Negative Space – Unoccupied area that surrounds objector shape in a project. Negative space can be in a block or the area surrounding a block. It encompasses the areas and flows in, around and between quilt blocks, Negative space gives definition and depth to our project making it an essential tool in quilting. This is the area that micro quilting and fills are used to extenuate the quilt by creating movement and added interest to quilt.
Nine-Patch – A quilt block consisting of nine squares arranged in three rows horizontally. They are perfect blocks for beginners to make.
Needle Plate – The metal or plastic plate at the base of a sewing machine; typically has guide makes and is on top of the feed dogs (see Feed Dogs).
Needle-Punched Batting – The mechanical way of making batting more firm and more dense by punching it with a bunch of needles. A needle punched batting makes quilts more durable.
Needle-Turn Appliqué – A traditional hand appliqué technique in which the seam allowances are turned under as shapes are hand sewn to the background; therefore, giving you invisible stitches.
Notches – A tiny “V” shape on a curved seam to indicate points along the seam that should be matched. It is significant how much notches help when trying to sew curved seams. Many AccuQuilt dies have the notches already included on the die.
Notions – Small accessories used to aid in sewing and quilting: scissors, needles, thread, seam ripper, zippers, etc.
Novelty Print – A fabric is designed and printed with a theme such as holidays, pets, sports, and so on. It is referred to as conversation prints.
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.
One quarter inch (1/4″) Quilting Foot – This foot measures exactly one quarter inch from needle point to inner edge of the foot, which may have a guide on it to prevent the fabric from going past the edge. Most sewing machines come with a quilting presser foot, but you can also purchase one inexpensively.
On Point – The orientation of a quilt when its corners are placed up, down and to the sides. A block that is placed at a 45 degree angle, diagonally, on the quilt top. You must be careful when piecing this style quilt, it is very easy to stretch bias and distort quilt. Proper pinning is a necessity.
Outline Quilting – A type of quilting where you outline (stitch) a block or appliqué piece usually ¼” from the patch seams.
Outline Stitch – A decorative stitch used in embroidery that forms a narrow line.
Panel Quilt – A quilt made mostly from a pre-printed fabric panel, which are large pieces of fabric printed with some sort of picture or scene. Fabric panels are ready to use, so there’s no need to cut them up for patchwork.
Paper Piecing – It is a technique of machine stitching your fabric directly onto paper. You can achieve perfect points if you position your fabric correctly and sew perfect straight lines. It is also known as Foundation Paper Piecing.
Patchwork – The process of making a quilt by sewing many small pieces of fabric together to create many different designs for a quilt top. It is also known as piecework. Patchwork is an art of sewing small pieces of fabric together to make a larger fabric or design, then usually quilted to be made into a quilt or bag or other project.
Penny Squares – A form of embroidery designs (also known as redwork) which uses red floss to trace simple line drawings on quilt blocks. They were popular in the late 1800s.
Photo Quilt – A personalized quilt made with squares of fabric that includes your choice of photograph(s) that are transferred onto the quilt.
Pieced Border – A long strip of fabric that has been sewn together to make a single border for your quilt. Pieced borders can make more of an impact on your quilt, adding more pop as well as dimension to your quilt.
Piecing – Process where you sew your fabric pieces together to form a block, garment or quilt.
Pima Cotton – A type of long cotton plant grown in the U.S., Australia and other places around that world. It is a premium cotton fiber that is known for its fineness as well as its strength.
Pinwheel – A common quilt block pattern consisting of four triangles that are arranged in a pinwheel pattern and sewn into a four-patch block.
Prairie Points – A technique in which you fold strips of fabric in order to form triangles and then use them as a quilt border or embellishment on seams within a quilt. Quilts with Prairie Points don’t need binding.
Pre-Cut Fabric – Types of coordinating fabric bundles that are pre-cut by the manufacturer. Charm Packs, Jelly Rolls, Fat Quarters, and Layer Cakes are some examples of pre-cuts.
Presser Foot – The part of the sewing machine that surrounds the needle and stabilizes the fabric—keeping it flat—against the throat plate as the needle goes up and down. There is variety of presser feet available to accommodate many different sewing machines.
Pressing – To use an iron to press seams and blocks by simply pressing the iron down onto the fabric without moving the iron back and forth, as that can stretch and distort the fabric. Repeat until seam is pressed to its entirety. This is a necessity in obtaining precision in quilting. Warning the iron shouldn’t be too hot nor should you use steam. Steam could cause stretching or distortion.
