Cooking up a Quilt

As I am sewing my quilt, I got to thinking.  The making of a quilt is a lot like cooking.  Let me explain.

Step 1:  When I make a meal, I put some thought into it.  What do I want to make as the main dish.  Do I have enough time to make it without rushing before it needs to be served.  What will go good with it as side dishes.  Will it all look appealing on the plate.  Do I have all of the ingredients or do I need to go to the store.

Step 2:  After the decision is made on what to make and you know you have everything you need on hand, the next step is preparation.  In our house we call this person the “prep bitch”.  In a professional chefs kitchen I guess you would call this person the sous chef.  You gathered up all the ingredients you need to prepare the food, peel the potatoes, chop the onions, clean the vegetables, etc.  You get everything ready to be made into a fabulous meal.

Step 3:  Now comes the putting together all of those ingredients to make a delicious dish.  It takes adding the right amounts of salt & pepper and spices.  The dish needs to be cooked for the right length of time.  Not cooked long enough and it is underdone.  If it is cooked too long, it will be burned or mushy.  The dish needs everything to work together just right to turn into a fabulous masterpiece.

Step 4:  When you are done cooking and preparing the meal, it is time to plate it.  It may taste good, but it also needs to look good for it to be fully appreciated.

Step 5:  The clean up.  The meal was enjoyed, but the kitchen is a mess and the dishes are dirty.  It is not the most fun job in the world, but there is something there about knowing you are almost done.  When the dishes are washed, the sink and counters are cleaned and everything is put back where it belongs you can kick back, contented and satisfied.  A job well done! 

Let’s compare that to making a quilt.

Step 1:  When I contemplate on what quilt pattern to make, I need to consider who it will be for and how much time I have to make it.  Will the pattern suit the receiver.  What size is it going to be.  I also need to think about what color combinations I want in it. Do I want only two or three colors or do I want to use every color in the rainbow.  After I decide on the colors, I need to pick out the fabric.  How many patterns do I want in it.  Do I only want one pattern per color or do I want many different patterns.  A big factor in all these decisions is cost.  I need to decide on how much I want or am able to spend on this quilt.  Will it be a scrappy quilt in which I am able to use all the fabrics I have on hand or am I shopping for each individual piece of fabric.

Step 2:  When I know what pattern I am making and what material I am using, it is time make the cut – the preparation part of the quilt.  All of the fabric must be cut into squares and/or triangles etc. to be sewn together into a beautiful quilt top. 

Step 3:  With piles of fabric pieces ready to be sewn, it is time to lay them out and arrange them just so to be sewn together – the putting together of the quilt top.  You need to pin and stitch just so.  You want everything to line up perfectly.  It takes time and patience to turn these beautiful pieces of fabric into a work of art.

Step 4:  When the quilt top is sewn, you admire your work, knowing you are not quite finished.  You still have the layering and quilting to do and then adding the binding before you are ready to present a finished work of art.  A quilt is not a quilt until it is quilted.

Step 5:  The layering, quilting and binding of your quilt.  This is the hardest part for me and definitely not as enjoyable as the previous steps. I don’t have a fantastic machine to help me along and I am not a proficient hand stitcher.  It is though a necessary step in the completion of a quilt.  I compare this part to the washing of the dishes and the cleaning up of the kitchen.  I’m not as excited to do this as I was in the preparing of the quilt, but I sure love to admire the finished project. 

So you see, making a quilt is a lot like cooking.  Some parts are more enjoyable than others.  Sometimes you make a simple meal, other times it is more complicated.  In the end, you sit back satisfied – a job well done.  Happy Stitching!

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