Quilting Terminology
Most complete source of Quilting Terminology anywhere. Over 300 terms. To add a term, contact us.
African American Quilts
An improvisational approach of quilt block formats used by some African American quilters.


Album Quilt
A quilt with signatures from friends, community often for an important life event.
Same As: Autograph Quilt, Memory Quilt, Signature Quilt

Antique Memory Quilt
A quilt made from a loved one's clothes after death as a memorial consisting of fabric used during the person life.


Applique
Attaching individual pieces of fabric to a background to form a design.
Same As: Appliqué
See Also: Freezer Paper Applique, Machine Applique, Needleturn Applique, Reverse Applique, Shadow Applique

Appliqué
Attaching individual pieces of fabric to a background to form a design.
Same As: Applique

Assembly Piecing
Sewing blocks or sections of blocks in an assembly line fashion, completing the same step for each unit in sequence. An efficient way to work for sewing many blocks that are the same. If the pieces are all run through the machine and cut apart later.
Same As: Chain Piecing
See Also: Chain Piecing, English Paper Piecing, Hand Piecing, Machine Piecing, Piecing, Paper Piecing

Autograph Quilt
A quilt with signatures from friends, community often for an important life event.
Same As: Album Quilt, Memory Quilt, Signature Quilt

Background Fabric
The fabric used as the background when placing Applique pieces.


Backing
The fabric on the back of a Quilt Sandwich (Top, Batting and Backing).
Same As: Lining

Backstitch
A class of embroidery and sewing stitches in which individual stitches are made backward to the general direction of sewing. These stitches form lines and are most often used to outline shapes or to add fine detail to an embroidered picture.


Baltimore Album Quilts
Originated in Baltimore, Maryland in the 1840s. They have become one of the most popular styles of quilts and are still made today. These quilts are made up of a number of squares called blocks. Each block has been appliqued with a different design. The designs are often floral, but many other motifs can be used, such as eagles and landmarks.


Bargello
A type of needlepoint embroidery consisting of upright flat stitches laid in a mathematical pattern to create motifs. The name originates from a series of chairs found in the Bargello palace in Florence, which have a "flame stitch" pattern.


Bark Cloth
An incorrect use of a term that for the fabric industry is a soft, thick, slightly textured fabric so named because it has a rough surface like that of tree bark. This barkcloth is usually made of densely woven cotton fibers. It is often associated with 1950s and 1960s home fashions.


Basting
A temporary method of holding the quilt Sandwich layers together while you finish assembling it. This can be conducted using Basting Sprays, pins, clips or temporary stitching called a Tacking Stitch or Basting Stitch.


Batik
A cloth which traditionally uses a manual wax-resist dyeing technique. Due to modern advances in the textile industry, the term has been extended to include fabrics which incorporate traditional batik patterns even if they are not produced using the wax-resist dyeing techniques. Silk batik is especially popular.


Batting
The layer in the middle of a quilt sandwich between the Top and Backing layers consisting of wool, polyester, blends, silk, or cotton.
Same As: Filler, Filling, Stuffing, Wadding

Bearding
Occurs when batting fibers migrate through a quilt's top or backing.


Betweens
Small, thin, needles used for finish quilting. Sizes range from 8-12, the smaller number being a longer length needle.


Bias
The direction of a piece of woven fabric, usually referred to simply as "the bias" or "the cross-grain", is at 45 degrees to its warp and weft threads. Every piece of woven fabric has two biases, perpendicular to each other. Non-woven fabrics such as felt or interfacing do not have a bias.
Same As: Cross-grain

Bias Square Ruler
A ruler which allows you to cut or trim fabric into perfect squares.


Big Board
A very large ironing board (usually 24" x 60") which is placed over your existing ironing board to give you a larger surface to press your fabrics.


Big Stitch
A type of quilting in which embroidery or crewel thread is used in large stitch for a decorative effect.


Binding
Binding is used as both a noun and a verb. As a noun it is the fabric that's used to cover the raw edges of the quilt sandwich after it's quilted. This edging fabric is referred to as the Binding (noun). As a verb it is the process of putting on this fabric, and it referred to as Binding a Quilt.


Bleeding
The effect when there is excess dye in fabric or dye that has not been properly set. The wash water will take on the color of the dye and it will set on other fabric.


Blind Stitch
A type of invisible stitching often used for applique. This is the same stitch used commonly for hemming clothing.


Block
The basic unit of a quilt top, usually square but can be rectangular or other shapes. Blocks can be pieced, appliqued or plain.


Bobbin
A spool or reel that holds thread or yarn for spinning, weaving, knitting, sewing, or making lace.


Bògòlanfini
A traditional Malian fabric dyed with fermented mud, particularly associated with the Bambara. The name is a Bambara word meaning "earthcloth." In the creation, simple cotton cloth is woven, shrunk, and then soaked in a preparation of leaves from certain trees. An artist then outlines an intricate design with a mud dye, often taking several weeks to cover the entire cloth. Yellowish areas of mud are then treated with a caustic soda, bleaching them back to white for a stark black and white design. Traditionally, a man will do the weaving while a woman will do the dyeing.
Same As: Mud Cloth

Bonded Finish
A thin resin finish which can be applied to a batting or another type which can be put on a fabric. For batting it helps to prevent bearding and shifting of the fibers in the finished quilt.
Same As: Glazed Finish

Border
A strip of fabric or pieced strip of fabric joined to the edges of the inner quilt and used to frame it.


Broadcloth
A dense woollen cloth. Modern broadcloth can be composed of cotton, silk, or polyester, but traditionally broadcloth was made solely of wool. The dense weave lends sturdiness to the material.


Bubble Jet Set
A liquid product in which plain fabric is soaked and hung to dry. The dry piece is then ironed to a piece of Freezer paper and it can be printed on with an ink jet or bubble jet printer and the color is fast.


Butted
When border or binding corners meet at a 90 degree angle instead of making a mitered corner.


Calico
A traditional plain weave cotton fabric popular for quilting, which is printed, with a small repeated design, often small florals or leaves.


