doing a tutorial on this pattern I used what I thought were good contrasting fabics…so contrasting that they glare at me.. I am not a purple fan not sure why I used purple. it is more the colors I used more than anything. It is quilted just waiting to finish the prairie points on it.

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Katydid's binky Katydid’s binky
By: Patti Medal,
Minnesota, USA

My step-daughter likes bright colours, so a bright log cabin should be quick, right? Wrong. I wanted 1 1/2″ bars. What WAS I thinking to start CUTTING the strips that size?!? So..start small, finish small. However, with about 200 different fabric bits, there was no rhyme or reason to the blocks. I couldn’t just assembly line them..every block is different.

It took me 4 years to finish, but finish I did..cursing at self for at least the last 3 years!! Oh yes..my daughter knew nothing of this quilt. I hung it on the wall at church to present it to her. She was wonderfully surprised, & pleased.

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Leap Frog Leap Frog
By: Ann Champion,
Ohio, USA
Blog: Ann Champion’s blog

I had just had a major surgery and was recuperating. I needed to walk a bit so my Husband took me to some garage sales..a favorite past time of mine. I found a maternity dress made from a batik fabric that had frogs on it, which had been gifted to the woman having the sale by her Mother in Law. She thought it was hideous..but at that time (2000) I had never seen batik fabric and I thought it was wonderful.

I bought that dress and came home and took it apart so I could reuse that fabulous fabric. I pulled fabrics from my stash that matched colors in the batik and cut and pieced my blocks OK…BUT..I was on strong pain killers at the time and what looked beautiful to me then..is quite awful when viewed without opiates in my system. ;) LOL

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Mark's Quilt Mark’s Quilt
By: Meredith,
South Carolina, USA

I made this quilt when I was 18 or 19. I let my brother, Mark, pick out all the fabrics – I think he was 5 at the time. We picked out a bunch of 5-inch squares from the fabric store, and we grabbed some remnants of his choice. I didn’t even bother doing much measuring or pressing. I just sort of winged it!

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My First Quilt, a quilting disaster My First Quilt, a quilting disaster
By: Jean Kritenbrink,
Iowa, USA
Blog: Jean’s Page

When my oldest daughter was about 7 or 8, I got some fabric strips that were discarded from a furniture mfg plant. They were sheet ends, so pretty nice quality. I decided to make my daughter a quilt using squares of these fabrics. I had sewn forever, but never made a quilt so had no problem sewing the squares together.

I sewed the layers together and turned right side out and tied it. I was pretty proud of it until after I had washed it a couple times and all the batting slid to one end. I knew nothing about battings so didn’t know to be sure and get bonded batting.

So I opened it up, pulled all the batting out and she had a “light” quilt. I was disappointed, but she loved it and still has it. She took pix of it so I could show you.

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Mystery night quilt - ugly fabric combination Mystery night quilt – ugly fabric combination
By: Celine,
United Kingdom
Blog: Espritpatch

I made the quilt top during a mystery night at my LQS in 2007. I choose my Auntie’s favorite colours (purple/pink) as this was going to be for her 60th birthday. I selected 2 fabrics from my stash and bought some more to compliment the ones I had. I didn’t know how fabrics were going to be organised in the top. I was quite pleased at 7am, after sewing all night to have completed the quilt top that I stashed away for later.

What was I thinking or was I too tired to see clearly? When I got it out again a couple of months ago to finish it I thought it looked horrible. Something just didn’t work. I finally worked out that the 2 prints next to each other were awful. I just didn’t like it. So I have taken the top apart to get back to the 25 blocks and have even taken some of the blocks apart to change the color arrangement. I have bought some pale lilac background fabric to eventually set the blocks on point and have a new top. You can follow the saga of this quilt on my blog!

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By: Claudia,
Blog: ISIS’S En el mundo del Patchwork




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Piano Concerto Piano Concerto
By: Arnevik Joann,
Minnesota, USA

I made this for my niece who loves music. It was so ugly, I just couldn’t give it to her. I will not tell you who I got the idea from because it would embarrass them.

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R's graduation quilt R’s graduation quilt
By: Joonybug,
Pennsylvania, USA

I make quilts for family members that graduate from school and I ask what they would like. My son decided he wanted a 2 color quilt..
1. I had never made a quilt with just 2 colors.
2. I wasn’t overly fond of the colors he choose.

