Saturday, February 5, 2011

Will your quilt be found in a pile known as UNKNOWN MAKER?


This is my first time posting here and I heartily thank Madame Samm for the invitation! This blog has been a great source of information (and entertainment) for me and I hope that my entry will continue the tradition.

I have never been very good at introducing myself. . .even though I have taught quilting and crochet classes for more than 12 years through various Community Education programs here in New Jersey.

To begin, I am a first generation quilter --- no history of quilting on either side of the family tree (but my maternal grandmother was a seamstress and had made me many items of clothing as I was growing up).

Oh, I guess you would like to know who I am. . . LOL. . .see, I told you I'm not good at introducing myself!!

I'm Sherry and I blog at Books, Hooks, Sticks, etc. My blog is about alot of things, not just quilting.

Since taking my first class (more than 20 years ago) I have continued to take classes through local shops as well as attending many yearly quilt shows & conventions (I attended every year of the Quilters' Heritage Celebration in Lancaster, PA). I feel that we never can learn everything. . . other than that one CAN have too many UFO's!!

In quilting terms UFO stands for UnFinished Object, another meaning could be Unidentified Flying Object (but that is for another blog). . .but I would like to offer yet another meaning --- UnFamiliar Object.

You are probably asking yourself, "What is this woman talking about?" Well, I'm glad you asked.

Down through the ages quilts have been used as blankets, fund raising tools, memory boards (pre-computer!), and cures for a bit of homesickness. They have been loved, sold, bartered, tattered, worn out, repurposed, and on and on and on.

A good many quilts have ended up in museums. . .and alot of them have information cards that start out "Unknown Maker". . . .but the person that made that quilt wasn't "unknown" were they?

Which brings me to my topic (thought I'd never get there, didn't you!! LOL) -- labeling your quilt.

It is important to label your quilts so that a portion of your history can be preserved and passed down to future generations. Those who are active geneologists have been known to travel far and wide in order to track down their family roots. By putting a label on your quilts you are giving future family members the trail to trace themselves back to you.

Doesn't that sound exciting?! Thinking that 50, 100 or even further in the future you could be the subject of major "Google" searching to find out what made you unique can be quite exhilarating.

Ok, I know, once the binding is on you really want to move on to the next project (unless you have been working on others at the same time). . .but it only takes a moment and can be so helpful.

The pictures that I have interspersed here are labels that I made as a hostess gift for a quilter with whom I will be staying shortly.


All of them (except for the one below) were drawn by me (the label with the purple flowers was traced from a labelling book). The one below is a rubber stamped piece.

When doing a label the most important information to include is: Your name (put in your maiden name as well as your married name), the city/town and state where you live, and the date.

If you are making the quilt as a gift that information could be provided as well. And, if you know it (and want to admit it), putting the start date of your quilt could be very enlightening to those that may view your quilts.

Those of you that do machine quilting could always quilt your name into your quilts, or you could embroider the information onto the quilt.

A separate label is not always needed. . . .if you are using a light fabric on the back of your quilt you could write directly on your quilt backing. Actually, doing this before quilting helps to deter quilt theft because in order to remove the identification on the quilt the quilt would be damaged.

Below is a picture of some of the pens that I use when making my labels. Most of them are Pigma Micron pens (05 size) but there is a large purple pen that I had used to make quick work of a play quilt ... the tip is quite large.

Ok, so how do you do a label?

The first thing is to decide how large you would like your label to be. I have made labels as small as a 2 1/2" half square triangle and as large as 4" x 5".

Once you decide on the size of your label you need to cut out the fabric you plan on using for your label. Of course, if you are writing directly on the back of your quilt you can skip this step. When cutting your label fabric be sure to have your cut be at least 1/2" bigger so that you have room to fold over the seam allowance.

Then you need to make a guideline. I use freezer paper as both the guide and stabilizer of my label fabric. Cut the freezer paper larger than your label fabric.

To mark your guideline on the freezer paper you can use pen, pencil, etc. --- the idea is to have a line that you can see through your paper and your fabric.

This is important. . . make your line on the DULL side of the freezer paper so that you don't run the risk of transferring the line to your label.



Then take your label fabric and freezer paper to your pressing surface. Put the SHINY side of the paper on the back side of your fabric and press. . .no steam (aka dry iron) is all that is needed. . .and it is just a quick pass to adhere them together. As you can see from the photo. . .the line can easily be seen through the fabric.



I chose to use a circle as a guideline and just started to doodle using my imagination to make up designs:




This last picture is how you can write out the information on the center of your label . . . yes, that is my handwriting!