Cathedral Window
A novelty technique in which squares of fabric are folded and sewn together in such a way that small pieces of contrasting fabric may be inserted to form a design of interlocking curves when many squares are sewn together. This technique, very popular during the late 1970s, creates a fancy, finished bedcover which does not require quilting.


Chain Piecing
Sewing blocks or sections of blocks in an assembly line fashion, completing the same step for each unit in sequence. An efficient way to work for sewing many blocks that are the same. If the pieces are all run through the machine and cut apart later.
Same As: Assembly Piecing
See Also: Assembly Piecing, English Paper Piecing, Hand Piecing, Machine Piecing, Piecing, Paper Piecing

Chain Stitch
A stitch in which loops are connected like the links of a chain.


Channel Stitching
Rows of quilting running straight across a quilt that are sewn parallel to each other.


Charm Quilt
A quilt made of many, many small patches (about 2 inches) where each piece is a different fabric. The pattern is usually a one patch design and often involves swaps and trades with friends to gather many fabrics.


Cheaters Cloth
A fabric printed with a quilt block design throughout the fabric. It is made to look like a pieced or appliqued quilt top.


Chenille
This may refer to either a type of cored yarn or fabric made from it with an extra fluffy or furry texture. It may even refer to a process of making Chenille like fabric on a quilt by layering at least three fabrics (cotton, linen, silk or rayon) on top of each other, sewing lines 3/8" from each other on the BIAS onto the fabric 10 stitches per inch (or less) thorugh all layers, cutting away the top layers of fabric (leaving the bottom most layer intact) and finally fluffing the cut fabric.


Clamshell
A Filling Quilting pattern with overlapping circular shapes reminiscent of fish scales. The design is often done using a cup or glass to trace.


Color Wheel
A circular device that has colors marked on it so you can see the relationship between primary, secondary and tertiary colors and the tints and shades of each.


Colorwash Quilt
A quilt that is made up of many small squares of print fabric positioned so that each color blends into the next creating a watercolor effect.
Same As: Watercolor Quilt

Complementary Colors
Colors that are directly across from each other on the color wheel.


Continuous Sashing
Sashing that separates rows or columns of blocks on a quilt, and does not include cornerstones.


Conversion Prints
A fabric printed with small themed designs. These are popular for making quilts with a focus such as wildlife, plants, and novelty objects.
Same As: Craft Prints, Novelty Prints

Cornerstones
Squares of fabric pieced within sashing or border strips that usually align in the block corners or outside corners in the case of cornerstones in the border.


Counterpane
A general term for a bedspread, that is, a textile intended to serve as the visible top layer when a bed is made up with several layers of bedcovers.
Same As: Countypin

Countypin
A general term for a bedspread, that is, a textile intended to serve as the visible top layer when a bed is made up with several layers of bedcovers.
Same As: Counterpane

Craft Prints
A fabric printed with small themed designs. These are popular for making quilts with a focus such as wildlife, plants, and novelty objects.
Same As: Conversion Prints, Novelty Prints

Crazy Block
A block made with irregular and/or scrap pieces. The block is made with no pre-determined pattern or design. If the blocks are grouped together they form a crazy quilt. Crazy quilts were popular in Victorian times and often made with silks and velvets and embellished with embroidery.
Same As: Crazy Patch
See Also: Crazy Patch, Crazy Quilt

Crazy Patch
A block made with irregular and/or scrap pieces. The block is made with no pre-determined pattern or design. If the blocks are grouped together they form a crazy quilt. Crazy quilts were popular in Victorian times and often made with silks and velvets and embellished with embroidery.
Same As: Crazy Block
See Also: Crazy Quilt, Crazy Block

Crazy Quilt
A quilt made randomly from crazy blocks or patches. They are often heavily embellished.

See Also: Crazy Patch, Crazy Block

Crocking
When dry fabric rubs excess dye onto an adjacent fabric.


Cross Hatch
Quilting in vertical and horizontal lines, like a grid, across the quilt top.
Same As: Grid Quilting

Cross-grain
The direction of a piece of woven fabric, usually referred to simply as "the bias" or "the cross-grain", is at 45 degrees to its warp and weft threads. Every piece of woven fabric has two biases, perpendicular to each other. Non-woven fabrics such as felt or interfacing do not have a bias.
Same As: Bias

Cutaways
Remnants from apparel factories, usually forming irregular shapes. Factories sometimes sell cutaways to quilt makers, often by mail order.


Cutter
A quilt that is so badly damaged or worn that it's only purpose now is to be cut up for other craft projects.


Cutting Mat
Surface used for cutting with a rotary cutter. The mat protects your tabletop and can serve as a measuring tool when you use the gridlines on the mat to line up your fabric. Many mats are self-healing which means that the blade of the rotary cutter will not create permanent grooves in the mat.


Design Wall
Any wall where you can position quilt blocks, then step back to view the layout at a distance. Quilters often hang batting or plain white flannel on their design walls, because quilt blocks and other components stick to it easily without pinning. Heavier commercial design walls are available.


Direct Printing
Various methods of printing directly onto fabric with a computer printer - either laser jet or ink jet. The fabric is usually ironed onto a piece of freezer paper so it can run through the printer easily.


Directional Borders
Borders that have designs that run in a particular sequence or order.


Directional Print
A fabric with a printed pattern that has a definite direction or grain (nap.) Care must be taken to match the direction when piecing.


Directional Prints
Printed fabrics where there is a clear direction to the print, either straight or at an angle.


Dog Ears
Long points that extend beyond the seam allowance. Usually this happens with triangles or diamonds, and it is a good idea to trim them so your quilt back has less bulk.


Domestic
A term sometimes used for unbleached muslin, dating from the nineteenth century when printed fabrics were generally imported and plain fabrics were generally manufactured domestically.


Double Fold Binding
Quilt binding that is made from a strip of fabric that is folded in half lengthwise before it is sewn onto the quilt.
Same As: French Fold Binding

Double Nine Patch
A basic division of a geometric quilt square into nine equal squares where five of the small subset squares is made up of a nine-patch block.

