Sunday, June 13, 2010

To Label or Not To Label - Opinions Please

Now that I have been finishing all of those small quilts lately, I am once again stuck with the dilemma of whether or not to make labels for all of them.  Truth be told, if I wasn't always reading about how you "have" to label each quilt you make for posterity sake, I'd consider them done when the last stitch was made in the binding and feel no guilt whatsoever about not adding a label.  That said, if there is special significance to a quilt, or it is a gift, I do make a label and have no problem doing so.

My dilemma is with all of the quilts that I make "just because", which is probably 99% of the quilts I make.  Since I have limited room and limited recipients for whom I would make a quilt, I'm guessing that most of quilts that aren't "must keep" quilts for me will end up being put up for sale eventually, and even some of those I keep may be sold eventually when newer ones  that are "must keeps" get added to the collection.  I'm working on a separate blog right now that will just be for selling.  I have extra stash to sell, both quilting and cross stitch, and will also post any quilts for sale as well, in addition to possibly putting them on Etsy.  As far as using a label to remember when I made the quilt, I already keep a journal where each quilt has a page with pertinant details about that quilt, including the finish date, so I've got that covered already.

So here are my burning questions:
  • Do you feel that EVERY quilt you make must have a label and why?
  • If you were to buy a quilt from someone else, would you want a label on it or not?  Please note, even if I were to put labels on quilts I sold, they would not be quilted in so the purchaser could easily remove the label and pass the quilt on as their own.  So that could happen whether I label the quilts or not.
  • How do you feel about simply signing the quilt with a pigma pen, or sharpie?  I find this difficult because it's hard to write on a finished quilt, but if I remembered to do it before the quilt was finished, I could stabalize with freezer paper first.  Of course, that would mean that the quilt would need to be quilted and bound immediately instead of the top marinating in the drawer for several years before the quilt actually got finished.  I also find that I use alot of darker fabrics that I couldn't write on, so that is a problem too.  For a couple of quilts, I put all of the information on the back of the binding before I folded it over, so it's there, but hidden.  Again, that works great until you have a fabric too dark to write on.
 Thanks in advance for your opinions!  I really do struggle over this issue every time I finish a quilt!


Nancy said...

hm...very good question. I am struggling with the same issue and am looking forward to reading the responses...

I was thinking of asking the hubs for a personalized stamp that I could use with name, city etc..but we are moving (fingers crossed) soon and so the city would change...

so now I am rethinking that..

Terry said...

I think it's nice to at least have your name and the date on the quilt someplace. I've signed a couple with a pigma pen instead of doing a label. The main reason I say this is because I have two antique quilts, one from my family and one from hubby's family, and I have no clue who made them. Even having a name on them would be nice. That way I would know if a family member made them or someone else.

Marianne said...

Whether or not to put a label on a quilt should be a personal choice in my opinion, not something you should do only because other people think you should.
If I bought a quilt I would want it to have the makers name on it and the year it was made.
I would not mind if the name was written on the quilt with a permanent marker.
Most quilts (or table mats etc) I make and keep for myself I do not label in any way, shape or form but I do photograph them so I know when I have made them.
If I give something away I do include my name and the year I made it. Sometimes I use the built-in alphabet on my sewing machine and before I sew the binding down to the back I use this alphabet to put my name on the binding matching the colour of the name and year to the binding so it blends in. That way it is very subtle but it's there and it is very easy to do.
dagmar dot eu at gmail dot com

jillquilts said...

Most of my quilts are larger quilts so they get labels. I don't do too many smaller quilts. But if I am giving a quilt to someone, it definitely gets a label. Sorry I can't be more help!

Phyllis in Minnesota said...

Often quilters don't consider their quilts as a work of art but if you put that same amt. of work/time/talent/$$ on canvas, would you think of it as a work of art and therefore sign it? I can't paint but I can make very nice quilts and therefore I sign all. I just use a piece of fabric to write on with a pigma pen and sew it on the back with name, date. sometimes the city where I live and sometimes a personal message if it is a gift. You could also do pattern name.
I say sign it because you are the artist!!

Cathi said...

Labels are a nice thing to find when one sees a quilt. If nothing else, they give the date the quilt was completed and the name of the maker.

