Category Archives: quilt labels

Going Places

Happy first day of December! I’m just popping in to tell you that Diane’s Car Quilt has a new and improved name:

After seeing my post of November 25 with pictures of Diane’s finished quilt, I heard from Sandy P., a mutual friend of Diane’s and mine. Sandy said she liked the way the Flying Geese look like arrows pointing in different directions and suggested Going Places as a possible name. How clever of Sandy! It’s the perfect name for a car quilt, yes?

 

 

 

Posted in family, quilt labels, tutorial, update | 2 Comments

It’s A Wrap: Diane’s Car Quilt

Finally! My sister Diane’s car quilt is bound and labeled. I wasn’t able to come up with a clever name for the quilt but Diane is quite content to have it identified as her car quilt. Here’s a look at the front so you can see how nicely the ½”-wide binding frames the quilt:

Diane’s Car Quilt, 42″ Square (2023)

Here’s a look at the back:

The blue and yellow prints pulled from my stash work very well with the French provincial border fabric on the front.

Here’s a close-up of my signature round label:

It was made using a compact disc as a pattern. You can find my picture-heavy tutorial on that method right here.

A couple of you asked about the pattern. I didn’t use a pattern; I designed this very simple quilt for a beginning quiltmaking class and it became my class sample. I started with alternating Nine-Patch and Rail Fence blocks. The blocks finish at 6″ square so the strips were cut 2½” wide for both blocks. Then, to give my students some additional options, I replaced some of the blocks with Flying Geese units; two units make a block that finishes at 6″ square.

This is the initial design rendered in the software program EQ7 and colored to match the palette of Diane’s quilt:

If you look carefully at the center of the quilt, you’ll see that the center block is a simple Nine-Patch. Notice that the corners of the block are navy blue. The addition of navy and yellow Flying Geese units around the center block creates the illusion of a navy diamond. I really like the effect and feel that it adds visual interest. With the right combination of fabrics, even a simple design like this can make a quilt sing.

If there is interest, I will write up my measurements and directions in a future post. The priority now, though, is to pop Diane’s Car Quilt into the washing machine and dryer for that wonderful crinkly effect.

 

 

 

Posted in family, quilt labels, Quiltmaking 101, tutorial, update | 4 Comments

It’s a Wrap: Vintage Vignettes

Hooray, my Vintage Vignettes quilt is done. I finished binding it last week on a short but sweet road trip with the Dear Husband to Walla Walla, Washington (and added the label yesterday).

These next few photos were taken in Walla Walla’s tranquil Pioneer Park:

Doesn’t that dappled sunlight give the quilt a lovely glow?

You may remember I acquired the unfinished quilt top by an unknown maker last August at my quilt guild’s annual silent auction . . .

. . . only to discover later that my dear friend Vivienne Moore had pieced these blocks about 20 years ago. She donated the top to the Metropolitan Patchwork Society auction through a friend who also belongs to the guild.

Lucky for me, Viv had a piece of that lavender sashing fabric in her stash that enabled me to complete the first border as it would have been impossible to match. I added a wide floral border using a ’30s reproduction fabric that played very nicely with the fabrics in Viv’s blocks. Here’s a photo of the finished quilt taken in the same spot:

Another friend who had inherited a large stash of ’30s repro fabric gave me a piece of solid medium blue to use for the binding after I had visited several local quilt shops without finding a suitable shade.

The label, outlined in the same blue, identifies Vivienne as the maker of the blocks:

It wouldn’t be a photoshoot without Coco the Photobomber making an appearance, right?

I’ll be back with a few more photos after Vintage Vignettes takes a trip through the washer and dryer. You know how I love the puckery softness that laundering gives a quilt!

 

 

 

Posted in '30s reproduction fabrics, cats, family, Metropolitan Patchwork Society, quilt labels, update, vintage quilts | 7 Comments

It’s A Wrap: September Song

September Song is complete. It’s in the washing machine as I write this. I couldn’t wait to show it to you, even if it’s not in its absolute finished condition. (You know how I love the puckery look of a freshly laundered quilt.)

