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Quilting FAQ's

by Rachel Greco, Grandma's Attic
as published in Grandma's Scrapbasket

Q. What is a fat quarter?

A. While a regular quarter yard of fabric is 9" wide and 44" long, a "fat" quarter is the same amount of fabric cut "fat".  Fat quarters are twice as wide (18") but only half as long (22").  It's a little more versatile and the perfect size for those little bits you need for quilting projects.

Q. Some of my square blocks are not really square.  What should I do?

A. A fabric square may not be a true square for many reasons, but two of the main ones are: faulty construction (inaccurate templates or not taking care in cutting and piecing)  and causing a distortion when ironing or storing after the block has been made.  If construction is a problem, try again by creating a fresh square while paying attention to your technique.  If careless ironing or storage caused distortion, blocking the square and gently pressing into shape should solve the problem.  Remember: the more accurate you are when cutting and piecing, and the greater care you take to press (don't iron!), the happier you will be with the results!

Q. My grandma recently gave me a quilt that had been stored in her attic.  There are dark yellow stains on the fabric.  How can I remove these stains?

A. For one thing, these stains are caused from the fabric coming in contact with wood.  The lignin in the cotton itself and the cellulose in the wood set up a chemical reaction that causes those yellow/brown stains.  If you or your loved ones have stored this quilt on a wooden shelf or (worse yet) in a cedar chest, it's likely that this chemical reaction is taking place, causing those ugly stains.  Stains can also be caused by aging, mildew, and many other reasons.  Since your quilt is an antique and not made recently, you might want to talk to a textile conservator about what to do,  Here at Grandma's we've developed a free booklet outlining how to take care of your vintage quilts.  Ask for a free copy if you're interested. 

Q. What are "Thangles"

A. Thangles are paper template strips for turning same-sized straight grain strips into half square triangles -- fast, easy, and accurately!


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