Tuesday, October 07, 2008

About labeling

Yesterday was guild and our speaker was Carol Blevins, someone I met years ago at the Lancaster quilt show, and someone whose work I really enjoy seeing and listening to her theories. Her thoughts on quilting and mine are quite similar really, and yet sometimes so far apart it’s comical. A few years back I had her come to one of the retreats just so I could take a class from her on Quilt as You Go. I loved the techniques she taught us, and I will admit I’ve used some of them already. But I find that you have to plan ahead to use some of them, and I’m always in too big a hurry to plan ahead. (Plus a lot of them require handwork, and my fingers don’t like a lot of handwork.)

Yesterday’s talk was on finishing, or endings, and boy did she give me a lot of great ideas I want to try. The simple task of turning a quilt and backing inside out was explained in a way I had never imagined, and I can assure you I will be doing that a lot with smaller quilts for now on.

But one thing she said really was against my grain, labeling. She said the final step to any quilt should be the label, getting the documentation on the quilt. I don’t label my quilts. Yes, I know you should document quilts, and get your name on them. But I don’t make quilts to be documented for history, I make quilts to be used. I’ve found that if there is a label on a quilt I give away the person getting it thinks it is too special to be used. They feel because I put a label on it, it has to be preserved somehow, and it ends up in a closet somewhere and is never used. So technically it isn’t my fault I don’t label, it’s the fault of all those friends who think my quilts are too special to be used. And for that reason you will hardly ever find a label on one of my quilts.

Having said that, don’t worry about me signing my quilts… that I always do. Somewhere on the back my signature or my initials are on that quilt. If the backing is light, I may just sign a tiny little monogram and date on it somewhere, most likely a corner. Occasionally I sign on a quilting line, or on a line in the backing fabric pattern. And I always, ALWAYS, sign my quilts under the binding. That way when anyone asks me if I signed my quilt, I can honestly reply yes.

But please, if I ever give you one of my quilts, please use it. That’s why I make them! And if I ever make a quilt that I want to be saved for quilt history, I will put a label on it. But I don’t think that will ever happen!

And since I talked about quilting today, how about a quilt photo for Today’s Photo… This is one of my favorite fall wall hangings, my colorful three dimensional leaves. I've taught this class many times, and have made several samples of the pattern, yet this one which was my very first is still my favorite. You can tell I pulled fabrics that matched the border for the leaves. Anyone who knows me well will understand why I love it so much… it has purple leaves of course!

(if you click on the photo you can see a larger version of it.)

1 comment:

  1. We'll agree to disagree. I too want my quilts used but I also think obvious labeling is important. So, every quilt I make now has a label with at least name, date and place. Often times I put more info on it. Each to her own! I like your leaf quilt.... hum it makes me wonder.... mystery quit stuff?


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