Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Fungly Challenge

You know how I've been giving you all hints about my crazy, wild project? Well it's finally time for the reveal.

The Fungly Challenge

Play along with Tonya and Bonnie and sew a Fungly Quilt. What is a Fungly Quilt? It's FUN and UGLY and will bring the Quilt Police to tears.

The FABRIC

You will need fabric that is:

horrendously ugly
high contrast, hard to use
really busy
boring boring boring
past its sell-by date (just how long has it been sitting unused on your shelf?)
stuff you just plain old don't like. no reason or explanation, it's perfectly nice fabric you just can't stand it.
leftover novelty fabrics (think I-Spy and Bug Jar)

We recommend that you use fabrics from several of these categories, not just one. If you only use boring fabrics you'll put yourself AND the quilt to sleep. The best way of all to do this is to work on this challenge with friends. That way if one of you has lots of busy novelties and the other calicoes from the '70s, wheee, you can have some fun. If you can't sew together, then exchange strips of fabric ahead of time.

you may also throw in a solid or near-solid or two, just so you don't get seasick...


The RULES (more like suggestions)

be casual, mismatch seams, make blocks the "wrong" way - if you're already a Liberated Quilter, this part will be easy
NO seamripping (except to resew a seam that is too narrow and will come apart when the quilt is used)
make it work - if it's too short add more fabric, if it's too long, cut some off.

If you want deliberate liberation, cut your squares and triangles in different sizes. Make some bigger, make some smaller. Throw in some rectangles and angles. Be a very lazy cutter who can't read a ruler. Use your miscuts. I cut some of my 3.5" squares into triangles rather than the bigger 4" squares. D'oh, but I used them!

The PATTERN

Pick any pattern you'd like to play with but choose one that is BIG. For instance a 9" Jacks on Six block. That way the ugly fabric can't hide. So if you're exchanging strips with friends, 3.5" is the minimum. If you're going to use half-square triangles, than add some 4" strips too.

The GOAL

Have a lot of fun. Make the "worst" quilt you can. Experiment and play. What are the ugliest color and fabric combinations that you can come up?

The goal is NOT to end up with a quilt that you will love (although you just might). Instead, plan on using it for having picnics, making forts, letting sleeping dogs lie. A quilt that is so hideous you don't mind kids throwing up on it or leaving it up in the treehouse during a rain storm. Or, you can always use it as a really outrageous quilt backing.

The WHY

I was listening to a Talk of the Nation interview with author Lynda Barry about her new book What it Is (which sounds really fun - looking forward to reading it) and they discussed a writing exercise in which the students write an essay. Then they are told to revise it to make it the perfect essay. And the final step is to make it the WORST essay possible. Both the caller and Ms Barry agreed that when the students are trying to be deliberately bad the essays are really lively and show more energy than either of the other essays. It struck me this would be a great quilt exercise. But we're skipping the first two steps.

I have to say, I think it works. My quilt top IS lively and fun. I know I had a great time sewing it. Most was fabric I'd consigned to "never want to use it for real" and that really let me play with it without worrying about wasting it.

Please don't be offended if you look at some of this fabric and think "I love it, how can she call it ugly?" Remember, some of this is fabric I do love, but I've had sitting around for too long. The only exception to that is the monster balloons which I think are a hoot and I just wanted to USE - it's fairly new fabric.

Some of the tropical prints in my top are from the early 1990s, when I used to buy fabric mail order from a 1" square that could so often be misleading esp with big prints. I do love them, but they've been sitting on my shelves for 15 years. Time to play.

Go to Bonnie's Fungly post to see what she came up with. She focused on strange fabric combinations. I've now sent her a bunch of my leftover fungly bits so I'm really looking forward to seeing what she comes up with mixing both our fabrics together.

Play with us! Make a fungly quilt.

42 comments:

nicolette said...

This sounds like a lot of fun!

I’m a bit afraid if I would pick out fungly fabrics though to offend lovely friends who gave me these fabrics... They read my blog!

Joyce said...

Fungly is in the eye of the beholder. Some of my faves could be fungly to others because I am so in love with brights. My next project may well be fungly. I was just perusing Collaborative Quilting over coffee today and this may just be enough to send me off in that direction.

Midnight Quilter said...