I found an 8inch block pattern that seemed rather simple with lots of placement options.

It eneded up having too many options and I tried several and ended up with this hodge podge of a quilt. The big blocks did give me great options for hand quilting… but that can’t change the way a quilt looks.

I didn’t like the pattern when I had the top together and could have changed it.. but didn’t..What was I thinking??

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Stompin Grapes Stompin Grapes
By: Lorna Wainwright,
Wisconsin, USA
Blog: Photo Musings

I started making this quilt for my daughter for Christmas. I finished the queen size top and hated it…so I had to make her another quick so it would be done in time. This top sits in my cupboard, my ugly duckling. Every once and a while I take it out to see if it looks any better to me. Nope, this material just does not work together.

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The SEA turned RED with blood The SEA turned RED with blood
By: A. Carole Grant,
British Columbia, Canada

I was reading about the Red Sea crossing of the Isrealites with Pharaoh of Egypt in hot pursuit. I thought I would use a play on words and make this piece as the second in my EXAGGERATION series.

It is pretty bad… everyone thought it was a portrait piece, I wanted the ugly, mad Pharaoh to be in the shape of the RED SEA, or vice versa.. well, you get it, I am sure… I used symbols in the ‘rock work’ to imitate perhaps a castle, whatever.

It just didn’t work like I thought it would. I will cut it up eventually.

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The Turd Runner The Turd Runner
By: Jocelynne Broderick,
Utah, USA

Yes, disgusting, I know. But here’s the dealio: I promised my mother-in-law I’d make her a table runner for her birthday. They were adding on to their house and were doing kind of a rustic theme, so I chose the browns and golds (which matched beautifully, by the way). I’m making the thing and I’m starting to doubt it. Well, I think, maybe it will look ok when it’s done. So I go ahead and finish it.

I laid it out on the table to show my husband and instantly we both thought of a piece of poo. You’ll see why. I was mortified, we told her that we couldn’t in good conscience give her a piece of poo. And we couldn’t imagine her actually putting this on her table, and having people over to eat, with a piece of poo ON THE TABLE. I know *I’d* never be able to look at it. I posted a photo of the offending runner and it was dubbed “The Turd Runner”.

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TJ's Wild & Wacky TJ’s Wild & Wacky
By: Tonya,
North Carolina, USA
Blog: Tonya’s Sewing Room

This quilt for my hubby (TJ) has been in the making for years. He and his mother picked out fabrics for this quilt. I had no say so whatsoever….I kept saying “there’s no way these will go together” “how will I coordinate these colors and patterns”? So, I just starting cutting triangles and sewing them together best I thought they looked. I had hopes for this quilt, I really thought I could turn it around and make it look like a decent quilt. haha…..little did I know, it was too late. I just couldn’t! So, I sewed all the blocks together. Layed them out to the design I sewed them in and this is what I came up with. Then I thought a black border couldn’t make it look any worse. And some where along the lines, I thought rick rack would look good. WHAT WAS I THINKING?? Next, I got my free motion sewing foot and thought I would practice on this quilt. oh my! Now, the quilt is in such a state I’m not sure I can even fix it. It’s packed away in a tote. The hubs likes it!

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Work of 'eart Work of ‘eart
By: Sue Mobilia,
Blog: Charlotte’s Cottage

This was a club challenge to use 3 colours from a specific paint chart. I couldn’t find fabric in the colours so I bought the paint and stamped (badly) some cheap unbleached calico. Then cut random strips and wove them into a heart shape with raw edges showing.

The whole quilt is about 20″ square and is as stiff and scratchy as sandpaper. Too small for anyone but a new baby and too uncomfortable to ever use. Too ugly to hang and too rigid to even fold and put away.

The creative process was fun though.