There are many books available that have designs for labels that you can trace -- some are geared toward specific holidays and some are just generic but they are great to use as "starting points" to get your creative juices flowing.

I hope that this information was helpful. . .and I'd love to see what kind of labels you design.

here are a couple  labels for you..!
copy and enlarge  to whatever size will suit you..

label # 2 


In peace & pieces,

Sherry

38 comments:

  1. So glad you chose this as your subject. I have been hesitant about writing on the fabric with a pen. I have not had too much experience with it and was afraid it would fade. Evidently, if you suggest it for labels that would last 50-100 years..it won't. Guess what my labels will look like from now on! Thanks!

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  2. Awesome post! I DO label my quilts & have played around with hand-written & computer printed labels. I prefer the hand-written only because I believe that when reading a note that was hand-written, you can almost hear that person's voice. But I've struggled with my words going uphill. Lines on the freezer paper! Why didn't I think of that? That was a "Duh" moment for me. Thank you for your suggestions :)

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  3. My grandmothers did not label their quilts. I was not lucky enough to get any of the wonderful quilts they made. I did however find two under-the-mattress quilts - one from each grandmother. One has Morton Salt Sacks as the backing and a 7 sisters design on the front. How I wish they had labeled these quilts. I put a label on all my quilts b/c I want my great grandchildren to know that I was a quilter. I have started adding my signature to the quilt too. Who knows which of my quilts will survive.

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  4. Great post, I'm always wondering what to put on my labels, thanks for the lovely label designs as well.

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  5. Thank you so much for the information. I love your labels.

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  6. I make labels for the big stuff, but have started putting "tags" on the little stuff, even mug rugs. I bought a rubber stamp with my name and location and write the year with pigma pen.

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  7. Good Morning Sherry...well my dear you did it...you have touched on a topic that I am not sure has ever been highlighted like this before...Way to go for your initiative. I love this...Now I know which pens to recommend, your oval label with the stitching, well I adore that one... I hear you about quilts with no labels I have a few from my great great grandmother and although I'm well aware they are at least a couple hundred years old, to have had some kind of label on them with who they made it for and a year, would have been such a treasure...sew thank you...a lovely post it is.

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  8. I never thought to draw up my own labels!! Thank you so much for this clever idea.

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  9. I have used computer printed labels from fancy, with lots of info to something simple with just my name and the year on them. I sometimes sew them right into the backing fabric or just put a nice little border on two sides of them and sew the other two sides on when I put the binding on. Sometimes I am lazy and don't even use a label but that was only a couple of times. I do like your labels. Embroidery is nice to use for them.

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  10. I write my last name (including maiden name) and the recipients name and year directly on the backing before adding the label over this writing. If the label goes missing there is still a record. Great subject. Claire

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  11. Thank you - I have never labelled a quilt (until now). You made this so simple.

    Hugs - Marie

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  12. I have now started to label my quilts. I am lazy however and when I get to the end of a quilt I just want to be done with it! So I have neglected to make a label. I think I need to have a label making party for myself and have some labels pre started so that I do not have an excuse.
    I have used freezer paper to stabilize but like dd Lindsay I feel like dah that I never thought to put lines on the back of the freezer paper.
    Thanks for the great ideas!And pictures.
    Jo

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  13. Great article Sherry :) I never thought of using my pigma pens to decorate my labels... a Duh moment for me too. My hand writing is so awful I usually print out lightly onto fabric then colour in with pigma pen... but this idea is fabulous. Thank you and also thank you for the 2 label designs :) Elly

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  14. this is a wonderful tutorial! I have been wondering how to make a label as i am hand stitching an entire quilt and hand quilting it, I don't want it to go into my family and have them not remember the work that I put into it for them. I want it to be remembered that I made it out of my love for them and for future generations to find comfort under.

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  15. Loved the post and it is a much needed reminder to all of us who usually don't label our quilts. Thank you for all your helpful information.

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  16. Thanks so much for a wonderful post and the gifts of the beautiful labels.

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  17. Very good advice and excellent instructions about making a label for each quilt. Last year, I made quilts for each of the grandchildren, who were enthralled that their quilt had THEIR name on it! Too cute... It's also nice knowing that, 100 years from now, the "history" of each quilt will still be known.

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  18. Bad me, in the hundreds of quilts I've made, I've never put a label on one. Because of this post, I think I'll start. Great info!!