Prewash – A practice of prewashing your fabrics in order to preshrink it and to check for color-fastness before using the fabrics in a quilt project. The process helps to ensure that dyes will not bleed in future washings.
Quarter Inch Foot – Presser foot that has a guide to achieve the ¼ inch seam. There is also a mark on front and back of presser foot that show ¼ inch markings if you need to stop short ¼ inch this is helpful.
Quarter-Square Triangle – Triangle made when you cut a square twice corner to opposite corner at 45 degree angle. Making an X in center of block. Straight grain will be on long edge of triangle. You will obtain 4 triangles from one square.
Quilt As You Go – Process where each section is layered (top, batting, backing) before you begin sewing. Add border to top right sides together, batting and backing to back right sides together. Pin and sew seam. Set seam, fold border forward, batting and backing forward, and press. Repeat this process until project is complete. When quilt is finished, it is completely quilted already.
Quilt Guild – An organization consisting of beginner and advanced quilters who come together to share projects, get instruction, and provide community service.
Quilting – The process of sewing the three quilt layers together, using stitches in decorative patterns as motifs, or in utilitarian patterns, such as straight lines with bigger stitches. Quilting is generally done by hand or machine and serves three purposes;
1. Secure all three layers to each other.
2. To add to the beauty and design of the finished quilt.
3. To trap air within the quilted sections, making the quilt as a whole much warmer than its parts.
Quilting Challenge – Many people making a quilt project with predetermined rules/criteria; a friendly competition.
Quilt Foot – A sewing machine foot that measures 1/4" from the needle point to make sewing a 1/4" seam easier.
Quilting Frame – Can be a small quilt hoop or a large floor frame that holds the 3 layers of a quilt (top, batting, and backing) as it is hand quilted.
Quilting Hoop – Two circles that hold the quilt layers together during quilting process. One of the circles has an adjustment to fit over layers.
Quilting Label – A patch or an area on the back of the quilt. Generally the label will have a date, recipient name and name of its maker. Perhaps even a little about the quilt.
Quilt Sandwich – The layering of quilt top, batting, and backing that is quilted together. It is the last step in making a quilt. You take the three layers of a quilt: the quilt top, the quilt batting, the quilt backing. This is what a quilt is referred to before binding is put on. A quilt sandwich can also be used when practicing free motion quilting. This is done when you use a 12 inch block of fabric on from and on back with a 12 inch block of batting in the center. Thus, a quilt sandwich.
Quilt Sleeve – A strip of fabric that is applied to a quilt to enable hanging, a rod is often slipped through the sleeve.
Quilt Thread – Thread used to quilt the three layers together
Quilt Top – The top layer of a quilt Sandwich.
Quilt Weight Cotton – Lightweight, 100% cotton used most often in quilt.
Rag Quilt – A type of piecework that has exposed seams on the front and finished seams on the back to produce a ragged look. Rag quilts have a top, batting and backing but are assembled differently than a traditional quilt.
Raw Edge – The unsewn edge of a piece of fabric or a quilt block that is sometimes used as a decorative element.
Redwork – The name given to the embroidery technique where pictures are “drawn” with a series of joined stitches. Preferred stitches are usually backstitch or stem stitch, and the picture is embroidered in a single red color. (Also can be stitched in black or blue for variation.)
Reverse Appliqué – A technique in which the appliqué fabric is sewn to the back of the background fabric and then the background fabric is cut away to reveal the applique fabric underneath. It is especially useful when the shapes are small and when an illusion of depth is needed.
Right Side – The “front” side of the fabric; usually the distinctly printed side of the fabric.
Rocker Quilting Stitch – Stitch used when hand quilting when you gently rock needle down through quilt and then back up in a running stitch.
Rotary Cutter – A tool with a sharp circular blade attached to a handle that is used to cut fabric on a cutting mat. It comes in a variety of diameters. It’s very sharp like a round razor blade. Must be used on a cutting mat and preferably with a quilting ruler.
Rotary Mat – Cutting surface that is self-healing. Used with fabric and rotary cutters.
Reverse Appliqué – Rotary Rulers: Rulers made from Plexiglas type material. They have a raised edge to guide rotary cutter along edge.
Ruler – A heavy plastic measuring tool that is available in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Running Stitch – A style of stitch where the needle goes in and out of fabric in a continual motion.
Sampler Quilt – A quilt constructed of a collection of blocks in different patterns and usually no pattern is repeated. The Sampler Quit is perfect for the beginner quilter.
Sandpaper Circles – Circles made of sandpaper with adhesive on one side. Place adhesive side to bottom side of rotary rulers to prevent slippage.
