For all you newbie quilters out there, I have put together this brief glossary of quilting terms. Please let me know if you find it helpful.
A Quilting Glossary
Appliqué – A method of covering up mistakes. Not foolproof, however, as there is no method for covering up the mistakes made while appliquéing. Beer helps, though.
Backing – The material used for the back of a quilt. If a friend is doing longarm quilting for you, it must be 2 inches bigger than quilt and batting on all sides. If done at a quilt shop, 8 inches.
Batting – What you do with your eyelashes when someone starts complaining about all the fabric you’ve been buying. Warning: may lead to unintended sexual obligations.
Bias – The irrational inclination to believe that holding down a job or cooking some food for once is a more productive use of time than quilting.
Design Wall – What Sheila has. You know—Sheila. Don’s wife. He made it for her. He, apparently, knows how to use the tools in his garage. I get to use an old flannel sheet that looks like the cat yakked on it.
Electric Quilt – What you see after you eat the funny sugar cubes someone gave you at that last Grateful Dead show. Not that I would know.
Fat Quarter – The section of New Orleans where the happy quilters live. Nobody tells them to lay off the potato salad. Also, the name of my future fabric shop/Cajun restaurant.
Flying Geese – Quilt pattern comprised of repeating blocks made from three triangles. Also known as Completely Impossible and Are You Freaking Kidding Me?
Fussy Cut – What results when you whine like a big baby because the fat quarter you got at the guild swap isn’t “quilt shop quality” and Tille Henderson pulls a switchblade.
Grain Line – No, not what you stand in to get free Jack Daniels. You’re not funny, you know.
Half Square Triangles – Triangles cut from a square of fabric which, when they are sewn together, miraculously form a trapezoid.
Miter – The cool hat you get to wear when you are elected Bishop of Quilters. No, really. There’s a ceremony every year in the Fat Quarter during Mardi Gras.
Quarter Inch Seam, Accurate – What quilt books and patterns are always harping on, like the world’s gonna end if your seam is a little off.
Quilt Sandwich – Yeah, lettuce and tomato. That’s hilarious. Would you please go somewhere else? Go ask Don to show you how to use a nailgun or something.
Rotary Cutter – An instrument with an extremely sharp, round blade used for dyeing fabric with blood spots. Be sure to have plenty of extra blades on hand as they tend to chip if they hit bone.
Self -Healing Mat – What you sit on while you dial 9-1-1 after hacking off the end of your finger with the rotary cutter.
Selvedge – The part of the fabric that they always say you can’t use, but which just gets hidden in the seam allowance so what’s the big deal?
Squaring Up – The process of making sure that a quilt block, or a quilt, has straight edges and right angles at every corner. Failure to do so will result in a hefty fine and/or jail time, as determined by the longarmer who is holding your quilt hostage.