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Quilts in Time of War

Women have used quilts for charitable purposes and fund-raisers since at least the mid-nineteenth century and probably earlier. Some of the most organized and widespread charitable quilting activities took place in times of war. Women worked in the hundreds of thousands to send quilts to men going off to serve in the
Civil War. They joined Ladies Aid Societies, The US Sanitary Commission, Church groups and Sewing Circles
to provide much needed bedding for soldiers, both in the field and in hospitals. Huge fund-raisers were held to raise money for supplies and many valuable family heirlooms were sacrificed in order to help the cause. Many soldiers in the Civil War went off to fight with a quilt sent from home. Schoolchildren raised money and made quilts to send. In Alabama woman used quilts to raise money for gunboats! When the war was over quilts were made using fabrics from the uniforms of returning and lost soldiers. Some women inscribed
their quilts with the dates and places of battles fought by the soldiers in their families. Fabric was scarce following the war and many quilts were made of homespun or much worn dress scraps. The cotton
industry had been greatly disrupted by the war and took some time to recover.
Quilts were a comfort to soldiers away from home and served as bedding, horseblankets, shelter, warmth, and bandages. They could even be used as sacks to carry rations or as stretchers for the wounded.


Quilting Definitions:

4-angle: One of the three angles of the Starmaker 8 Master Template.

Album Quilt: A quilt in which each block is different.

Amish Quilt: A quilt style originating in the Amish communities of Eastern Pennsylvania and the Midwest. These quilts are usually made from dark, solid colors with ample use of black as a background and simple geometric patterns with wide borders.

Applique: A motif or design made separately, then sewn or otherwise affixed to a cloth or garment.

Assembly Piecing: Piecing identical units of several blocks at the same time, as opposed to piecing each unit and completing one block at a time.

Background Fabric: The foundation material on which applique is sewn.

Backing: The back or bottom layer of the quilt.

Baltimore Album Style: An applique which reached its height of popularity in 19th century Baltimore, Maryland. Traditional shades include red and green on white.

Bargello: A style of piecing in which fabric is first sewn in horizontal strips, then cut and arranged in vertical steps producing variating designs.

Basting: A way to hold the layers of your quilt together while you are doing the actual quilting. Can be done with spray adhesive, safety pins, or large stitches.

Batting: Filler that goes in between the quilt top and backing.

Bearding: Bits of the batting are showing through the top and/or bottom layer of your quilt. This can often be avoided by buying a higher thread count fabric and using dark batting for darker fabrics. Usually associated with using synthetic batting.

Betweens: Thin, small needles used for hand quilting. They range in size from 8 to 12. The higher the number the shorter the needle.

Bias: The diagonal of the fabric weave. Fabric cut on the bias stretches.

Bias Edges: 45 degree angle from the straight of grain.

Binding: Fabric folded over the edge of your quilt to cover the raw edges. See here for different binding methods.

Block: The design unit of a quilt top, usually square. It can be made of patchwork, applique or a combination.

Block-to-Block Set: A block arrangement without sashing.

Border Strips: One or more strips added to the outside edge of a quilt.

Broderie Perse: "Persian Embroidery". Applique cut from a printed fabric picture, such as a flower or animal.

Calico: Any small repeated print design on cotton, usually a floral.

Chain Sewing or Chain Piecing: Sew from one piece of fabric to the next without cutting threads.

Charm Quilt: Usually pieced, usually one-patch, made from many different fabrics, with no two identical.

Clamshell: A quilting pattern in the shape of interlocking circle tops.

Combination Strip: Two or more strips sewn together to be cut into shapes.

Cornerstones: Squares marking the 4 corners of a block or quilt, the same width as the sashing.

Crazy Quilt: Fancy patchwork, from irregular and often scrap pieces, with no set pattern or design overall. Most often used with silks, velvets and embroidery; usually constructed on a muslin foundation fabric and embellished with embroidery.

Crosscut: Cut across the combination strip.

Crosshatching: Two sets of parallel diagonal lines crossing one another to create a diagonal gridwork.

Cutting Mat: A special self healing mat that had measurements displayed on it to help with accurate cutting using a ruler and rotary cutter.

Darning Foot: A sewing machine foot that is used for free motion quilting. The foot only holds the fabric when the needle is coming out of the fabric which means that you are able to move the fabric around freely when machines quilting.

Directional Borders: Borders that flow in a particular direction.

Directional Prints: Fabrics printed with distinct up-and-down motifs.

Echo quilting: 1/4" spaced repeating quilting used around applique or pieced work. Used a lot in Hawaiian style quilting.

English Paper Piecing: A method of hand piecing in which fabric shapes are basted over paper templates and whipstitched together along their fabric edges.

Envelope Style Finish: Layer the top and backing right sides together with the batting underneath. Stitch around 3-1/2 sides. Turn right side out through the opening. Hand stitch closed.

Fat Eighth: A fat quarter split. 18" x 11".

Fat Quarter: Aproximately 18" x 22". Fold one yard of fabric in half lengthwise and then widthwise.

Feathers: Heart shaped forms on both sides of a main stem, can be round, heart shaped, freeform, or can even be used to fill an area.

