Who Made Me?
By Beverly Hicks Burch
If this was the 1960s and I were to ask “Who made me?” I might be rightfully accused of asking a “navel gazing, self introspection” question.
But, placed in proper context, the “Who made me?” question is an important one in the world of quilting.
Years ago I developed a passion for the documentation of quilts. This came about when I received antique family quilts and I wasn’t quite sure who the family quilter had been who had made the precious textiles. They were from my Daddy’s side of the family and his Aunt Eliza was a known seamstress (I was even thrilled one day while doing some family genealogy work to discover she had listed this as her occupation on some early 20th century census records.) We assumed she had been the quilter of these quilts.
Later, I would come upon antique and older quilts in stores and in friend’s homes. Most were what I call orphan quilt…they’re in the family but the “parentage” is questionable. In other words, who made these quilts and what is the story behind the quilt. No one knows for sure. I’m a firm believer each quilt has a “story” that deserves to be told.
As I began to read about Baltimore appliqué quilts I realized that not all quilts from the past when unsigned by the maker. Some of these quilts were definitely signed sealed and delivered so to speak by their makers. Then of course there were the album quilts that chronicled several makers within one quilt.
As a result of my findings, I began years ago to label and document my quilts.
Well, there’s several ways. Of course you can document them by photographing them and keeping a pictorial record. I also keep diaries…one a special “show” diary that keeps a record of each show a particular quilt had been entered in and the pertinent data such as date entered and if a ribbon was awarded.
I also began making labels and attaching to my quilts. I include the following info:
· Name of the maker (me)
· If it’s to be a gift, the name of the recipient
· Date quilt was started and date it was finished
· I sometimes included the location the quilt was made at
· The name of the quilt
· Any personal sentiment, verse, etc.
You can use premade labels or make your own. I’ve even designed labels on my computer, then ironed fabric onto a sheet of freezer paper cut to the size of computer paper. I then run that through the printer, print my label, iron the label to heat set the ink and then whip stitch the label onto the back of my quilt.
Labels can be embroidered by hand (or machine), embellished or done with fine point permanent markers. You can make them in the shape of little envelopes and place your info in there…labels are only limited by your imagination.
But, no matter how you decided to document your quilt, please make the decision to do it for the future generations in your family…they will be very glad you did!
label for Addi’s Ark
Label for South by Southwest
© 2010 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.