When I first entered the quilt world, I was beyond confused with the quilting vernacular I heard on a daily basis. Jelly roll? UFO? I thought every quilter had a few screws loose! But, these wacky terms soon became a part of my daily language and are now second nature to me.
I started thinking about my young, naive quilting days and a lot of the quilting terms still make me chuckle. Here is my list of quilting terms that still make me laugh (and still puzzle me!)
- UFO: AKA Un-Finished Object. I, of course, still imagine quilters with little silver space saucers scattered about their quilt room when I hear the phrase “I have SO MANY UFO’s!” But alas, this term just refers to the pesky quilt projects that may or may not ever be finished. For quilters with lots of UFO’s, we have a UFO tracker to get them finished in a timely manner! Click here to download it now!
- Stack ‘n Whack: When I discovered this hilarious quilt term, I was convinced quilters were secretly part of the mob. Stack ‘n whack must be a term only mobsters use! How wrong I was. This actually is a method of layering fabrics and cutting them to create quite eye-catching quilts.
- Crazy Quilt: I couldn’t believe people proudly proclaimed, “I am a crazy quilter!” This actually refers to sane quilters creating fun, improvised crazy quilts!
- Jelly Roll: This term elicits images of delicious, sweet, colorful candy wrapped in iridescent wrappers. My mouth still waters when I hear jelly roll. I was disappointed to discover I would not be sampling sweet candies every day when told the true definition of jelly roll. Jelly rolls are my favorite type of pre-cut, however. The tight roll with every color and print displayed is always appealing to me.
- Warp/Weft: These words are possibly the most delightful terms to roll off the tongue. I imagine a song should be created a la Schoolhouse Rock style to remember their definitions. To clarify: warp threads run parallel to the selvedge. Weft threads run from side to side.
- Quilt Sandwich: Before I knew this definition, I always pictured a big hamburger with patchwork buns. Of course, this actually refers to the layering of the quilt top, batting and backing.
- PIGS: Quilters love their acronyms! It does not refer to pig-shaped quilts or some kind of farm-related quilt. Instead, it means Projects In Grocery Sacks. Picturing a pig-shaped quilt is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face though.
- WOMBAT: I often see this term on many online quilting forums. “That pattern was a real WOMBAT!” To which other quilters would reply with their condolences. I tried and tried to string together words to form the acronym but had to resort to Google. To save you the time: Waste Of Materials, Batting And Time.
- Feed Dogs: When learning how to piece and quilt, my instructor would always yell, “Send in the feed dogs!” It sounded like a captain of the boat yelling at his sailors to prepare for a battle. It turns out, the feed dogs are pretty essential to a sewing machine. They are the nifty mechanics that feed the material through the machine.
- Basting: Contrary to my mental image of getting out a turkey baster and preparing the quilt top for a Thanksgiving feast, this actually refers to the technique that temporarily joins the layers of the quilt with safety pins and large stitches.
For more handy quilt terms and definitions, check out our Quilt Glossary for the 21st Century. It has abbreviations used in online quilt forums and a myriad of quilt terms used in many quilt patterns and books.
What quilting terms put a smile on your face? Share with us in the comments below!