See Also: Four Patch Block, Nine Patch, Patch, One Patch

Double Wedding Ring
Arced pieces of squares sewn together to form interlocking rings or circles.


Drafting
The process of drawing a quilt design, often from a picture or an existing quilt, rather than using ready made templates or patterns.


Drag
Caused by the weight of the quilt pulling while you are sewing. Drag can result in your quilt being distorted when it is finished.


Drapability
How stiff or soft the fabric or quilt is.
Same As: Drape

Drape
How stiff or soft the fabric or quilt is.
Same As: Drapability

Drop
The part of a quilt that hangs down the sides of your mattress.


Dye Magnet
A piece of undyed, untreated terry cloth or untreated cotton that will absorb fugitive dyes. This plain little piece of cloth will collect all the dye in your wash water.


Easing
The act of pinning and using your fingers to adjust adjoining units of uneven lengths so they match for sewing.


Echo Quilting
A type of quilting which consisting of lines of quilting stitches that run around existing blocks or shapes and parallel to the edges of a shape. The result looks like rings about 1/4 inch apart in water and echo the shape.


Embellishment
Decorative stitches or items that are added to a quilt, including buttons, beads, charms, or embroidery or other thread.


English Paper Piecing
A method of hand piecing where paper templates are used inside the block elements to guide where the edges are turned under and templates are removed. Baby Blocks, Grandmother's Flower Garden and other non-square shapes are often pieced this way.

See Also: Assembly Piecing, Chain Piecing, Hand Piecing, Machine Piecing, Piecing, Paper Piecing

Equilateral Triangles
Triangles where all three angles are 60 degree angles. Six equilateral triangles sewn together make a hexagon.


Fan
A quilting design of repeated concentric arcs that forms an all-over stitching design usually unrelated to the design of the quilt top. While popular during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, fan quilting is considered by some observers to be old-fashioned and undesirable.


Fancy Quilting
A relative term for the process of making quilts in which the decorative function is paramount. Fancy quilts are usually considered by their makers to have value and meaning beyond their use as warm bedcovers.

See Also: Plain Quilting

Fat Eight
Pre-cut pieces of cotton cloth that measures about 18" x 11".


Fat Quarter
Pre-cut piece of fabric which is made by cutting a half yard in half again vertically. The piece is therefore approximately 18" x 22". This allows for cutting larger blocks than a standard quarter yard which is 9" x 44".


Feather Stitch
An embroidery stitch that produces a decorative zigzag line.


Feed Dogs
The mechanical teeth under the area of a sewing machine which move to pull the fabric through the machine. For free motion quilting or embroidery or needle darning these feed dogs are lowered or covered.


Feed Sack Cloth
A material originally used to hold flour, feed, sugar, salt, etc. Today it is highly prized for authentic reproduction quilts. From the early 1900's.


Filler
The layer in the middle of a quilt sandwich between the Top and Backing layers consisting of wool, polyester, blends, silk, or cotton.
Same As: Batting, Filling, Stuffing, Wadding

Filler Pattern
The quilting design, stitched either by hand or machine, which covers the entire background area of a quilt. It can surround motifs of applique.
Same As: Filling Pattern

Filling
The layer in the middle of a quilt sandwich between the Top and Backing layers consisting of wool, polyester, blends, silk, or cotton.
Same As: Batting, Filler, Stuffing, Wadding

Filling Pattern
The quilting design, stitched either by hand or machine, which covers the entire background area of a quilt. It can surround motifs of applique.
Same As: Filler Pattern

Finger Pressing
A method for forming temporary guidelines for applique turned edges or seam allowances. Running a fingernail along the fold makes it lie flat. A Hera Marker (a tool) can be used in place of a finger to press the fold.


Finished Size
The final sewn measurement or dimensions of a completed block without seam allowances. Thus a 6" sewn measurement block would be cut 6.5" to allow for 1/4" seam allowances.


Flannel
A soft fabric which can be made from cotton, wool or synthetic fibers. It is usually loosely woven and slightly furry and is very warm. It's tendency to ravel makes it a very good fabric to use for rag quilt.


Flying Geese
One of the most popular of the small shape groups that exist in quilting. It consists of a center triangle and two right angle triangles attached to it on either side.


Foot
Accessories that are available for sewing machines and are especially made for quilting.


Foundation Piecing
Assembling a block by sewing pieces to a foundation of Muslin, plain fabric. It adds strength and stability to delicate or stretchy fabrics. These days, paper is most commonly used, but since it is removed after completion, it does not add strength.


Four Patch Block
A block with two, four, or multiples of four units per row.

See Also: Double Nine Patch, Nine Patch, Patch, One Patch

Frame
Four strips of wood that supports the layers for quilting.


Free Motion
Method of quilting where the feed dogs of a sewing machine are lowered or covered and the quilter controls the movement of the fabric under the needle.


Free-Style Fillers
A Filler Pattern that does not follow a specific grid or pattern.


Freezer Paper Applique
Freezer paper is a wrapping paper for meat that has a light coating of a wax-like plastic on one side which can be purchased in most grocery stores. It can be used as a template for applique by drawing the design on the paper side, cutting it out and ironing the template to the fabric using a very hot, dry iron.

See Also: Applique, Machine Applique, Needleturn Applique, Reverse Applique, Shadow Applique

French Fold Binding
Quilt binding that is made from a strip of fabric that is folded in half lengthwise before it is sewn onto the quilt.
Same As: Double Fold Binding

French Knot
An embroidery stitch formed by wrapping yarn around a needle as it is drawn through the cloth.


Friendship Quilt
A quilt made by a group of friends for one person, with each participant making and signing a block or more for the quilt top. Sometimes called a Signature Quilt.


Fusible
Various webs or interfacings which can be ironed onto a fabric for easier applique or to support the fabric.


Fussy Cut
The cutting out of specific areas of a fabric to use the image or motif on the fabric. Often used to isolate animals, flowers, etc from a Conversation Print or Novelty Print fabric. A template may be used to cut out many images to be the same size for use in a block. Because the remaining fabric then looks like Swiss cheese, it is wasteful of fabric.


