Glossary

  • A
  • This tissue is composed of long, abaca fibers, and is semi-transparent, resembling Japanese papers in its appearance and construction. It can be treated like a lightweight fabric and used for a variety of different purposes and projects.
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  • Fine, glossy synthetic fibers that melt and fuse when heat is applied. Angelina comes in a wide variety of iridescent colors and can be stitched, fused with other fibers, or impressed with a rubber stamp and a warm iron.
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  • These older quilts are often valued for their historical merit and craftsmanship, and are a much sought-after collector's item. Many art quilters garner inspiration from antique quilts, transforming and elaborating on their more traditional patterns
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  • Sewing one or more smaller pieces of fabric onto a larger background, by hand or by machine.
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  • A 2½" x 3½" piece of art backed with felt or a firmer backing such as cardboard. Artists often use them for business cards and/or trade them for fun.
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  • B
  • Most often, basting refers to long stitches used to hold the the top, batting, and backing of a quilt together. These stitches are removed when the quilt is completed. You can also "baste'"with curved pins or spray adhesive.
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  • This cloth is created using wax-resist dyeing; parts of the fabric are coated with wax before dyeing so that the color does not penetrate, creating a pattern through the contrast between dyed and undyed areas.
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  • Also referred to as filling or wadding, batting is a layer of material (usually cotton, polyester, and/or wool) that is used as insulation between the top and bottom layers of a quilt. It comes in a variety of weights, from low loft to high loft, and
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  • These very short needles are needed to produce the small quilting stitches. The higher the needle number, the shorter the needle. Sizes 7, 8, and 9 are most often used as quilting needles.
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  • This is the grain that runs at a 45 degree angle to the straight grains, or the warp (lengthwise) and weft (crosswise) grains. Cutting along the bias results in a fabric that is slightly stretchier than the warp or weft, and is often used for binding
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  • This method of binding is best for quilts with curved edges since it uses strips that are cut along the bias (diagonally across the fabric), and are therefore stretchier. To join the strips of fabric, lay one strip on top of the other at a right angle
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  • C
  • Fabric squares are lined up for sewing and fed through the machine one after another without breaking the threads between them. This is sometimes called "assembly-line piecing."
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  • Color value is how dark or light a color is. When quilting fabrics are cut from colors of the same value, they blend when sewn next to each other.
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  • A Crazy Quilt has blocks assembled from irregular and sometimes scrap pieces; there is no set pattern or design. This pattern was popular during the Victorian period when they were made with silks and velvets and heavily embellished with embroidery.
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  • D
  • A neutral colored "wall" where quilters hang quilt blocks to preview their layout. The wall is often covered with flannel or bating so the blocks stay in place without pinning.
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  • A type of silk known for its rich sheen and "slubbed" texture, caused when two silkworms form cocoons close together, crossing the threads.
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  • Fade-resistant and often water-resistant inks
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  • E
  • Quilting stitches that echo the shape of the block or shape they are next to. The stitches are placed very close to they piece they "echo."
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  • Usually used with rubber-stamp techniques, embossing powders are dusted onto pigment-inked images, then heated with a heat gun causing the powder to give the ink an enamel-like finish. Powders come in clear, colors, metallic, iridescent and antique or
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  • This refers to the process of adding heated pigmented wax (usually beeswax) to a surface. The wax/paint can be shaped before it sets using special metal tools. Though traditionally a form of painting, encaustic can also be used as a collage-like technique
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  • Vintage or antiquarian paper items other than books, such as postcards, photographs, greeting cards, decorative cutouts, paper dolls, signs, and so on.
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  • A type of nail made of brass with round heads, shorter and thicker than brads and wire nails.
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  • F
  • A fat quarter is a ¼ yard of fabric which measures roughly 18" x 22" instead of the 9" x 44" cut that you would get off of a bolt. This size allows you to cut out larger pieces. Fabric is frequently sold in individual fat quarters
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  • This nonwoven fabric is created by applying continuous friction to fibers, often wool. Felt can be extremely soft or firm enough to be used as a construction material. It comes in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes.
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  • A spray acrylic that, when applied to artwork, keeps the medium (paint, ink, pastel, etc.) from smudging. Comes in matte and glossy.
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  • Made by Golden® Paints, fluid acrylics are liquid paints that can go on sheer yet retain the intensity of their color, even when diluted.
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  • Sewing pieces to a foundation of muslin or plain fabric to assemble a quilt block is known as foundation piecing .
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  • Liquid seam sealant made by Dritz®; prevents fabric from fraying and secures thread ends.