Once the label was made . . .

. . . I fused it to the back of the quilt and then stitched around the outer edge by hand:

Don’t you think September Song looks good on my couch? I may have to add it to my rotation. As I was taking photos, You-Know-Who came along to fulfill her usual role of photobomber:

Don’t be fooled, though. Coco couldn’t care less about my quilt. She’s giving me that look because she thinks it’s dinnertime.

 

 

 

Posted in cats, leaf block, quilt labels, update | 10 Comments

A Perfect Match

In my post the other day about this quilt top (by an unknown maker) that I bought recently at my guild’s annual auction, I lamented that I would never be able to match the solid lavender sashing fabric that was missing from the sides of the quilt top. I was wrong but you’ll never guess the reason why.

The same day that I posted the photo of the quilt top and explained how I acquired it, I heard from the quiltmaker herself — and it turned out to be Vivienne Moore, who also happens to be a good friend of mine! Vivienne follows my blog and immediately recognized the quilt top. It turns out that she is also good friends with two of my Metropolitan Patchwork Society guildmates who organized the auction. Viv was cleaning out her sewing room earlier this year so she donated a few bags of fabric and tops for the auction. She lives 50 miles away so I would never have predicted she would be the maker.

But wait, there’s more. Vivienne was pretty sure she had a piece of that lavender sashing fabric in her stash. And she did! Yesterday’s mail brought a remnant of the fabric large enough to cut sashing strips for the sides. A perfect match, of course. I’ll have to work around a few fade lines to piece the sashing strips but that’s easily done.

Vivienne told me she made the quilt top over 20 years ago. She remembers that the lavender fabric was from a line of solids produced about 30 years ago by one of the manufacturers of 1930s reproduction fabrics.  The solids were pink, green, yellow, blue and lavender, and were supposed to be authentic to the time period.

Viv isn’t sure why she didn’t finish the quilt but thinks it may be that her interest in pastels and ’30s reproduction fabrics had waned by the time she neared the end of piecing it. In addition, she was doing all of her quilting by hand at that point and probably didn’t want to invest the time to finish the quilt in that manner.

“I still can’t quite believe that this quilt ended up in your hands,” she told me, “but I’m so happy it did!”

There’s yet another coincidence. The photo I posted the other day was taken in my living room and in the background you can see a small quilt draped over the chair:

That too was made by Vivienne Moore! It’s a miniature Feathered Star measuring 33″ square. Vivienne gave it to me as a gift in 2011. At the time we were both in the same small quilt group, the Quisters (short for Quilt Sisters). It was our group’s custom to give each other birthday gifts, usually something quilty or crafty that we had made. I had no idea I was taking a photo last week of two quilts made by the same person.

Here’s a close-up of the Feathered Star quilt, showcasing more of Vivienne’s exquisite work:

Each star block is only 6½” square. And those little green feathers? A mere one-half inch each.

As far as the auction quilt goes, the search is on to find a suitable ‘30s reproduction print for an outer border so I can finish the top and get it quilted. With a wide border added to the quilt, it will easily fit a double or queen-size bed.

It tickles me to know that when this quilt is complete, my friend’s name will be on the label along with mine.

 

 

 

Posted in Metropolitan Patchwork Society, quilt labels, Quisters (Quilt Sisters), update, vintage quilts | 13 Comments

Winterwood: Almost a Wrap

With the holidays fast approaching, I decided it was time to finish the winter version of seasonal wall hangings based on my pattern Season to Taste. This is Winterwood:

I finished the top in June and wrote about the making of it here. If you’re curious about where the name Winterwood came from, you’ll find the explanation in that June post.

Winterwood is quilted very simply with horizontal lines. Unfortunately, I forgot to extend the stitching lines across the borders, and now that the binding is on I’m not entirely happy with the result. I’m going to give it a good press and then decide if I need to add some after-the-fact quilting in the borders.