Gathering Stitch
A long running stitch that can be pulled to gather fabric. This is especially useful when sewing circles or curves. It will smooth out the round edges and eliminate any sharp points or corners.


Glazed Finish
A thin resin finish which can be applied to a batting or another type which can be put on a fabric. For batting it helps to prevent bearding and shifting of the fibers in the finished quilt.
Same As: Bonded Finish

Grain
The lengthwise and crosswise threads (warp and weft directions) of a woven fabric.


Greige Goods
Textiles that have not received any bleaching, dyeing or finishing treatment after being produced by a textile process (pronounced gray). Alternate spelling is griege.


Grid Method
The process of dividing quilt blocks into smaller units. Nine-patch and four-patch are examples. Dividing a quilt block makes it easier to sew together, plus you can see ways to change the design more easily.


Grid Quilting
Quilting in vertical and horizontal lines, like a grid, across the quilt top.
Same As: Cross Hatch

Half Square Triangle
A triangle that is made by dividing a square in half from corner to corner. This is a very common type of triangle in quilting.


Hand Piecing
When you sew all of the patches in a quilt top together by hand, not using a sewing machine.

See Also: Assembly Piecing, Chain Piecing, English Paper Piecing, Machine Piecing, Piecing, Paper Piecing

Hand Piecing Templates
Pattern shapes used to cut fabric for hand piecing quilt tops. Since they do not include seam allowances, you must remember to add the 1/4 inch seam allowance before you cut.


Hand Quilting
A running stitch that is made through all three layers of a quilt to hold them together.


Hanging Sleeve
A tube or sleeve sewn to the back top of a quilt to allow it to be hung on a wall or at a quilt show. Shows request these to be 3-4 inches wide.


Hera Marker
A small hand tool with a sharp edge that allows you to make temporary crease marks on fabric. Can be used to quickly press a seam allowance to one side.


Herringbone Stitch
An embroidery stitch made with overlapping cross-stitches that form a zigzag line.


Homespun
A fabric woven with colored threads instead of printing the fabric after it is woven. Homespun fabric is generally plaid and looks the same on the front as it does on the back. Named for its French inventor, Joseph M. Jacquard.
Same As: Jacquard

Hoop
A small circular or oval apparatus that is used to hold the layers of a quilt together during quilting.


I Spy Quilt
A quilt made from fussy-cut fabrics, usually children's prints or other types of novelty fabrics with motifs that depict objects the child can "spy" when looking at the quilt. I Spy Quilts are typically made from squares, since they are easy to fussy cut, but some quilts are made with other patchwork shapes.


Ikat
A fabric, usually hand woven which has been tie-dyed in the yarns prior to weaving. The pattern can range from simple little dots to intricate double ikats. Pronounced as Ee-cot.


Improvisational Quilts
A term for art quilts made in a free form manner and usually made with freehand cutting either by rotary cutter or scissors, but without templates or ruler. The African-American quilter, Anna Williams, and the art quilter, Nancy Crow, are especially associated with this technique.


In The Ditch
The process of quilting just next to the seams of a quilt, block or to the very edge of an applique area.
Same As: Stitch In The Ditch

Inset Seam
The type of seam that joins a piece of fabric into an angled opening between two other pieces of fabric that have already been joined.


Invisible Thread
Nearly invisible thread.
Same As: Monofilament Thread

Ironing
Moving a hot iron while it has contact with fabric. Often ironing can stretch and distort fabrics and seams. A better alternative is to press, where you just lay the hot iron down and lift straight up from the fabric.

See Also: Pressing

Isosceles Triangle
A triangle that has two equal sides.


Jacquard
A fabric woven with colored threads instead of printing the fabric after it is woven. Homespun fabric is generally plaid and looks the same on the front as it does on the back. Named for its French inventor, Joseph M. Jacquard.
Same As: Homespun

Jelly Rolls
Strips of precut fabrics assembled into a roll (usually 2 1/2" x 44").


Kaleidoscope
A quilt block pattern that is pieced so it looks like an image seen through a kaleidoscope.


Kente Cloth
A traditional fabric, known locally as nwentoma, is a type of silk fabric made of four inch wide interwoven cloth strips and is native to the Akan people of Ghana and the Ivory Coast.


Knife Edge Self Binding
An alternative to binding where seam allowances on the fabric of the quilt top and the fabric of the backing are turned under and meet evenly at the edges of the quilt. This eliminates adding a binding strip around the outside of the quilt.


Kuba Cloth
A traditional raffia fabric from Zaire woven by men and embellished with pile and stitched designs by women.


Label
Information some people attach to a quilt that may contain the your name, name of the quilt, town, year and pattern used.


Lap Quilting
Hand quilting that is done while holding the quilt loosely in your lap without using a hoop.


Lattice
Strips of fabric that are set between blocks and separate the blocks in a quilt.


Lazy Daisy Stitch
Long chain stitches arranged in flower patterns.


Lining
The fabric on the back of a Quilt Sandwich (Top, Batting and Backing).
Same As: Backing

Linsey
A type of coarse, home-woven fabric typically having a cotton warp (lengthwise threads) and a wool weft (crosswise threads).


Lockstitch
A common stitch made by a sewing machine when you sew several very short stitches or sew stitches in place which serves the same purpose as a knot.


Loft
A descriptive term for the thickness, height and resilience of quilt batting. High loft batting is thicker and fluffier, usually polyester and used more often for tied quilts. Low loft batting is thinner and shows off the quilting stitches.


Log Cabin
A quilt pattern in which narrow fabric strips, or logs, surround a center square to form a block. These may be pieced from strips or sewn onto a foundation of paper or fabric.


Long Arm
A special quilting machine that is used for machine quilting a quilt. The quilt is held taut on a large frame while the machine arm moves freely to perform a manual or preprogrammed quilting design using free motion. The machine is very expensive, so many owners will rent out time on their machine.


Machine Applique
Attaching fabric onto a fabric foundation using machine stitching instead of hand stitching.

