Dec 14, 2013

time to label - index card style

When I finish a quilt, it seems the last thing I want to do is take time to make a label for it. But I recently learned a great lesson... and that got me to work making these.
Before you laugh - I know these are not pretty! They are not even all that well made. But - keep reading. 
I have covered up names and other details - TMI for the internet!
The lesson I learned came a few weeks back when I followed my aunt into her attic to look at old quilts. What I discovered up there was enough quilts to do a large antique quilt show of quilts from 1900 - 1950's. No joke! The place is like a museum... and there was an astounding number of quilts up there. But the really cool thing was the way they were packaged and labeled. Each quilt was neatly folded, covered with a plastic bag and then placed in a box to protect it from dust. Even better, each quilt included an index card marking all of the pertinent information on it... the maker, dates, where it was purchased, or who it was made for, etc. It was very impressive.  Especially since a lot of these quilts were award winners from county fairs, or they were made especially for family members or special events.

After about 16 years of quilting, I have so many of my older (traditional style) quilts that the husband threatens that we will need to add on to the house to store them all! But only a few of these have labels. Some of them I made so long ago that I can't even remember the exact year I made them.

Now, I know that there are lots of great books and blog posts written about all the creative ways you can (and should) make labels. And maybe this is what's been holding me back... the pressure to make something good! I'm always ready to move on to the next project and don't want to expend creative energy on a label.

So I decided to pick up on the "quickie" index card idea. Here's the result. These are not pretty! They are not even that well made!  But they were quick to make, and because of that, I'm happy! I've made seven so far... New Year's resolution? Finish the other ___???! (that is not a typo! I don't even know how many I need to make!)


I wrote what I wanted the label to say on the computer and printed it out.  Then I used a light-box to copy it onto the cotton fabric using Micron archival pens. The archival pens won't bleed or fade, so the idea with these pens is that a generation or two from now, you'll still be able to read them (I hope).

Also, I very quickly stitched out a few of embroidery stitches available on my fancy Bernina. Since I mostly do free motion quilting, I rarely use all the available stitches. So this was kind of a test lab of stitches... again, not all that pretty (and I didn't rip out the mistakes, you'll notice). But the stitches added just a touch of interest.

I'll leave you with a close up of the 1940's vintage quilt that was given to me by my aunt! Because of the care she took to label it, I know who made this quilt, when it was made (1940), when she purchased it (1950s)... and then I added on the label that it was gifted to me in 2013!

And that is a story worth remembering!




7 comments:

  1. This is a great post, Teresa!! I finally gave in to having some small labels printed with my name and my location. Then I simply add the date. Many of my quilts have been made just for the pleasure of making the block, or using a certain technique. When I make a special quilt, I do add more information that I print on the computer using some printer friendly fabric.

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    1. Even better idea to have them pre-printed! Sounds like you are keeping up with the task to label. Thanks for your comments.

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  2. I know you're right! It was brought home to me when we had an antique quilt presentation given by a collector who lovingly told us about her treasures and it was evident how much more special they were when there was a label with a real link to the past! The one I remember most said "Made by _______, mother of ________, _________, & __________ and the year it was made". Can't remember the exact names or year but was so sweet! I've had some success printing them out from the computer using freezer paper ironed on to the fabric.

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    1. Sheri: Thanks for taking time to share your story. I agree labels can make a quilt much more special. Printing on fabric from the computer works well, but I have just read that the ink from the printer will fade over time... that is why I am trying out the archival inks. They are not supposed to fade. Who knows. Hope it stays. Thanks again!

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  3. I try to leave a hand written 'note' on give-away quilts, usually just written on the back somewhere with perm [name brand] pen, knowing they will be lavishly loved by my granddaughters. When I decided to donate a quilt to our local school fundraiser, I decided to go a little further with the label for this one, which is still a WIP. I found a label maker on Etsy, they printed the simple info on the fabric for me, and I now have 4 'bases' for labels, with room for the date, etc. Think I will use your idea of the 'light box' to include other info, if you don't mind.?? If I don't copy exactly, I will end up mis-spillng sumthng....

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    1. Vicky: Feel free to use any of the ideas on the labels here. So glad this was useful! Not only does the computer help us spell - but it also helps with the fact that I have terrible handwriting - so a win win. Good luck with the label making - so important. Thanks for your comments!

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