When I was a new quilter I never thought about labeling my quilts. I made my first quilt when I was in art school for a class project and my second for my first child when I was pregnant. Both quilts never left my possession so a label seemed irrelevant. I realized how much a quilt label meant when the first child was born.
I gave birth in December of 2002 at the hospital where I worked as a labor/delivery nurse. Our local guild donated quilts to the hospital for all of the holiday babies. The nurses I worked with presented me with the most precious Christmas quilt I could ever imagine. It was a sweet little rail fence quilt in red, green and white that was hand tied with perle cotton. Every year will pull the quilt out when we decorate for the holidays and wonder who took the time to part with such a lovely treasure. It had no label. Years later when I joined our local guild, I would sometimes sit there and wonder which lovely woman made the quilt for my son. I asked around but no one seemed to be able to identify the maker!
Quilt making is a long running textile tradition that is passed down from generation to generation. The gifting of quilts also usually signifies an important event in someone’s life, such as a marriage, birth, illness, birthday or other major life event. These stories of life and relationships are lost if you do not label your quilt!
We have also all heard of at least one sad quilt story where a quilt is labored over and sent off to its destination only to somehow get lost on its way. Shipping labels can get smudged or battered. Sometimes theft of a package could be the culprit. I would like to think if a quilt had a label it would somehow find its way home.
The Quilt Alliance, a non-profit established in 1993 to document, preserve and share American quilt heritage, has done a lot of work to share quilt stories so they do not become lost. They are a great resource for how to document the quilts we make or collect, and why! You can also purchase a quilt labeling kit from them that is really quite lovely.
Labels can be as simple as printing one at home on printable fabric or using a Micron pen and making one by hand. Etsy has several sellers that offer pre-printed and custom labels. Ananemone Labels has some lovely ones.
Labels should include at least
– the name of the maker
– the name of the quilter
– the date it was made
– if it has a specific purpose, the name of the recipient and the occasion for which it was made
This textile tradition is very important. So is your work! Label your quilts, take credit for your work, and share your quilt stories.
We would love to see how you label your quilts. Share a picture of how you label your quilts on our Facebook page or Instagram. Share your quilt stories!