Sashiko Quilting – A Japanese style of precise quilting designs done in embroidery or in quilting and it typically involves using white thread on a dark solid background.
Sashing – The fabric that separates the blocks from each other, framing them and making the quilt larger. Sashing is fabric sewn around or between blocks of a quilt top. These strips are generally joined together by cornerstone blocks or sashing squares. See Lattice.
Sashing Squares – Squares used to sew sashing together. See Cornerstones.
Satin Stitch – A slanted, compact decorative stitch often used around applique pieces to enclose raw edges.
Scrap Quilt – A quilt made with a combination of leftover fabrics (some include new fabrics as well) from other quilts. Some scrappy quilts include dozens of fabrics.
Scrap Quilts – Quilts that are made from various fabrics, often scraps from other projects or clothing. There are many patterns for this style of quilt, or you just start sewing them together and cut them into blocks.
Scrim – A term used in batting where a thin layer of polyester is added to the cotton to be needle punched into, this gives stability to your batting so it won’t break apart within your quilt. Scrim adds poly to your batting so it will no longer be 100% cotton.
Seam – The line where two pieces of fabric are joined together by sewing them with thread.
Seam Allowance – The fabric on the right of the sewing line from raw edge. In quilting its traditionally ¼ inch. This process keeps edge from fraying and maintains a secure seam. For sewing garments the seam allowance is usually 5/8 inch.
Seam Ripper– A tool used for picking or ripping out sewing stitches. Generally one of your most used tools.
Selvage – Manufactured finished edge of fabric prevents fraying before it gets to consumer. Selvage should always be cut off before starting the process of cutting your pieces. This is where you can find the name of your fabric line, company that supplied fabric as well as your color wheel… colors that went into your fabric. Its 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.
Seminole Patchwork – A style of strip piecing in which strips of fabric are sewn together and then units are cut apart, repositioned and sewn again to create intricate geometric designs.
Serging – A method of looped threads over the raw edge of the fabric to finish the edge to prevent fraying. This is a Fun way to finish wall hangings.
Setting – The arrangement of completed Blocks forming the Quilt Top. Blocks can be set side by side, or on point, like diamonds, with or without Sashing. Arrangements can also vary with certain asymmetrical block patterns. Setting is the arrangement of blocks and various fabrics in a quilt. A straight setting is when blocks are placed in vertical and horizontal grid like design. Diagonal is when a block is set on point, resembling a diamond, risk of bias stretch with the diagonal setting.
Setting the Seam – When you set the iron on the seam before pressing it to the side or open depending on your project. Allows the thread to relax into your fabric and become more secure.
Sharps – Sets of sewing needles for hand piecing or applique, many use this for bindings as well.
Side Setting Triangles – Triangles added to the sides of a quilt on point to keep it square (see On Point).
Side Triangles – Setting triangles used on top and sides of quilt where blocks are set on point. These are quarter square triangles and the long side has the straight of grain. You must be careful when sewing on bias side, as not to stretch and distort. Always pin and use walking foot.
Signature Quilt – A quilt with many signatures collected and signed on individual blocks.
Stab Stitching – Process where the needle is pushed (stabbed) to back side of quilt sandwich with one hand and returned to top side with the other hand, pushing needle from back to front.
Starch – A spray used to before ironing to stiffen fabric.
Stash – The term that refers to a quilter’s collection of fabrics, which is usually quite an impressive amount of fabric. This accumulates of fabric a quilter will use for future, new projects, or because you really liked it, or because you have a fabric addiction.
Stay Stitch – Pre-sewing along the edge of a curve to help prevent the stretching along the “bias” when assembling a garment together. Often used on the curves of sleeves for stability during garment construction.
Stencils – Designs that are cut into a plastic template. Stencils are used for marking quilts during quilting process.
Stippling – A stitching technique of curved lines that is done all over the quilt in an effort to fill in background areas of it. This method allows designs to be seen more prominently in the quilt.
Stitch in the Ditch – A stitch used next to the seams on the quilt in order to define blocks or shapes. This describes the method of stitching along existing seams in a patchwork piece or quilt top in order to quilt it together with the batting and backing.
Straight Cut Borders – Top, bottom and side borders that meet at a horizontal seam. Sew sides on first then top and bottom.
Straight Grain – Straight Grain: The grain of the fabric that runs lengthwise grain and crosswise grain through the fabric. This is most stable, less stretch.
Straight of Grain – The lengthwise and crosswise grain on fabric.
Strip Piecing – A technique of sewing fabric cut into strips together accurately and quickly and then cutting those fabric strip sets into new blocks and designs. A classic version of this is Seminole Patchwork. Its also described as a technique where strips are cut and pieced together and then pieced strips are cut to design a block. Used in rail fence quilts as well as many others.