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  • A type of machine stitching that allows you to move around the fabric sandwich in any direction, creating geometric, flowing, or random patterns. Sewing machines must be specially equipped for this function, or must have the capacity to lower the feed
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  • A wrapping technique involving a square of cloth, simple knots, and twists.
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  • Very thin sheets of webbed, dried glue that can fuse fabrics and other fibers together when activated by heat. Comes in cut sheets or on a roll, housed between two layers of release paper.
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  • To target and cut a specific printed motif from fabric, rather than randomly cutting yardage.
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  • G
  • An acrylic polymer medium that can accept color media and other additives, such as glitter or fine beads, to create texture when applied to a surface.
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  • Gel-inked ballpoint pens. They come in many different sizes and in a huge variety of colors. They are primarily used for thin patterns or writing, but can be used for coloring small areas in a specific color. The distinguishing characteristic is, of course
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  • A thick white or black chalky mixture that can be painted onto paper or fabric to provide a rough-textured surface.
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  • The grain of the fabric refers to the way threads are arranged in a piece of fabric.
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  • H
  • A hanging sleeve is a fabric “pocket” on the back of a quilt. The sleeve is centered on the back of the quilt, approximately 1½" in from either side, and stitched in place. People will often add a sleeve to a wall hanging/quilt
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  • This tool blows hot air in a focused direction in order to melt, heat set, or burn fibers, powders, and other materials. It is often used for drying paints as well.
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  • Using heat (from an iron, heat gun, or clothes dryer) to make dyes, transfers, paints, or inks that have been applied to fabric permanent.
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  • J
  • A strong paper that comes in different patterns and colors and can be stitched.
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  • Small quilts, 8-1/2 x 11 inches, that are accompanied by a journal with notes on the work and thoughts of the artist. This idea was c onceived by Karey Bresenhan of Quilts, Inc. The Journal Quilt Project made its debut at the International Quilt Market
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  • K
  • A 100-percent cotton broadcloth often used for dyeing.
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  • A blend of acrylic fibers that melt when heated. It is fade resistant., cuts cleanly, and sews easily.
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  • L
  • This term describes the thickness of batting. Puffy batting is considered high loft; thin batting is low loft.
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  • Log cabin quilt blocks are composed of strips of fabric that are pieced together around a central square. Each block places contrastingly toned fabrics vertically or diagonally opposite one another within the block. The resulting blocks can be arranged
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  • Lokta paper, or Lama-Li, is cultivated from the Daphne Bush that grows high in the Himalayan Mountain region of Nepal. Tibetan refugees create the most exquisite and versatile handmade lokta papers on the planet. Lokta has four deckled edges and is a
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  • Long arm quilting is done using a very long bed (commercial) quilting machine.
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  • This is a polyester fabric-like material that has a wide variety of applications. It can be drawn or painted on to create a colored surface that still filters light. It is quite sturdy and can be cut into without fraying, and heat set up to 400 degrees
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  • M
  • Machine embroidery is a type of free motion machine stitching that uses either the basic running stitch or built-in stitch types to decorate a fabric surface with thread.
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  • A group of threads and fibers stitched together by machine to create unique cords.
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  • An acrylic polymer medium that can be used to extend paints, increase translucency, and decrease gloss.
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  • Wax-based polishes that are housed in small pots and come in a variety of colors. You apply them with your finger and they are great for accenting raised areas.
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  • A corner (usually of a border) that is joined at a 45 degree angle, like a frame.
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  • A water-based, acrylic polymer emulsion that dries to an opaque, semi-gloss finish. Once hard, acrylic paint and other media can be applied.
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  • Monoprints are traditionally works on paper, but the monoprinting technique is now used by many quilt artists to print their fabric. It involves painting or inking onto a non-porous surface and pressing this surface onto a cloth to create a unique image
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  • This paper, made from the mulberry tree, has lots of texture and its edges feather easily when wet.
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  • N
  • Needle felting fuses an additional layer of fiber onto a base fiber or felted fabric. This can be done by hand with a needle felting brush or piece of foam and felting needle(s), or using a needle felting machine. In both cases, the fabrics/fibers are
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  • In this type of hand appliqué, the edges of the appliqué shapes are turned under with the tip of the needle as they are sewn, rather than being turned and secured before sewing.
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  • O
  • On-point quilt blocks are arranged with their corners pointing up and down. They are sewn in diagonal rows that leave uneven edges around the perimeter of the quilt. These openings are later filled with triangles .
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  • Quilting stitches that follow the edge of each fabric piece, and are either next to the seam or in it (known as quilting “in-the-ditch”).
