Category Archives: quilt labels


Take a look at my latest quilt, finished late this afternoon:

When you look at the octagonal blocks, do you see bicycle wheels and spokes? I do. That’s why I named this quilt Spokesong, after the play by Irish playright Stewart Parker. Set in a bicycle shop in Belfast, the play is about the troubles in Northern Ireland and the progress of civilization using the history of the bicycle as a framing device. I saw a delightful production of this “play with music” in the early 1980s and it came to mind when I was trying to think of a name.

My quilt is based on the pattern Idyllic by Corey Yoder of Coriander Quilts. (It’s the pattern I taught at last month’s Pine Needle quilt retreats on Hood Canal in Washington.) I changed the pattern a bit by simplifying three blocks.

The floral prints are from a line of fabric called “Paradise” designed by Alisse Courter for Camelot Fabrics. I ran off in high spirits one day three years ago and bought a lot of fabric from this line. It has made its way into several projects since then, and I used up more of it on the back of this one:

Karlee Sandell of SewInspired2Day did a beautiful job quilting Spokesong for me on her longarm. I love how the wavy lines of the edge-to-edge design called Serpentine almost make the quilt shimmer:

Did you notice the shape of the label?

Here’s a closer look:

Coco made herself right at home during the photo session:

If she wasn’t on top of the quilt, she was under it:

Finished size is 53½” x 67″.




Posted in cats, Idyllic, Pine Needle quilt retreat, quilt labels, update | 6 Comments

Mini Mod Tiles: A Double Finish

Recognize the pattern? It’s Mini Mod Tiles from Sew Kind of Wonderful. The aqua and yellow quilt was made with the QCR Mini — the smaller of the two Quick Curve Rulers designed by Sew Kind of Wonderful — and finishes at 34½” square. SKW offers this pattern as a free download on its website.

The bigger quilt? I “supersized” SKW’s design to make a larger block using the original Quick Curve Ruler, resulting in a lap quilt measuring 63″ square. Why two sizes? I had chosen Mini Mod Tiles as the pattern to teach at the Pine Needle’s summer 2017 quilt retreat and wanted to offer my students two options.

Both quilts have been back from the longarm quilter for several weeks but it took me a while to get them bound and then labeled. Now I get to show the finished quilts together.

Let’s start with the larger of the two, named Terrazzo Tiles:

Here it is from the back:

I used every bit of the leftover focus fabric on the back, even piecing scraps to make the ring around the label:

Since the bigger quilt is called Terrazzo Tiles, it made perfect sense to name the mini quilt Piccolo Terrazzo Tiles:

My first inclination was to bind this one with the yellow tone-on-tone fabric you see above, but I had used a different yellow on the back and they just didn’t look good together. The solution was to bind the quilt with the aqua and yellow focus fabric so it provided a frame for the quilt as seen from the back:

The hand-guided quilting (by Karlee Sandell of SewInspired2Day) is so lovely I hesitated to add a label, loving the look of a whole-cloth quilt. But it needed a label — to identify the designer, the maker, and the quilter. Sometimes all three are the same person but more often than not the result is a combination of efforts, and it’s important in my book to give credit where credit is due:

Next week the Pine Needle is planning a reunion for the retreat participants. It will be fun to see the students’ finished projects — both mini and supersized!

One more thing: the talented women of Sew Kind of Wonderful have kindly given me permission to show you how I supersized the mini version. Coming very soon: a new tutorial on my Tutorials page.




Posted in QCR Mini, Quick Curve Ruler, quilt labels, update | 2 Comments

It’s a Wrap: Dutch Treat

I finished binding and labeling Dutch Treat yesterday. The rain held off just long enough for a few shots taken in the back yard:

Red and green look so good together, don’t they?

Here you can see the entire quilt:

The windmill blocks measure 12″ square and the pinwheels in the center of each block measure 4″ square. The block is a variation of the classic Winding Ways quilt block usually made with curved seams. These seams are straight but the overall design of the quilt gives the illusion of overlapping circles.

On the back of the quilt I used leftover blocks:

I know what you’re thinking: “Wow, that’s a lot of leftover blocks.” You’re right — and I didn’t even use all of them. I confess: those extras resulted from a miscalculation on my part. At least I was able to put most of them to good use.

Here’s a close-up of the label:

I made the label round using a compact disc for a pattern (described in my tutorial) and then set the label inside a larger circle of red fabric so it would stand out against the backing fabric.

I’m so pleased with the quilting of longarmer Debbie Scroggy. You can see close-ups of Debbie’s quilting in this earlier post.

Dutch Treat (named for the windmill-shaped block)
48″ x 60″
Adapted from the pattern A Mid-Winter’s Night by Cottage Rose
Fabrics: a mix of reds and two light background prints, all from my stash
Quilted by Debbie Scroggy of All Quilted LLC

To read older posts about the making of Dutch Treat, click on the category “windmill block” at the bottom of this post.

Thanks for stopping by. It’s always fun to share a finish!