Stippling – A technique used in both hand and machine quilting to flatten an area of a quilt and create texture. Stippling is continuous closely spaced waving and curving, resembling a puzzle. In the past it was faux pas to cross over a line, this is no longer the thought.
Sunbonnet Sue – An appliqué design of a girl with a sunbonnet hiding her face that is still popular among quilters. The design has been around since the 1920s.
Tacking Gun – A tool used instead of pin or thread basting the quilt sandwich together prior to quilting.
Template – A shape cut from plastic or cardboard and used as a pattern for tracing either piecing or appliqué patches, or it may also be used to transfer quilting lines to a quilt top. Often used as an appliqué when finished.
Tension – The amount of “pinching” done to your thread as it flows through your sewing machine. Thicker fabrics need a higher tension (a harder pinch so the thread doesn’t flow out too quickly), and thinner fabrics need less tension (a lesser pinch to let the thread out easily to prevent puckering).
Thimble – Protective covering for your finger used during hand quilting or sewing binding and/or appliqué.
Thread Conditioner – A wax substance that can be applied to thread to prevent tangling and fraying during hand sewing.
Tied Quilt – Technique where a quilt is layered with backing, batting, and top. Generally it is laid out on a large table and periodically tied and knotted with pearl cotton or yarn to hold quilt together instead of quilting it. Generally high loft batting is used with this technique. Simpler terms a quilt in which knotted strings or ties are used to hold the three layers of the quilt together as opposed to stitching.
Top Stitch – The process of stitching on the exterior side of a project to finish seams or folds to keep them in place. Usually paired with a longer stitch length which looks more professional and can make it easier to go in a straight line. Also can be known as Edge Stitching if it is done near a fold of fabric.
Trapunto – A quilt that is stuffed in order to make it fluffy or to give it more dimension. It can be stuffed with yarn, additional batting, or other matter.
Unfinished Objects (UFOs) – Quilt projects that you have in your studio that are unfinished. It is common for quilters to have many of them.
Unit – Two or more sections of a block or border that forms together to construct a quilt.
Utility Quilt – A plain, basic practical use quilt that is made without fancy materials. It is meant for warmth and for your everyday bedding.
Value – A term describing the lightness or darkness of a particular color. The right value is significant in a quilt, as it can make the difference in whether your quilt shines or doesn’t.
Variegated Thread – Thread used in quilting that changes in color throughout the strand.
Vertical Row – A quilt that is arranged vertically as opposed to the more traditional horizontal method. There are some specific designs that will look better if the quilt is assembled vertically.
Wadding – Batting or wadding is the middle layer of the quilt, adding to the warmth and loft of the after product.
Walking Foot – A special presser foot you attach to a sewing machine that helps to feed multi layers of the quilt through more evenly. The grippers on the bottom is especially effective for evenly feeding fabric which makes it perfect for working with fabrics that are cut on bias. A walking foot is used in machine quilting.
Warp – The woven threads in the fabric that runs parallel to the selvedges. They are the most stable part of the fabric and many quilters like to use the warp direction for cutting borders.
Watercolor Quilt – A technique using tiny pieces of floral fabric of different color varieties and to make a design similar to a painting.
Water-Soluble – Accessories used in quilting such as threads, markers, and stabilizers that dissolve when wet.
Whip Stitch – A hand made stitching technique that "whips" the thread through one layer of fabric and back through the other; used during the final stage of hand sewing bindings (see Binding)
WIP – Work In Progress
Whole Cloth Quilts – Name given to three single pieces of fabric sandwiched and sewn together in the quilting process. The design is in the quilting.
WOF – Width of fabric. Salvage to salvage. You will find this abbreviation in many patterns.
Wonky – A style of imperfect patchwork in which fabrics are cut at awkward angles and sewn together with no rhyme or reason. It is a liberal and improvisational style of quilting.
Wrong Side – The “back” side of the fabric; usually the opposite side of a distinctly printed fabric.
X-Ray Film – Some quilters use X-Ray film to make templates.
Y-Seams – A sewing technique where you join three different pieces of fabric together to form a “Y”. While sewing, you should stop ¼” away from the seam in order to not sew over the seam allowances.
Yo-Yo Quilt – A fabric embellishment made with three-dimensional circles.
Zipper Quilt – A quilt pieced together to mimic a quilt.
Zigzag Stitch – A stitch that goes from side to side and is often used for machine appliqué. Your stitches can be short or long.