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  • Literally, to dye or paint fabric over another dye or printed pattern. Many artists like to alter commercial and vintage textiles by overdyeing, thus creating unique "new" fabrics.
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  • P
  • A transparent, non-yellowing gel medium. You can mix this with acrylic paints to produce a thick, self-colored textured surface on fabric.
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  • Patchwork, sometimes referred to as pieced work, refers to a method of sewing together smaller pieces of fabric (or other materials) to create a larger design. Traditionally, patchwork involves geometric shapes that are precisely cut to the same size
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  • A non-woven polyester backing. Fiber artists use different weights of Pellon to create a support for unstable textiles that require more body, and a firm, smooth application, such as silk, gauze, and chiffon. It can also be used on its own for painting
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  • Mercerized, twisted, non-divisible, lustrous 100% cotton thread in a skein.
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  • Fabric that has been "prepared for dyeing," meaning it is cotton and free of whiteners or sizing. This makes the fabric better able to absorb and hold the color. It can be bought by the yard at fabric stores or online.
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  • Photographic images can easily be transferred onto fabric using photo transfer paper. First, the photograph is printed onto the paper, which is then ironed onto the fabric, transferring the image.
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  • These inks typically come in vibrant colors. They are quite thick in consistency and dry slowly; for this reason they are excellent for use with embossing powders and rubberstamping.
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  • Transparent stamps that make it easier to position your stamped image where you want it. These stamps are often sold unmounted.
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  • A white, water-soluble glue good for most mixed-media projects. It dries transparent.
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  • Q
  • This term refers to the three layers of a quilt: the quilt top, the inner quilt batting, and the backing fabric.
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  • R
  • The symbol of quality is still a paper that is made from 100 percent cotton rags. At one time, rag meant cotton taken exclusively from cotton textile remnants. Now very few cotton papers are made from rags, either entirely or partially. The difference
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  • Rag quilts are made out of non-traditional fabricsm, such as flannel and denim. These fabrics are patchworked together, but the raw edges are left exposed to create a frayed edge. Unlike traditional quilts, rag quilts often don't have a batting and
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  • Stitching or fusing one piece of fabric to another without turning the edges under.
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  • A tacky film that allows you to stick fabric or paper in one place and then move it without harming the substance, usually paper, underneath. Comes in tape, dots, spray, etc.
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  • An embroidery technique that involves layering fabrics, and then cutting away the top layer(s), in shapes or patterns, to reveal the layer(s) underneath.
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  • A sharp cutting device, similar in shape and function as a pizza cutter, that can be used with a straight edge to accurately cut fabric.
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  • Also known as straight stitch, this basic stitch is done by passing the needle in and out of the fabric at equal intervals, about 1/8"-1/4" apart. Running or straight stitch is used in hand quilting to piece together the quilt top.
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  • S
  • Two or more fabrics or fibers stitched on top of each other. For example, two pieces of fabric with batting in between, or a piece of felt stitched or fused to another fabric.
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  • Sashing is s trips of fabric that are sewn between pieced blocks to separate them while joining blocks together to create a quilt top. Sashing is sometimes continued around the outside of the quilt top to create a border.
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  • Also referred to as serigraphy and silk screening, this is a printing technique that uses a woven mesh screen to print onto fabric. A stencil is attached to the screen and only the areas left exposed allow the ink to transfer through as a roller or squeegee
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  • This is one of the quickest and easiest ways to finish a quilt, though it is slightly less sturdy than other methods. To self-bind, trim the excess backing fabric so that it is even along each edge of the quilt, then fold it over and onto the front of
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  • Selvage edges keep fabric from fraying. The selvage is tightly woven and runs along the outermost edges of the lengthwise grain.
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  • When a quilt's blocks are arranged on-point, a setting triangle is used to fill in the jagged edges left around perimeter of the quilt,
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  • This is the Japanese term for many resist-dye textile techniques, commonly translated as shaped resist dyeing (which is not unlike Western tie-dye). These techniques create pattern on the cloth by binding, stitching, folding, twisting, or compressing
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  • Small, round mirrors used to decorate fabric, often a feature of Asian Indian clothing.
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  • Sticks of oil paint in solid form that look like a large crayon. The outer coating must be peeled off before each use because the sticks self-seal after 24 hours.
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  • Cocoons, the purest form of silk, can be stretched and spun into yarn or left whole for collage and other fiber art projects. They can be bought pre-dyed or ready for dyeing and/or hand painting.
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  • These dyed silk fibers are harvested from the silk cocoon and stretched over a frame to form 10" squares. The layers can be separated and are wonderful for applying to the surface of felted projects.