Winterwood was made to be a wall hanging but I decided to piece the back in such a way that it could double as a holiday table runner:

That’s a 7″ inset circle in the middle. I’m going to make a label using a compact disc as a pattern and put the label on the circle, figuring that I can put a candle or plate on top of the label to hide it. Because the tree fabric is directional, I deliberately arranged it so that the trees go in both directions.

Once this winter version is finished, I’ll show you how it looks with the spring, summer, and fall versions. Do I have a favorite? Why yes, I do. Perhaps you will, too!

 

 

 

Posted in home dec, kaleidoscope quilts, quilt labels, single-fold binding, table runner, update, wall hanging | 1 Comment

It’s a Wrap: The Green Goddess Quilt

A windy fall day in Portland, Oregon did not offer a great photo op for my latest finish, The Green Goddess Quilt. Nevertheless, I posed in front of my Subaru Forester (aka the Green Goddess) today so the Dear Husband could snap this photo to show you how well the quilt goes with the car.

Here’s a close-up of the binding:

Don’t you love the look of a stripe on the bias on a quilt binding? I sure do!

Here’s a photo of the finished front . . .

. . . and the finished back:


The label:

I made an inset circle (using a compact disc as my pattern) and then enclosed it in another circle using the same fabric I used for accent strips on the back and for the binding. The label was appliquéd in place by hand.

Sometimes, if the quilting motif is compatible, I will stitch in the ditch around the inner circle to secure the label even more to the quilt. The motif I chose for this quilt (an edge-to-edge design called Sashay) has a lot of loops and swirls so I went for the added stitch-in-the-ditch. If you look carefully you can see the stitching:

Now take a look at the front of the quilt:

Do you see the circle? Look at the dark orange print triangle in the lower left corner. There it is!

But if you looked at the entire quilt again from the front, you probably wouldn’t notice it unless I pointed it out:


That’s what I mean about the stitching motif being compatible; the stitching around the label is virtually unnoticeable from the front.

Before The Green Goddess Quilt takes up residence in its namesake, I need to throw it in the washer and dryer so it gets that lovely old-fashioned puckery look that only comes with laundering.

The Green Goddess Quilt finishes at 48″ square. It was made using Melissa Corry’s free pattern State Fair and a Layer Cake (10″ squares) of the charming “Jungle Paradise” line designed by Stacy Iest Hsu for Moda Fabrics.

 

 

 

Posted in family, quilt labels, State Fair quilt pattern, update | 8 Comments

First Finish of 2021

First things first: Happy New Year, friends! May 2021 exceed your expectations in every way.

Now on to the next good thing: ‘Tis the Season, my quilt made with the Missouri Star Quilt Company’s Quatrefoil pattern, is a wrap! Take a look:

The quilt was officially completed on New Year’s Day but it was dark by the time I’d stitched the label on so I had to wait till today to take photos. Indoor shots only, I’m afraid; it’s January in Portland (need I say more?).

There was never a doubt in my mind what fabric I would use to bind this quilt: it absolutely had to be the green diagonal stripe in Corey Yoder’s “Holliberry” line. I tried a new-to-me way of applying the binding: it’s single-fold rather than the traditional double-fold. I’ve been wanting to try this method since hearing my friend Pam Raby of Loved to Pieces sing its praises when she was on the Quilt Show with Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson last July.

Oh my. Mitering the corners was a breeze! There’s much less bulk, and the corners lie nice and flat. Feel free to inspect mine:

For the label I made an inset circle and then enclosed it in another circle:

Here’s a look at the back of the quilt:


Since I love the crinkly look and feel of a laundered quilt, ‘Tis the Season went into the washer and dryer after these pictures were taken. Now here it is, still warm from the dryer, on the back of the couch, where it will take up residence for the time being:

‘Tis still the season as far as I’m concerned!

