Quilt Glossary for Beginning Quilters (N-Z)


This Complete Quilting Glossary for Beginning Quilters constitutes our 14th workshop with Quilting Tips for Beginners. This series of how to make a quilt is taught by Janeen van Niekerk.  We now have the complete quilting glossary for beginners, with the Quilting Terms A-Z for beginners from last week’s class.  Essentially, reading  these new terms for beginning quilters is kind of like speed – learning.  free quilting glossary - quilting workshop for beginners - FineCraftGuild.com

You familiarize yourself with the terms you find on quilt blogs and in quilt patterns, and you learn new quilting techniques that you might not even have been aware of yet.   I love that Janeen adds a bit of quilting history in the mix so that you feel that you too are part of that ancient tradition of making cloth and memories.


I promised you a free downloadable chart which you can have laminated at your local print shop or your home laminator. This will be an easy, pretty reference guide for you.  The link is at the end of the post and will be active tomorrow. Leave me a comment if you want me to email the .pdf to you.

But first, let’s do our quilting lesson for the day and go over the Quilting Terms N – Z today. Over to Janeen van Niekerk, quilting instructor extraordinaire:



Quilting Glossary N –Z




“Sharps” have sharp points which can pierce the thread of woven fabrics.

Available in sizes 60/8 – 90/14, these are a good choice for straight stitch sewing.

  • They are marketed under different names.
  • Schmetz calls their sharp needle Microtex, Dritz uses Standard Point.
  • Metallic needles are constructed specifically for use with metallic and mono-filament threads. 
  • They are thin, with a sharp point to eliminate thread breakage,
  • an elongated eye to make threading easier and an elongated scarf to prevent shredding.
  • Metallic needles are marketed as Metallica (Schmetz), Metafil (Lammertz) and Metallic Machine Embroidery (Madeira).
  • They are available in sizes 70/10 through 90/14.



quilting glossary

On Point

A square quilt block that is set on edge, with the corners on top and bottom, side and side.

This has a diamond shape when looking at it square on.


quilting glossary


Curved safety pins are used to temporarily hold together the three layers of a quilt in preparation for finishing the quilting.


quilting glossary

Quilt Top

The top layer of a quilt sandwich.


quilting glossary

Quilter’s Candy

A fat eighth. (11′ x 18") Either that or a chocolate bar.


quilting glossary

Quilters Guild

Usually an organization made up of quilters. Also called a Quilter’s Group. An organization of quilters to share

quilting projects, sewing instruction and unique art quilt exhibition opportunities.


quilting glossary

Quilting Foot

Quilting foot measure exactly 1/4" 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 foot.

Or, a generic one can be purchased.


quilting glossary


The measurement of fabric before the design in the fabric is repeated.


quilting glossary

Rotary Cutter and Mat

A rotary cutter that has a very sharp circular blade to cut several layers of fabric on a cutting mat specifically designed for use with the cutter.

… Learn More about Quilting Tools


quilting glossary



A heavy plastic measuring guide that is see through and also has the inches marked onto the ruler so that the quilter can accurately see where to cut the fabric. Rulers are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, and a good ruler adds to the success of any project.

… Learn More about Quilting Tools


quilting glossary

Sampler Quilts

A sampler quilt is a quilt made of different block patterns, usually as an exercise in piecing techniques or to try out different looks of blocks.


quilting glossary


These are strips of fabric sewn between pieced blocks to separate them while joining the larger blocks together into a top.

Sashing can be continued around the outside of the quilt top to act as a border as well.


quilting glossary

Scrap quilts

These quilts can be made with fabrics leftover from other quilts (your stash), or from salvaged fabric from

clothing or other items. Charm quilts are usually made from scraps 5”x 5” and make wonderful scrap quilts.

Scrap quilts come in all sizes.


quilting glossary


This is the outer edge of the length of a fabric which is usually more tightly woven and is normally cut off and

not used in a quilt. You will usually find manufacturers information in the selvage.