Oh, Gawd! I certainly have a few promising contestants for a starring role in this kind of quilt! This is a too much fun, I need to go stash-diving now.

katherinesands said...

"...bring the Quilt police to tears." Too funny!!! This quilt is a great idea.

Katie said...

Gosh darn it! Like I don't have anything else to do! hee hee

What fun!

jovaliquilts said...

Love it, love it!! We're going to be working on a fungly quilt this Thursday at our local Project Linus worknight. We have lots of ugly donated fabrics that I just didn't know what to do with -- and now I do! Thank you!

belinda said...

Your post is HYSTERICAL and the quilt idea OVER THE EDGE!!!! I love this!! Fun and Ugly....yeah, that's me!!

Quiltdivajulie said...

I have a boat load of bright juvenile and themed prints on black along with a lot of neon greens from my nephew's Kudzu quilt... I see a fungly in there somewhere!!

Won't it be a HOOT to watch as these evolve!!

(but I gotta finish my Monkeys project first - it got stalled while I was sick...)

Diane said...

What a great idea. One of my quilt guilds has been swapping "dog" (ugly) fabric at its Christmas party for years. But here's the funny part: My fabric stash is so taseful that whenever I participated in the exchange, I'd have to go out and purchase a "dog"
fabric. My friend, Barb, can vouch for me. When she helped me sort and organize my sewing room, she asked me, "Where are your BAD fabrics? I replied, "I don't have any bad fabrics!" So, if I were to make a fungly quilt, I'd have to go with weird color combinations. Oddly enough, those are the blocks that make antique quilts sing. By the way, I don't think your quilt is near ugly enough. I expect much WORSE from you, Tonya!

KnitOneQuiltTooKristin said...

What outrageous fun! Thanks for the laughs Tonya. I think your fungly quilt looks great from a distance. It's probably a hoot to see all those strange fabrics together up close. I can vouch that I've done a bit of fungly piecing with my scrap quilts, but I might have to do some more concentrated fungly piecing to match yours.

KathieB said...

So many fabulous ideas, so little time. (And do I EVER have the fabric for something like this...!) I'll be on a week-long retreat next month and plan to start a Quiltville-type leftover scrap quilt. Hope this qualifies--my life is a constant series of attempts to kill several birds with one stone.

Fran said...

The fun never ends. LOL.. Just one more project to add to the ones on the go.

I limit my 'on the go' projects to 10, and they go into large plastic bags with a number on them. As I finish one , I end up making room for another.

Today I made a sling for my 11 year old grandaughter who broke her arm last week. Shocking pink with white daisies with purple centers. A piece of this will be going into the 'fungly bag.

Soooooo, 'Fungly Quilt' just hit the number 10 bag. Hope I can get to it before our first guild meeting in September. Wish me luck. Have fun everyone.

Smiles...:c)...Fran

Lynne in Hawaii said...

Tonya,you and Bonnie came up with a bang up good idea! It has been fun just reading your blogs about it! Keep up the joy!

Kelly said...

That is so cool, I love this quilt. Great job!

ROZ said...

OK, OK. fungly it is. Although the quilt that I just made is a bit fungly anyhow. I'm quilting it right now. Years ago I made a string quilt and I used all the most awful fabric in the world as backing for the squares.

quiltedepee said...

When I don't have a million UFOs on my plate, I just may get around to making a fungly quilt. Thanks for sharing!
Anjea

Anonymous said...

absolutly hideous, What a waste of time. If your quilt last 5 years and some drunk frenchman finds it clogging the sewer it will have come to good use. Have you thought of buying some good fabric and making a pretty quilt where the seams match and the points are not chomp off. Maybe your glass need a correction. Viva La France.

woolywoman said...

Anonymous- Way to get into the spirit of things! You have the ugly down pat, now work on the fun!

As for the quilts, this sounds a lot like the dog's bed that I made last year. I will repost a photo. The high heel shoe fabric cracks me up. I think I have some fabrics left... hmmm, maybe some fried egg flowers....

cher said...

this would work well with the donated fabrics I get for my charity group...although I certainly have my share of older fabric that would be great for this fun idea..glad you and Bonnie put your heads together and issued this fun challenge.

ps...I am with you about the knee thing-my knees are bad and I won't have them looked at to begin with.

Judy J said...

Looks like Kaffe Fasset to me. I love it!!

Purple Pam said...