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“What was I thinking?” – The Ugly Quilt Contest

  • My First Quilt, a quilting disaster (20%, 153 Votes)
  • Work of 'eart (14%, 105 Votes)
  • The SEA turned RED with blood (11%, 83 Votes)
  • ADD vegetable quilt (11%, 81 Votes)
  • R's graduation quilt (10%, 75 Votes)
  • Mark's Quilt (6%, 47 Votes)
  • Katydid's binky (4%, 30 Votes)
  • PARA LA TIA SARA (4%, 29 Votes)
  • Beach Quilt (3%, 26 Votes)
  • TJ's Wild & Wacky (3%, 25 Votes)
  • Piano Concerto (3%, 21 Votes)
  • The Turd Runner (3%, 20 Votes)
  • Feedsacks gone bad (2%, 13 Votes)
  • Cardio (1%, 9 Votes)
  • Crazy Daisy (1%, 7 Votes)
  • Stompin Grapes (1%, 7 Votes)
  • Just that my ugly quilt (1%, 7 Votes)
  • Another Scrap quilt (1%, 6 Votes)
  • Leap Frog (1%, 5 Votes)
  • Mystery night quilt - ugly fabric combination (0%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 752

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This post was published on July 11th, 2009. Post topics: Quilt Gallery, Special Features. Post tags: .

33 Responses to “Vote for the “The Ugly Quilt””

  1. Denise says:

    I see some beauty in all of them…except “Mark’s Quilt” (sorry!). It’s pretty pathetic. My apologies to the maker, but I just don’t think she hit the “mark” on that one!!

  2. Jody says:

    Aw! Most of them weren’t that bad, just in need of finding the right person with the right taste. It was fun to look at them and read the stories … we’ve all “been there, done that”. Thanks for the smile.
    .-= Jody’s latest post: Fun and Free – Food and Dress-Up =-.

  3. Holly says:

    I think a lot of them are very pretty. We are just too hard on ourselves.

  4. Catherine says:

    I want “Piano Concerto” to hang over my piano, I think it’s beautiful! I love the bright cheerful colors. And My son loved ” Leap frog”. Funny how what one thinks is terrible, another thinks is just great!
    .-= Catherine’s latest post: Progress on feedsack Quilt =-.

  5. Sandie Hrycyk says:

    I see I’m not alone, I liked the “Piano Concerto” too!
    The heart stamped fabric had good intentions, perhaps just needs some solid colour in it.
    It was hard to vote for the ugly quilt. I wanted to vote for the story. I kept thinking as I read “Been there done that”

  6. Sheba says:

    These mostly look pretty good to me. I am sorry I missed this contest because I have a real doozy!

  7. TC says:

    I agree with those who like “Piano Concerto!” Maybe we ugly quilt makers just ought to have a big swap. :)
    .-= TC’s latest post: Coffee does a body good. If you remember to drink it. =-.

  8. melanie says:

    I think some of them are lovely!
    (but some are most definitely UGLY!)
    .-= melanie’s latest post: It’s coming… do you have a list? =-.

  9. Susie says:

    TC, swapping could be fun bit I’m sure no one would want the “Work of ‘eart”.
    It might not look too bad but it will cut you to ribbons. Those painted threads are sharp!!!

  10. I loved them all. I could see merit in them all. And the piano one! Awesome. That can fall of a truck outside my house anytime and I give it a happy home. I agree with Sandie – I think the story was the deciding factor in my choice!
    .-= Sally Westcott’s latest post: Remaking an old quilt! So sad. =-.

  11. Sarahe4e says:

    This was so hard having to chose an ugly one when each in their own way is beautiful. I have never seen what could be considered an ugly quilt. Someone, somewhere always likes a quilt no matter what it looks like. I finally choose The Sea Turned Red with Blood just because the title is so gruesome. I would really like to be the owner of that piece of art.

  12. Helen from Hobart says:

    Piano Concerto
    I LOVE IT. I would love it hanging over my piano.
    Please Please Please send it my way.

    PS Most of these quilts are fine – you just need to let them mature a few years. Then drag them out, add border, sandwich and machine quilt as a learning exercise, and if you still cna’t stand them – give them to a refuge. someon who needs love will love them.

  13. Virginia Hendricks says:

    I think some of the contestants are too hard on themselves. There are a couple there that I’d tell them to send to me, I’d love them! :)

    Cardio is pretty, and I’d be happy to take Just that my ugly quilt test


  14. Jill Gibson says:

    “work of ‘eart” as quilts I love have to be soft & cuddly!!!!

