Quilts: Numbers

Readers generally find figures easier to understand than word expressions for numbers. Nevertheless, numbers should be spelled out in some instances.

For uses not covered by the listings below, spell out whole numbers between zero and 10; use figures for 10 and above.
He has a fleet of five cars and 10 trucks.
seventh century
18th century
fourth floor
13th floor

Always use figures in Materials lists and Cut Fabrics instructions.

In how-to copy (updated 12/18/19):
• In a series (three or more) of similar things with larger (10 or more) and smaller (single digit) numbers and measurements, use figures for all measurements and for numbers 10 and above, but spell out whole numbers between zero and 10.
Referring to Quilt Assembly Diagram, lay out 10 cream-and-red triangle-squares, 14 cream-and-blue triangle-squares, six gold-and-blue triangle-squares, six gold-and-red triangle-squares, eight cream-and-gold triangle-squares, 16 cream print 3″ squares, two assorted red print 3″ squares, and two assorted blue print 2″ squares in eight rows.
• If figures and measurements are consecutive, spell out two-digit figures but use figures followed by an em dash for three-digit figures. Use figures for all measurements.
Cut A strip sets into seventy-two 2″-wide A segments. Cut B strip sets into 144—2″-wide B segments.

See also:
Figures to represent numbers
Words to represent numbers
Telephone numbers


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Quilts: Writing style

Use an active voice whenever possible.


To describe a cut piece of fabric, list adjectives in this order: color, measurement, shape (red print 2″ square).

Be consistent with descriptions: If it’s a “sawtooth border strip” in one step, it’s a “sawtooth border strip” in the next step. Its name changes once it’s sewn to something else.

SEW the block, PRESS the block, MEASURE the block, then REPEAT if needed: Once something is pieced, such as a triangle-square, press it, then give its measurement before instructing readers to make multiples. That way a reader can double-check she’s done it correctly before multiplying her efforts.

It’s a “quilt center” when it does not have borders; it’s a “quilt top” after the borders have been added.

Give measurements whenever possible (for units, blocks, strips, quilt center), though they may have to be deleted for copyfitting. No measurements are needed for a quilt top because that’s what’s given just after Materials.

If border strips have just been cut (under the same subhead), say “long” or “short” rather than giving the actual measurements. If they were cut earlier (under Cut Fabrics), give the measurements again so readers can confirm.

When sewing border strips to a square quilt center, say “add the short/long strips to opposite edges,” then “add long/short strips to remaining edges.” (Use “edges” not “sides.”)

Cut shapes are “pieces.” They are sewn together into subunits, then units, then blocks, then rows, then quilt center, then quilt top.

Do not use “Note:” to begin an aside to the reader; instead, just put the aside in parentheses: (You’ll use these eight segments plus the segments side aside earlier for the middle border.)

If a sentence ends with a letter or number that needs to be plural, rewrite so “total” is after numeral; do not add “s” to numeral or letter. For example:

… to make 12 total of star block 1 (not: “… to make 12 star block 1s total.”)

Repeat to make three total of setting triangle D. (not: “Repeat to make three setting triangle Ds.”)

Press open attached triangle.

For freezer paper and fusible web, say: Use a pencil to trace each pattern the number of times indicated in cutting instructions. For copyfitting purposes, delete: “Use a pencil to”

Use a pencil to mark a diagonal line on wrong side of each cream print 2″ square.
For Quilts and More, add: (To prevent fabric from stretching as you draw the line, place 220-grit sandpaper under each square.)

Using a hot dry iron, press freezer-paper shapes onto wrong sides of designated fabrics.

Finish quilt: Include a page reference with Complete Quilt only on the first mention in this section. (It’s often mentioned twice.)

Diagrams (Updated 8/13/13)
Labels under diagrams should include the word “diagram”: Quilt Assembly Diagram, French Knot Diagram, Appliqúe Placement Diagram.
If the diagram label also includes the name of the pieced unit (Strip Set A, for example), that should come first, then the name of the diagram.
Strip Set A
Diagram 4

Captions should be hardworking, essential elements of the overall message. The style should be straightforward, with short, simple sentences. Captions should not repeat what has been stated in the story text, but rather expand on the individual elements within the photo, explain some relationship to the story as a whole, or provide some context with a direct quotation from the shop owner, quiltmaker, or story character.