I'm sorry Tonya, but this quilt is not ugly enough. I like this quilt, especially because it has purple sashing. I like the brightness, the funkyness. It makes me smile. It would brighten any day for me.

jude said...

i really should try this.

Krissi's Stitchery said...

This, truly, is a DIVINE idea! I have just the ugly fabrics (lots of 'em).

Maureen and P.D. the Pet Dog said...

Tonya, Thank you Thank you Thank you for making quilting fun for us and giving us challenges like this! I can't wait to go pull fabric and PLAY!
Moe

Magpie Sue said...

Let me be honest here, and forgive me in advance: Damn! I wish I had the energy to play! (Color me exceedingly frustrated these days.)

Jacquie said...

oh my goodness, i have a box where i stuff my ugly fabrics. i've been embarrassed to offer those fabrics to anyone else. could they be a fungly quilt? i wonder if i could let myself loose to do this...love how you push us out of our boxes!

AlisonH said...

Took me a moment to realize those were shoes in that third picture--stilettoes and sneakers. What a combination! Certainly goes with the spirit of what you were doing, and I love how the quilt turned out!

(I'm a knitter, but my mom's an avid quilter.)

Millie said...

What a great idea. At first I didn't think I had much ugly fabric, but then I went browsing through my stash. Ugly isn't necessarily ugly, it's just stuff that doesn't "play well with others."

I think I will definitely make a fugly quilt, but it will have to come after the projects I am working on now.

YankeeQuilter said...

Since I am experiencin a bout of color blindness fungly may just be the way to go! I am screening fabrics to pack right now so it is a good time to wack off some (b the way I still have a piece of that yellow sneaker fabric!) Too fun!

Living on the Spit said...

OMG! really cool and I have just the fabric. You really inspired me to use all that fabric I had no clue what to do with. Thanks. Love your site!

Karol-Ann said...

What a wonderfully gruesome idea!

Just catching up on your blog and hoping that you are indeed going to do something about your knees!
Loved the colours in the Hermes windows too!

Susan said...

Looks like a great fun project! It would have been terrific with the fabrics I gave away last summer. =) Traveling, I don't keep anything like this, but maybe next time I visit my stash, I'll see what's still in there that fits the categories. Maybe all the cats I kept. =)

jillytacy said...

What a great challenge! It looks like fun and what a great way to use up what you have. Trading ugly fabrics with friends for the challenge sounds like a hoot too!

Sarah Jayne said...

What a great idea. Very liberating.

Michele said...

Love this idea, Tonya! Gave it a try on the weekend, along with the free-piecing, finally. I so totally get it now! You were right. I am hooked! Thanks for sharing and inspiring! Keep it up!

Bizarre Quilter said...

What a great idea! I need to have a go at this. I've got so much in my stash!
Loz in Oz

Sarah said...

This is terrific, Tonya! DD is asking to start a quilt today after coming home from a local quilt show this afternoon. This will be a perfect recipe especially for a 12-year-old starter. She has 3 bags full of scraps ready to start. However, your Fungly is totaly glorious! Thanks again for another inspiring creation.

Lynda said...

I have been really good recently, and finished 5 UFOs, so could hardly wait to get started on a fungly quilt. I have loads of ugly fabrics (donated for Project Linus) and an extensive collection of novelty fabrics. Here I go....

Bizarre Quilter said...

Hi Tonya,
While I am still keen to make a particularly fungly quilt, perhaps this chicken quilt does reflect a certain fungleness as pointed out by Calico Cat.

Some people would see the colour and pattern combinations as ugly, but I think it is just fun.

I must admit, I did unpick a little bit, so it is not strictly fungly. This is because for the first time EVER I started to sew the binding onto the wrong side... I was so focussed on the liberty of using fungly fabrics on the back I was imagining it was the front!

I can't wait to get back to this challenge a little later. Probably in a month with my current qult schedule, but that's no matter.

Thanks again Tonya. You really help to quilfunting (put the fun into quilting).

Loz in Oz

amandajean said...

this idea is so over the top that I can't wait to try it. thanks for the inspiration.

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WesternWilson said...

Lovely, lovely! You made my day with this wonderful, off the wall approach to all those gakky fabrics we all end up with at some point! My sister and I now HAVE to collaborate on a Fungly Quilt!!
Thanks for this inspiration.