While I was putting the final touches on “Cabin Window” last week, there was a Facebook question about making quilt labels. That made me think of some of the different ways I’ve made labels through the years. I guess it goes without saying that I hope you label your quilts! Every quilt you make deserves to have your name on it. For a few years, I studied quilt history and quilt appraisals, and I can tell you that quilt appraisers are thrilled when a vintage or antique quilt has a name on it! Just think, you have the opportunity now to “brand” your quilt so everyone will know you labored over it.
Anyway, the Facebook question was “What do you put on your quilt labels?” At an absolute minimum, I recommend that you write your name and the date on your quilt, even if all you do is write directly on the quilt backing with a permanent pen. Pentel Gel Roller for Fabric is my current favorite for writing on fabric. Far superior than anything else I’ve tried. No affiliation, of course.
I would encourage you to give a bit more information than that, though. Here is my minimum amount of information:
That’s just a minimalistic approach, though. Whenever possible, I like to include some kind of contact information. I think there should be some way for people to contact me if the worst happened and my quilt became lost. For a long time, I included my physical address and telephone number, but then I moved unexpectedly and I realized how transient that information is. Now I usually include my email address. Since I own my own domain name, I have complete control of my email address no matter where we live physically.
Sometimes I also like to make it decorative. Maybe it’s just a fancy font that compliments the style of the quilt. If I’m really pressed for time, or just really lazy, I might hand-letter my label. Other times I spend some time scrolling through the hundreds of fonts on my computer. When I’m spending that kind of extra time, I might include a piece of artwork or photo, too.
I’ve also been know to include a source photo. I like that idea because it is another way to document the originality of your quilt. If you want to document your quilt further, you might include the story of why you made your quilt, a description of what is on the front of the quilt, who you made the quilt for, or how long it took.
This week I decided to add a frame to my label. I dug through my trash can for a few scraps left over from the front of the quilt and did some simple piecing around the computer-printed label. To me, it hints at the fact that this is one of my first improvisationally pieced quilts. That may be lost on someone else, but I think the subtle reference will make me smile in years to come.