Q.S.O.S. Spotlight

What’s the most important part of a quilt? Perfect piecing? Even stitches? The ideal binding? Here at the Quilt Alliance, we think there’s one part of a quilt that’s always worth adding: a label. Today, we’re kicking off a mini-series here on the Q.S.O.S. Spotlight. We’ll be sharing excerpts about labels collected from Q.S.O.S. labels–why we label, why we don’t, how we do it, and what we love about it. Today, 3 quilt makers share the reasons they label their quilts. We’ll feature another installment soon with more labeling stories and ideas!

Looking for an easy way to label your quilts? Check out our Quilt Alliance Labeling kit. It has everything you need–labels, a great fabric pen, instructions and ideas, and a sample of StoryPatches iron-on labels provided by stkr.it–to get started labeling your quilts and saving its story.

Alyce Foster: “I have a little photo album that I’m taking pictures of the quilts that I have made. I’m also now signing my quilts. One time I was just doing them and not putting a label on them. Now I’m putting labels on them and the one on “The Real Eve,” we had to put a label on it. And also it’s an art quilt. I sign my name on the front of it now. Because when people go to a museum in 4010, I don’t want them to say, ‘Unknown Quilter.’ […] It’s good because when we went to the Renwick [Museum.] and saw the beautiful quilts there and so many of them had ‘Unknown Quilter.’ And I said to myself, ‘You want to be know when we’re looking down from heaven, that someone is admiring our work and know our name.”

Janet Miller: People will, you know–acquaintances–we’ll meet someone, “Oh, you’re a quilter,” “Oh I got grandma’s quilt or so-and-so,” and “Is there a label on it? What’s the history of it?” “Well no.” So I’ll talk about you’ve got to, if you know the history and your kids aren’t going to, you’ve got to put a label on it so that there’s knowledge.

Jean Wells KeenanI have two sisters and we all have some of the quilts [from the family.] and I know that I have already decided who is getting which quilt in my family. I have two children. They are putting dibs on things too, but making sure that the quilts do stay in the family and putting labels on the back is important. You want to be able to document when they made and who made them. I try to really push that sort of idea when I teach classes, too and you know, I just love quilting so much and what it has been able to do and you know through teaching you get to–you have a voice that is differently sometimes than just a local person and so I really try to push those, you know, concepts and ideas.


You can read more quilt stories on the Quilters’ S.O.S.- Save Our Stories page on the Quilt Alliance website.


Posted by Emma Parker
Project Manager, Quilters’ S.O.S.- Save Our Stories



This entry was posted in Uncategorized by quiltalliance. Bookmark the permalink.

About quiltalliance

The Quilt Alliance is a nonprofit 501c3 organization established in 1993 whose mission is to document, preserve, and share our International quilt heritage by collecting the rich stories that historic and contemporary quilts, and their makers, tell about our nation's diverse peoples and their communities. In support of this mission, the Alliance brings together quilt makers and designers, the quilt industry, quilt scholars and teachers, and quilt collectors to further the following goals: To promote the understanding of the quilt as an important grassroots art form. To make information about quilts available to a broad public. To educate the public about the importance of documenting quilts and quiltmakers so that their stories will not be lost.

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