Often the background fabric will be a light solid or tone-on-tone fabric.  These types of fabrics allow the colorful pieced design to stand out.  Most patterns that you purchase assume that you will use the lightest fabric for the background. Darker fabric backgrounds aren’t as popular but can also accentuate the pieced pattern.  The more… Continue reading Background


Muslin is used as the backing fabric.

The backing is the fabric that goes on the back of the quilt – easy!   Since most cotton fabrics are 44/45″ (not wide enough to cover most full sized quilts), backs usually have to be pieced.  Sometimes all of the same fabric gets placed on the back while other backs will be made from… Continue reading Backing

Baltimore Album

  A Baltimore Album quilt is a type of quilt that was originally made in Baltimore in the 1800’s.  These quilts are made up of a number of blocks, each appliquéd with a different design. As the popularity of this quilt style grew, women far beyond Baltimore began making these album quilts. I wish I had a… Continue reading Baltimore Album

Bargello Quilts

Bargello Quilt by Debbie Clemmons

Bargello quilts mimic a type of needlepoint that uses mathematical patterns to create a design. Often bright colors are used in these geometric designs. Quilters use strip piecing techniques to make Bargello quilts.  Strips are sewn together then cut into strips of different widths.  The strips are organized into a pleasing design and then sewn… Continue reading Bargello Quilts

Baste or Basting

  Basting is the process of temporarily sewing or glueing fabric together. This can be done by hand (on the right) or by machine (on the left side of heart) or with washable adhesive (turned under edges of heart).  Quilters use basting to temporarily position applique pieces. They also baste the top, batting, and backing… Continue reading Baste or Basting

Basting Needles

Basting needles are longer than most needles.

  Any size needle can be used for basting but long needles work best.  The longer shaft makes it easy to “load” long stitches on the shaft.  This allows you to sew through more fabric in a shorter period of time. If you would like to purchase basting needles from Amazon, click here. Watch the… Continue reading Basting Needles

Basting Spray

  The marvels of the 21st century!  Basting spray is now available. Warning: if you use this spray make sure the windows are open and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Some quilters complain that the spray eventually clogs up on their needles when quilting. A possible solution is to use this spray only on small pieces.… Continue reading Basting Spray

Basting Stitches

Basting Stitches

  Long running stitches are basting stitches; nothing fancy here.  These stitches should go in fast and they should be able to be removed quickly because they are temporary.  They help hold the fabric while you put in the permanent stitches.  Unlike pins, the stitches do not distort the fabric and they won’t prick your… Continue reading Basting Stitches

Batt or Batting

Choosing Batting

Batt or batting refer to the quilt’s filler between the quilt top and back.  There are many different kinds of batting in the market; cotton, polyester, wool and bamboo. (Yes, bamboo makes a nice filler in a quilt!)  Machine quilters prefer cotton batting and hand quilters like polyester batting.  To find out more, watch our… Continue reading Batt or Batting


Bearding occurs when the synthetic batting is working its way through the fabric to the top of the quilt.  No one knows exactly why this happens to certain quilts.  Sometimes bearding is noticed more on dark quilts that have light batting.  That is why it is sometimes better to use a colored batting (dark grey)… Continue reading Bearding

Beeswax for Thread

Thread is being pulled through beeswax.

Beeswax is a natural wax produced by honeybees. It has been around since ancient times being used in candles, polishing agents and cosmetics. Quilters often use beeswax on their thread before hand stitching.  This strengthens the thread and allows it to glide easily through the fabric.  It also helps to reduce tangles. You can find… Continue reading Beeswax for Thread

Between Needles

Between what?  I never did understand why they are called betweens.  Between needles are what quilters use for quilting the ‘sandwhich’ together. The shaft of the needle is shorter than most needles. Between needles come in different sizes based on the eye of the needle..  The higher the number the smaller the eye.  Beginners might start… Continue reading Between Needles


It’s important for quilters to determine where the bias lies on a piece of fabric. True bias is the diagonal that is at a 45 degree angle to the selvage; but any diagonal across the fabric is considered bias.  Only the selvage (straight of grain) and the cross grain are not considered bias edges. Check out… Continue reading Bias

Bias Applique

Auntie Sue's Quilt - click to enlarge picture -

Bias applique is usually used when making leaf stems or vines.  Any long thin curved appliqueed line can be made from bias strips of fabric pressed on bias bars. If you would like to purchase a set of bias bars, click here. The vines in the quilt are an example of bias applique. These vines… Continue reading Bias Applique

Bias Bars

Bias bars are used to make bias applique.  These bars are often made from metal or a heat tolerant plastic. The bars in the photo are plastic bias bars. A metal bias bar is the most popular. As you can see, they come in different widths. The bar is inserted into a long tube of fabric made… Continue reading Bias Bars


Binding finishes the raw edges of the quilt.

  Quilt Binding goes around the outer edge of the quilt. It is a long strip of fabric that is sometimes cut on the bias. Binding can match the border fabric or it can be a different fabric. Not all quilts have binding. Quilts that have binding will last longer (or at least the edges… Continue reading Binding

Blanket Stitch

  A blanket stitch is often used as a decorative edging around applique. The stitch can be done by hand or by machine. In the photo, the leaves and stems have a blanket stitch that was done on my sewing machine. The 3 circle centers have a blanket stitch that was done by hand. All… Continue reading Blanket Stitch


Blenders are fabrics that “read” as solids from a distance but actually have subtle patterns.  These patterns are often “cloudy” or organic in nature.  The colors on the fabrics are tints and shades of the dominant color. Quilters like to add blenders to complement favorite prints in their quilt.  Examples of these fabrics can be… Continue reading Blenders


  “Blocks” refer to the squares (or other shapes) in a quilt that make up the overall pattern. There are thousands of blocks that quilters can use in their quilts.   Many quilts are made by repeating one block pattern.  Other quilts contain two or more blocks that form designs that repeat.  In the sampler… Continue reading Blocks



    A bobbin is a reel-like shape that holds the bottom thread for machine stitching.  Bobbins can be made of metal or plastic.  The thread is wound tightly from the center out.  You can wind bobbins on your sewing machine or on a bobbin winding machine.  Pre-wound bobbins are also available for purchase from… Continue reading Bobbins