In any discipline learning the vocabulary is key to understanding. This is true whether its cooking, medicine, mathematics, writing, or even sewing!
This week, while while working to finish my first quilt, I learned some new terms. I had to learn them to understand how I was going to complete the project! Since I had not used a pattern or guide for my quilt, I had no instructions on how to finish it. I turned to YouTube, since that is what most of my family does now when they need to learn something. My husband even rebuilt an old Ford truck engine by following a YouTuber!
It took several attempts to find what I was after, but I finally hit on a video that explained what I needed to do to complete my quilt. I needed to “stitch in the ditch” and “stuff and fluff.” These phrases were as foreign to me as “put in a line” or “get the cart” would be to non-medical people. I had to learn what the phrase meant in order to do the task properly.
This realization about vocabulary came to me while watching numerous episodes of the television show “Chopped” on the Food Network. The chefs learned their vocabulary before they started to be successful cooks. On the show, competing chefs routinely state with confidence what they did to make their dishes successfully. Words like emulsion, béchamel, fumet, or ravigote were foreign (okay, I took chemistry so I knew emulsion) to me before learning more vocabulary by watching the show. It became obvious that the more one works with the words of a specific craft, the more they become second nature.
Long gone are the days when my boys had “word walls” on their bedroom closet doors that served to extend their vocabulary beyond what was expected in school. Having a strong vocabulary enriches every aspect of life so you can later infer what might be meant by something as simple as stitch in the ditch.
After understanding the terms, I was able to successfully perform the tasks needed to stitch the layers of my quilt together. So, the next time something seems overwhelming, step back and look at what you are being asked to do. Is the meaning of the words clear? Do you understand what the instructions are asking of you? If not, find out before proceeding.
You’ll have more success if you know the terms used in completion of the task!