Monday, September 16, 2013

What is in a Quilt Label?? And a $25.00 Giveaway!!

The other day I was thinking about quilts as heirlooms.  I had pulled out this wonderful quilt that my Mom had made for me ~

This is not a very good picture of it but this quilt was given to me as a kit when I was 17 years old (almost a half century old).  My Mom and I worked on it for about one or two sessions.  If I recall, I worked on about 3-5 applique pieces on one of the flowers in one of the corners and then like most 17 year olds, I was off to more fun stuff!!

Then Christmas 1979 came around and I opened a box and inside was this incredible quilt!!  My Mom, who was NOT a seamstress by any stretch of the imagination, had appliquéd this entire quilt and then asked a bunch of women in our Church to hand quilt it!!   Needless to say, I was blown away.

This happy story has a bitter sweet ending, because my Mom is gone and the quilt has no label.

So, I decided I would reach out to my wonderful blogging community and see if you all would help me out here - What is in a label??

I decided the best way to get answers is to have a giveaway but this is not just an easy enter giveaway, I really would like some advise.  So, here is what I am asking you to do:

I would like to have you leave me an informative comment about WHY you put on a label, WHAT you usually put on your label, are your labels DIFFERENT for different types of quilts (gift quilts, utility quilts, wall hangings, wedding quilts, etc.), HOW do you make your label (handwritten, printer, stitched) or any other thoughts you would like to share about labels!!

I am sharing some of the labels I have made through the years and I have noticed most of them are so different.

And the labels on some of the quilts that I have recieved.

I was also looking at the quilt I made for my Dad many years ago.  Horror of horrors, it does NOT have a label ~

And even though, sadly, I have no children to leave this quilt to (or the quilt my Mom made for me), they SHOULD have labels!!  Would it be proper for me to make a label for the quilt my Mom made for me??  Can I go back and make a label for my Dad's love quilt??

Questions, questions, questions looking for answers, answers, answers!!

I would love if you would take the time to compose a comment that might answer some of the questions I have about labels ~ it might be worth it because I am giving away a $25.00 spending spree in my Etsy shop.  Click on the banner below to see what goodies you might chose!!

Thank you all for your help and support!!  I am going to close this giveaway on September 27, 2013 to give you time to think about your comments and leave a comment!!

Much love,


Sharon J. Hughson said...

I do make labels for all my quilts b/c I have two antiques that have none. These both were in my DH's family and I do have the history, but I better make the labels for each of them. I think it is important to label quilts so the history won't be lost.
Names and dates are important. Town and state also are important. Personal messages can add to the fun. Make the labels. 8>)

WoolenSails said...

I don't always make labels and i know I should. I do make labels for quilts that I give to others and I add information depending on the person. Usually they are comfort quilts so I put a special saying and once I put words of comfort to a sister who was recovering from a bad accident. I usually put my name and date, but not much more than that. I never think of my things are heirlooms, but quilts that they can enjoy and use.


Janet O. said...

Okay, Kris, you asked for it. : )
I NEVER used to label my quilts, and my mom, who hand quilts all of her quilts, never labels any of them. I think this is wrong, and I am planning to get her to label what I have of hers.
A couple of years ago I started making "matching" labels for some of the quilts I gifted. I would border the muslin label with fabrics from the actual quilt--sometimes piecing the borders of the label--and stitch it onto the back after binding. But when I am working on a deadline (which is my usual MO), I don't always have the time to take making a special label, and I would neglect it altogether. My current trend is to have a stack of neutral colored squares in various sizes handy in my sewing room. As I get to the binding phase of a quilt, I choose a square of the appropriate size (based on the quilt size), fold it in half and press it. If I know who will be getting the quilt I write up the label at this point, including who it is for, the name of the quilt, the pattern it was based on, if applicable, my name and the date finished. Then I pin it to the back of the quilt with the raw edges in a corner. I stitch it on as I machine sew the first side of the binding down. When I am hand stitching the binding I also stitch down the one exposed edge of the triangle.
Many times I just stitch on the label with the date finished and fill in other info when I know where the quilt will be going. They aren't fancy, but they are there, and that is what matters.
I would definitely label the quilt your Mom made and the one you made your Dad.
Make the label large enough to include the back story of the quilts. Include the date made, and I personally would put a little clause at the bottom of the label saying the label was made and attached at whatever date by you. I have seen older quilts with labels that don't seem to be of the same vintage and it is puzzling. You wonder who finally labeled the quilt and when. But you are glad the label is there!!
That is my 2 cents worth--with change! : )

Anonymous said...

