Archives by category

Apples, Buttons, and Dachsunds – Oh My!

I got some great responses to last week’s blog post about Vicki’s red patch (click here to read all about it). Three of the quilters who wrote me were happy to send me pictures of their quilt “trademarks”, and I think they’ll make you smile.

Here’s Connie’s story:

“I don’t know if it was forethought on my part, but, as a primary teacher I always marked my students papers with an apple. I’ve carried this through on most of my quilt labels, which are in the shape of an apple, with a stem and a leaf usually using 3 different fabrics used in the quilt. On smaller pieces, I simply ink in an apple at the end of my name. My grandchildren are the recipients of many of my quilts. They always look for the apples and the message Gram wrote just for them.”

and these are 3 of her apple labels:

This is what Lorraine sent me:

“Long before I began quilting I was collecting buttons…LOTS of buttons (over 100,000)! So when I started quilting I decided I had to incorporate buttons somewhere. I decided to put buttons on each label, except on baby quilts, of course.” 

I try to be creative with how and where I use the buttons, but sometimes the best I can do is match the color of the backing!” 

The previous quilts incorporated the labels in their maker’s “trademark”. Liz, like Vicki last week, puts her mark on the front of the quilt. Here’s her story:

“My now 98 year old aunt suggested I always put something on my quilts to mark them as mine. My love for dachshund dogs has caused me to hide one somewhere on each quilt I have done. Pork Chop was my inspiration (at top on the photo). After he passed in 2014, we got Rusty, who looks very similar but thinner.”

And here are some of her quilts:

Did you find the doggie on this last quilt? He’s at Mary’s feet in the nativity  😀 .

What clever ideas – and so very unique. Great job ladies. Thanks so much for sharing your quilts with us!


September 23, 2018, Labels
Goose Oops!

Double oops! Sorry for the error. Please click here for the January 7th post – “Sew We Go to Hawaii”!


Here’s Goose Oops!

Before I admit to a recent mistake, I have to share what happened this past Wednesday. My parents called and asked if they could come over to visit with Sommer and Trey (and Mike and me too, but the great grandkids take priority 🙂 ). Well, Mom brought me not one, but four spool pin doilies she had made since last week’s post! (click here to visit that post). She said the pattern on the site I linked to in the blog worked well. She’s the best!


Now for my true confession post! When I was quilting my Silly Goose quilt, I really got into the free motion groove.

flying geese variation

Then I turned it over to look at the back and, I’m sure you’ve never done this, but… a picture is worth a thousand words.


I’d been meaning to move that scrap pile farther from the machine, but I hadn’t, so that scrap mocked me and crawled under the quilt in a densely quilted area, dead center in the quilt back. There was too much spiraling to want to remove it. Since necessity is the mother of invention – it was time to be inventive.

Are you ready for my solution?





After all, a quilt does need a label  😀 ! And who says it has to be at the bottom?


And one more related bit: This past week I had the great pleasure of teaching for the Heritage Quilters Guild of Lockport, IL. I presented my Tradition With a Twist lecture and an all day workshop on Architectural Repliqué. Each time I teach this class I make a block along with the group (click here for more on those blocks). I’ve made over 80 blocks while teaching this class, and I’m getting a little whacky in my fabric choices. Usually I grab whatever fabric is still laying around from a recent project. This time I chose the stack leftover from Silly Goose. Here’s the block:

I just had to add a line of geese flying behind the house. Thanks ladies for a wonderful time with your guild!

February 19, 2017, Classes Labels
Labeling Vintage Quilts

JoLynn recently wrote me with an antique quilt story:

“I found this old quilt this last month in the middle of the hwy in Texas. It is a grandmothers fan quilt pattern. It needed a lot of repairs so I washed it and I am taking it apart and restoring all of the damaged fan blades. I love how you would not think to add such non matching colors together. I went to the store and bought some of the same colors to replace the ones that were damaged. I have no clue how old this quilt is but it was all hand done. I myself make quilts but I use the sewing machine. :) I am wanting to come up with some type of lable for the quilt but dont have any ideas. If you have any ideas please let me know. Thanks……. Oklahoma Self”

I did a blog post last October with instructions for creating simple labels for vintage quilts. You can click here to read all about it (be sure to read Lucy’s excellent instructions for making labels with the computer). JoLynn’s request made me realize that often we don’t know the quilt’s previous history – so does it really need a label? And if so, what should be on it? My answer would be yes because every quilt has a story we do know: who currently owns it and how they acquired it. JoLynn’s quilt has a wonderful story of adoption and caring and it should be on the label, along with her name, place and date.