 

 

 

Posted in mitered corners, Quatrefoil, quilt labels, single-fold binding, stitch-and-flip corners, update | 12 Comments

Tutorial: Making a Perfectly Round Quilt Label

Most of my quilts sport round quilt labels on their backs. My go-to “pattern” to make a round label is a compact disc, which measures 4⅝” in diameter. It seems to be the perfect size to contain all the information I want to put on a label. I described my method in a couple of posts earlier this year but not with great specificity. That’s why I decided to write a detailed post about it.

This tutorial is a companion to my most recent tutorial on printing quilt labels on fabric. Whether you write your labels by hand or create them by computer, you can follow the directions below to make a perfectly round label.

(By the way, I first wrote about my method of using compact discs to make quilt labels in 2012. Back then I was writing my labels by hand. I’ve streamlined the label-making process since then and have also moved to creating labels on my computer rather than printing them by hand. If you are writing your labels by hand, you can follow steps 1-5 of my 2012 tutorial and pick up the finishing process below.)

My labels are made with quilter’s cotton. I use fusible interfacing on the back because I like to “baste” the label in place by lightly fusing it to the back of the quilt before appliquéing it in place by hand. You can also use non-fusible interfacing and simply pin the label in place to appliqué it.

Supplies
⦁ quilt label printed on fabric (or quilt label hand-printed on scrap of fabric at least 6½”square)
⦁ scrap of light to medium-weight fusible interfacing at least 6½” square (I use Pellon 911FF)
⦁ compact disc
⦁ #2 pencil with a very sharp point
⦁ temporary marking pen or pencil (I recommend the Frixion erasable gel pen)
⦁ pinking shears

Step 1. Print a test copy of your computer-generated label on a sheet of paper. In my example I have created two labels on one page using two different typestyles so I can decide which one I like better after seeing it printed on fabric:

You might prefer to create just one label and center it on the page.

Step 2. Find the midpoint of the label by measuring the longest line and dividing by two, then by measuring from the bottom of the top line to the bottom of the last line. In my label below, the midpoint is the top of the stem on the letter “d” in the word “Portland.” Using a sharp #2 pencil, mark the center with a small dot.

Center the hole in the middle of the compact disc over the dot you marked. Draw a complete circle around the disc:

This gives you a preview of what your finished label will look like. If your circle is slightly off, erase the lines and redraw.

Step 3. Print your label onto fabric:


Step 4. Determine which label you plan to use and trim excess fabric. I decided to use the top label so I measured 6½” from the top of the fabric before making the horizontal cut:

My label is 8½” wide — more than it needs to be — because it’s the width of a piece of paper. A label that’s been hand-printed need not be wider than 6½”.

Step 5. Fusible interfacing usually has a bumpy texture on the fusible side whereas the non-fusible side is flat and smooth. On the flat, non-fusible side of interfacing fabric trace around the compact disc:

This is your stitching line so make sure it’s dark enough to see clearly. You can use a pencil like I did or a Frixion pen.

Step 6. Lay the interfacing over the label fusible side down and center it. You should be able to see the lettering clearly through the interfacing:

The circle you drew on the smooth non-fusible side is on top. When the label is turned right side out, the bumpy fusible side will be on the outside.

Step 7. Pin the layers in place:

I like to put pins in the 3, 6, 9, and 12 o’clock positions first, adding four more pins evenly spaced. The thinner the pin the better because you want the layers to be as flat as possible.

Step 8. Using a small stitch (2.2 on a computerized machine or about 12 stitches to the inch), sew all the way around the circle, removing each pin as you come to it. Go five or six stitches beyond where you started so you don’t have to knot the thread:

First Light Designs tip: Make sure you are using an open-toe foot on your sewing machine that allows you to see the needle going in and out of the fabric. You need to stitch precisely on the drawn line. If you stray even a stitch or two off the line your label won’t be perfectly round. Any sharp points in stitching will be visible when the label is turned right side out.