See Also: Applique, Freezer Paper Applique, Needleturn Applique, Reverse Applique, Shadow Applique

Machine Piecing
Sewing patches in a quilt block together using a sewing machine instead of sewing them together by hand.

See Also: Assembly Piecing, Chain Piecing, English Paper Piecing, Hand Piecing, Piecing, Paper Piecing

Machine Quilting
Creating quilting stitches on a quilt using a sewing machine instead of sewing them by hand.


Marking Tools
Any item that can be used to mark a quilt for quilting. May include pencils, markers, chalk or specialty products.


Matching points
Piecing so as to make sure that the corners of blocks or the points of stars match in piecing at the seam line so that the points are not cut off by the seam.


Meander Quilting
Random quilting stitches that move across the quilt in a fluid-like motion. They generally do not overlap.
Same As: Stippling

Medallion Quilt
A quilt with a central motif, surrounded by multiple Borders. The center is often a large square on point.


Memory Quilt
A quilt with signatures from friends, community often for an important life event.
Same As: Album Quilt, Autograph Quilt, Signature Quilt

Mercerized cotton
Mercerization is a treatment for cotton fabric and thread that gives fabric a lustrous appearance. The process is applied to materials like cotton or hemp. The process was devised in 1844 by John Mercer of Great Harwood, Lancashire, England, who treated cotton fibers with sodium hydroxide.


Millenium Quilt
A quilt made for the year 2000 and usually contains about 2000 pieces.


Miniature Quilts
A quilt made in miniature of a full sized quilt. Paper foundation piecing is often used to make the very small minis.


Mitered Border
Two edges are joined at a 45 degree angle.
Same As: Mitered Corners, Mitred Corners

Mitered Corners
Two edges are joined at a 45 degree angle.
Same As: Mitered Border, Mitred Corners

Mitred Corners
Two edges are joined at a 45 degree angle.
Same As: Mitered Border, Mitered Corners

Molas
A folk art of the Cuna Indians of the San Blas Islands off the coast of Panama. These rectangular panels are the front and back of the women's blouses and done in vividly solid colors of cotton in a Reverse Applique technique.


Monofilament Thread
Nearly invisible thread.
Same As: Invisible Thread

Motif
A decorative applique design or figure, as of lace or velvet, used in trimming.


Mud Cloth
A traditional Malian fabric dyed with fermented mud, particularly associated with the Bambara. The name is a Bambara word meaning "earthcloth." In the creation, simple cotton cloth is woven, shrunk, and then soaked in a preparation of leaves from certain trees. An artist then outlines an intricate design with a mud dye, often taking several weeks to cover the entire cloth. Yellowish areas of mud are then treated with a caustic soda, bleaching them back to white for a stark black and white design. Traditionally, a man will do the weaving while a woman will do the dyeing.
Same As: Bògòlanfini

Muslin
A type of loosely-woven cotton fabric, introduced to Europe from the Middle East in the 17th century. It became very popular at the end of the 18th century in France. Muslin is most typically a closely-woven unbleached or white cloth, produced from corded cotton yarn. Wide muslin is called "sheeting". It is often used to make dresses or curtains but may be used to complement foam for bench padding. Muslin breathes well, and is a good choice of material for clothing meant for hot, dry climates.


Mystery Quilt
A quilt pattern written in steps and revealed one part at a time to hide the final appearance of the finished quilt.


Needle Punched Batting
A type of batting is created when thousands of tiny barbed needles interlock the polyester fiber for a blanket quality consistency.


Needle Threader
A device to feed the thread through the eye of a needle for hand sewing or sewing machines.


Needleturn Applique
A type of Hand Applique where edges of applique shapes are turned under with the tip of the needle as they are sewn, rather than being turned under and secured before sewing.

See Also: Applique, Freezer Paper Applique, Machine Applique, Reverse Applique, Shadow Applique

Nine Patch
A basic division of a geometric quilt block into nine equal squares. (3 X 3) = 9.

See Also: Double Nine Patch, Four Patch Block, Patch, One Patch

Notch
A small V shape that is clipped out of a seam allowance to make a curve shape flat when the seams are joined.


Notions
Small sewing supplies such as pins, scissors, rulers, seam ripper, and so on.


Novelty Prints
A fabric printed with small themed designs. These are popular for making quilts with a focus such as wildlife, plants, and novelty objects.
Same As: Conversion Prints, Craft Prints

On Point
A Block arrangement in which a block is placed with its corners up and down and to the sides.


One Patch
Any quilt pattern that uses a single shaped patch for the pieced top. May be squares, triangles, hexagons, etc. repeated in color patterns or different fabrics.

See Also: Double Nine Patch, Four Patch Block, Nine Patch, Patch

Opportunity Quilt
A term used by Quilt Guilds and other groups to describe a quilt which is raffled off at a show or event.
Same As: Raffle Quilt

Orphan Blocks
Quilt blocks that are left over from a project.


Outline Quilting
Positioning quilting lines around a block or applique piece. Usually just a single stitching line. Multiple rows of outline quilting are called echo quilting.


Paper Foundation
A thin piece of paper with a pattern that is used as the base for a quilt block when fabric is sewn directly on it.


Paper Piecing
A method of hand piecing using paper templates of shapes to assist you with cutting, piecing and sewing accurately. The paper is used as a guide for sewing and then later removed.

See Also: Assembly Piecing, Chain Piecing, English Paper Piecing, Hand Piecing, Machine Piecing, Piecing

Patch
An individual fabric shape joined with other patches to make a quilt block or sometimes a one patch style quilt. These may be cut from templates, rotary cut or free hand cut.
Same As: Piece
See Also: Double Nine Patch, Four Patch Block, Nine Patch, One Patch

Patchwork
The basic method of making a quilt by sewing many small pieces of fabric together.
Same As: Piecework

Penny Squares
Small simple designs marked on muslin quilt block patterns for embroidery which were popular in the late 1800s and after. They once cost one cent each, the look was similar to the redwork patterns popular later.

See Also: Redwork

Perle Cotton Thread
A soft thread that is kind of like yarn and is used for quilting, decorative stitching or embellishments.


