Complimentary Color

Orange and blue are complimentary colors.

    A complimentary color is the color opposite the color you are using on the color wheel.  Orange is the compliment of blue.  Green is the compliment of red.  Purple is the compliment of yellow. Using complimentary colors can give your quilt pizzazz.  Try using these in your next quilt.  If you aren’t sure about… Continue reading Complimentary Color

Corner Triangle

The straight of grain and cross grain rest in the corner of a corner triangle.

    Corner triangles are triangles that “live” in the corners of the quilt (or a quilt block).  They are often used when squares are set on point.  To help keep the quilt edges flat, these triangles should have the straight of grain and cross grain located on the legs (shorter sides) of the triangle. … Continue reading Corner Triangle


A coverlet refers to a small cover.

Crazy Quilt

Crazy quilts are ….. crazy!  They have no set pattern. Fabric is sewn where ever it fits. Often trims and/or embroidery are added to the blocks.  Crazy quilts were most popular in the late 1800’s. An example of a log cabin crazy quilt is shown below. (These are the curtains in my family room.) It’s… Continue reading Crazy Quilt

Crib Size

A crib size quilt is made for a crib.  The standard measurement is 40 inches by 56 inches but can be smaller. Sometimes referred to as baby quilts, crib quilts are great projects for beginners as they are easier to handle when quilting.  Under LearnHowToQuilt’s Quilting Classes, you will find a number of small quilts… Continue reading Crib Size

Cross Grain

The cross grain of a fabric, also called Crosswise Grain is the grain that runs crosswise (at a right angle) to the selvage. In order to find the fabric’s cross grain, you need to be familiar with some other terms. The selvage is the light green strip at the top of the cotton fabric pictured below.… Continue reading Cross Grain


crosshatch - click picture to enlarge -

Crosshatch is a traditional quilting pattern.  Vertical and horizontal lines cross to form a grid on the quilt top.  These lines may be spaced close together (heavy quilting) or further apart (moderately quilted). On the left hand side of the photo below you can see the pattern made when the quilting lines “cross”. This crosshatching… Continue reading Crosshatch


Crumbs are slang for small scraps of fabric.  There’s not set size for a crumb but I think any scrap less than 4″ fits into this category.  Some folks define this as any piece of fabric less than 2″.  (That’s really small!) Crumbs and strings (long strips of scrap fabric) can be used for projects… Continue reading Crumbs

Cutting Board

In order to use a rotary cutter properly, you need to have a self-healing cutting mat. See cutting mat . An example of a cutting board for fabric is shown below. This board measures 11 inches by 17 inches and is quite popular among quilters. A larger board is nice (and more expensive!). Cutting long… Continue reading Cutting Board

Cutting Lines

The cutting lines are marked with dashed lines.

    Often a pattern piece will have the sewing lines marked along with the cutting lines.  There is no industry standard for the markings.  On the above pattern, the dashed lines are the cutting lines.  The sewing lines are the solid lines. Always make sure you know the difference before you start cutting!

Cutting Mat

A cutting mat must be used with your rotary cutter. Cutting mats are available in a number of sizes from key chain size (used as a decoration) all the way to table-size mats. Most mats come with an inch grid silkscreened over the top. These mats are ‘self-healing’ meaning that after you cut on the… Continue reading Cutting Mat

Darning foot

Hopper Foot (or Darning Foot)

A darning foot is an attachment for your sewing machine. It can be made from plastic or metal. Usually a small square or circle is at the base of this foot. The size of the opening varies. Aside from mending socks, a darning foot is used for free-motion quilting. How does this foot work? When using… Continue reading Darning foot

Decorative Stitches

Contrasting thread can also be called decorative stitching.

Decorative stitches are stitches that …. decorate! Most embroidery stitches are considered decorative stitches. These can be done by hand or by machine (today’s sewing machines often have a number of these stitches built in ). Many of the new machines on the market are equipped with many different decorative stitches like the one shown… Continue reading Decorative Stitches

Design Wall

The design wall is where you lay out your quilt. It is much easier to see the overall design of your quilt when it is vertical and viewed from a distance. (Think of an art gallery – most people view art from a distance of about 10 to 15 feet.)  You can make your own… Continue reading Design Wall

Diagonal Set

‘Set’ refers to the way you set up the blocks in your quilt. A diagonal set means the blocks are turned ‘on point’ (squares turned into diamonds). The nine patch blocks and the plain fabric squares in this photo are set on the diagonal. This quilt also uses an alternate set since the nine patch… Continue reading Diagonal Set



There are many different shapes in this quilt – triangles, squares, octagon, kites and diamonds.  The diamond shape at the end of each star point has 4 equal sides like a square but not all 4 angles are equal.  A common diamond shape has 2 sets of 30 degree angles and 2 sets of 60… Continue reading Diamonds

Dominant Color

dominant color

The dominant color of a quilt is the color that stands out the most when viewing. Some quilts do not have a dominant color as they contain multiple colors that are equally represented.  In the above quilt top, white is the background fabric and blue is the dominant color.  The solid white blocks are plentiful… Continue reading Dominant Color


Quilt drafting refers to drawing your quilt block on paper (usually graph paper). You can use your drafted block to make templates and/or to figure out cutting sizes. If you would like to purchase 12″ graph paper from Amazon, click here. Learn how drafting/drawing quilt blocks can help you complete your quilt project.  Check out… Continue reading Drafting

Dresden Pattern

The Dresden quilt pattern was written up about 100 years ago as a scrappy circular design made with “spiked” wedges meeting in the center.   It was named after the Dresden Plate that was popular in the Victorian times.  The plate was named after Dresden, Germany where many of these fancy floral plates were made.… Continue reading Dresden Pattern


Easing is a process where excess fabric is distributed gradually across a seam.  In clothing construction, most sleeves are eased into the bodice.  In quilting, borders often have to be eased in order to square up the quilt.  Sections of individual blocks can also be eased in to make sure the block is squared up.… Continue reading Easing