You've got one.
I've got one... sort of. (Having been born overseas ~ yes, there would probably be a Supreme Court challenge should I ever be elected President of the United States ~ I have something from the State Department rather than a "Birth Certificate".)
Even Cabbage Patch dolls get birth certificates!
Why don't your quilts have one?
Karen Housner, the brilliant certified quilt appraiser who appraises all my quilts, refers to quilt labels as "birth certificates". Pretty cool, huh? And she believes that every quilt should have one, that every quilt needs one! Aside from establishing the provenance of your quilt, the quilt is part of you and that needs to be recorded on the quilt.
Not all my quilts have labels, just those that I have made in the past eight years or so. And here is where I have to make a confession. I don't just write the name of the quilt on a piece of muslin or background fabric and hand-stitch it to the back of the quilt when it's finished. I'm too lazy for that. Truly!
I can machine-piece something much more easily and just incorporate it into the backing of the quilt! That's faster, easier and I do not have to thread a needle, turn under the edges, pin the label in place, find a thimble or needle-pad for my finger, re-thread the needle because I dropped the first one and the thread came out, turn on the light because I can't see the end of the needle, pick up the spool of thread that just fell onto the floor, sit back down and re-arrange the quilt on my lap, find the corner where the label is pinned, stick myself with the pins... okay, so it isn't quite that dramatic... but close.
If I can use my sewing machine, I will. Really, this is much easier.
The irony is, after doing all of this, Karen told me that this is better anyway!
By sewing the label into the backing fabric before the quilt is quilted, the label becomes even more a part of the quilt. And, should "someone" decide that MY quilt should be THEIR quilt, they will have to do some pretty serious damage to the quilt to remove my label. Even if they sew something over it, the original label is still there. And, yes, Karen photographs and records the description of the label as part of the appraisal.
I used to print out my labels on my printer but I started having some issues with the ink fading after the quilt was washed. (And all my quilts are washed right after they have been photographed. That's when they feel like quilts.)
Now I use a Pigma pen ~ or a Sharpie Extra Fine Point ~ to write the parts of my label.
And, guess what, apparently that's better because it is more personal, a better record of "moi".
Laziness prevails after all!
To piece my label panels, there isn't any set "formula" other than it has to be about 40-42" wide, the width of my fabric. I start with the squares or rectangles that will include the quilt information and the quotation ~ more on both of those coming. I then use leftover blocks, strips, pieces, whatevers to start cobbling together something long enough. The more pieces I have, the wider the label. I had a lot of four-patches and strips leftover from piecing this quilt so this label got to be a little bit wider.
The quilt information ~ that includes the name I've chosen for the quilt, made by me for Miss Rosie's, the name of the quilter, our location and the year the quilt was made. Sometimes, the month is also included. Depending on the quilt, I might also include other information like who the quilt is for, an explanation of the quilt name, whatever I think is important.
About the quotation ~ I think this is something I get from my Dad. He was always saving quotations that he liked, he even had me write out a few that he framed and kept in his office. For almost as long as I can remember, I've saved scraps of paper ~ even a torn-off tea box lid ~ with some quotation scribbled on it. I have no idea why I started including some of those quotations on the backs of my quilts, other than it was probably to help fill up the space in the label panel I was making.
Whatever the reason, all of my quilts have a favorite quotation on the back of it. In some cases, the name of the quilt came from the quotation... For example, the quilt Charlie Brown got its name from a Peanuts cartoon by Charles Schultz. "Sometimes I lie awake at night and ask myself where have I gone wrong... then a voice says to me, 'this is going to take more than one night.'"
(I had to use the quote for some purpose! I saw it machine-embroidered on a little linen pillow in a little boutique and I was not going to spend $165.00 for a quotation! So I ran outside, wrote down as much of it as I could remember, went back inside to check my accuracy, went back outside made a few corrections, then went back inside a third time to confirm what I'd recorded.)
Even the Schnibbles get a "birth certificate"...
These are simply 6" x 6" squares of a background fabric that I turn under and machine-stitch to the backing fabric before the quilts are quilted.
The label panels on the big quilts are pieced, pressed and then sewn into the backing fabric. To do that, I use my really, really long length of fabric ~ yes, the whole 5+ yard piece of fabric. I sew one end of the fabric to the top of the label and the other end to the bottom, making a really big loop of sorts.
Then I measure 20-30" down from the bottom edge of the label and cut/tear across the width of the fabric. I then measure from that new edge up the required length for my backing, e.g., 90". This 90" length includes my label panel somewhere below the half-way point ~ although that really doesn't matter too much. I then cut/tear across the width of the fabric ~ AFTER checking to make sure I will still have 90" of remaining fabric. The remaining piece is then measured to the required length, and that piece is split down the middle on the fold. The two 21" x 90" lengths are sewn to the sides of the first piece, putting the label panel in the center of the quilt top.
And, no, I don't worry if the label eventually winds up in the middle of the quilt. So long as it is on the back of the quilt, that's all that matters to me. Having it at least 20" from the bottom edge of the backing makes it easy on the machine-quilter.
And if you're wondering why I wrote about this today, I have been getting the backings for the new Schnibbles ready to go to the quilter this past week. I'm sad to say, that's the ONLY sewing I've done this week!
The good news for me is that after I pick up the new Schnibbles pattern covers from the printer later this week, I should be able to get back to the fun stuff and do a little bit of sewing! Well, that and work...