Persian Embroidery
The technique is an Applique method where larger images are cut from a printed fabric and appliqued onto a new background fabric.


PFD Fabric
Fabric that has been Prepared for Dyeing (PFD). This is a fabric with no surface finish and no treatment on it which allows the dyes to penetrate well.


Photo Transfer
A technique for transferring photographs onto fabric.


Piece
An individual fabric shape joined with other patches to make a quilt block or sometimes a one patch style quilt. These may be cut from templates, rotary cut or free hand cut.
Same As: Patch

Pieced Border
A long strip of fabric made up of pieced or patch units to be sewn to the inner quilt center section. Quilts may have several borders, either solid fabric or pieced.


Pieced Quilt
The most commonly seen quilt type which is made up of many small pieces of fabric sewn together by hand or machine. Often called Patchwork in some countries outside the USA.
Same As: Piecing Quilt

Piecework
The basic method of making a quilt by sewing many small pieces of fabric together.
Same As: Patchwork

Piecing
The process of assembling quilt blocks from pieces of fabric sewn along their edges to form a whole.

See Also: Assembly Piecing, Chain Piecing, English Paper Piecing, Hand Piecing, Machine Piecing, Paper Piecing

Piecing Quilt
The most commonly seen quilt type which is made up of many small pieces of fabric sewn together by hand or machine. Often called Patchwork in some countries outside the USA.
Same As: Pieced Quilt

Pillow Tuck
The part of a quilt that is tucked under a pillow on a bed.


Pima Cotton
Pima cotton, named in honor of the Pima Indians, is a generic term for extra-long staple cotton grown in parts of the southwestern United States, Australia and Peru; it is one of the longest cotton staple lengths in the world and is among the softest and most durable of the cotton fibers. The quality of Pima cotton is unmistakable, and in fact, only about 3% of the cotton produced in the United States annually is of the Pima variety. If you receive baby clothes made of Pima cotton, you know you are receiving a luxurious gift that will last through several generations.


Pinwheel
Consists of four right triangles forming a square and then joined together in an alternating fashion.


Pivot
Turning your fabric while the sewing machine needle is still in the fabric.


Plain Quilting
A relative term applied to the process of making quilts that are intended more for practical use as warm bedcovers than for decoration. Even plain quilts, however, typically display some aesthetic appreciation of color and pattern.

See Also: Fancy Quilting

Ply
Used to describe a single strand of thread. Thread can be known as one, two or three ply thread based on the strands.


Posts
Smaller blocks, often colored fabric, which are used to join the pieces of sashing together.


Prairie Points
Folded fabric triangles that are usually used for a border on a quilt.


Preshrinking
Washing and drying fabric before you begin working with it. The affect is to remove any chemicals and prevent shrinkage after the quilt has been completed.


Press
Method of using an iron to press seams and blocks. This means simply pressing downwards on the seam with the iron from above and not moving the iron back and forth which can distort the block or seam.


Presser Foot
The removable sewing machine accessory surrounding the needle that holds the fabric in place.


Pressing
Picking a hot iron up off your fabric or quilt top and then putting it down in another place to remove the wrinkles. When you press your fabric, you do not slide the hot iron.

See Also: Ironing

Puckered Seams
Seams that are uneven or pulled. This can be caused by an uneven amount of tension on the fabric as it is fed through the machine.


Quarter Inch Foot
Most sewing machine companies now offer a special quilting foot for their machines called a quarter inch foot which measures exactly 1/4 inch from needle point to inner edge of the foot to make sewing a perfect 1/4 inch seam easier. Some people call this a Quilting Foot.


Quick Cutting
A term not used so much now in quilt books since rotary cutting is becoming the norm. Quick cutting means not tracing templates and cutting with scissors.


Quick Triangles
A variety of faster shortcut methods for making half and quarter square triangles where squares are sewn and then cut into finished units with no bias edges to sew.


Quillow
A specially designed quilt which is actually a cross between a sleeping bag and a quilt and a pillow. A Quillow folds up into a carrying bag. A popular gift for children and teens.
Same As: Surprise Pillow

Quilt As You Go Quilting
A method of completing all three layers by quilting one block or section at a time and then assembling the finished quilt from those pre-quilted squares. Squares are quilted in small lap frames or on a sewing machine, and then put together. No more quilting is needed.


Quilt Sets
The term used to describe quilt layouts (arrangement of blocks), and the setting you choose can dramatically change the finished look of a quilt.
Same As: Setting

Quilt Top
The top layer of a quilt Sandwich.


Quilting
In general, the process of making a quilt. Specifically, the small running stitches that hold the three layers of a quilt together.


Quilting Frame
A large free-standing floor apparatus made from wood or plastic pipe that holds the layers of a quilt together during quilting.


Quilting Guild
An organization of quilters which may provide opportunities to share projects, instruction and community service.


Quilting Hoop
A small circular or oval apparatus that is used to hold the layers of a quilt together during quilting.


Raffle Quilt
A term used by Quilt Guilds and other groups to describe a quilt which is raffled off at a show or event.
Same As: Opportunity Quilt

Rail Fence
Narrow fabric strips sewn together in blocks, and then rotated to form a running pattern which resembles a fence.


Raw Edge
An unfinished fabric edge of a piece of fabric or a quilt block. For applique, an edge which has not yet been turned under with stitching.


Reducing Lens
A device that allows you to see a quilt as if it were several feet away.


Redwork
Simple embroidery designs worked in running stitch in either turkey red color or in blue (then called Bluework) and used for quilt blocks.

See Also: Penny Squares

Reverse Applique
Designs made by sewing on a patch to the underside of a Block and then cutting away and turning under the edge of the top fabric.

See Also: Applique, Freezer Paper Applique, Machine Applique, Needleturn Applique, Shadow Applique

Right Triangle Ruler
This ruler allows you to cut perfect right triangles or to trim sewn pieces to perfect right triangles.


Rotary Cutter
A very sharp tool that looks like a pizza wheel which is capable of cutting through multiple layers of fabric.