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  19. I always put labels on things I sell or give as presents, guess I should put them on mine. Well, the good ones;)

    Debbie

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  20. Guilty as charged! I often think I'll make the label later and later when I get the quilt out I've forgotten exactly when I made it. Thanks for the labels to copy - I'm going to work on that today! blessings, marlene

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  21. Love this post - was able to gleam some good pointers here. I have stopped using the computer-generated labels as I want my quilts to have my handwriting on the labels. Very timely post with excellent information.

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  22. Thanks for the suggestions for quilt labels. I usually buy some preprinted ones but embroidered ones sound so much nicer. Do you use special ink for the stamped ones. That sounded like a nice label if I could find one that I liked but would the ink wash off? I think I will see what I can come up with now.

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  23. Thanks for the inspiration. I use Pigma pens on my labels also.

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  24. I haven't labeled because it felt almost conceited. Why do I feel that way? I have no idea. A few times I have become so brave as to write in tiny letters my first name and last initial and the year, but that is all. Hmm...I need to think about this.

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  25. I loved this post because I too believe in the value of labels on all your quilts. You offer some great ideas for simple yet elegant designs. I like to write on fabric with the Micron pen, too. Since I'm such a perfectionist, though, I write the sentiment on the computer first (often using a handwriting-like font) and print out the page. Then I trace it on the fabric by taping the paper to a sunny window, then taping the fabric on top. I guess a light box would work too, ha ha!

    Sometimes, I piece the written fabric into a mini block that echos the quilt design, or I trace a design element from the top's fabric, or I hand embroider a little something on it, like simple pick stitch in a box around the words. It comes out much nicer than you think it will! I hand applique the label on the back, and I'm done!

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  26. I always label, unless a customer quilt and they don't want it - then I write my name on the seam allowance before binding. Sometimes they are handsewn seperately, sometimes attached so quilting adheres them, a corner label caught in with the binding, or even part of a piecing on the back. I use pigma pens, printer, embroidery - whatever suits the project.

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  27. Great subject Sherri, and a timely reminder for us all. I have been guilty of not labelling but try to on most. I do keep a book where I record all my quilts so I can go back and label when the notion takes me! Thanks for showing us yours, they are beautiful!

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  28. Great information. I'm sure there are many wonderful quilts out there with no "documented history."

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  29. What a wonderful post. You gave me some great ideas for labels. I just need to go buy more pigma pens. Your designs are so great. Thanks for sharing with us. Hugs Ariane

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  30. Thank you so much for this tutorial. Labeling is very important to me, and I try to label all my quilts, because they are usually for my posterity. I never thought of using the pigma pens. Thank you so much.

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  31. Thank you, Sherry, for the gentle reminder...... to label my quilts. I'm guilty as charged.... once my quilt is bound I fold it up and say "I'll make a label later".... and I never get around to.... later. Love the Valentine touch at the beginning of your post...she is too cute..... Thanks for sharing your beautiful labels.

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  32. Thank you so much for your post! I label my quilts and try to use plaids or striped fabric for the labels so I have straight lines to work with. I also put the fabric on a sandpaper board to keep the fabric from shifting while writing. I never thought to use freezer paper and put lines on it...what a fantastic idea!! Now I don't have to stick to the fabrics I've been using!

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  33. I'm guilty of the no label approach. Thanks for the update - and the sample labels.

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  34. Thank you for the ideas. I am a little stressed over labels. Now I won't be!

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  35. Beautiful labels! I've never put a label on quilts I made, but really want to try to now! Thanks for sharing,
    Laila

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  36. I had ordered embroidered fabric labels for the afghans that I crochet, but they were super expensive (a few hundred dollars). Since I've started sewing I've wanted to put labels on my blankets and quilts but just can't afford to spend a ton of money on embroidered fabric labels right now. I did buy some fabric sheets that can be printed onto via a computer printer, and created some labels, but unfortunately once washed, the printer ink washes right off, so the label is never permanent. Do you ever make labels for crafters to buy from you? I'd be seriously interested in having you create some for me if you do!

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  37. My mom tells me I need to label my quilts, but I never do. I just quilt a heart into ever quilt that I machine quilt. That's my signature. Nobody will know it but me sadly. I think this post was another reminder that I do need to put my name on my qulits. I have the pens, just never wrote on a quilt before. I guess I always felt guilty or something. Weird huh?

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  38. Those are very sweet label ideas! I couldn't agree more, labeling is SO important.

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You think they are just words...they are sew much more than that...your wee messages tell me, you are kind, smart and important...