What's In A Name? Quilting Lingo Demystified

If you are new to quilting, you've probably experienced some terminology shock. Like most obsess- uhh ... hobbies (!), quilting has its own language and lexicon. Today, we're going to talk about some terms you might come across when chatting with your longarm quilter about quilting your preciousssss ... errm, quilt top.


Pantograph: Originally, a pantograph was a long strip of paper with a printed quilting design that sits on the back of the longarm table or frame and is traced using a laser or stylus mounted on the quilting machine by the quilter standing at the back of the machine. Quilters can use these without needing to have a computerized quilting system attached to their longarm machine. But over time, the term pantograph has become mixed in with other quilting lingo and is now used interchangeably with other allover quilting terms.


Digital Pattern: Downloadable pattern files available from a whole plethora of pattern designers out there on the interwebz. These patterns can be files that will print out as a physical pantograph strip or digital designs that work with a computerized system attached to the longarm. Digital designs can be blocks, point-to-point (P2P), borders and border corners, sashings and cornerstones, edge-to-edge (E2E), or border-to-border (B2B) designs.


Block patterns are pretty straightforward. They're patterns designed as a closed shape (square, circle, hexagon, etc.) that fits within a block of the quilt. Borders and border corners are designs intended to be used on the borders (internal or outside) of a quilt. Sashings and cornerstones can be a single pattern or set of units that are designed to sew continuously (or as continuously as possible) in sashings and cornerstones. Point-to-point patterns start in one spot on the left and end on the right, so technically all edge-to-edge and border-to-border patterns are also point-to-point, but typically the P2P term is reserved for simple patterns that are used to complete blocks or as fills. Depending on how the pattern is designed, sometimes blocks, P2P, borders, sashings, or cornerstones can do double duty as edge-to-edge patterns. These are all used in custom computerized quilting services. If you're interested in custom computerized work, please reach out for a free consultation.


It can be confusing because the terms pantograph and E2E are often used interchangeably, and B2B is actually a different type of pattern. Let's dig into that a bit.


Edge-to-Edge patterns typically start on the left and end on the right, and then the next repeat of the pattern begins. This allows the longarm quilter to design how dense the quilting will be by specifying the number of repeats and the row height. Many E2E patterns have curves, waves, or other variants in their pattern that allow the rows to be nested by changing the pattern height. Of course, all of this customizability can also change the shapes within the design. If you squish a lot of circles into a narrow space ... they become ovals until/unless you make the appropriate adjustments!


But ... it's important that you understand that the picture of an E2E design isn't the way it must always be stitched. If you like a design, but you want it looser or tighter, more or less space between the shapes, taller, shorter, whatever ... talk to your quilter, because there's a better than average chance that what you are imagining can come true. Maybe you love the feathers in Feather Dream below, but you'd like them with some space between the rows, or you'd like them a little taller. Or perhaps the energy of Windy Wonderful appeals to you, but you'd like some "air" between them. Let's talk! If you quilt with the Aussie, you can expect me to ask you a bunch of questions to make sure that your E2E comes out just right.


Shown below: Feather Dream, Fanfare, Like A Fox, Angelfish, Basketweave Pearls, Windy Wonderful.


Border-to-Border patterns are a subset of edge-to-edge. These fit cleanly within a row, with no waves, curves, or blank space. With a B2B design, you can often stagger the pattern placement horizontally for variation, but there's nothing to nest; they just quilt in straight rows. Talk to your quilter about how big you want the pattern to be in relation to the elements of your quilt top. Most can be adjusted, and if you quilt with me, I'll tell you about anything particular to the pattern you've chosen if you want a B2B design.


Shown below: Knotted Ribbons, Sea of Stars, Feather Dance.


There are hundreds of designs available for you to choose from when having your quilt done here at the Aussie, and new ones are added every single month. If you find that a bit overwhelming, just choose the Aussie's Choice option on your design form, and I'll be happy to recommend something that will look lovely on your quilt. And if you've seen a pattern somewhere that you love but isn't on the site, reach out and let me know. I'm kind of addicted to patterns. I love finding new lovely ones to add to the pattern library.


Happy quilting, everyone!


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