Round Robin Swap
An exchange among a group of quilters of either fabric or blocks with some set ground rules as to theme, color, design, etc. Popular in Quilting Guilds, and a very popular online activity on quilting forums and mailing lists.
Same As: Swaps
See Also: Row Swap

Row Swap
A popular swap among a group in which a small piece of a quilt (a row instead of a block) is started by each, then sent to the next quilter who adds to it, then it moved to the next until each row has been worked on by everyone in the group. Similar to Round Robin Swap, but it is a row being swapped.

See Also: Round Robin Swap

Ruler
A heavy plastic measuring guide that can come in a variety of shapes and sizes.


Running Stitch
A hand needlework technique in which the needle accumulates several stitches on it before needle and thread are drawn through the cloth. The running stitch is used in both piecing and quilting.


Sampler Quilt
A quilt in which each block is a different pattern.


Sandwich
Traditional description of a quilt: a sandwich consisting of a Quilt Top, Batting (filling), and a Backing.


Sashiko Quilting
A Japanese style of precise quilting designs using embroidery or crewel floss. The stitches are large on top, but small on the back.


Sashing
Fabric that separates the patterns or blocks, framing them and making the quilt larger.

See Also: Strip

Satin Stitch
A slanted, tightly packed outlining stitch with no spaces showing through of the fabric. It is often used around applique pieces. A machine satin stitch is made by setting a zigzag stitch very closely with the machine settings.


Scherenschnitte
Means "scissor cuts" in German, is the art of papercutting design. The art work often has symmetry within the design, and common forms include silhouettes, valentines, and love letters.


Scrap Quilt
A quilt, usually patchwork, made of many different fabrics, often left over from other projects.


Seam Allowance
The width of fabric left to the right of a sewn seam. In quilting this is traditionally 1/4 inch. For sewing garments it is usually 5/8 inch.


Secret Tacking
A quilting technique in which the needle and thread travel through the filler between stitches. Secret tacking forms stitches that are farther apart than those produced by a running stitch, but closer together and less visible than the knots produced by tacking.


Selvage
The outer edge of both sides of a woven fabric where the weft turns to go back across and through the warp. This is a stiffer and denser woven area of about 1/3-1/2 inch and is usually trimmed off and not sewn into a quilt.
Same As: Selvedge

Selvedge
The outer edge of both sides of a woven fabric where the weft turns to go back across and through the warp. This is a stiffer and denser woven area of about 1/3-1/2 inch and is usually trimmed off and not sewn into a quilt.
Same As: Selvage

Seminole Patchwork
A method of cutting joined strips of fabric into sections and re-piecing them with either plain contrasting fabric strips in between, or in staggered rows similar to a checkerboard. Adapted from the bright patchwork of the Seminole Indians in Florida USA, this technique is often used in Borders and quilted clothing.


Serger
A type of sewing machine which makes overcast seams and cuts off the excess automatically.


Setting
The term used to describe quilt layouts (arrangement of blocks), and the setting you choose can dramatically change the finished look of a quilt.
Same As: Quilt Sets
See Also: Setting Square, Setting Triangle

Setting Square
A plain fabric square used with pieced or appliqued blocks in a quilt top.

See Also: Setting, Setting Triangle

Setting Triangle
The triangle blocks needed around the edge of a quilt if the blocks are set on point and the rows are thus diagonally arranged.

See Also: Setting, Setting Square

Shadow Applique
Applique done using a see-through fabric such as silk organza or polyester netting to shade or shadow the images. The transparency of the fabric gives a different color look to the areas covered.

See Also: Applique, Freezer Paper Applique, Machine Applique, Needleturn Applique, Reverse Applique

Sharps
Ultra sharp, thin needles used for piecing and doing applique.


Sheeting
The term used to describe a fine weave quality of cotton muslin fabric.


Shibori
A Japanese term for several methods of dyeing cloth with a pattern by binding, stitching, folding, twisting, or compressing it. Some of these methods are known in the West as tie-dye. Tie-dye simply covers binding methods of dyeing, known as bound resist.


Signature Quilt
A quilt with signatures from friends, community often for an important life event.
Same As: Album Quilt, Autograph Quilt, Memory Quilt

Slip Stitch
A loose stitch catching only a thread or two of fabric; designed to be invisible from the right side.


Slub
A term which can be applied to a fabric texture and which is caused by small bumps or nodes in the yarns which are formed during spinning and add to the texture when the fabric is woven.


Squishy
Slang for a package of fabric you commonly receive in the mail.


Stack
An easy way to create quilt blocks with unique kaleidoscope designs. These designs require a set of identical pieces cut from a print fabric. Rather than finding and cutting each piece individually, a quilter can cut and layer a number of large, identical print rectangles to make a stack.
Same As: Stack-n-Whack, Whack

Stack-n-Whack
An easy way to create quilt blocks with unique kaleidoscope designs. These designs require a set of identical pieces cut from a print fabric. Rather than finding and cutting each piece individually, a quilter can cut and layer a number of large, identical print rectangles to make a stack.
Same As: Stack, Whack

Star
A large central star, made up of diamond shaped fabric or a square with right triangles, to form the star points from the center out.


Stash
A quilter's personal collection of fabrics. Buying more fabric is adding to your stash.


Stem Stitch
A stitch that works from left to right and is often used for flowers, outlining or filling.


Stippling
Random quilting stitches that move across the quilt in a fluid-like motion. They generally do not overlap.
Same As: Meander Quilting

Stitch In The Ditch
The process of quilting just next to the seams of a quilt, block or to the very edge of an applique area.
Same As: In The Ditch

Straight Border
Two edges are joined and form a perpendicular T at each corner.


String Patchwork
A utility needlework technique in which long, narrow sewing remnants are sewn to a paper or cloth foundation. String patchwork is similar to crazy patchwork, except that the "strings" are generally longer and narrower than pieces in a crazy quilt.


Strip
A construction technique in which long, narrow pieces of cloth are joined lengthwise, sometimes with long rows of quilt blocks, to form a quilt top. The term "strip" can be used to describe the long pieces of fabric between blocks (see Sashing) or to describe the small, narrow remnants used in string patchwork.