Style for group photos:
The staff at the Quilt Block includes front (left to right): Name, Name, Name Name, and Name Name; back: Name Name, Name Name, and Name Name.


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Quilts: Symbols

Use symbols for inches (straight quotation marks), percent, and degrees in text materials for quilting projects (how-to) and when referring to quilting products and materials. No other symbols should be used in text materials.
Use a 2×4″ rectangle.
Select 100% cotton fabric.
Do you have 35 cents?

For degrees in measurements or temperatures, use the degree symbol (option-shift-8). Temperatures also should include the abbreviation for Fahrenheit (with no space between). For temperatures below 0F, use a minus sign (hyphen), not an en dash.
Cut at a 45° angle.
The plant is hardy to at least -5°F.

Abbreviate number as No. in text material when it precedes a figure.
Use a skein of No. 6 yarn for the project. (not #6)

Use the # symbol with product numbers and paintbrush sizes.
Use a #2 liner brush to finish the treatment.

For all dimensions, connect the numbers using Dimension X. (Select text, then navigate to Window/Automation/Scripts and select “Convert Characters.” If this script is not installed on your computer, see a staff copy editor.)
Use a 2×4″ rectangle.

Use the dollar sign with specific dollar amounts.
The fabric costs $20.

Use an en dash (option-hyphen) to represent “to” between figures, including fractions, except in quilting materials lists and where hanging hyphens are used.
the years 1970–73
pages 5–15
23–28 percent increase

Symbols are acceptable for tables, charts, and notations on drawings, but use them consistently throughout.
” (inch, inches)
‘ (foot, feet)
° (degree, degrees)
% (percent)
$ (dollar, dollars)
¢ (cent, cents—except with decimals)

Use symbols, such as ampersands, in company names if that is how the company refers to itself. Leave space around an ampersand separating words, but not around one separating initials.
It’s manufactured by Smith & Co.
It’s manufactured by B&R Designs.

For more information, see Symbols in the main stylebook.


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Quilts: Materials Lists

First list fabrics in the order they will be used; backing fabric will be last.
Then list batting.
Then list notions in the order they will be used.
1 1/2 yards yellow print (blocks)
2 yards red floral (outer border)
3 yards backing fabric
63″ square batting
Lightweight fusible web
Machine-quilting thread: pink, ecru, black
Perle cotton No. 8: pink
1 yard 1/8″- to 3/8″-wide ribbon

Do not use 1— in Materials lists.

Fabric choices should be as specific as possible:
red print
solid red
assorted light stripes

Do not include “print” with
chevron (added 2.16.15)
polka dot

Do not include “print” with these fabric types (clarified 2.16.15):

State what a fabric will be used for in parentheses:
red print (roof)
solid red (sashing, borders)

Include fabric requirements for backing and binding.

To get batting requirement, round dimensions of finished quilt up to whole numbers and add 8 inches each to length and width.

Give quilt top size and finished block size, where appropriate, at the end of Materials.
Finished quilt: 22×25″
Finished blocks: 10×5″

Include the following statement after Finished quilt/Finished block(s) measurements.
Yardages and cutting instructions are based on 42″ of usable fabric width. Measurements include 1/4″ seam allowances. Sew with right sides together unless otherwise stated.

Terminology for notions
lear monofilament thread
Embroidery floss
Fabric glue stick
Freezer paper
40-weight cotton thread
Heat-resistant template plastic
Lightweight fusible web
Liquid or spray starch
Tear-away stabilizer
Water-soluble or chalk marker


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Quilts: Editing Guide

(added March 2015)

In addition to routine editing tasks, such as watching for spelling and grammar errors, editing quilt projects requires careful attention to many other details. Most of the following suggestions can be simplified by keeping two rules in mind:
1. Never assume numbers are correct: Be skeptical of every measurement, quantity, and step number.
2. Never assume terms or names are correct: Be consistent with words used for fabrics, blocks, units, etc.