Step 9. Trim around the label with pinking shears. Notice that the inside point of the pinked edge is just a few threads from the stitching line:

First Light Designs tip: If you don’t have pinking shears, trim around the label a generous 1/8” from the stitching line. You can probably get away with a scant 3/16” but a quarter of an inch is too much. Clip from the outside edge almost to the stitching line all around the label; the clips should be no more than a quarter of an inch apart.

Step 10. Pull the interfacing away from the label fabric and make a small snip in the middle. Cut across the middle of the interfacing to within a half-inch or so of the edges:


Step 11. Turn the label right side out. From the back side of the label run a softly pointed tool around the stitched line until the label attains its round shape:

In the photo above you see a white point turner (also known as a bone folder) and a multipurpose quilter’s tool called That Purple Thang. Both tools work well for turning a round quilt label. So does a long fingernail.

Your label is now ready to be attached to the back of your quilt.

First Light Designs tip: After determining where you want the label to go — but before lightly fusing it in place — use a ruler aligned with two outside edges to make sure the lines on the label are parallel with a bottom edge.

Step 12. Fuse the label to the quilt lightly — enough to hold the label in place but not enough to completely melt the fusible. Use a press cloth and make sure to use the iron temperature specified by the directions that came with the fusible interfacing. You don’t want to scorch the label!

Allow the label to cool and appliqué it in place by hand:

And there you have it: a perfectly round label securely attached to the quilt.

Be sure to let me know if you have any questions!

 

 

 

Posted in appliqué, quilt labels, tutorial, update | 6 Comments

Printing Quilt Labels on Fabric: A Tutorial

Back in May — doesn’t that seem like a hundred years ago? — I wrote about a method I discovered quite by accident of printing computer-generated labels on fabric. It requires only two items: fabric and fusible interfacing — no freezer paper involved. I described my method and promised to write a proper tutorial on it. Here is that tutorial. Better late than never, right?

I’ve written this tutorial in two parts. Part 1 is all about getting the fabric ready. Part 2 is about creating the label on your computer.

Part 1, Preparing the Fabric for Your Label

Step 1. Choose a fabric for your label that allows the type to show clearly. The fabric can be a solid or tone-on-tone print in a light to medium-light value. You might also be able to use a printed fabric — perhaps one you used in your quilt – if it’s not too busy or too dark in value to make the printed label hard to read. I’m illustrating this tutorial by making a label for my most recent UFO finish, Lilacs in September, using a medium light spring green fabric with a crosshatch design.

Step 2. Cut the label fabric about ½” larger all around than a printed page. In the United States the standard paper size is 8½” x 11” so you would cut your fabric about 9½” x 12”. It doesn’t have to be exact. I just lay a piece of paper on top of my label fabric and cut around it with scissors:

Step 3. Choose a featherweight or lightweight fusible interfacing. I use Pellon 911FF (the FF stands for featherweight fusible) for most of my labels but other brands will work equally well.

Step 4. Cut the fusible interfacing slightly smaller than you cut the label fabric. I do this the same way, by laying a piece of paper on top of the interfacing and cutting around it with scissors:

Cutting the interfacing slightly smaller assures that you won’t accidentally fuse it to your ironing board cover when you iron it to the label fabric. No need to ask me how I know that . . .

Step 5. Place the fusible side of the interfacing on the wrong side of the label fabric, making sure none of the fusible extends beyond the edges of the label fabric . . .

. . . and fuse in place following the manufacturer’s directions.

Step 6. Place the fabric on your cutting mat interfacing side up. Trim to 8½” x 11”:

Make sure your cutting is precise because the piece of interfaced fabric needs to fit perfectly in the paper tray of your inket printer.

Step 7. Place the fabric in your printer’s paper tray. (Make sure you know whether the fabric side needs to go in the tray right side down or right side up, as it varies from printer to printer. It goes right side down in my HP Office Jet Pro 8620.) Now print the label:

Voilà! It should slide out of the printer just as if it were a piece of paper. (You’ll notice I put two labels on my page; I’ll explain why in Part 2.)

