To receive a quilt is to receive a gift of love. Each stitch is a prayer, every row is a blessing, and consider the pattern from every angle for its hidden charm. A quilt is a gift of time and effort sewn to shield goodness from the world. A quilt is a bit of magic that comes together during its creation phases.
Before a thread passes through the eye of a needle, matching a design with its recipient takes place. The design may appear in a flash or as the result of quiet reflection of the intent. The impression spawns an image, be it practical or abstract, conventional or avant-garde. The creative adventure continues with a trip to the fabric store. There, color and patterns dance off the shelves and into the cart. Bolts of cloth shuffle back and forth until the perfect partnership forms. Hope grows that the perfect combination of chosen parts will form an even more perfect whole.
A quilt is a top over batting above its backing. The top shows itself to the world. Here the design melds colors, texture and patterns. The array of color interacts within itself. A soft hue pops out against a complementary splash of boldness. Interior lights of the fabric store or the studio pale the effect that bounces in the light of the sun. The first cut of the fabric is an exercise that requires precision, a firm hand and a smooth flow of moment. The pieces may change as the design comes together. Emphasis may change as the dance continues. What worked in the mind, improves with slight shifts within the physical arrangement.
Sewing the pieces together can have an odd emotional effect. First trust that the edges will come together. Then believe in the magic touch to match the corners. The results become clear as pieces become columns, rows or squares. As the whole comes together and the design settles into form, the quilter falls in and out of love with their project.
The backing is the base that holds the batting and top together. Consider two things when selecting the backing. First, what is most important about the top that needs to tie in with the back? Is it the color, the theme, or the design? The purpose of some quilts is to hang on a wall or cover a bed. And then some quilts are with personal comfort in mind. The backing most likely will be the part of the quilt that lays against the skin. If that is the case, then imagine how one will sleep under its weight.
The batting gives the quilt its essence. There are many choices when it comes to batting. There is cotton, polyester, thick, thin, heavy, lightweight, fluffy, or warm. The choice comes down to personal preference. Since the batting comes sandwiched between the top and backing to form the quilt, consider the technique in bringing it all together.
A quilt is a thing because of the quilting of the three layers being sewn together. Quilting is done by hand or machine. The easiest and quickest way to hand quilt is to thread a needle with a short piece of string or yarn to pass through the three pieces, top to bottom and back again. Then secure its place with a square knot on one side to hold it together. When time allows, choose a more intricate quilt pattern sewn by machine or by hand. Regardless of how the pieces come together, once washed and dried, the final product takes on its unique quilt form.
The final step is finishing the edges by either wrapping the backing around and stitching it to the front or a separate bias stripe. The joy in this step is a testament to each finger prick of the needle, replacing poorly cut squares, and running out of thread at the most inopportune times. Wrapping the material around the four corners by kindly folding under excess fabric becomes a prayer. Such tender moments come from completion.
The final product always appears different than the concept, but never without a sense of accomplishment and appreciation. But that is the case most of the time with most endeavors of gifting.