Do You Really Need A Quilt Label? I admit it – I’ve not always labeled my quilts. It never occurred to me. I started quilting way back when we used cereal boxes to create templates and dressmaking shears to cut “patches”. I never thought my early quilts were good enough to last all that long – I mostly made them as something to do with the scraps I had saved from other projects. I was wrong.
Something big happened to change that. In the 1990s, I inherited a stack of quilts that as near as I can tell – were made from about 1900 – 1920. Family lore has it that my great grandmother’s sister made them – but there’s no one left to tell me for sure. I found myself wishing that I knew more about the hand-pieced and quilted Double Wedding Ring quilt – or the Grandmother’s Flower Garden – or any of the other beautiful quilts I now had because no one else wanted them.
We’ve all Had This Happen
I’m certain that at some point this has happened to you or one of your quilting friends. It’s happened to me quite a few times. Here’s the scenario – You are wandering a garage sale, an antique shop, or even Goodwill – and you come across a beautiful quilt stuffed into a box. Someone’s family got rid of it because they didn’t know anything about it. It breaks my heart every time I see it happen.
That exact experience happened to me a few years back while wandering around in Seattle. We happened upon an “antique” shop that was filled to the rafters with interesting items. At the back of the shop was a pile of boxes – the leftovers from a garage sale according to the shop owner. Peeking out of one corner was something that looked pretty familiar to me – a handmade quilt.
It was old – probably 1930’s and had been made in the style of a “summer quilt”. That means it was finished – but no batting or quilting, almost like a duvet cover. It was (and is) a meticulously hand-pieced Double Wedding Ring quilt. The shop owner wanted to know if I’d give her $15.00 for it. No way was I leaving this beautiful quilt there. I paid for it and left before she changed her mind. How I wish I knew something about the (assuming it was a) woman who made it and whom she made it for.
Every stitch she put into that quilt was done with purpose and I’m guessing that she, like most of the rest of us quilters – intended that quilt to be a gift for someone she loved. How sad that her reasons for making the quilt have been lost to time, just like the quilts that I inherited.
Now – I label every single quilt I make – no matter what size it is. It may not keep someone from eventually donating the quilt I give them – but at least they will know the story of the quilt when they do.
Every Quilt Label Should Include These 5 Pieces of Information
Every quilt label I add to my projects includes the following 5 pieces of information:
- Name of the quilt (all my quilts get names – even if it’s just the name of the pattern I used)
- The name of the person I made it for.
- Occasion – birth, wedding, new home, graduation, or any other reason I decide is important enough for me to make a quilt.
- Made by – my name (as the creator of the quilt) – I sometimes also include the names of others if they help to make and finish the quilt.
- The date – is often just the year, but it could be more specific if that makes sense.
Consider Adding These 3 Pieces of Information to Your Quilt Label
In addition to the 5 key pieces of information, I listed above – I often like to add 3 other pieces of information you may not have considered.
- The location – this is something that most people don’t think to include. I normally include the City and State I’m in when I make the quilt.
- A Story – this may not be right for all quilts, but when it is – it can be a very powerful part of the quilt itself. The story I added to the back of my “Good Trouble” quilt is a great example. It details what was going on in the world during that time and my response to it as I worked through my emotions about it. This label was printed on fabric and pieced into the backing of the wall quilt – before it was quilted.
- Your Relationship – with the person that you made the quilt for. If you are making the quilt as a gift for a loved one. It’s nice to add your relationship to them at the time you gift the quilt to them. This information can sometimes get lost over time and it helps if this detail is included on the label.
This Can Seem Like a Lot of Information to Include on a Quilt Label
Adding all this information will make the quilt label huge – right? Not necessarily. There are many ways to make quilt labels and in future articles, I’ll demonstrate lots of different ways that you can create them.
Here’s an example of a quilt label that includes every one of the points mentioned above. This label measures 3.5” high and 5” wide, however, you could make it any size you like.
Are You Inspired to Make Your Own Quilt Labels?
I can help with that. In addition to the quilt label sets that I’ve designed – I also found some other sources of inspiration that I hope will help you create a label for every quilt you make from here on out. You can find them here: QUILT LABELS.