I started this post way back in February….I was going through drafts and thought I’d either delete them or finish them….I thought this one was interesting enough to finish….

On the QuiltArt list, a discussion about the proper way to list the dimensions of artwork made the rounds way back in January/February when I started this post…

I think it the discussion was started by someone working on an entry to a show.  The question:  Do you list the WIDTH first or the HEIGHT first when stating the dimension of a quilt or a piece of art?

Not surprisingly, we heard arguments for both sides.

My first reaction was that, as a quilter, I generally think of listing WIDTH first, then HEIGHT. But then I thought some more, and realized that in a lot of instances (not necessarily related to artwork or quilts) I tend to list or think of the SMALLER dimension first, regardless of whether that is the height or the width.

8 1/2 by 11 piece of paper
4 by 6 photograph
3 by 5 index card

Most of the pictures I take are actually landscape — so if I were to list WIDTH first, they would actually be 6 by 4. But that sounds very wrong to me — the smaller number should come first. I’m not really sure where that notion came from, but that’s the way my brain works.

Clearly, the most important thing is to be consistent and to label the directions of your dimensions if you are writing them down for some purpose in which the dimensions actually matter.

4 in (w) by 6 in (h)

It probably also helps to label the unit of measure, too, especially since those of us in the U.S. of A. still don’t use metric….

That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it.  What’s your story?


One comment

  1. Deb H - Cold Feet Quilter says:

    Hmm, I think you’re right in what you’ve said, but as far as quilt dimentions are concerned, if it isn’t designated on an entry form, & write the letter H before the hgt, & the W before the width, so there’ll be no question as to which is which.

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