My grandmother, Ella Brown, was an amazing woman. She was a prolific quilter in a time before rotary cutters and rulers. She drew templates on cardboard, usually from a cereal box, drew around the template and cut the pieces for her block one patch at a time. Grandma made 10 to 15 quilts a year. Her quilts weren’t fancy. They were made from leftovers from my mother and my aunt’s garment sewing as well as the “good” fabric from worn out items. Grandma was also a generous woman. She gave quilts as gifts: wedding, graduation, baby, etc. If a family in the community had a house fire, Grandma would give them multiple quilts.
I still live in the same small rural community where my grandmother spent most of her adult life. When I go to auctions with old quilts, I find myself looking at the fabric to see if there is a fabric that I recognize. I have no way of knowing whether I am looking at one of my grandma’s quilts. When she was quilting, she didn’t label her quilts. Her quilts were to be used until they were worn out.
Our thinking is different now. As quiltmakers, we are artists. It doesn’t matter if we make bed-sized quilts or wall hangings, art quilts or more traditional quilts … we are artists! I name my quilts and I label them. When my children and grandchildren find something in 50 years, I want them to be able to tell if I was the quiltmaker.
My labels have evolved. Older quilts have purchased label fabric with the information written with fabric safe markers.
As I got a little smarter with my sewing machine, I used the built in alphabet stitches. Notice also the row of decorative stitches on the contrasting fabric.
Now I embroider my labels. I have dozens of fonts and sizes to choose from.
There aren’t rules about size or shape or what you have to include. A bit of whimsy is not a bad thing.
I keep a spread sheet in my computer where each quilt is identified by name, month and year completed and if it was a gift, who I’ve given it to. I photograph all of my quilts, usually front, back and label.
How do you label and track your quilts? If you have an idea you’d like to share, leave a comment below.
On another subject, our sister publication, Quiltmaker, is doing a blog tour this week to celebrate their new Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks – Volume 5. Check it out here. It looks like great fun!