Taking the time to label vintage quilts, especially if you have a collection, may be the difficult part. I was guilty of this for years and than a dear friend, Maggi Gordon, wrote a book entitled Vintage Quilts. She was interested in including a number of my quilts. Before I could give them to her for photography they needed to be labeled and now I’m so grateful to have them in the book and the labels done!

This is a wonderful guide for identifying and pricing old quilts and can be obtained through Maggi at:

And now for a plea. I’m currently putting together a new lecture called “Tradition with a Twist”. It will include vintage quilts and modern interpretations. I’ve been collecting the older quilts for a while and find there are still 2 patterns I don’t have. I’m looking for an old (30 years or older) Pineapple Log Cabin and a Burgoyne Surrounded. It you have either of these you would be willing to part with, please let me know and we can talk about it :-). Thanks!

PS I had a wonderful visit with my daughter and grandkids in Washington. I can’t resist sharing a few pictures. Here is Rainee Lynn at 2 weeks old:

and her sister and brother, Hanna and Willy:

Label the Old

After enjoying Eileen’s story about her antique quilts last week and having the opportunity to present my antique quilt lecture in Manitowoc, I decided it was a good time to recommend putting labels on our family heirlooms. I’m always encouraging students to label their quilts – and this goes for the vintage ones you own, even if you didn’t make them yourself.

I have some wonderful antique quilts. Some are from my family and others I have collected. No matter how I got them, I always appreciate knowing their story. I truly wish some of them could talk, so I’d know the who, when & where. But alas, very few older quilts are labeled. It’s a shame because it can increase their value immensely. So label them! If you have their entire history – great! If not, put down what you do know, even if it’s just that you own it and how you acquired it.

The easiest way to create the label is to:

1. Cut a piece of freezer paper the size you desire the label to be and draw parallel lines with a Sharpie™ marker,  1/2″ apart,on the dull (paper) side

2.Iron the shiny side of the freezer paper onto a piece of muslin (this view is of the lines showing through to the muslin side).

3. Write the label information on the muslin with a fine line fabric marker (I prefer the Micron Pigma™ marker, size 01), using the freezer paper lines as guides to keep your writing straight.

4. Remove the freezer paper, turn under the edges and appliqué the label to the back of the quilt.

Creating labels on a computer and printing them onto colorfast printer fabric is another good option.

What information should you include? Who made it. When. Where. For whom. Who owns it. When. Where. Anything else you’d like someone to know when you’re no longer around to tell them.

Remember to label your current quilts too. They may not be around 100 years from now, but if they are, someone may want to know about you :-)!

October 30, 2011, Labels Vintage Quilts
Corner Labels

This past week I came up with a really simple way to label a quilt and I can’t wait to share! It’s a variation of a quilt hanging technique I’ve used for years that works great on small quilts. To simply hang a small quilt: fold 2 squares of fabric in half diagonally and place them in the top corners of the quilt before binding. When the binding is attached, a dowel, cut the width of the quilt, fits inside the corners for easy hanging without a sleeve.

So here’s the exciting label variation:

Cut a 6″ square of a light, solid color fabric and iron the shiny side of a 6″ square of freezer paper to the back. Crease it in half, diagonally, to mark the fold, open it flat and draw a few diagonal lines, on the freezer paper, with a thick black marker (these lines will show through to the front and act as guidelines for your writing)

Turn to the fabric side and write all your information on the bottom half using a fine, permanent fabric marker.

Remove the paper, fold the label wrong sides together and pin into a bottom corner of the quilt before binding. Once you bind the quilt, 2 sides of the triangle will be secured and the folded edge can be left open or handstitched down.

I’ve found a new labeling trick I really like! Hope you like it too!

July 10, 2011, Labels