Monday, March 25, 2013

Labels Can Speak

Every once in a while
when I search through a linen closet,
a cupboard,
or some of the other places I've stored
quilts, I find one or two
I've temporarily forgotten.

It's like being reaquainted with an old friend.
But an old friend can verbally
remind you of details of the past.

What about a quilt?
There might only be a clue about
your past history together.
While a quilt is unable to talk,
it's important that you tell a little of it's history
in the form of a label.

My labels have evolved over the years,
with the first quilts being very brief in description.

An embroidered name,date and
sometimes a place.

Sometimes I was ambitious and

cross stitched a label. (1989)

I had a quilt stolen once and after that

 I began adding my information
inked to a separate piece of fabric stitched to
the back and then quilted through the label,
 making it harder for someone to remove.

To do this though,
 you have to plan ahead
and add the label to the backing before it's quilted.
Sometimes that doesn't happen.

To make most of my labels,
 I use a light box and a permanent pigma pen and
 trace the information that I've printed on paper to
a fabric label.

It's fun to try different fonts.

Some labels are simple.

Some labels take a lot more time,
  but add more information about the quilt.

Last week I noticed this label on one of my quilts.

I had printed the label directly to the fabric with the computer printer.
I had set the ink with a hot iron and thought everything
was going to be long lasting.
The quilt has been washed a few times, but the
printing is almost disappeared.

Here's another computer printed label and
it's still okay.

But it hasn't been washed.
So I'm hesitant to use this method anymore.

Besides, I was running fabric labels through the
printer once and they got stuck and
well, ...
we had to get a new printer.
So for the past few years,
I've stuck with my permanent pen.

But whatever method you choose,
always add a label.
A quilt can't talk without your help.

Until Next Time-


  1. It's sad that the inkjet printer labels aren't lasting well, but that's good to know for future efforts, especially quilts made for kids that you know are going to be washed more than just a couple times. You've been really creative with your labels, love that Halloween one!

  2. I really enjoyed reading this post!
    It was wonderful to see the many creative and beautiful ways you've incorporated labels into your quilts!

    Unless it's a gift, quite often I'm guilty of ommitting them from my work.
    Thanks for the reminder and inspiration!

  3. I like the mummy label. Very creative.

  4. Fun labels! I too had bad luck with printing a label on the faded first washing. Cute Halloween one!!

  5. Your fabulous labels put me to shame!!
    I recognize the 1984 VIP print ;-)

  6. Those are some great ideas for labels! I particularly like the embroidered one from the early days. On the rare occasions that I make a label, I stick with the pig a and write directly on the backing somewhere. Love your poem on the Halloween label!

  7. I've been just terrible at adding labels for the last few years - thanks for reminding me how important they are. I'm thinking that your computer printed labels that have faded might be saved if you write over the words using a permanent ink marker - just an idea (while you can still read what it says)

  8. It was such fun to see your labels. I just loved the mummy!!!
    I use the pre printed labels and love how easy they make it to do this important step

  9. I love how your label have evolved. The mummy is a hoot. Someone told me if you iron a printer made label to set the ink and then soak in cold water, squeeze out the excess water and then iron dry it should last. Haven't tried it yet. Hugs