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  • These are byproducts of reeling silk from the cocoon; silk accumulates on these rods and remnants of it remain. The resulting rods can be dyed or separated into layers, and used in paper making, stitching and silk fusion.
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  • This invisible stitch, also referred to as blind stitch, is used often used for hemming or to secure binding to the front of a quilt. It is done by alternating between the two fabrics that are being sewn together, making very small stitches that should
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  • A fast-setting, all-purpose white glue that works well on porous and semi-porous surfaces such as paper, wood, ceramics, ribbon, dried or silk flowers and beads. Great for decorative fabric art, it is clear drying, flexible, and non-toxic.
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  • Applying dye selectively to different parts of a textile, randomly or in a pattern. Also called dip-dyeing.
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  • A faux painting technique that gives new surfaces an elegant, aged look made by repeatedly tapping on a surface with paint or ink and a stiff brush. While most methods of faux painting hide imperfections, stippling actually highlights them.
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  • Stitches that are sewn parallel to the seams of components in a quilt. The stitching is done very close to the seam and preferably on the side of seam that does not have seam allowance pressed underneath.
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  • This method of binding is most suitable for rectangular quilts that don’t have curved or complicated edges. The binding can be cut crosswise from the fabric, and is not sewn together into one continuous strip as in bias binding. It is attached to
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  • This patchwork technique involves a series of fabric strips that are sewn together along the long edges to form blocks of fabric. The resulting blocks can be used as is or cut and re-stitched to create many different effects. This technique is the basis
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  • A detergent made for rinsing excess dyes out of fabrics without damaging the set colors.
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  • T
  • Using tea to alter the color of fabrics. Tea-dyeing is often used to "age" new fabric, giving it a vintage appearance. (Coffee can also be used for this purpose.) Depending on the kind of tea and the length of time it comes in contact with the
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  • Special sheets used to protect iron and ironing board from fusible web residue.
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  • Using a sewing machine like a paintbrush; free-motion stitched images and designs.
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  • A tied quilt has knotted strings or ties to hold the three layers of the quilt together. Embroidery floss, yarn, or ribbon is often used.
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  • Non-fusible, extra-firm stabilizer.
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  • Paper used to create transfers with an iron. The resulting image is colorfast, washable, ironable, and stretchable. TAP can also accept drawings and designs made with crayons, markers, and coloring pencils.
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  • Applying inkjet or toner copy images to fabric using different media, such as water, polymers, and other media.
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  • Clear acetate sheets that can be printed on and stitched to paper or fabric. Can also be used to make transfers.
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  • A "paper" that is made from high-density polyethylene fibers and has the characteristics of paper, film, and fabric. It can be stitched and when heated it shrinks and distorts.
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  • U
  • The remnants of quilts started, but never finished are affectionately referred to as UFOs by quilters. UFOs are unfinished objects.
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  • Ultra-thick embossing enamel. Similar to regular embossing enamel, but, as the name suggests, is thicker and can be impressed after heating.
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  • V
  • A natural polymer made from wood pulp. In the 1920s the word rayon was adopted, replacing viscose. Viscose was first used for coating fabrics, which it did quite successfully. Further development led to viscose being spun into thread for embroidery and
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  • W
  • Made from walnuts, this very dark ink can be used to "age" papers and other materials and to tone down bright colors.
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  • Also known as the lengthwise grain, straight grain, or straight-of-grain; the warp runs parallel to the selvage edges. It is made up of threads that run parallel to the length of fabric as it comes off the bolt.
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  • Fabric that "disappears" in cold or hot water (depending on the brand and its use) after it has been stitched on, leaving only the stitching.
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  • This fine polyvinyl fabric feels like very thin plastic. It needs to be doubled in an embroidery hoop to be stitched on, but is ideal for creating lacy patterns. When immersed in hot water, the background polyvinyl disappears leaving just the lacy embroidery
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  • Sticks of color that draw like a crayon but that turn paint-like when water is applied.
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  • Also known as the crosswise grain, this is the thread that runs perpendicular to the selvedge of the fabric. The weft and the warp are straight grains (as opposed to the bias) so cutting along these grains will result in fabric pieces that don’t
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  • A paperbacked adhesive web that turns any fabric into a fusible fabric. The backing paper is often called "release paper.” It can be used to fuse fabric to fabric or to a porous surface such as wood or cardboard. It must be ironed to adhere
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  • X
  • A thick, creamy medium that can be applied with a brush, roller, or sponge. It expands when heated, can be painted, and it is non-toxic.
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