One more thing to do:

Step 8. Heat-set the ink on the label using a press cloth and plenty of steam:

This helps to keep the ink on the label from fading with repeated washings. Irons vary widely so let me caution you not to have the iron too hot as it may scorch the label, even with a press cloth on it. I like to set my iron on medium high and, with the press cloth on top, steam the writing on the the label for 10 seconds. I let it cool and steam it for 10 more seconds.

Now you’re ready to finish your label and attach it to your quilt. You’ll see in Part 2 below that I like to make my labels round but yours can be any shape you want. Squares and rectangles are popular and easy because all you need to do is turn and press the raw edges under ½” or so and stitch the label to the quilt.


Part 2. Creating the Label on Your Computer

Step 1. Open up a new document on your computer and type the information you want to include about your quilt. What you put on your label is entirely up to you. At a minimum I always include:

the name I have given my quilt
my name
my city and state
the name of my quilter (if I didn’t quilt it myself)
the year of completion

Notice that each line is centered.

If my quilt is an original design I might say “designed and made by Dawn White.” If the quilt was made from one of my own patterns I might include the name of the pattern or say “designed and made by Dawn White of First Light Designs.”

If my quilt was made using someone else’s design, I always credit the designer:

If I tweaked someone’s design, added my own design elements, or significantly changed construction techniques, I might add a line such as “based on (pattern) by (name of designer)” or “inspired by (name of designer)”:

Step 2. Determine the point size and typeface of your label. The point size refers to the size of the type, e.g. 12 point, 14 point, etc. The typeface refers to the design, or style, of the lettering. Most word processing programs offer dozens of typefaces to choose from. On my computer these typefaces are called “theme fonts.” (Did you know that font is the French word for face? Now doesn’t the word typeface make more sense?)

The point sizes you choose depend on the size and shape of your finished label and how much information you want to include. My label for Lilacs in September has five lines of copy. I put the name of the quilt in 24 point boldface and italic. The lines underneath are in 14 point. I auditioned a sans serif type face called Arial and a serif typeface called Cambria. Both labels fit on one page so I could make my final decision on which one to use after this page was printed on fabric. (Putting two labels on one page is just an option, of course. You could create one label and center it on the page, which would give you a lot of flexibility in deciding later on the shape of your label.)

Step 3. Save your document.

Step 4. Print your label on paper. This gives you a good sense of what the label will look like printed on fabric. Here is my label for Lilacs in September, printed with black ink:

If you have a color printer you can experiment with different colors of ink. Print the labels on paper first to test the depth of color. You may find the ink doesn’t look quite as dark or as vivid on fabric as it did on paper.

I used red ink on my label for All You Need is Love:

Take another look at the label for Scattered Stars, my cheddar and indigo quilt. I used indigo ink which turned out to be not as dark as I was expecting but I still chose it over black:


Most of my round labels are made using a compact disc as a pattern. A CD measures 4⅝” in diameter so a label with a few lines of text fits inside that circle nicely. My label for Give Me the Simple Life has eight lines but still fits inside the compact disc pattern size:

The addition of the red ring made the label finish at about 6″ in diameter.

Below is a computer-generated label I made in May to replace a label on Ramblin’ Rose, made several years ago. I had omitted two significant pieces of information — the inspiration for my quilt and the name of the longarm quilter — and wanted to correct those oversights. In the photo below the original label is still on the quilt, about to be removed and replaced with the one on the right:

I used to write all of my labels by hand, a time-consuming endeavor. Creating them on the computer and printing them directly onto fabric has turned out to be quick and easy — and rather fun to do. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to hand-printed labels.

I hope you find my tutorial helpful. Be sure to let me know if you have any questions. As always, thank you for visiting First Light Designs!

 

Note: I followed up this tutorial with a new one, posted Nov. 6, about how I make my round labels using a compact disc. You can find it here.

 

 

 

Posted in appliqué, cheddar and indigo, Churning Stars quilt block, Hazel's Diary Quilt, quilt labels, tutorial, update | 9 Comments