We were discussing quilt labels in the shop the other day. Almost everyone of my quilts have had a label attached to them and they have caught people’s attention. Labels are a way for me to communicate to the reciepient of a quilt and record important information of interest for posterity. I think about what I want to put in my label as I’m piecing my quilt. I create the label when I make the quilt back. Sometimes I piece it into the back and other times I applique it on. I like to have my label on the back before I quilt the project because I don’t want it to be easily removed. A label is a way of claiming “authorship” of a quilt.
I record the month and or year the project was finished. (Or at least when the piecing was finished. I figure that is accurate enough for any quilt historians who might stumble upon my work in years to come.) I record the state it was created in because I know of historical quilt collections that have been put together based on locale. I’m trying to help future quilt historians on the off chance that my work survives. I’ll record the name of the pattern, technique, or fabric line that was used in the design of the quilt if there is room and I feel it is a significant part of the quilt’s story. After all, each label is telling the story of the quilt. Why it was made, who made it, who it was made for, how it was made, and when it was made.
I design my labels in Word or Microsoft publisher and then print them off on fabric using my Inkjet pritner and prepared fabric sheets. Some of my labels have been 8 inches by 10 1/2 inches but I generally try to keep them to half a sheet so that I can get two labels out of each sheet , that would be 8 inches by 5 1/2 inches. If I am going to piece my label into a block on the back I will size it to the finished size of the piece. I like to add backgrounds, scans of the fabric used in the quilt, or clip art to help tie the content of the label to the quilt or express the title of the quilt.
Here are a few samples of labels I’ve created for quilts.
bobbiecowboycookieslbl – I pieced these three labels into the back of the quilt.