…Learn more about Quilting Fabric


quilting glossary

Standard Mattress Sizes

  • Twin Mattress Size 39" wide x 75" long
  • Twin Extra Long Mattress Size 39" wide x 80" long
  • Full Mattress Size 54" wide x 75" long
  • Full Extra Long Mattress 54" wide x 80" long
  • Queen Mattress Size 60" wide x 80" long
  • King Mattress Size 78" wide x 80" long


quilting glossary


This refers to Free Motion Quilting onto the quilt top and is closely spaced quilting stitches following an irregular

design that does not cross used to fill background space and create surface texture.


quilting glossary

Stitch in the ditch

By placing your quilting stitches in the "ditch" created by the seams of the pieces in your block. Your quilting pattern

will echo your block pattern.


quilting glossary

Straight of grain

Fabric has three grains, the lengthwise, the crosswise and the bias. The lengthwise grain follows the warp thread

parallel to the selvage. It is ideal for long borders. The crosswise grain follows the weft thread and has slightly more

give. The bias is a 45 degree angle to the selvage and has a lots give. Beware the block cut on the bias, it can be easily

pulled out of shape.

… Learn More about Quilting Fabric


quilting glossary 

Strip piecing

This refers to cutting and sewing your fabric into strips before cutting the individual shapes.


quilting glossary

T-Shirt Quilt

A quilt made from old T-shirts cut into blocks and sewn together – using up the memories in your drawer!


quilting glossary


Refers to a shape used as a pattern for tracing either piecing or appliqué patches, or for tracing lines to be quilted. Can be cut from cardboard, paper or plastic.


quilting glossary

Tied Quilt

A quilt with knotted strings or ties that are used to hold the three layers of the quilt together. Long ties are left as a decorative twist to the quilt.


quilting glossary


This is just the top layer of the quilt sandwich.


quilting glossary



Blocks of the quilt are stuffed with soft filling to give a stuffed quilting design.


quilting glossary


Walking Foot

This is a special foot which can be attached to a sewing machine. It helps to feed the top layer of a

quilt fabric sandwich evenly with the feed dogs feeding the bottom fabric.

To determine which foot you would need, you must measure from the screw to the bottom of the foot.

If it is 1/2" or less, you need a low shank foot. 1/2" to 1" is a high shank foot. You can also double check

this by removing the entire presser food assembly and measuring it. If it measures 3/4" from top to bottom,

you have a low shank machine. If it measures 1-1/4" you have a high shank machine.


quilting glossary


These are the woven threads in the fabric. Warp threads are long and run from top to bottom in the length of the

material, parallel to the selvage. Weft threads run from side to side and are therefore shorter.





This was part 2 of the glossary of quilting terms for beginners. Work with these as you peruse this blog and other quilting blogs for quilt patterns. You will find that some of these terms have already been used in some of the prior quilting workshops in my series here at the Fine Craft Guild. You can find the links for these workshops below.


Have fun studying quilting!

‘Till the next time,

By Janeen van Niekerk, Quilting Instructor



Janeen van Niekerk,  glossary quilting terms

How to Sew a Quilt – Quilting Workshops for Beginners

Want to begin sewing quilts with me? Join our free online quilting workshops, which you can take at your leisure, any time you want. Work at your own pace.

how to make a quilt


Free Quilting Patterns & Tutorials & Classes in this quilting course:

About Quilting Instructor Janeen van Niekerk

how to make a quilt patterns janeen van niekerkOur latest news of quilt making instructor Janeen van Niekerk is that she has just launched a brand new paper piecing magazine.


Quilt artist Janeen van Niekerk is an avid quilter. In particular, she’s an accomplished paper piecing designer. She does it all with a passion.

Janeen’s prolific range of hand-made quilts (she takes commissions for personalized, stylish portrait quilts), as well as her unique quilt patterns (think quilts featuring safari animals and trees, or kids toys) are inspired by her environs; she lives in sunny Pretoria in South Africa, with her husband and kids.

Janeen offers her quilts designs & paper piecing patterns for individual sale Out of Janeen’s 230+ quilt patterns for sale, these are my top 5 Paper Piecing Quilt Patterns, Animals and Flowers. All really beautiful!!

Janeen van Niekerk (spelled by some as Janine van Niekerk) is also part of the Free Block of the Month -club, offering a free paper piecing quilt block pattern, each month. Check it out here:FREE Block of the Month class at Craftsy.com


Quilting Pattern Library & Other Training Courses

purple_quilts_owl This gorgeous owl quilt pattern is both included in one of Janeen’s books as well as being available for individual sale. Don’t you just love this quilt design?

The owl and all Janeen’s other patterns are for sale here at Craftsy. BTW. Crafty also has other quilting, sewing and other craft workshops, which I encourage you to check out, by clicking either the banner below, or the link above.

how to make quilt rows :: free online quilting workshop for beginners

Or,… continue your journey with Quilting patterns, tutorials and ideas  featured here at FineCraftGuild.com (beyond Janeen’s quilting course).

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