Sunday, March 15, 2015

Labels for my Quilts

I feel strongly that quilts need to be labeled. I took on the project of labeling the quilts my mother made, and the one's in her possession and have been making labels for 25 years. In the past I've written about my favorite hand stitch for making labels, here and here. I have done a couple of counted cross-stitch labels on 50th wedding anniversary quilts....but that is very time consuming. My new favorite way is to have a friends embroider them on her this:
This is the label I sewed on today...I wasn't sure when I almost finished this quilt but I did have a record that put the exchange in 1992; that's close enough for me. I generally make labels and get them on the quilt, somehow this one was skipped. (Because although I've been using it and have it bound I don't have the quilting actually finished...before it can be washed the border has to be quilted.)
Here is a label I made in 1989 using permanent pen;
I wrote it directly on the back of the quilt and you can see that the ink is fading. In 21 years the label faded a lot. This is a quilt that was seldom washed, since it was on the back of the couch during December only. When I took the quilt to add quilting to it I made this;
I added additional quilting on my long arm and made a new label.  So don't use ink for the label!
Here's another ink label, I remember making this one with freezer paper behind the yellow fabric and ironing it well to make it permanent; it has been washed once;
Redoing labels is never fun.
Here I had looked at the back of a speaker's quilt and she had labeled hers with the pigma marker on the hanging sleeve. So if you are in a hurry and don't have a label yet this will let you know when you finished it. But eventually it will need to be replaced with an embroidered one.
Here is a quilt where the label is part of the front, it has never been washed and the ink is fine...I will embroider on top of the ink before washing this quilt or maybe I can get away with photographing it and re-inking it after washing;
Here is another way I made a couple labels years ago;
I used a photo of the maker of the quilt; Lizzie Caughey, my Great-Great Grandmother. It has held up well but the label has never been washed.
Then I went through a stage where I made labels using my sewing machine;
It's very hard to read here, but still in good shape. Here's another;
This one has been washed a lot.The label has held up well.
Now I usually frame the label like the one on top of this post or like this one;
Often the frame is left over pieces of the quilt;
 This one was embroidered by machine and attached before I quilted it.
(the bottom one has an added little label I had made to indicate that it has wool batting in it.)

Once I incorporated the label as part of the back of the quilt before it was quilted like this;
This has space for the grandkids to sign when they get to sleep under the quilt.
Finally another way I labeled a quilt that was not very successful. I painted it. White acrylic paint on a blue background..
It's barely readable and clearly needs to be remade. This quilt actually has 2 labels with different information on each:
Here you can see it better. I finished this in 1994. In 20 years the label has faded a lot. This quilt has been just lightly used and has not been washed very much, maybe 4 times?

Clearly labels need to be made with care and with a method that will hold up over time. Ink and paint is out. Embroidery is much better. Take the time to make a label that will last.

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