Document Your Quilt

This week, I finally finished my Splendid Sampler quilt. (And I promise, this is the last post I will be writing about it. If you are still working, I would love to see yours…post to Instagram #SplendidSampler.)

Anyway, I got to thinking about the way we document quilts.  Everyone does it differently, and plenty of folks don’t label their quilts at all.  What a shame!  I think all quilts deserve a label, even if it’s just your signature at the bottom.  They take so much time and effort. While we are working on them, we spend time thinking of the people who will receive them. Life is going on around us while we are sewing.

I remember one of the first quits I ever made was done in the aftermath of 9/11.  So much of the news, the change in our lifestyles, the culture, all got sewn into that quilt.  It’s nothing special, just a Christmas quilt sewn in flannel and hand-tied.  But I never made a label for it.  I just tucked it away. Even now, when I pull it out, it brings me back to that time when we were all huddled around our TV sets getting information. And it brings me comfort.

So now, when I create labels for my quilts, I try to capture the moment or at least the sentiment that carried me through the project.

You can do this many ways.

I have embroidery software and am comfortable using it.  However, I know a lot of people who create their labels in Word or something universal and print it out onto fabric.  Printed Treasures printable fabric works well for this purpose and so does the printable fabric from Electric Quilt.  Just follow the directions.

You can also just hand-write the label with permanent ink.  Some people like to sew it into the binding in the corner. Others, like me, just like to hand-stitch it to the back of the quilt.

Whatever your chosen process, just make it your own.  When you give quilts to people, you’ll find that after enjoying the initial beauty of the quilt, they are always charmed a second time by the label, the sentiment, the love.

It’s like the card, the thought, the capture of that moment in time. And even if it’s only for yourself…ESPECIALLY if it’s only for you and your family. Take the time to document.

Your effort is worth the credit.

(I deleted particular names off the labels for privacy here.)


Label Your Quilts to Preserve the Moment

Quilt label for my son's quilt

Quilt label for my son’s quilt

I have a confession.  I am not very good at remembering to make quilt labels.  Yet I know just how important they are and how much character they add to a quilt.

And the thing is, I love to make labels.  The one pictured above is digitized (I knew absolutely nothing about digitizing at the time) from a picture of my son when he was 4 years old.  He was blowing a dandelion.  I made him a quilt that year, from fabric that he loved, and I wanted it to be a remembrance of that time in his life.  It includes his name, the date the quilt was finished and of course, “Made with love by mommy.”

Right now, I have at least 3 quilts which need labels.  I can no longer remember exactly what year I made the quilts. (Sometime in the last 5 years).

I am especially guilty of not labeling anything that I make for myself or for our house.  When giving something away, I am a little better at the labels.  A little.

It seems irresponsible to make a quilt, put it out there in the world and not give it a label, an identity, a reason, a meaning.

At work, a customer told me she never puts on the binding of a quilt until after she adds the label.  I think that’s a good recommendation.  We all know that the last stitch of binding means we’re done. Complete. Finished. Put it away.  But making sure that label is in place before the binding is on, is a way to trick ourselves into getting it done.

So let’s agree to make the effort.  We never pass this way again.  My son will never be 4 years old again. But we can capture that tiny little season, and wrap ourselves up in it with a cup of hot chocolate on a cold October evening.