Start with an overall spot check
• Spelling and style of project title, subheads, and sidebar title(s).
If possible, compare project title to what’s listed in Table of Contents and in the pattern packet.
• Subhead consistency (i.e. Assemble the Blocks and Finish Quilt use “the” inconsistently; the style varies with magazine).
• Folios: Check each page for month/season/website and page number order, if possible. Every spread needs at least one folio.
• Bullets/symbols and indents where needed in Materials, Cut Fabrics, etc. (style varies with magazine)
• Step numbers
Consecutive order (watch for repeated or skipped numbers)
Type style consistency (i.e. if step number is bold, the period or parentheses after it should be bold, too; style varies with magazine)
Spaces and/or tabs after numbers should be consistent
• Orientation of styled photo: Make sure the Quilt Assembly Diagram and flat photo are oriented in the same way. This requires careful color/fabric comparisons in scrappy or complex quilts.
• Check for designer credit (verify website, if provided).
• Check for photographer credit.
• Check for machine-quilter credit (not always included).

Materials list
• Verify order of fabrics: They should be listed in the order used (keep track as you read assembly steps).
• Check fabric uses, making sure each use is correctly named and watching for omissions.
If Materials says 2 yards blue print (blocks, setting triangles), possible errors are:
Incorrect usage name: If blue print is actually used to make setting units, then setting triangles is not accurate.
Omission: If blue print is also used for binding, that use needs to be added to the parentheses: (blocks, setting units, binding).
• Verify sizes of backing yardage, batting (round up quilt size to whole numbers, then add 8” to width and length), quilt size (including seam allowances on binding edges), and block size (without seam allowances). Remember that a square quilt or block has one dimension, 10” square (not 10×10” square).
• Make sure these items are included:
Finished quilt size
Finished block size, if applicable
Sentence on yardage
Sentences on measurements
Sentences on pressing seams, if applicable

Cut fabrics
• Fabrics should be listed in the same order as they are listed in Materials.
• Fabric names should match Materials: If it is blue floral in Materials it should not be blue print in Cut Fabrics.
• Number of pieces cut should equal the number of pieces used: Keep track as you read assembly steps.
• Size progression: Pieces cut from each fabric should be listed from largest to smallest (i.e. 2×10” rectangles are cut before 6” squares).

Diagrams (or how-to photos)
• Check diagram number order, watching for repeated or skipped numbers.
• Make sure every diagram has at least one text reference. Add a directional to a text reference only if the diagram is not on the same spread.
• Check notes and measurements within each diagram. Verify measurements as you read assembly steps.
• Check for arrows indicating pressing directions, if specified in Materials.

Assembly steps
• Make sure every fabric is named exactly as it is in Materials and Cut Fabrics. A blue print in Materials and Cut Fabrics should be called blue print throughout, never blue floral, blue dot, blue stripe, etc.
• Check measurements of all fabric pieces mentioned to make sure they match Cut Fabrics.
• Check the math for blocks, units, quilt center, borders, etc. For example, if nine 31/2”- square units are joined in three rows to make a block, the block should be 10” square (including seam allowances).
• Tally the pieces used. When a project is complete, the number of pieces used should equal the number of pieces cut. If they don’t match and you can see where the mistake was made, correct it, highlighting the change for the editor. If they don’t match and you aren’t sure where the mistake was made, query the editor.
• When units, strip sets, segments, etc., are constructed within a set of steps, make sure all are used in later steps.
• Verify references to previous steps. Make sure they give the information required. Pay careful attention if steps have been renumbered.
• Watch for the word “repeat.”
If a step ends with Repeat to make five blocks total, make sure only that step needs to be repeated. If more than one step must be repeated, begin a new step to explain.
If two steps are repeated, use “and”: Repeat steps 1 and 2 to make …
If three or more steps are repeated, use an en dash to connect the numbers: Repeat steps 1–3 to make …

• Verify subhead accuracy: Assemble Bag Front is incorrect if the entire bag body is constructed before the next subhead appears. Check the last step or two to see what is accomplished under a subhead.

Make note of
• Patterns, embroidery diagrams, or coloring diagrams that will be included in pattern packet.
• Techniques (i.e. Set In Seams, Miter Borders, Cut Bias Strips, etc.) that reference Back to Basics or, for Quilts and More, Learn More pages.
• When you edit the pattern packet, Back to Basics, or Learn More pages, cross-check your lists to make sure all noted patterns, techniques, etc., are included.

See also Quilts: Editing Checklist.



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Quilts: Directionals

View examples of correctly used directionals. (PDF)

In captions
Run directionals at the beginning of captions; type treatment should be consistent throughout an issue.

