From Ugly Fabric to Valentine Quilt

My Fiberista’s group is having an ugly fabric challenge. In a nutshell: choose an ugly from your stash (where do they come from?), put it in a paper bag, throw bags in a pile, pick a new bag, make something with it. This is the lovely piece I acquired.

Ugly challenge fabric

I must admit, it didn’t seem to match anything in my stash, and I didn’t even know what sort of quilt/project to make with it. I decided the color sort of reminded me of milk chocolate, and with Valentine’s Day coming, I reflected on my favorite candy of the season – chocolate covered strawberries. Mmm! So I pulled out my brown, red, pink and green scraps (green for the stems  😉 ), and went to Pinterest to find some pattern ideas. Nothing grabbed me under “chocolate covered strawberry quilts”, but when I tried “chocolate covered cherries” – BINGO – there were quite a few.

The one that caught my eye was by a quilter/blogger named Susan (visit her blog at It used the Indian Hatchet block, which I’ve shared in previous posts.

Ugly block

This square makes a great autograph block, as seen here in this friendship quilt given to me by my quilting friends when I moved away from Madison (note the signatures in the wide white strips).

autograph quilt Mad City

What if I would use my Indian Hatchet technique, but with skinnier strips? And this is the result – a Valentine table runner:

Ugly challenge 2016

If you haven’t tried this block, it’s simple and a lot of fun.  You’ll need 2 contrasting fabrics. Cut a 3½” square from one and a 1¼” x 6″ strip from the other (feel free to experiment with other sizes – it’s a very “flexible” block).

Cut the square on one diagonal, and begin by folding one triangle in half to make a crease along the long edge with your fingernail. Fold the strip in half and crease it also.

Indian Hatchet block

Line up these creases while aligning the pieces, right sides together.

Indian Hatchet block

Sew the triangle to the strip. I chained many units together and stacked the unused triangles, so they would be in order for the next step, and I made sure I didn’t cut the chain apart.

Ugly triangle 1 chain

Press the seams towards the strips. Then add the second triangle by lining it up evenly inside the first one.

Indian Hatchet block

Separate the chain and press the second seams towards the triangles. Square up the block to 3½” by placing the 45º diagonal through the center of the strip.

 Indian Hatchet block

Next determine your pattern. As you may have noticed in the autograph quilt, the layout was rather abstract and interesting. I thought this time I’d like it more symmetrical, but I decided to ask Sommer (who is always nearby when I’m quilting) if she wanted to make a pattern. Here’s what she came up with for the first 16 blocks (then she lost interest):

Indian Hatchet block layout

I decided I really did prefer the symmetrical placement and she was OK with it. I made 40 blocks and set them 4 x 10.

My “ugly” fabric worked great and the leftover challenge fabric was just the right size for the backing. A quick Valentine table runner done just in time. Plus – the ugly challenge isn’t due until the end of the month. I’m feeling rather virtuous  😀 !

Do you have any fun Valentine projects you’d like to share?

Or how about a quilt you’ve made from an “ugly” challenge?

I’d love to see pictures! Please send them to me at


1 Opinion

  • Cheryl Parker said:

    One of my vintage sewing machine groups had an Ugly Fabric challenge last year. Ugly is subjective, to say the least. I was lucky enough to wind up with large black polka dots on white, and large white polka dots on black. I’m planning on making a sewing machine mat, and pin cushion thread catcher with mine. I also found black with white polka dot and white with black polka dot coffee mugs, so, I’ll also make some mug rugs with the Ugly fabrics. I have some great, sewing theme fabrics that go with both polka dot fabrics (red background with teal, black and white) that I’ll use with both fabrics. You did a nice job with the table runner.


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