Filler Pattern: The quilting design, stitched either by hand or machine.

Finger Pressing: A technique for making seam allowances lie flat by pinching fabric between your fingers to form a temporary crease.

Finished Size: The measurement or dimensions of a completed block or quilt without seam allowances.

Flying Geese: A quilt block made from triangles and background fabrics.

Foundation Piecing: Assembling a block by sewing pieces to a foundation of muslin or plain fabric, adding strength and stability to delicate or stretchy fabrics.

Four-Patch Block: A block with two, four, or multiples of four units per row.

Free-Motion Quilting: A machine quilting process of quilting curved and intricate designs.

Free-Style Fillers: A filler pattern that does not follow a specific grid or pattern.

Friendship Quilt: A quilt made as a group project for one member of the group, with each participant making and signing a block or more for the top.

Fussy Cut: Centering a design within a shape. See Kaye's line of View and Do Shapes, specially made for fussy cutting with a rotary cutter.

Glazed Finish: A light resin coating applied to the outermost layers of the batting to prevent bearding. Also known as a bonded finish.

Grain: The lengthwise and crosswise threads of a woven fabric.

Griege: Refers to woven textiles as they come from the loom, before they are dyed or printed and sold as finished goods. Also spelled greige.

Hand-Quilting Stitch: A small running stitch that is made through all three layers of a quilt.

Hanging Sleeve: Fabric attached to the back of a quilt at the top so that you can hang it up to display it.

Homespun Fabric: A loosely woven fabric, usually of wool or linen, hand-loomed from hand-spun yarns.

Horizontal: Sideways; even with the horizon.

Invisible Stitch: Used for applique and binding. Generally done by hand. The stitch is done in such a way that it does not show on the fabric.

Invisible Thread: Fine nylon thread used for machine applique.

Label: Most quilts have a label on the back detailing the maker, the recipient, the quilt name, the date the work was started and the date it was completed.

Lap Quilting. A method of completing the finished quilting one block at a time and then assembling the finished quilt from those pre-quilted squares. Squares are quilted in small lap frames rather than large ones.

Layer: To put the quilt top, batting and backing together.

Lockstitch: Stitch in one place to lock stitches.

Loft: Thickness of batting. A high loft batting is thicker and fluffier than low loft batting.

Log Cabin: A quilt pattern in which narrow fabric strips, or logs, surround a center square to form a Block.

Long Arm Quilting Machine: A professional quilting machine with a long bed.

Machine Tie: Tie the quilt with yarn or cord, instead of quilting.

Medallion Quilt: A quilt with a central motif as the focal point, surrounded by multiple borders.

Memory Quilt: A quilt pieced from scraps clothing. mementos, or transferred photographs.

Miniature Quilt: A small-scale reproduction of a full-size quilt.

Mitered Bindings: Folding the binding at the corners so the seam is diagonal.

Mitered Borders: Sewing the borders so the corner seam is diagonal.

Motifs: Coordinating design pattern used for quilting.

Muslin: A plain, undyed cotton fabric, available bleached or unbleached. A fine quality bleached muslin is used in quilting as a neutral background or as a foundation under thinner fabric.

Needle-Punching: The process of inserting a needle through the layers when hand quilting. It is done to prevent shifting and to help the batting maintain its loft. Also called needling.

Nine-Patch Block: A block composed of nine units, joined in three rows of three units each.

Novelty Print: A fabric printed with small whimsical designs, often for a holiday or for craft use.

On Point: Quilt turned so the blocks are turned at a 45-degree angle.

One-Patch: Any quilt pattern that uses a single shaped patch for the pieced top.

Outline Quilting: Quilting stitches that follow the outline of an applique design or pattern on the fabric.

Paper Foundation Piecing: A method of piecing where fabric is sewn to a paper foundation with a printed block pattern, in a specific order, to more accurately assemble a complicated design.

Paper Piecing: The use of paper templates with the fabric basted onto the paper shape to retain accurate piecing.

Patch: An individual fabric shape joined with other patches to make a block or a quilt.

Patchwork: The process of making a quilt by sewing many small pieces of fabric together. Also known as piecework.

Pieced Border: A long strip of fabric made up of patchwork units to be joined to the inner quilt.

Piecing / Pieced Quilt: A quilt made up of many small pieces of fabric sewn together by hand or machine. Also known as patchwork.

Pillowcase Finish: Same as envelope finish.

Pin Mark: Pinning sashing strips and borders to match seamlines.

Pin Matching: using the point of a pin to align seams or points that have to match before sewing.

Pointless Designs: Designs that don't have points to match; perfect for beginners.

Prairie Points: Folded fabric triangles used as an edge finish.

Quillow: A quillow is a quilt which goes in a pocket, to form a pillow.

Quilt: Any project made from fabric and layered.

Quilt Strip Blocks: Strips of fabric that are quilt blocks.

Quilt Top: The top layer of a quilt sandwich.

Quilting: In general, the process of making a quilt. Specifically, the small running stitches that hold the three layers of a quilt together.

