Thursday, March 6, 2014

That Label

I thought it might be fun to share some of my not-so-secret, but am-I-the-only-one-who-does-this? quilty techniques with you in a semi-regular series. Not formal, nothing scientific. No deadlines. Just stuff that I do that might be a little out of the ordinary.

To begin, we'll start at the end. The very last bit of making a quilt. The label. For me, it's just about the last step in the process. Once the quilt is quilted and bound, it's time to add a label. At least for me. I know some people sew the label to the quilt back before making the quilt sandwich, that way the label is secured by the quilting stitches. I'm not one of those people. I can imagine, if I did, my label would end up all wonky, out of alignment with the edge of the quilt. And I'm too tidy-butt for that.

I usually make the label from one of the leftover blocks or I highlight an element of the pieced quilt top, and I write the pertinent data on the label with a permanent fabric marker. I then fold the raw edges of the label under about 1/4" and pin it onto the quilt backing, typically on the lower right of the quilt back. Once it's pinned, I then use a slip stitch to secure the folded edge of the label to the quilt backing. None of that is so unusual.

Sometimes my labels can get pretty big. So, a few years back, I thought that with time and wear, it wouldn't take much for that slip stitch to break and unravel, leaving a nameless, orphan quilt with no history. So sad.

To avoid this tragic state of affairs, I started highlighting the quilt label with a running stitch using peal cotton, in a coordinating color. I make the running stitches only through the label and the backing, not all the way through the quilt sandwich. See the stitching just inside the seam of the on-point square on this label?

Some labels get a little more attention. Like this one for Miracle Max a quilt from ScrapTherapy, Scraps Plus One! The cross stitch pattern is from a book called Two Hour Cross Stitch Flowers.

Here's another label from a pattern from Scraps Plus One! This time I added some embroidery following a design from the Quilt Label Collective. See the running stitch along the edge of the yellow border?

There it is again on the label for 99 Bottles, another pattern in Scraps Plus One! Just inside the inner blue border.

Ya know, the label doesn't have to be 'over the top' to earn a bit of running stitch embellishment. In fact, the more plain the label the more it can use that little extra something.

So the running stitch adds a little bit of personality to the label and serves a purpose--that one little added security that will help the quilt maintain its identity!

Do you do something like this to your quilt labels to add a decorative touch and a bit more stability? Better question: Do you add a label to your finished quilt?

Happy Stitching!

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