Once the binding is sewn, it's often tempting to regard a quilt as "finished", and move on to a next project, that you've been longing to start for a while.
Adding a label to a quilt, might seem like an unnecessary task. Maybe even a waste of time. You might think of it as something that's only important for quilts that are being gifted, so that the person who receives the quilt, knows who lovingly made it.
So why should we consider making a label and sewing it to our quilt as an important part of quilt making - even if it's a quilt we will just keep and use around the house? Why is labelling a quilt a step that should never be skipped?
I recently bought an antique quilt, dating from the 1860's - 1870's. As a historian, I'm always curious to find out the story behind old things. But the quilt isn't labelled...
Of course it has it's charm that we can only guess who made the quilt, why certain colors and fabrics were used, and why the maker chose that specific block or design.
But wouldn't it be wonderful, if we could learn more about the maker and the story behind her quilt?
I hear you thinking: "you're right Ellen, it's nice to know the story behind antique quilts. But the quilts we're making now aren't antiques yet and might never reach that age."
You're absolutely right. Not all quilts that we make will remain in good condition and be kept forever. And that's OK.
But with labelling our quilts, we mustn't think only of possible future generations. Instead, we must think of ourselves.
Let me explain:
when you browse through a box of holiday pictures from years ago, you will probably at one moment break your head over when or where a specific picture was taken, and who are on it.
Instead, pictures that are in an album and have just a short description of the place and time, will bring back all the fond memories at once.
Having spend so many hours working on a quilt that brought you joy, relaxation, maybe helped you through difficult times or reminds you of time spend with dear quilt friends, it won't hurt us to spend 10 - 15 minutes working on a label.
With all the materials we have available to us nowadays, there are many easy and quick ways to make a lovely label for your quilt. I usually write my name, the name of the quilt and the year(s) in which I've worked on it on a piece of fabric (that might be simple square, a circle or heart shaped, whatever I feel like making at that moment) that is appliquéd to the back of the quilt.
This basic information is not a lot, but it does always help me to remember when I made the quilt, the places I've worked on it, the things that happened during that time of my life, and so much more.
Of course, you don't need to do this for every single project you make. I can imagine that if you're sewing placemats or mug rugs, you might not want to add a label to every single one of them.
But you might want to consider it for projects that you spend quite some time working on or that have been made for example for a special occasion.
After all, what is 10 - 15 minutes compared to the time we worked on the entire quilt? And think of what a lovely way it is to celebrate finishing the quilt making process by "putting the cherry on the cake" and adding the final touch by sewing on a label.