My friend Carolyn Beam is back to tell us about quilt labels! Do you label your quilts? Carolyn has been in the quilting industry for over 30 years. She had her own pattern design business, Colorado Quilt Designs until starting to work for Quiltmaker Magazine in 2005 as an editor. Her career at the magazines evolved into becoming the Content Director for Quiltmaker, McCall’s Quilting and McCall’s Quick Quicks until February 2018. She now spends her time doing freelance work in the quilting industry and spending time with her family.
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Hi – it’s Carolyn Beam again. Let’s talk about quilt labels. You just finished sewing the last few inches of your binding down and feel that sense of relief and accomplishment that your quilt is finally finished—all that work and you can finally enjoy your creation. Or is it finished? Have you taken that final step and added a label? For me, this is an easy step to forget, but one I know is important.
Many years ago when my grandmother passed away, I was fortunate to inherit two of her handmade quilts. I was curious as to who had made these since I knew my grandmother and great grandmother didn’t quilt. I asked my great aunt, and all she knew was that maybe they were made by one of her aunts or grandmother. I would love to know which of my ancestors shared my love of quilting! Do you have family quilts that have been passed down with no record of who made them?
Maybe you found a wonderful quilt at a thrift or antique store that had to come home with you. Wouldn’t you love to know the history behind your find? In the past, it was common for quilters not to identify themselves as the maker thinking that it wasn’t important for their everyday quilts. When quilts were signed, one way that quilters acknowledged themselves as the maker was to embroider their initials and date on the quilt or incorporate their signatures into the quilting. When indelible inks that wouldn’t damage fabric became available in the 19th century, more quilts were labeled and signature quilts became popular. Quilters didn’t often use labels, but wrote directly on the quilts themselves.
There are many creative ways to label your quilts. If you are looking for something quick and easy, there are many sources for ready made labels that you can just fill in pertinent information like these darling labels in Jacquelynne’s shop.
Other labels come as yardage and are handy when you need them. Here’s a couple of preprinted labels that I keep on hand.
I like to use a Micron pigma pen with either a .05 or .08 tip to write on my labels. To make it easier to write on the fabric, press the label onto a piece of freezer paper to stabilize it. I always include my name, address, date (or year) I made the quilt, who quilted it (if it wasn’t me) and the quilt name, if it has one, for quilts that I keep for myself.
I created this label from a book by Kim Churbuck containing designs to trace to make your own labels. It fit the design of my quilt perfectly!
Here are some more collections of quilt labels here:
For group quilts or round robin quilts, it’s easy to use inkjet fabric sheets to create a simple label for everyone to sign.
Here are a couple other labels using preprinted fabric labels:
I like to find labels that relate to my quilt (flowers for my springtime quilt, pine cones for my fall quilt). The labels here have all been fairly simple and easy and were made for quilts that I made for me. When making quilts as gifts, I prefer to get a little more creative with my labels. Check back here soon, and I’ll share some ideas for labels that you can make yourself.
Thanks Carolyn! That was really helpful information, and some great thoughts about why we should label our quilts!
Would like to order some quilt labels to put on my quilts when I’m finished.
I have one of my grandmother’s quilts, and I added a label so future generations would know how precious it is. I always label my quilts, even the imperfect ones, it is important.
When I finished my daughter’s quilt, my lable read: My dearest Jul, I carried you nine months under my heart, and nine months on my heart, but I will carry yu thru eternity in my heart. Love Mom 2005
This is the sweetest lable I’ve read.
Definitely the most beautiful thing I’ve read.
I recently found a beautiful old quilt in a charity shop and just had to “save” it! It had a small handwritten label on it with the quilters name and the date. When I looked her up on the internet I found that she had died in a neighboring town and I was able to get her dates of birth and death.
I was wondering, now that I have washed the quilt, should I put a new label with all these details on it or not?
Thanks for any feedback!
I think, just my opinion, mind you that you could add an updated label, but don’t remove the original!