The Ugliest Fabric I’ve Ever Seen
Having just posted about the fabulous “After Dark” fabric that I bought at the QU show, which may indeed be “the best fabric ever produced,” I started thinking about ugly fabric. Now “ugly,” just like “light” or “dark,” can be subjective in the context of quilting: it can depend on what any given fabric is next to. It’s absolutely a matter of taste, as well; ugly is in the eye of the beholder just like beauty. And I’ve certainly seen demonstrated the truth behind Bonnie Hunter‘s famous line, “if the fabric’s still ugly, you just haven’t cut it small enough.”
I have seen a fabric so ugly that I think it would have to be cut down to near-molecular size before it ceased to be ugly. At least with most other ugly fabrics, I can imagine a collection they might have been part of, or an era in which they would have been in style — some context in which they might not be so ugly. But this one? I have nothing.
And I have purposely padded out the beginning of this post so that on most monitors you would have to scroll down to see the ugly fabric. I don’t want people just accidentally encountering an image like this. It’s NSFE: not safe for esthetics.
Why yes, those ARE 3″ chocolate brown roses on a neon green background!
I found this gem at Fabrics by Allan in Allentown in 2009, and to date I haven’t seen anything to rival it. I didn’t buy any, because I really couldn’t imagine ever using it for anything except perhaps to scare other quilters. It’s too loud and bizarre to even be the subject of an ugly fabric challenge. Plus, I would have been embarrassed to have it cut for me. And as for any of the standard uses for those “what was I thinking?” fabrics:
I couldn’t use it as the back of a bed quilt… it would keep people up at night.
I couldn’t use it as the back of a wallhanging… it might peel the paint.
I couldn’t use it in a charity quilt… they’d give it back.
I couldn’t use it to practice machine quilting… it’d throw off my tension.
I couldn’t even use it to line the cats’ bed… I like my cats.
I would even be afraid to store it with my other fabrics. One of the excuses we’ve all used when adding to our stashes is that fabric doesn’t go bad, but with this one I wouldn’t be entirely sure. If anything could cause fabric to curdle, it would be the waves of ugly radiating off of this hideous fabric.
So I left it there. And for all I know, it’s still there, resistant to all attempts to discount it. Unless, that is, the perfect customer came along one day, swooned, and said, “I’ll take the bolt.” I hope the sales staff served her with a smile… while hitting the silent alarm button.
People that disturbed can’t be allowed to just wander around unsupervised.