A neighbour had a number of quilts that were made, she thought, by a member of her family many years ago. When our neighbour decided to sell/give some of them away, she was asked over and over again for details which would have been answered if there had been a label with the name of the maker, the province in which they had been made and the date they were completed.
That said, while I label all my lap quilts and larger ones I often don't label wall hangings or table toppers. Your post is making me re-think that practice. I often make an extra block to add as the label on the back once the piece is quilted and bound.

Thelma said...

I don't think every quilt needs a label, and if I were buying a quilt, I would not want a label on it. I don't like the idea of using a pigma pen to sign a quilt, I would prefer a label over that.

Lindah said...

Because I'm into history/genealogy, I label everything. Generally, I do not care for large, obvious labels --unless they serve a keepsake or presentation function. Sometimes I make a small block and incorporate it into the backing design. Many of my quilts are reversable so it is important to keep the labelling unobtrusive. Early on, I did not like the idea of pigma/marker pens on the quilt backing, but I'm finding that to be least noticeable in many instances --and a lot easier-- when only name and date are needed. To blend in an applied label, I often hand quilt it through the backing and backing, being careful not to go through the top. By the way, I've discovered that Printed Treasures yellows with time. What's up with that! I've only used it once or twice. For the money, I'll make my own printer sheets. All of the above are my personal perspective. I don't label because of guilt. I hope you won't either. If a label serves a purpose now, or might sometime in the future, is a question each must answer for her/himself.

Anonymous said...

I think it's nice to label all quilts with name and date unless charity quilts which the quilt guild usually tacks a nice label on for the receiver. If I purchased a quilt I would definately like to have the artist and date on it. I label mine, but I'm sure the label could be removed by the recipient if they didn't want it there. Judy

Char said...

I always label my large quilts. I will be opening an Esty shop soon also. The table toppers etc. I sell will be tagged just like the totes I make.
I use those name tags you put in you childrens clothing when they go off to camp. Iron the tag to a small finished piece of scrap fabric and usually put somme decorative stitching around it.
Sew the label into the binding.

Marjorie said...

I'm in the name & date required camp. Just b/c it isn't your favorite, doesn't mean it might not be someone else's. Try colored pens in a darker hue than your background (fuschia on a pink background, orange on gold) for a subtle signature.

Loris said...

My preference is to label if I feel like it :-) Gifts are usually labeled...others, not so much. I'm not sure what I would do with selling one.

Bethany said...

I try to label my quilts. Even if they get sold to other people before/after you die, someone else would love to know who made it. It gives a small history of your quilt. So many quilts from earlier time periods are not dated/signed and it's heartbreaking not knowing who put hours/years into a quilt.

I don't think labels need to be fancy unless that's your thing. Just your name, date, and name of the pattern is what I do. That way eons later after I've croaked, someone will know about the quilt's history.

I have no problem with a marker. The pigma pens are supposed to be for heirloom use and not turn yellow.

I've also been told to put your information (name, address and phone number) on the back under the binding in case someone steals your quilt and pretends it's theirs. That's more for show quilts, but there are people that will rip off the label and put a new one on if they like it.

Hope that helps :)

Quiltdivajulie said...

I make a lot of small quilts for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative and each one MUST be labeled. That process really helped me "get over" the invisible hump re labeling my larger quilts.

While I missed quite a few early on, I now incorporate a label of some sort into the back of every quilt so that it becomes an integral part and not something that is added after the fact.

I tried printed treasures - too stiff and 'fake' looking. If I wantto include more text, I print it onto coordinating freezer-paper fabric. Now, when the quilt comes back from my long armer, labeling is a done deal.

I always include my name, the month/year, the name of the quilt, and the name of my long arm quilter. Beyond that, it just depends on the quilt and how it will be used/who it is being gifted to.

Sometimes I even include selvages from one or more fabrics used in the quilt (I to am into history and genealogy - figure I'll help out those folks 150 years from now who wonder about such things).

zarina said...

Good question. I too am wondering do I need to label or not. I have not made that many quilts and not every quilts are labeled - just one. And that is to my best friend. Wait - there will a be second to be labeled for a dear friend too. The king size for my parents was not labeled but that was one of the first machine pieced and machine quilted.

I prefer to have my quilts labeled from a someone that is special (big or small way) to me. I do not careless if the purchased quilts are labeled or not.

If I were to label my quilts, it will not be penned. It is just not right. But then I will have a chance to own a quilt that is penned.