Posted in quilt labels, update, Winding Ways quilt block, windmill block | 12 Comments

A Quilt Finish: Dragonfly Kisses

. . . and here it is, bound and labeled:

2016-8, Dragonfly Kisses

Dragonfly Kisses measures 50″ x 59″, a good size for a throw. The design is a variation of Chic Diamonds by Sew Kind of Wonderful. I believe this is the seventh or eighth quilt I have made using the Quick Curve Ruler, also made by SKW.

Here’s a close-up of the label, made with my favorite method using a compact disc for a pattern:

2016-8, Dragonfly Kisses label

See that dragonfly just to the left of the label? There’s one in the lower right corner, too. That fabric is one of six I used from the “Dance of the Dragonfly” fabric line, due in quilt shops this month. The fabric line was designed by Maria Kalinowski for Kanvas Studio in association with Benartex. (Something tells me I need more of this fabric, which comes in an equally beautiful plum/olive green colorway.)

Linking up with Kelly of My Quilt Infatuation on Needle and Thread Thursday.




Posted in Quick Curve Ruler, quilt labels, update | 12 Comments

Friday Finish: WanderLust

Well, that was fast.

Just yesterday I showed you pictures of WanderLust, the king-size bed runner I picked up on Wednesday from longarm quilter Coleen Barnhardt of the Quilted Thistle. The bed runner needed to be bound and labeled — and that’s been done.

As good as my quilt looked after Coleen worked her free motion quilting magic on it, it looks even better now that it’s bound:

WanderLust complete

WanderLust back and front

Are you surprised I got it bound so quickly? It would have taken me hours to stitch down the binding by hand. Confession: I took the easy way out and fused the binding in place in a matter of minutes with Steam-a-Seam-2, a double-stick fusible web.

I use Steam-a-Seam-2 occasionally on wall hangings and other small pieces that won’t get washed. It should be just fine for this bed runner that will be laundered but not as often as, say, a baby quilt. (Actually, a fusible web should never wash out or come undone if applied properly. I used it on this quilt because I was in a hurry to get it done; my preference is for a binding stitched down by hand.)

The label is a bit unconventional. In fact, it’s not a label at all. I mentioned yesterday that this quilt is reversible so I didn’t want to attach a label as I normally do. Here’s what I did instead:


Can you see where I wrote “WANDERLUST, DAWN WHITE, 2016 PORTLAND OR” in permanent ink? It’s hard to see (my plan) but it’s there. I like to include information on my labels about the patterns and designers but I skipped it in this case. Let this post be a permanent record that WanderLust was based on the pattern Spinners by Heather Mulder Peterson. Spinners is one of several delightful designs in her book On the Run Again (Anka’s Treasures, 2014).

My new cat Coco must really like this quilt. She photobombed it:

Coco photobomb





Posted in bed runners, cats, free motion quilting, quilt labels, update | 6 Comments

Lyra’s Quilt

Hydrangea Kaleidoscopes, 47" x 54"
Hydrangea Kaleido quilt top, 47″ x 54″

Remember this quilt? I was working on it back in February (you can read about it here) when I learned that my brother’s son and his wife were expecting their first child, due in August. They didn’t want to know the sex of the baby until it arrived. In the back of my mind I was thinking that if the baby were a girl, this might become her quilt.

At the end of August, their daughter was born. I was still considering this quilt for her but didn’t decide for sure until it came back from long-arm quilter Nancy Stovall of Just Quilting. Then I knew it would be perfect for a sweet little girl. Nancy quilted a sunburst motif in the center of each kaleidoscope block and a tessellating clamshell design in the background. Take a look:

2013-11, Lyra's quilt
44″ x 51″ After Quilting


On the back I put a big strip of the hydrangea focus fabric and converted a leftover kaleido block into a circle:

2013-11, Lyra's quilt, back
44″ x 51″ After Quilting


On this detail photo of the back you can get a better look at the quilted sunburst:

2013-11, Lyra's quilt, detail of quilting
Quilting Detail


The label was made using a compact disc (described in my tutorial here):

2013-11, Lyra's quilt label 1

The photo above, which gives you a better look at the tessellating clamshell motif, was taken after the quilt was washed, giving it that soft puckery look.

Lyra’s quilt — #7 in my series of kaleidoscope quilts — will soon be on its way to her. I hope she likes it!





Posted in baby quilt, family, kaleidoscope quilts, quilt labels, update | 4 Comments

Making Music, Making Quilt Labels . . .

Compact discs are permanent fixtures in my sewing room. I listen to music all the time when I’m sewing. Sometimes the radio is on, set to an FM station that plays oldies, but most of the time I listen to songs I’ve compiled myself on CDs, eclectic mixes of everything from folk music to jazz to country to the Great American Songbook.

What do my musical tastes have to do with quilt labels? Simply this: CDs do more than just produce beautiful music. These slender silvery discs, measuring 4⅝” in diameter, make great circle patterns for quilts and home sewing projects. They’re lightweight, portable, and very easy to trace around. And they’re the perfect size for quilt labels.