No directionals are necessary when:

  • A caption is graphically linked to the photo it references.
  • A caption uses an arrow or another similar character that indicates the appropriate photo.

In text
Internal directionals should be placed as close as possible to the noun (object/photo/diagram) they are referencing.
WRONG: Rebecca likens her paintings to quilting, opposite.
RIGHT: Rebecca likens her paintings, opposite, to quilting.

References to diagrams located on the same spread as the reference do not need directionals.
References to diagrams located on another spread do need directionals.
References to photos always need directionals whether they are located on the same or another spread.

Examples of diagram references:
(Diagram 1)—bold parens to match text inside
(Diagram 1 on page 22)—roman parens because inside text is a mix of typefaces
(Diagram 1; note direction of drawn line)—roman parens because inside text is a mix of typefaces
(Stem Stitch Diagram)—bold parens to match text inside

Examples of references to text:

  • For more appliquéing tips, see Linda’s suggestions left. (sidebar, not use title)
  • For more appliquéing tips, see “Piece by Piece” on page 18. (sidebar, use title)
  • Referring to Assemble Four-Patch Units on page 72, use … (subhead within instructions)
  • Referring to Cut and Assembly A blocks, Step 1, on page 80, use … (referring to specific step)

Example of a combined diagram and photo reference:

  • Referring to photo on page 00 and Quilt Assembly Diagram, …

Use commas to set off directionals UNLESS:

  • The noun that the directional refers to is preceded in the sentence by the words “the,” “this,” or “these.”
  • The directional is preceded by the word “at” or “shown,” which introduces the reader to the directional. (But words like these usually are unnecessary.)

A see-through bag, above, is ideal for keeping all the pieces together.
The see-through bag above is ideal for keeping all the pieces together.
The scrappy muticolor option shown on page 43 offers one possibility.
Referring to the photo opposite for placement, lay out the pieces.

Spatial references
Do not use opposite typeface for spatial references in copy.
RIGHT: There is ample storage below the sink.
Do not use opposite typeface for spatial references within a photo.
RIGHT: The living room table left of the window, top right, accommodates eight.

Opposite, right, left, or WHAT?
If the entire photo is on the opposite page, use opposite.
If the photo jumps the gutter, do not use opposite.

Multiword directionals
Do not use a comma in two-word directionals, such as top right and bottom left.
One element of a three-word directional should be set off with a comma: opposite, top right.

Three or more photos
Use middle instead of center.

Overprinted captions
Use this photo when a caption is printed over a photo. If that is the only caption on the photo, a directional is not necessary, though it is recommended if other captions are present on that spread. an overprinted caption on a spread-bleed photo never needs a directional.

Punctuation following a directional
It should be in the same typeface as the directional.

See also Captions


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Quilts: Credits

Names in stories

In text, refer to people (shop owners, quiltmakers, designers, etc.) by their first and last names on first references. Use first names only on subsequent text references.

The same holds for captions and sidebars: Even if a person has been fully identified in the text, use first and last names on first caption and sidebar references; use first names only on subsequent caption and sidebar references.

In attributions for direct quotes, says should follow the person’s name unless a long identifier follows and makes this awkward.
“My mother cried when she walked into this house,” designer Lisa Burgess says.
“Quilt guilds make the transition easier,” says Sue Thompson, past president of the South Side Sewers in Des Moines.

Label experts on first text reference. Say “designer” or “quiltmaker” or “quilting instructor” so readers know why this person is being quoted or offering suggestions.

In general, don’t use last names for minors; last names may be implied, however, if children are part of a family featured in a story. If using a minor’s last name is important to a story (a 14-year-old quilt-contest winner, for example), verify that the minor’s guardians have signed the proper release form(s).

Names in bylines

Be consistent throughout an issue in terms of location in the story (beginning or end, for example), order (designer first, then photographer, for example), and typefaces used (plain “designer” and “photographer,” bold names, for example).

See also these byline credits

Copy editors
Field editors


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Quilts: Company Names

Best practices

Abbreviate Co., Inc., Corp., Ltd., and LLC in company names.
The Bombay Co.
K.L. Wessel Construction Co., Inc.
Fairfield Processing Corp.
Design Imports, Ltd.
Midwest Design, LLC

Spell out Manufacturing, Division, Associates, Brothers, and other like terms as part of company names.

Omit the space between initials of a company name: E.F. Hutton.

