Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Do You Label?

Not everyone does, but most quilt experts and historians agree that we should label our quilts--for future generations, for documentation, and for security. Signed quilts are also more valuable than unsigned quilts. Most importantly, labels can reflect the thought, care, and emotion that go into the making of a quilt.

I inherited this beautiful hexagon baby quilt when my mother passed away a few years ago. It is hand pieced and hand quilted, and in beautiful condition. And I have no idea who made it or how it came to be in my mother's possession, which is a real shame.

I am as guilty as anyone else of not labeling my quilts. I used to do it religiously, but a few years ago I began testing patterns and often didn't take the time to make the label. I have some catching up to do, but I'm also going to make a dedicated effort not to get further behind.

I am almost finished binding my Christmas quilt, and here is the label I made for it, a triangular label that is sewn to two edges of the quilt and only one edge to turn under. I love it! I first saw this idea on Pat's blog, Bell Creek Quilts, and thought it was brilliant. Last week or the week before I discovered Coleen's blog, Colleen's Quilting Journey, and she took the idea one step further and embroidered the text. You can see a couple of her labels here and here. I embroidered my label too and added a small Christmas motif as well.

Next time I make one of these, I'll make that trim at the top of the label about the same width as the binding. I think that might look better. Or I might finish that top edge and not stitch it down so I can use it as a pocket for a photo or something.

I have the same assortment of quilts with muslin labels and pigma pen writing that everyone else has, but sometimes I like to have a little more fun with my labels. My favorite method is to piece a smaller version of one or more blocks in the quilt and sew a row of them together with a plain block for the text. Sometimes the edges are too hard to turn under, so I'll add a little binding to the edge of the label before I sew it down.

The idea for this label came from Jinny Beyer's Soft Edge Piecing book. The background fabric was a piece of hand dyed fabric I'd made years ago, then I fussy cut eight pieces of fabric from a Jinny Beyer border print, stitched the pieces together, and appliqued the curved edges to the background fabric. It's one of my favorites.

For this label, I took a photograph of the front of the quilt, then printed the image on fabric and sewed it to the quilt back.

These two labels haven't made it onto the back of a quilt yet. The yellow one with the sun rays was a gift from a fellow quilter, and I never found the right quilt for it. The one on the right was a block gone wrong, so I cut it on the diagonal twice and used the pieces for the corners of this piece of muslin. I'll probably add some binding to the edges to stabilize the bias.

There are as many ways to make quilt labels as there are people on the planet. Consider adding a label to your quilts.


Judy S. said...

Great ideas and reminder, Sue. I especially like the triangular label; I'm going to try that sometime! Thanks.

Colleen said...

Thanks for spreading the word about my blog. You did a good job of your post. You have some good labeling ideas.

Brenda said...

I love your labels, I need to get better at putting them on my quilts. I might borrow some of your ideas.

Barb D said...

Very inovative and creative lables! I confess, I am not a "labler" - I know I should and after seeing yours, I'm inspired!! Stay tuned!! LOL

Apple Avenue Quilts said...

I loved your labels and try to get them on my quilts too. Sometimes its hard to take the extra time but I have found that I feel my project is truly complete when the label finally goes on.

LC said...

I do labels but have been stuck in "same old" for a long time. Your good post is a challenge to get out of my rut. Thank you!

Stephanie D. said...

Those are such creative labels, Sue. I confess, unless I made the quilt as a specific gift, I've rarely labeled them. Either they're for me, or I mean for them to be used until they fall apart, but that's still no reason to omit labels.

Thanks for the reminder.

Shari said...

I have some old quilts that the provenance is unknown. This post has given me the idea of adding a label as to what I know about the quilts - at least that much won't be lost!

Just love your labels - I like the triangle in the corner the best - yours are so well done!

Stephanie D. said...

Oh, and Annie over at Annie's Quilt Orts made a cute label for her daughter's quilt. Go see:

CarmiƱa said...

I like the labels of your quilts.
Thanks for share