  15. Heather says:

    Call me crazy, I just don’t think there’s really such a thing as an ugly quilt! Every one of these had some redeeming quality — but I did cast my vote, nonetheless. lol
    .-= Heather’s latest post: Seasons of the Heart April BOM =-.

  16. kathy says:

    i don’t know much about quilts,but some of these people needs to try another hobbie.

  17. Karen says:

    some of these quilts are very cute,, agree with the former post that we are often too hard on ourselfs. The veggie quilt looks like it could have been cute if some solid colors had been added to it, make it less busy

  18. Anita says:

    How do U vote — can’t find a place to place my vote..

  19. Mishka says:

    Hi Anita,

    The poll to vote is on this page… above.

    If all you see are the results, then someone from the same IP address already voted.


  20. Sophia Aster says:

    What a fun idea for a contest! I saved myself from an ugly quilt when I first started sewing because I could not bring myself to even sew the pieces together after I’d cut them out.
    .-= Sophia Aster’s latest post: Blog & Logo Redesign =-.

  21. I thought some of the quilts were great!! Okay and some were NOT so great…

    I really liked and would like to own the music quilt. My husband teaches at a music school that is non for profit.
    I have donated a quilt for raffle to help raise money and the winner donated it back to the school to hang.. That piano quilt would look so good in that school.
    Arnevik Joann please email me.
    Piano Concerto
    By: Arnevik Joann, Minnesota, USA

  22. wendy says:

    Ok, I never laugh out loud at anything on the web, but OMG when I saw the heading “The Turd Runner” I laughed a huge belly laugh for like a minute! I wish I could vote for it, but it’s just not that ugly.

    Wow, that ADD vegetable quilt really is hard to look at, even in a photograph! I literally cannot look directly at it, like the sun. And the purple frog quilt really is ugly, but I don’t know if it’s the ugliest of all.
    .-= wendy’s latest post: And this is just the CENTER of the top! =-.

  23. Lis says:

    Well done to all who entered – I think we can all own up to some less than beautiful work but beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I like to appreciate the work and effort and ideas that went into these quilts, they all started so well!!
    .-= Lis’s latest post: Anna Millea =-.

  24. Robin says:

    Isnt it funny how perceptions are different?

    i personally think several of the quilts are stunning and love them- no way do i think they should be in the ugliest contest

    my favs (in no particular order)

    Katydid’s binky (love this)
    Leap frog
    Piano Concerto

  25. Joyce Mullis says:

    Piano Concerto should not be in this competition at all! I would gladly give this to a pianist and I know they would gladly receive it! R’s Graduation, however, is just lackly SO much! Definitely, what was she thinking??

  26. · Vote for the Ugliest Quilt says:

    […] Quilting Gallery is having an Ugliest Quilt contest. All quilts were self-nominated so it’s all in good fun! There are only a couple that […]

  27. cynthia says:

    Well, I actually thought a few of the quilts were pretty…..some reminded me of my first quilt and then my second quilt LOL

    Para La Tia Sara not bad at all!!!!

  28. Dar says:

    I’m not a quilter myself, but I deeply appreciate the work that goes into them. You ladies are way too hard on yourselves though; we all make dogs once in a while, whatever our craft. Carry on and don’t look back.

  29. Cheryl English says:

    Well, this was a delightful romp this morning while I drank coffee. Laughing and spilling as I read each story. I have to say, none of these submissions were terrible. The stories were hilarious and candid. Anyway, I’ve seen worse, much worse in my own studio.

    Most are finished and that’s a big positive for all these!

  30. wendiq says:

    What a hoot! I, too, have enjoyed and laughed over the explanations these ladies have given for their reasons not liking their quilts. Some are really hideous…..other’s not so bad. It is in the eye of the beholder.
    Thanks for this morning’s entertainment!

  31. […] (I think!) to the three winners of The Ugly Quilt […]

  32. deb says:

    It is funny how the votes went..congrats on the winners that submitted…I guess alot of people like purple..I better finish my “ugly” and get it in a quilt show then. it got almost the less votes.. LOL
    .-= deb’s latest post: a few things going on in the quilt’n room =-.

  33. Angela says:

    I think the photos probably improve some of them! Anyway how else do we learn what works?

    My vote goes to “Turd” ; just as well it wasn’t bigger.

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