Company names

A.E. Nathan Co.
Alexander Henry Fabrics
Andover Fabrics (andoverfabrics.com)
Anna Griffin (annagriffin.com) (added 10.8.14)
Anthology Fabrics (anthologyfabrics.com)
Art Gallery Fabrics (artgalleryfabrics.com) (added 10.17.17)
Benartex (benartex.com)
Blank Quilting (blankquilting.com)
Blend Fabrics (blendfabrics.com)
Blue Hill Fabrics (bluehillfabrics.net)
Clothworks (clothworks.com)
Coats & Clark
Connecting Threads (connectingthreads.com)
Cotton + Steel (cottonandsteelfabrics.com) (added 10.19.16)
Dear Stella (dearstelladesign.com) (updated 10.19.16)
E.E. Schenck (eeschenck.com)
Fabri-Quilt (fabri-quilt.com)
Fairfield Processing Corp.
Fat Quarter Shop (fatquartershop.com) (added 10.17.17)
Figo Fabrics (figofabrics.com) (added 10.19.18)
FreeSpirit (freespiritfabrics.com) (updated 2.28.18)
Hancock Fabrics
Henry Glass & Co. (henryglassfabrics.net) (URL updated 9.12.18)
Hoffman California Fabrics (hoffmancaliforniafabrics.net) (updated 8.10.18)
In the Beginning Fabrics
J.&P. Coats (no spaces between initials and ampersand)
Jo-Ann Stores (joann.com)
Kanvas Studio (benartex.com) (added 7.10.17)
Kona Bay Fabrics
LakeHouse Dry Goods
Lecien (lecienfabrics.com) (updated 10.17.17)
Makower UK (andoverfabrics.com) (added 6.22.15)
Marcus Fabrics
Martingale (shopmartingale.com)
Maywood Studio (maywoodstudio.com)
Michael Miller Fabrics
Minick and Simpson (minickandsimpson.com)
Mission Valley Fabrics
Moda Fabrics (modafabrics.com)
Need’l Love [Renée Nanneman] (needllove.com)
Northcott (northcott.com)
P&B Textiles (pbtex.com)
Paintbrush Studio (pbsfabrics.com) (updated 2.28.18)
Penny Rose Fabrics (rileyblakedesigns.com) (updated 2.28.18)
QT Fabrics (qtfabrics.com) (previously known as Quilting Treasures; updated 7.18.17)
Quilt Gate (www.quilt-gate.com/eng/)
Red Rooster Fabrics
Riley Blake Designs (rileyblakedesigns.com)
RJR Fabrics (rjrfabrics.com)
Robert Kaufman Fabrics (robertkaufman.com)
Robison-Anton Textile Co.
Rowan Fabric (makeitcoats.com) (updated 2.24.15)
Stof Fabrics
Studio E Fabrics (studioefabrics.com)
Tilda Fabrics (tildasworld.com) (updated 10.19.18)
Timeless Treasures Fabrics (ttfabrics.com)
Westminster Fabrics (westminsterfabrics.com)
Windham Fabrics
YLI Corp.


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Quilts: Measurements

See also Numbers.
See also Symbols.

Fat quarter: 18×21″ (added 4/15/15)
Fat eighth: 9×21″ (added 4/15/15)

In quilting how-to, such a projects, or when referring to quilting products and materials, use straight quotation marks (“) for inch/inches.
Cut it into 2″ squares.
Alternate their lengths from 1″–11⁄2″.

Spell out common units of measure in narrative copy, such as profiles and other features.
The package contains 14 ounces.
The table stands 26 inches high.
The drawer is 18 inches deep.
The room measures 160 square feet.

Spell out lengthy units of measure on first use, and follow them with their abbreviations in parentheses. Use abbreviations in subsequent references.
The capacity of each size is measured in cubic feet per minute (cfm). A 5×9-foot bath would need at least a 48-cfm fan.
They said their power company charges too much per kilowatt-hour (kwh). The charge is 7 cents per kwh.

Always use mph and rpm when preceded by figures.

Do not use a comma in phrases such as:
2 feet 6 inches

Use Dimension X to connect numbers in a measurement.
5×9-foot room
12×45″ fabric strip

Make fractions.

Hyphenate a measurement used as an adjective.
The 5-foot-7-inch sofa

In measurements, use linear foot not lineal foot.


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