Quilting Frame: A large free-standing floor apparatus made from wood or plastic pipe that holds the layers of a quilt together during quilting.

Quilting Guild: An organization of quilters which may provide opportunities to share projects, instruction and community service.

Quilting Hoop: A small circular or oval apparatus that is used to hold the layers of a quilt together during quilting.

Reverse Applique: Cutting, turning under, and blindstitching a top layer of fabric to reveal a shape created by exposing the under layer of fabric. Designs made by sewing on a patch to the underside of a block and then cutting away and turning under the edge of the top fabric.

Rotary Cutter and Mat: A fabric cutting tool with a circular blade that cuts through several layers of fabric at once. It is best used with a clear plastic ruler as a quilting guide. A cutting mat is essential to protect the work surface and preserve the blade's sharpness.

Rotary Cutting: Using a rotary cutting wheel, mat and ruler to cut strips.

Ruler: Used with a rotary cutter and cutting mat to make sure even strips of fabric are cut. Rulers come in lots of different shapes and sizes and are marked with inches, halves, quarters and eighths.

Sampler Quilt: A quilt constructed of a collection of blocks in different patterns, usually with no pattern repeated. Blocks may be the uniform or varying sizes.

Sandwich: Traditional description of a quilt: a sandwich consisting of a quilt top, filling or batting, and a backing.

Sashing: The fabric that separates the blocks, framing them and making the quilt larger.

Scrap Quilt: A quilt, usually patchwork, made of many different fabrics, often left over from other projects.

Selvedge: This runs the length of the fabric is usually thicker than the fabric and finished looking. You should not use this section of the fabric in your quilt.

Seminole Piecing: A method of cutting joined strips of fabric into sections and re-piecing them with either plain contrasting fabric strips in between, or in staggered rows similar to a checkerboard. Adapted from the bright patchwork of the Seminole Indians in Florida, this technique is often used in borders and quilted clothing.

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.

Setting a Seam: Pressing as it is sewn, without opening it up first.

Shadowing: The darker colored fabric shows through the lighter colored fabric.

Sashing: Border strips that divide your blocks.

Satin Stitch: Staight stitches worked very closely together to fill in a solid shape.

Scant 1/4-inch Seam Allowance: Slightly less than 1/4 inch; with the turn of the cloth, exactly 1/2 inch is taken off for each seam.

Selvedge: The woven edges of the fabric.

Serge: Use a serger machine to seam and finish edges in one step.

Siggy Quilt: A quilt made up of blocks signed by different people. Other information can include locations and hobbies. Usually made as a friendship project.

Sleeve: A strip of fabric attached to the back of the quilt to allow a pole to be inserted to hang the quilt

Spool Blocks: Blocks made from 4 triangles; the design resembles a spool of thread.

Stack and Whack: This is a technique that instructs you to stack several layers of fabric from the same piece. When sewn together this gives a kaleidoscope effect.

Starmakers: Kaye's tools that simplify the cutting and piecing process.

Static Stickers: Transparent plastic that sticks to rulers to use as a guide.

Stippling: Tiny meandering, continuous motion, used around applique, areas you wish to have a raised appearance. Usually less than 1/4" spacing between stippling lines.

Stitch in the ditch: Quilting or stitching in the seams of the pieced work of a quilt.

Straight of Grain: The lengthwise or crosswise threads of the fabric.

Strip Piecing: Strips are sewn together before cutting apart with a rotary cutter to reveal strips that are already sewn together.

Template: A cardboard or plastic shape used as a pattern for tracing either piecing or applique patches, or for tracing lines to be quilted.

Tied Quilt: A type of quilt in which yarn or thread ties are used to secure layers of the quilt, instead of quilting stitches.

Trapunto: Dimensional, raised areas in the quilting design, Additional batting is used behind these areas.

Tube Sewing: Sewing two strips of fabric, right sides together, along both long edges.

UFO: Un Finished Quilt (or object). A quilt top that you have started and never quite found the time to complete.

Understitch: Stitching on all layers except the top. It is used to keep fabric from rolling to the front.

Utility Quilt. A quilt made for everyday use, generally in a similar pattern involving no elaborate sewing skills.

Vertical: Up and down.

Wall Quilt or Wall Hanging: A small quilt intended to be hung on the wall for decoration.

Warp/Weft: The woven threads in the fabric. Warp threads are long and run from top to bottom in the length of the material. Weft threads run from side to side and are shorter.

Watercolor Quilt: A quilt made of small squares of floral fabrics that create a quilt pattern in the style of an Impressionist painting.

White Work: A quilt in which the entire design is in the quilting stitches. Usually made up in solid white fabric as a display of the quilter's stitching skills.

Whole-Cloth Quilt: A quilt made from one large piece of fabric, usually a solid color, that is quilted only. Neither patchwork nor applique is used to decorate the quilt top.

Zigzag: A sewing machine stitch that moves back and forth as it forms the stitch.

Civil War Quilts

Civil War Quilt- Patchwork Planet

Memory Quilts

Quilt Expressions

Schoolhouse Quilt Shoppe

Sewing Room

*All pictures are curtesy of eBay, other websites, and our own production. Copyright 2005*

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