I think it is good to make a label of who it is for and who made it and when and where, thanks.
smjohns63 at yahoo dot com

SewCalGal said...

What an inspirational post. I have been a terrible quilter, by rarely labeling my quilts. You've inspired me to label them. Thanks. And, your labels are beautiful! Excellent post!


Vroomans' Quilts said...

I always label and every label is different (other than my doll quilts). It depends on what the quilt is for, who it is for - but I always put name (unless a charity quilt which I either don't label or put the required label for the charity), city and state, and year. I usually hand print or embroider the label - sometimes I sign the back of the quilt with perma-mini marker. YES - make those labels for those treasures.

Mary said...

I do the "Stashbuster Labels" like Janet O described. I like to put Name of Pattern, quilter, recipient. Dates of starting and finishing. Quilting pattern and quilter credit on the back side of the Triangle in the Lower right corner. I write on my Muslin square with Pigma Pen. It helps to add the size of the quilt too. No Quilt is really finished until it has a LABEL. It helps Quiltshow ladies to know which end goes down, too. Some Shows ask for a Hanging sleeve too. I keep a Quilt Journal that holds all the info while the quilt is in the making stage.

M.W. said...

I make labels for most of my quilts. Definitely if they are for a gift. I usually put the recipients name the date of the quilt and my name. I have had some labels commercial printed but I really like the ones I make myself and use my own handwriting on. I usually use a light fabric that coordinates with the front of the quilt and hand write the message.

Chiska said...

I don't usually make a label for my quilts. However, my MIL passed away before finishing a project of making ALL of her granddaughters a Parasol Sue quilt. Her daughter took the project on and with the help of a scanner they found a card with her hand written "Love, Gram" that they used to label those quilts. I have 2 of those granddaughters one of whom she never met. That handwritten label means the world to me and think as they get older will to them. So thinking about it I should probably start labeling mine as well. It is nice to know who made them. I have an old quilt from when I was a baby that I love, but I have no idea who made it or when and my Mom can't remember either.

Jen said...

I try to label all my quilts. If it's a gift, then I definetley label it with a personal message. Like you, I do all kinds of labels. I've done orphan or some kind of pieced block on the back with handwriting in pigma pen. I've done a computer printout with a sweet letter or a cute picture with all the info. Yesterday I did my first hand-embroidered label. So far, that's my favorite one! I love how it made it look so handmade.

I never put the location, either. I think that's a little weird. Why does anyone need to know that? I also don't put the pattern or fabric. Maybe that's bad...

It's never too late for a label! Do it :)

Marjorie's Busy Corner said...

Well; I sell my the label I put on is not detailed. I simply have it say that it was handmade by name. But most labels; I believe have the name of the quilt, date, maybe who it is made for.

Betsy said...

My labels are very similar to yours except I put the state and city I live in. Depending on how I feel I may write on the label or embroider it. If I am making a quilt to display in my home, I write the designers name and name of the quilt so I can remember it when I no longer can. Thank your for the chance

Unknown said...

Oh, Kris - what a great post!! I do make a label for every quilt I make (and I'm going to start making them for the small projects too) because my Aunt told me to!! I have quilt books that she's given me and others I've found at yard sales and there are so many "unknown" quilts in those books!! Some people don't realize the "value" or origin of a quilt if it doesn't have a label. YES - you should totally make labels for your mom & dad's quilts!! And, I would say - make them elaborate! You are so creative and do amazing work. I know they will be gorgeous! I just went and checked the "collaborative sampler" that my Aunt and I did together - I wish I would have been more wordy on that label. From now on, I will! And, maybe I'll start doing more than one label so it isn't so big. I've done mine hand written but I have also been using the monogram setting on my Janome to create my labels. Some day I will do them by hand too. Mine ALWAYS say... "Created With Love" by Luba - some form of my name at the time and the date. My Aunt also keeps an album of all of hers with 1-3 photos, name of the pattern, who it was for and where she lived at the time. She told me to put where I live on my labels too and I really wish I would have since I've lived in Maine, Massachusetts and now New Mexico since I started quilting. Live and learn right?! Thank you for making me think a little more about this important topic! I am still trying to figure out how to fix my settings so you can respond to me! *hugs*

JoAnne said...

