Labeling your work

I’ve always toyed with the idea of putting labels on my quilts. Being a fan of antique and vintage items, I wonder about the history associated with such things. Who had it first? When was it made? Why did they buy it? Or was it a gift? How long did they have it? Why did they get rid of it? WHO made it? It’s endlessly fascinating to me. Most of the time my questions go unanswered.

I want to put the year I made a quilt on the quilt. I’m hoping they’ll be around long after I’m gone and it would be neat for the owner to at least know how old it is. One day one of my quilts could be vintage! Is that wishful thinking or what?

I have this old, patchwork quilt top. Please excuse the picture, it’s the only one I could find. I’ve packed the quilt top in a bin somewhere and couldn’t locate it for a new photo.

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I discovered this quilt top in my grandmother’s stuff after she passed away and that was in 2004. I can only guess that her sister, Gertie, made it because my sister and I both have patchwork quilts also made by her. I LOVE this quilt top! It has the most hideous, wonderful fabrics. They’re so ugly, it makes them fantastic. It was probably fashioned from scraps and simply as something to cover up with because the pattern has no rhyme or reason. Way back when my grandmother was young, that’s what people did. They made what they needed. Oh, how I wish I knew the details surrounding this piece.

Why was it never completed? Was Gertie a procrastinator like me? Did a “better” quilt divert her attention? Maybe her sewing machine broke down and she couldn’t get it fixed? Sadly, there’s no one I can ask. This quilt top could be anywhere from 50 to 70 years old!

Labels are so necessary!

A couple years ago, I looked into pre-made options. Alas, I would’ve had to order too many to make it worth it. And with the year being on them, it wasn’t logical. So the idea of labels was put on a back burner. Until recently, when I began to actually FINISH my quilts.

I follow a few different blogs and one of them covered labels just today. Jodie (she spells her name the same as I do! Rare, I know 🙂 ). http://homesweetdreaming.com/about/

Now that I’m beginning to complete quilts and would like to attempt selling them, the matter of labels is upon me once again. I’ve considered iron-on Canadian flags since I’m Canadian and am always so thrilled when I find something Made in Canada 🙂 002

But I think the year is important too. My initials, not so much. No one will know what they stand for. JLH Quilts. . . . I like it. However, I’m never going to be a huge corporation, pumping out hundreds or thousands of quilts.

So despite my impressive collection of embroidery floss (picked up at a garage sale!), it may be pointless to do so much hand stitching.

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Althoughhhhh, there’s a product out there, printable fabric sheets. I’ve only just begun researching them, so I can’t recommend brands or even comment on how well (or not) they work. I may give them a try, it would be faster than hand stitching, which I could save for special quilts because I do enjoy the idea of coordinating threads to the quilt.

046. . . . I know why I have so much trouble focusing! Too many ideas!

I also Googled ‘make your own fabric labels’ and found this handy video. Of course, it’s not the only one and I thought I was simply putting a link in my post. Imagine my surprise when it showed up as the video! (Am I even allowed to do this? If someone knows that I’m NOT, please tell me).

 

My head is swirling now with label ideas. On something as large as a quilt, it wouldn’t be awful to have more information than just a date and initials. But would a printed label fade after so many washings and end up useless? Stitching might be the best?

Decisions, decisions! Whatever will I do? 🙂

 

Hooray for prototypes

Prototypes (aka “guinea pigs”) are often a necessary step in the design process. Personally, I find them to be extremely beneficial. Since I’m stubborn in wanting my denim pieces to be “all mine”, I avoid Googling for help or for patterns. I ponder matters, like edging a quilt or lining a reusable shopping bag, until I think I have a good idea. And then I go from there.

Sometimes I have success from start to finish, sometimes I get stuck and stay that way for ages. But I always learn what to do, or not to do.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not delusional. I’m well aware I’m not inventing something amazingly new and unique. Quilts, shopping bags, place mats, etc., already exist. I just like knowing I didn’t follow another designer’s steps.

Late last year, I began what was supposed to be a tote bag/purse of sorts, to be worn over one shoulder and rested on the opposite hip. My current purse is like that and I prefer such a style because it feels safer when I’m in the grocery store or walking through the mall. It would be more difficult for a thief to grab!

However, the design I had didn’t work out so well. My sewing machine wasn’t strong enough to go through the multiple layers of denim, batting and cotton. Until recently, the half completed bag sat on the sidelines. But now it’s done! And it’s a reusable shopping bag instead. With short handles. And wonky stitching up each side 🙂

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Looks can be deceiving! This bag holds plenty of books, so it will do fine for groceries. I wouldn’t have chosen white lining though, for a shopping bag. It will be dirty in no time!

The value in what I learned will aid me in future projects. So even though this bag has it’s flaws, it served a great purpose as a prototype. Handles – check. Lining – check. Band around the top – check. Inside seams – do them differently next time!

I’m in need of a new purse, the zipper on mine is broken. With my constantly growing aversion to buying brand new items, I’m designing a purse in my mind. I can make one! Over the shoulder, snaps or flap? Pocket on the outside? Or inside. Plain denim? Or fabric sporting Winnie the Pooh?

SO many ideas. . . . . and only 2 hands and 24 hours in each day!

I made a slipper!

I’ve never really been a fan of wearing slippers. My feet get too hot, no matter what kind. I’m generally sock-less and slipper-less, except of course when I go to town, to work or outside. And then I have no choice but to put shoes on. If I could have bare feet all the time, I would! Mud . . . . okay, I won’t go there.

A short while ago, I had the notion to make denim slippers. And like most new ideas, I get fixated on them, ditching all current projects to see if this next one will work! It’s a terrible, terrible habit and I’m probably never going to be able to shake it.

Instead, I’m learning to live with it 🙂 I am who I am.

So last night, I grabbed a piece of paper, traced my foot and got busy. I opted for doing a slipper completely from scratch, meaning I winged it as I went along. I’m very stubborn when it comes to making any of my denim items. I avoid Googling for patterns and take it all from inside my crowded head. Sometimes my ideas work, sometimes not so much.

My slipper, and I literally only made one, turned out fantastically! Far from perfect (I’ve given up the dream of achieving perfection, life is easier for it too) and I’ll do future slippers a bit differently but it was still a huge success.

I decided to make an open-toe style, so my feet, er, foot doesn’t get too warm and because it would be simpler for a first attempt. I’m digging on the fringe although it took me forEVER to do it! And I did it crookedly to boot, lol.

All in the learning process, right!? Right! And obviously I need to make an actual pair. This was my experimental slipper and now I know what to do! And not to do.

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My mom’s at the top of my list of those to make some for. She’s a dedicated slipper wearer. Personally, I don’t care if I ever have a pair! I just like making stuff from denim 🙂

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