See Also: Sashing

Stuffing
The layer in the middle of a quilt sandwich between the Top and Backing layers consisting of wool, polyester, blends, silk, or cotton.
Same As: Batting, Filler, Filling, Wadding

Summer Quilt
A quilt with a top and a back, but no batting.


Sunbonnet Sue
An old, yet popular, applique design which originated in the 1920s-30s of a girl with a big sunbonnet hiding her face. "Sue" is still made in both traditional and modern looks.


Surprise Pillow
A specially designed quilt which is actually a cross between a sleeping bag and a quilt and a pillow. A Quillow folds up into a carrying bag. A popular gift for children and teens.
Same As: Quillow

Swaps
An exchange among a group of quilters of either fabric or blocks with some set ground rules as to theme, color, design, etc. Popular in Quilting Guilds, and a very popular online activity on quilting forums and mailing lists.
Same As: Round Robin Swap

Symmetry
A type of design where one side exactly duplicates the other. An eight pointed star block is symmetrical because no matter how you rotate it, it looks the same.


T Shirt Quilt
A quilt made up of -- you guessed it -- t-shirts. This soft fabric comes with many challenges like stretching. You can use an iron on stablizer added to control the stretch.


Tacker Gun
A tool which is a close cousin to the tacking tool used to put small hanging price tags on garments in shops by means of a short piece of monofilament nylon "arrow". But for quilting these are used instead of pin or thread basting the quilt sandwich together prior to quilting. The monofilament pieces are then cut out again after quilting is complete.
Same As: Tacking Gun
See Also: Tacking, Tacking Gun

Tacking
The process of tying (or tacking) the layers of a quilt or comforter together with yarn knots or tacks. Thick bedcovers are often tacked instead of quilted.
Same As: Tying
See Also: Tacker Gun, Tacking Gun

Tacking Gun
A tool which is a close cousin to the tacking tool used to put small hanging price tags on garments in shops by means of a short piece of monofilament nylon "arrow". But for quilting these are used instead of pin or thread basting the quilt sandwich together prior to quilting. The monofilament pieces are then cut out again after quilting is complete.
Same As: Tacker Gun
See Also: Tacker Gun, Tacking

Template
Pattern pieces made out of paper, cardboard, plastic or metal, giving you something to draw around so that you can accurately replicate any shape.


Thangles
A paper piecing method of making perfect half square triangles.


Thimble
A small, dimpled cap, usually of metal, designed to fit over the end of the finger to protect it from injury as it repeatedly pushes a needle through cloth during sewing or quilting.


Throat Plate
A metal plate beneath a sewing machine's needle and presser foot. The throat plate has an opening for the needle to pass through as it stitches and an opening for the feed dogs to emerge from below and help move the fabric forward during sewing.


Tied Quilt
A quilt where instead of stitching in a quilting pattern to hold the 3 layers together, a series of ties are used spaced evenly all over the body of the quilt.


Tone on Tone
Refers to a printed fabric that is made by combining different shades and tones of the same color. These fabrics often appear to be solid when viewed from a distance, but their printed motifs become recognizable on closer inspection.


Transfer Printing
Using a special paper with a coating to transfer a design printed by an ink jet printer or color copier to a fabric. The design is applied with a hot iron or a heat press.


Trapunto
A raised, dimensional surface created by putting additional batting or stuffing into areas to sculpt the surface.


Tying
The process of tying (or tacking) the layers of a quilt or comforter together with yarn knots or tacks. Thick bedcovers are often tacked instead of quilted.
Same As: Tacking

Unit
A combination of at least two pieces of fabric sewn together to form part of a block.


Universal Needle
A sewing machine needle that is made to use on many types of fabric.


Utility Quilt
A plain, basic quilt meant to be used for everyday bedding. Often a simple design and older ones may be examples of rural folk art. May often be a tied quilt.


Value
How dark or light a color is. Pieces of quilting fabrics cut from colors of the same value blend when sewn side by side. Fabrics of contrasting color values have clearly defined edges when sewn together.


Value Finder
This is a colored plastic tool that lets you look at fabric and see only its lightness or darkness. Red finders let you view anything but red. Green finders let you view anything but green.


Variegated Thread
Thread in which the color changes down the strand.


Wadding
The layer in the middle of a quilt sandwich between the Top and Backing layers consisting of wool, polyester, blends, silk, or cotton.
Same As: Batting, Filler, Filling, Stuffing

Walking Foot
A special foot which can be attached to a sewing machine which helps to feed the top layer of a quilt fabric sandwich evenly with the feed dogs feeding the bottom fabric.


Wall Quilt
A quilt made with smaller dimensions and meant for hanging on a wall. It can be a traditional design or a contemporary art quilt.


Warp
Threads which are put on a loom under tension and raised and lowered to allow the weft to pass through. The warp direction (parallel to the selvages) is the most stable in the finished fabric. Some quilters always use this warp direction for cutting borders.


Watercolor Quilt
A quilt that is made up of many small squares of print fabric positioned so that each color blends into the next creating a watercolor effect.
Same As: Colorwash Quilt

Wedding Ring
A traditional pattern consisting of arced pieces of squares sewn together to form a ring or circle.


Weft
The woven threads in a fabric which run across the width of the fabric during weaving and intersect with the warp threads.


Whack
An easy way to create quilt blocks with unique kaleidoscope designs. These designs require a set of identical pieces cut from a print fabric. Rather than finding and cutting each piece individually, a quilter can cut and layer a number of large, identical print rectangles to make a stack.
Same As: Stack, Stack-n-Whack

White Work
A quilt which is all white fabric, not pieced. A type of whole cloth quilt. The design of the quilt is all in the quilting stitch pattern.


Whole Cloth Quilt
A quilt made from one large piece of fabric, historically a solid color, that is quilted in usually intricate patterns. There are no pieced blocks in these quilts.


Yo Yo
Three dimensional fabric that is gathered into a circle and can be used for quilt tops or embellishments.


Zigzag Stitch
Machine stitch that goes side to side.