I'll admit it, I don't always label my quilts. I do label gift quilts and any I enter in a show. Sometimes, if the quilt has a light backing, I'll write right on the backing with a Pigma pen. I believe the label should contain who made the quilt, where, and when. Also if it is a gift, I would include the recipient and perhaps the occasion. My favorite technique for making a label is to write up what I want on the computer and print it out. Then I put the sheet of paper on a lightbox and tape the label fabric on top. Then I use Pigma pens to trace the computer printing. (If you do this, you want to chose your font carefully--find one that is "sans serif" meaning it doesn't have all the little bases to the letters, etc. It can look messy when hand-traced. I also make sure that the "g" is not that funny looking g, but the sort that you would hand write.) I think you should make labels for the quilt from your Mom and the one for your Dad. I think I would write just what you told us about the kit quilt. It is such a beautiful story. Labels are just like anything else in quilting. There are general guidelines, but sometimes you just have to do what seems right to you.

Doniene said...

Ditto on all the comments!!!! I'm a hit and miss labeler - but preserving the history is fun and very informative to future generations - whether they go to family members or not. I love to add a scripture reference to my quilt labels - what seems appropriate for the quilt and recipient.


barb said...

When i first started quilting forty years ago, i did not label my quilts but now i do. When we make a quilt for a certain person that we care about or love, every stitch is done with love. It is very important to me to put as much info about the quilt as i can and if possible add a picture of them after transferring the picture to cloth. When we are all at the great quilting bee in the sky, and since we cant take our quilts with us, who ever winds up with the quilts will know the history of the quilt, a little about the quilter and the person we made it for. So if i were you i would add the labels. Blessings, Barbara babscorbitt@ gmail dot com

Michele T said...

My labelling is very, very simple. I have designed stylized letters for my first and last initial and add the last digits of the year... something like this: MT'13
I sew this on when I have completed the quilted project... sometimes it is in a hidden spot, sometimes in an obvious place on the bottom left or right.

elliek said...

Label those special quilts Kris! They tell a story and need to have who made them, when and also if you quilted them.I make labels with made by "Me" date, quilted by"?"and the pattern. If they are gifts again they get the name of the recipient. I have just done some baby quilts and they get " Welcome to the world...." on them. I don't see my quilts as heirlooms either but one day, maybe, someone will come across one and wonder about it. This is the way that the Salinda Rupp quilt found it's following and I would so love to know more about the way she made hers. Good luck with working out what to put on the labels, but you do need to do it.

Granny Anne said...

When I first read your post, I had lots to say, but most of those thoughts have been said by the above quilters. So, whittling it all down, and knowing that you have no one in mind to pass these too, I would suggest a label and also a letter or note that is keep with these quilts. Your story is so touching and it would lend provenance to them. You never know, one day they could be on Antique Roadshow!

Lynne said...

Yes to making labels for both quilts. You must have someone you intend to leave them to and they need to know the story behind the quilts. My quilts for the quilting group are usually hand written -- simply "made by a Caring Heart Quilter". I have only ever labelled one of my own quilts - a gift for my then unborn great- niece. The first two quilts I made are used by my grandsons and I used discount store fabrics. They will be well worn out and long gone so don't really need labelling but I need to remember to label all future quilts!

Quilter Kathy said...

Absolutely a great idea to go back and add labels to quilts to record the story of the quilt. Future quilt collectors will thank you for this ;)
I would put all the information you shared in this blog post and make a computer label with a photo of you and your Mom when you were around 17.
What a beautiful gift this quilt is.

Anonymous said...

Hello,I do think the label is very important! I like to include:
1.Occasion (using fine outline embroidery for the event;like Wedding bells for wedding gifts;balloons or cake and candles for Birthdays,etc.)
2.Receivers Name
4.Quilt Maker

Sylvia said...

Hi Kris,
I read your blog yesterday on putting Labels on our quilts. I never use to but I do now. I picked up a quilt in an opportunity shop (second hand things given to a charity) and it had a label on it. I knew immediately who made it and the story behind it. I now know how important it is to take a little more time to put that label on.
If I do a traditional quilt with old fabrics then a nice idea I saw and copied was to use an old doily and embroider details on it. On my Kaffe Fassett quilt I put a modern label on it.
If you read the book 'Remember Me: Women and Their Friendship Quilts' by Linda O. Lipset you will never again make a quilt without a label.