I use fusible interfacing as the backing fabric, so the labels actually get fused to the backs of my quilts. Labels can be made just as easily with a non-fusible interfacing or other lightweight fabric and then appliquéd to the back of the quilt by hand or machine. Either way, they are easy to make and give the back of the quilt a nicely finished look as well as added visual interest.

Here’s a tutorial on how I make quilt labels using a compact disc. For this demonstration I’m making a label for a little quilt called Wonderful Town that I made a couple of years ago. (It’s in my Quilt Gallery, about halfway down, if you’d like to take a look. You’ll notice it doesn’t have a label yet.)

Scratch paper
Pencil with a fine point
See-through ruler
Compact disc
Scrap of freezer paper about 6½” square
Piece of cotton about 6½” square for the label
Piece of light to medium-weight fusible interfacing about 6½” square
Temporary marking pen or pencil (I recommend the Frixion erasable gel pen)
Fine point permanent marker
Painter’s tape
Pinking shears

1. Start with a piece of scratch paper and a pencil with a fine point. Trace around a compact disc and put a dot in the center. Draw a line across the dot to establish the baseline rule.

circle and baseline drawn


2. Decide what your label will say and how many lines it will take. Write the label information on scratch paper first to make sure it’s what you want. Center each line, just as it will appear on your label. This is good practice before you record the same information on fabric with permanent ink. Using a see-through ruler, draw lines ⅜” apart in the circle.

label drafted and guidelines drawn

In my example, I drew two lines above my baseline rule and three below it, for a total of six lines. If I were making a label with five lines, I would have drawn two above the baseline and two below.

3. Using a hot dry iron, press the shiny side of the freezer paper to the wrong side of the label fabric. This keeps the fabric taut, making it easier to write on with a pen. Press from the front to make sure the fabric is flat with no bubbles. The freezer paper will be removed later.

Note: many quilters use cotton muslin for their labels. I usually choose a cotton fabric that was used in my quilt top or one that goes well with it. Here I am using a scrap of light gold fabric that picks up the same shade in the quilt.

4. Center the compact disc on the right side of the label fabric. Trace around it with a temporary marking pen or pencil and put a tiny dot in the center. Draw a baseline across the dot. As with the scratch paper version, draw lines ⅜” apart above and below the baseline.

circle and lines drawn with disappearing ink

I absolutely love the Frixion erasable gel pens by Pilot. The ink vanishes at the touch of an iron. Frixion pens come in a rainbow of colors. Here I used green ink, pressing lightly to get just enough of a line to see where I needed to write.

Option: Instead of drawing the rules on the front of the label fabric with a temporary marker, you could draw them on the back of the freezer paper with very dark ink so that they show through from the right side.

5. Tape the label to your work surface with painter’s tape. Test the permanent marker on a corner of your label fabric to make sure the ink doesn’t bleed. Carefully write the information on your label. Don’t worry if your lettering isn’t perfect; mine certainly isn’t. The label just needs to be neatly written and easily read.

label written with permanent marker

I used a Sharpie Ultra Fine Point here but you may prefer an archival quality pen such as the Pigma Micron, which uses an acid-free pigment-based ink.

6. Remove the tape and peel the freezer paper off the back of the label. On the right side insert a pin at the spot where you marked the center of the label. Is the writing centered in the circle? If not, adjust the pin.

7. Turn the fabric over. Center the compact disc over the pin and trace around the disc with the pencil (not the permanent marker). The line you traced is your stitching line.

stitching line drawn on back of label


8. From the right side press the label with a hot iron. This sets the ink of the permanent marker and removes the Frixion ink, if you used it. If you used some other type of temporary marking pen or pencil, you may need to remove it before applying heat to the label.

lines drawn with Frixion pen have disappeared!


9. Place the interfacing on a flat surface with the fusible side up. Lay the label fabric right side down on top of it. Imagining the circle as a clock, insert four pins at the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions. Place the pins across the seam line, with the tips pointing toward the outside edges; this helps keep the two layers flat. Insert four more pins evenly around the circle.

pins inserted evenly around circle


10. Using a small stitch (about 12 stitches to the inch), sew completely around the circle, gently turning the fabric as you sew to keep the curve line smooth and removing the pins as you come to them. Stitch beyond your beginning point by five or six stitches (no need to knot). Clip threads.

stitching around circle completed


11. Using pinking shears, trim closely next to the line of stitching.

seam pinked close to stitching line


12. Gently pull the interfacing away from the label fabric and make a small slit in the center of the interfacing. With scissors extend the slit to about ¾” from the stitching line on either side.

interfacing clipped in the middle and slit extended


13. Carefully turn the label inside out through the slit. Insert your fingers through the slit and gently run a fingernail around the edges to smooth out the circle shape. Fusible interfacing tears fairly easily, so be gentle.

label ready to be fused to back of quilt


14. The label is now ready to be pressed to the back of the quilt. Remember that the fusible side of the interfacing is on the outside. Be sure to position the label exactly where you want it before following the manufacturer’s directions for fusing. After the label is attached, you can stitch around it if you wish to give it that appliquéd look.






Posted in quilt labels, tutorial, update | 6 Comments