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A Beginner's Guide to Quilting Terms and Abbreviations

If you're new to quilting, you may find yourself feeling a bit overwhelmed by the jargon and abbreviations that seasoned quilters use. Fear not!

This guide will help you navigate the world of quilting by explaining some of the most common quilting terms and abbreviations.

Feel more confident at your quilt guild meetings, reading quilting patterns, and improving your quilting skills because you understand the language!

Quilting Terms:

1. Width of Fabric (WOF)

Width of Fabric (WOF) refers to the full width of the fabric, typically from selvage to selvage. Understanding the WOF is crucial for cutting fabric pieces accurately for your quilt.

2. Right Sides Together (RST)

Right Sides Together (RST) means placing the right sides of two pieces of fabric together before sewing. This is how you create seams that are hidden on the inside of your quilt.

3. Wrong Sides Together (WST)

Wrong Sides Together (WST) is the opposite of RST, where you place the wrong sides of two pieces of fabric together. This is sometimes done for decorative or reversible quilts.

4. Block of the Month (BOM)

A Block of the Month (BOM) is a quilting program where you receive a new block pattern each month, allowing you to create a beautiful quilt over time.

5. Free-Motion Quilting (FMQ)

Free-Motion Quilting (FMQ) is a technique where you move the fabric freely under the sewing machine's needle to create intricate and decorative quilt designs.

6. Half-Square Triangle (HST)

A Half-Square Triangle (HST) is a popular quilting block made by sewing two triangles together, forming a square with a diagonal seam.

7. Quarter-Square Triangle (QST)

Similar to HST, a Quarter-Square Triangle (QST) involves sewing four triangles together to create a block with a central square and four smaller triangles.

8. Unfinished Object (UFO)

Unfinished Object (UFO) refers to a quilting project that you've started but haven't completed yet. Many quilters have a few UFOs hiding in their closets.

9. Work in Progress (WIP)

A Work in Progress (WIP) is a project that is currently being worked on but isn't yet finished. WIPs can range from small quilt blocks to full-sized quilts.

10. Fussy Cutting

Fussy Cutting is the practice of carefully selecting and cutting fabric pieces to feature specific motifs or designs in a quilt block, ensuring they are showcased in your project.

11. Sashing

Sashing refers to strips of fabric used to separate and frame individual quilt blocks within a quilt top, creating a cohesive design.

12. Binding

Binding is the fabric strip used to finish the edges of a quilt. It encases the raw edges and provides a clean, decorative finish to your quilt.

13. Stash

Your stash is your collection of fabric, notions, and supplies. Many quilters build up a stash over time, and it's a valuable resource for future projects.

14. Ruler

A ruler is a measuring tool with grid lines used for precise cutting and measuring of fabric. Investing in a good quilting ruler is essential for accuracy.

15. Batting

Batting is the layer of material (usually cotton, polyester, or a blend) placed between the quilt top and backing. It provides warmth and thickness to your quilt.

16. Seam Allowance

Seam Allowance is the amount of fabric between the seam and the edge of the fabric pieces being sewn together. A typical seam allowance is 1/4 inch.

17. Chain Piecing

Chain Piecing involves sewing a series of pieces one after the other without cutting the thread between them. This technique saves time and thread while piecing together blocks.

18. Selvage

The selvage is the finished edge of fabric that runs parallel to the length of the fabric and typically contains manufacturer information. It's often trimmed off before quilting.

19. Longarm Quilting Machine

A specialized quilting machine with a large frame that allows for quilting larger quilts more efficiently. Longarm machines are commonly used by professional quilters.

20. Quilt Sandwich

This term refers to the three layers of a quilt: the quilt top, batting (the middle layer), and the backing fabric. These layers are basted or pinned together before quilting.

21. Basting

The process of temporarily securing the layers of the quilt sandwich together to prepare for quilting. Basting can be done using safety pins, basting spray, or hand stitches and is later removed after quilting.

22. Bias

The bias is a diagonal direction of fabric that stretches more than the straight grain. Bias binding is often used for curved edges because it has more flexibility.

23. Mitered Corner

A technique used to create neat and tidy corners when binding a quilt. It involves folding the binding at a 45-degree angle to create a diagonal seam.

24. Stippling

A free-motion quilting technique where you create a meandering, continuous line of stitching that fills the quilt's surface. Stippling is often used for background quilting or to add texture to a quilt.

Now that you're familiar with these essential quilting terms and abbreviations, you're well on your way to becoming a confident quilter. Don't be discouraged if it takes some time to remember all of these terms. With practice and experience, you'll find yourself speaking the language of quilting fluently and creating beautiful quilts in no time.

Happy quilting!

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