Monday, November 19, 2007

A Quilting Question

I love patchwork quilts.

I love the colours, the fabrics, the designs. I admire the artistry and the tenacity of the people who start with a truckload of assorted scraps of material and end up with potential heirlooms. I marvel at their expertise and eye for detail, at the patience and creativity required to complete one of these labours of love. When I read of the traditions of quilt-making, I hanker for the slower pace of life and the companionship engendered by shared labour.


I have one question.

WHY are fat quarters called "fat quarters?"

Why are there no "thin quarters"? Or "chubby quarters"? Or even "just right quarters"?


sMC said...

thank goodness you love quilts :)

Haven't you heard of a skinny quarter.

I got the plan.btw

Molly said...

Maybe it's a reference to "hindquarters", on which a quilter sits while she plies her artistry? It only makes sense that if they're fat she'll have better cushioning, and therefore be more comfortable, which will encourage her to keep stitching and produce more heirlooms.....Just a thought, with my tongue tucked into the fattest part of my cheek!

mcewen said...

I love quilts too and I've made a few. I have never heard that term before, so it's probably an American term so you need to nail down a good American to translate it for you.

mcewen said...

Can't find at email address for you on your blog, nor on your comments.

J Cosmo Newbery said...

"WHY are fat quarters called "fat quarters?""

What else would you call a fat quarter? If you called it a thin quarter, people would just say that you are fooling no-one but yourself.

As Abraham Lincoln once supposedly asked, “If you call a tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have?” Lincoln’s answer: “Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”

Tanya Brown said...

In the U.S., cotton fabric for quilting generally comes in 45" widths. When we talk about 1/4 yard of fabric, we typically mean a piece of fabric that's the full 45" wide but 1/4 yard (or nine inches) long.

By contrast, a "fat quarter" is half as wide (22.5") and twice as long (1/2 yard or 18"). That is, it has the same area as a regular or "thin quarter" if you will, but a different/"fatter" aspect ratio.

I agree with you - the other terms should be included in the lexicon. There's no time to start like the present!

Barbara said...

I love quilts and have made a small one. But I never ran into that terminology. It seems as though you got your answer from the last commenter.

Are you thinking of making a quilt in all your free time now that you're Blogging every day?!

Tracey Petersen said...

I'm glad that Tanya answered you!

A fat quarter is not a body part.

riseoutofme said...

birdy ... Nope ... never heard of a skinny quarter ... what is it? As for the plan ... the best laid etc etc...!

molly ....wellllll ... maybe you should take your quarters to the sewing room and think of me? .....

mcewen ....will fix that as soon as ...I figure out how to ... I wouldn't be the sharpest knife in the drawer as far as the puter goes!

jcn ... thank you for that little nugget but I have a question for you too ...When a bird is lying on his back, with his legs in the air ... is he dead, playing possum, asleep, resting, waiting for his mate or is he just acting the maggot?

tanya ... I love an edgermacated woman! Thank you for this knowledge ... I'll file it waray with all the other little gems I store for the rainy day ....

barbara ... Oh sure! Me starting YET another time consuming project! That would go down like the proverbial fart in a space-suit! If you'll pardon my vulgarity ....

tracey ... bet YOU knew the answer too? But maybe it could be a body part? What about all of Rubens Ladies?

Isabelle said...

Do you know, I've been wondering the same thing? I was just a tiny bit reluctant to ask, since clearly the rest of the world knew.

Aha! Thanks for asking and answering.

meggie said...

We also have Fat Flats now. They are much like Fat Quarters, but larger in one direction.
There are also Fat Eights. These are like Fat Quarters, but are an eighth of a yard.

Stomper Girl said...

What Isabelle said.