When I was a beginning quilter, I would come across abbreviations and acronyms in a pattern, or when reading a magazine, and say “what???” And because I started quilting in pre-Google times, the answer wasn’t always right at my fingertips. Yes, I am aging myself here! So, I thought I would have a bit of fun with week’s post talking about these acronyms. Maybe you’re a beginner right now and would benefit from this discussion. Or perhaps you are an experienced quilter and can share a laugh with me over how I, and maybe you, discovered the meaning of these acronyms.
I’ll finish up with some fun ideas for quilt guild activities if you find that you are in charge of planning for these in your guild. Let’s get started!
Some Common Acronyms
Here are a few of the common acronyms that I think all quilters should know when they begin quilting. These acronyms are used often in patterns you purchase and in magazines.
Acronym #1: One of the first acronyms you should know when you begin quilting is WOF. That acronym stands for width of fabric. It is often referred to when you are cutting pieces for a quilt. Width of fabric is the measurement of the piece of fabric from selvage to selvage.
This is often used when you are instructed to cut strips for a project. If the pattern says to cut 1 1/2 x WOF strips from yardage, they will typically be 40″ to 42″ in length. If you are cutting from a fat quarter, they will typically be 20″ to 21″ in length. Knowing the width of your fabric before you start cutting out pieces will help you to figure how many pieces you can cut from each strip which helps you to calculate how many strips you need. And by knowing the number of strips you need, you will then know how much fabric you need to buy.
Acronym #2: These next ones sometimes go together so that’s why I will cover them together. HST and QST will show up in many patterns that have designs from triangles. HST stands for half-square triangle and QST stands for quarter-square triangle. That would be these:
The HSTs are on the above left and are created by cutting a square in half and the QSTs are on the above right and are created by cutting a square in quarters. You will see that when I join these with HSTs and QSTs of different colors, they make squares that are referred to in patterns like mine as HST squares (bottom left) and QST squares (bottom right).
Acronym #3: RST – Right Sides Together. Now this one is often used when making the above units, but not in a traditional way. To make an HST square or a QST square the alternative way, you start with squares right sides together with lines drawn on the top squares. Here’s diagram example of the steps to make HST squares starting with 2 squares of fabric.
So when you see this sentence in a pattern: “place these two squares RST” now you know what the writer is talking about. They want you to place the two squares right sides together.
So those above are some of the most common acronyms I use in my patterns. Now here’s a few you might find when you are reading a piece in a quilting magazine. If you run across these in your reading, now you know what they mean. Some relate to quilting and sewing in general, and some are just fun.
- SA – Seam Allowance: Referring to the size of the seam required for the project.
- QAL – Quilt Along: Usually referring to weekly lessons from a designer for one of their patterns.
- BOM – Block of the Month: I do one of these! You usually get a pattern for a block each month then have a quilt top at the end of the year.
- LQS – Local Quilt Shop: If you have one… definitely go there to pick out fabric and get advice!
- WIP – Work in Progress: We all have a lot of these…!
- PHd – Projects Half Done: … and these…
- UFO – Unfinished Object: …. and definitely these! This is one that too familiar with! I have a few too many of these UFOs stacked on a shelf in a cupboard, waiting for inspiration to strike.
What are some acronyms you’ve run across that you find helpful or amusing?
Quilt Guild Activities
Are you on the board of your quilt guild or a program chair and need to think up some fun activities for your quilt guild? Here’s a few ideas for you.
- Quilt Bingo
Get some Bingo cards. Quilters will “pay” a fat quarter or a certain amount of 2 1/2 x WOF strips (you decide) for bingo cards. Those go into the pot. The winner of the game gets the fabric in the pot! You can actually come up with ideas on “designs” on the card that are needed to win a game. Like checkerboard, four-patch or maybe a heart. Here’s a Bingo card I created for an example of terms to use in your game:
I created this card on a free Bingo card site. Use traditional bingo numbers to draw, just associate the terms you’ve chosen with a number. Obviously your cards would have to be printed with the terms randomly on each card. If you don’t want to create your own cards, simply use traditional Bingo cards.
- Quilter’s Exchange
You can set this up as an exchange of anything quilt related. Fabrics, quilting tools, patterns and even UFOs. Have quilters bring in any of the above items they don’t want anymore. Display each person’s pile on a table with a cup or a basket in front. Then quilters purchase tickets with numbers, the kind that can be torn in two, for .25 a piece. One piece of the ticket goes to the quilter to put into the basket in front of the pile they want and the other piece goes in a container where numbers will be drawn from. Once everyone has “spent” their tickets, the drawing begins and the winners get some new fabrics, tools or patterns! This serves as a small fundraiser for your guild too.
- Thimble Toss
A silly, but fun game. Get a few plastic buckets and some thimbles (like these below from Amazon):
Set up two buckets and have two guild members toss thimbles into the buckets within a time period that you choose. At the end of that time, the quilter with the most thimbles in the bucket is the winner! You can have prizes like fat quarters, needle threaders, needles or other inexpensive quilter’s notions. You can even set it up as a bracket like tournament (like NCAA basketball!) and have a grand prize winner at the end who perhaps gets a gift certificate to your local quilt shop.
- Quilter’s Wheel of Fortune
This can be a team game if you have a large group. Come up with quilting terms or phrases. On a white board or a chalk board, draw out the lines for your term or phrase. Each team has a turn to guess letters. As they are filled in, the person or team can only guess the puzzle after they give you their letter. The team that guesses the puzzle are the winners and score points. The team with the most points at the end are the winners.
So, that’s all I have for acronyms and games! Share some of your ideas below. It will be fun to see everyone’s ideas. See you next week!
Karla Larkin says
Thank you for the ideas and explanations.
Enjoy your emails the most.
Thanks for the wonderful tips! have a blessed week.
Love your ideas, I’m heading to a retreat this weekend. Last year we played the left, right, center dice game with 2-1/2″ strips I think we each started the game with the 5 we brought. Lots of fun and laughs. The winner took all, thank goodness it wasn’t me, I have plenty already :>)
I love the left, right, center game. That’s a fun one!
What is the left, right center game?
When I have played it we all started with 3 or more fat quarters and you roll dice to determine if you pass your one to the left, right, keep or put it into the center of the table (you assign which numbers are for left, right, keep and center). The last person left with a fat quarter wins them all. You can split into small groups to play and can also do this with jelly roll strips.
Suzy Davies says
I have often wondered about some of the acronyms. Great idea for the games.
Donna S says
Sounds like some fun times!