Monday, April 29, 2013

Labeling Solid Fabrics

When I was getting ready for a trunk show a few months ago, I realized something about myself. I make a lot of quilts with white fabric. I love using solid white to break up big prints and show off lots of color. But I'm trying to get out of my white comfort zone and expand my color palette, so I've been stocking up on additional solids in vibrant colors.

I have only one problem with this plan. I've been in the habit of thinking, "Oh I'll remember what color it is if I need more." And guess what? I never do. (I know. Shocker, right?) As I'm gradually maturing I'm coming to accept the fact that my impressive memory skills are no longer what they used to be. I needed a plan.
Here's the perfect example of why this is a problem. Last fall when I started my Modern Maples quilt, I shopped my stash (good girl) and picked out linen/cotton blend solid I already had on hand. The only problem was/is, of course, I need more and I can't remember what shade of Essex fabric I used. I've since tried guessing multiple times, ordering more yardage, and haven't had success matching it (although I am beefing up my collection of Essex blends).

So I learned my lesson and when these new solids arrived at my house, I got out the label maker and started labeling my fabric. I don't know why this idea took me so long. I share this, not as a great, mind-blowing novel idea, but as an admission of lowering my own pride and finally coming to terms with the fact that my memory does not have super powers. And obviously you don't need a label maker to label your fabric - use a sharpie in the selvage if you want. Just do something. You'll totally thank me one day. Or you're already doing it and wondering what took me so long.
{Please pardon the graphic content of the above picture.} Speaking of the label maker, one day I lifted the toilet lid in our main-floor bathroom to find this. Ah, living with little boys. I think a certain 8-yr-old was getting carried away with the intoxicating powers of the label-maker. The funny thing was I forgot it was there after a day or two and later realized it had been on the toilet lid all through the holiday season when we had lots of family and company. I'm sure they thought we were very interesting... (?!?) 

And with that, on to a few public service announcements:

If you're looking for a way you can help those affected by the tragic events in Boston last week, check out the Boston Modern Quilt Guild blog. I love when there's a way to channel our grief/frustration/innate-desire-to-do-something towards a good cause. 

Patterns for Quilting: 8 Free Quilt Blocks Patterns to Make a Quilt for Your Home
FaveQuilts has a new Ebook available to download for free! Check it out. Cool stuff for free is hard to pass up.
My block #4 for the Virtual Quilting Bee
And finally, with the impending demise of Google Reader, I have checked out Bloglovin as a way to keep up with my blog reading and I must say, I really like it! You can Follow my blog with Bloglovin here.  

And this will be a busy week on the blog - I've got stops on a couple of blog tours as well as block #5 of the Virtual Quilting Bee! Stay tuned.

39 comments:

Pat said...

This is so funny. I spent some time yesterday clipping little one inch squares out of my solids and taping/labeling them on a comic book board. I've also found it useful to put larger amounts of yardage into an extra large ziplock bag with the color and yardage written on the bag. I just change the yardage amount as I use it. It helps a lot!

Esch House Quilts said...

I write on the selvages with a Sharpie IN THE STORE! I have a color card, but sometimes the shades vary a bit and I don't like to have to remember/guess what it was I got :)

Vicki @ DottyJane said...

Yes, I have to label my solids as well. I write the name in the selvage and as I cut from the piece, rewrite it on the remaining fabric. Probably not the most efficient method, but it seems to work for me:)

Melia Mae Quilting said...

That's a really good idea. I really need to do that and just get my fabric stash organized in general!!!!! I have fabric hidden everywhere.

Thimbleanna said...

Hey Amy -- I have an easier way to remember your fabric color -- buy it by the bolt -- the color is on the end LOL! (Thanks for the label making tip though -- I always forget to use my label maker!)

Funky Kim said...

What a great idea! Now to find my label maker.

Sheila said...

i have begun writing the name of the solid on a scrap of calico and safety pinning it to the fabric. I got caught out with a white fabric, Still don't know what it was and then needed more of something else. I ordered 3 different lots of kona before i discovered it was a Moda Bella, "stone". Much easier and cheaper to lable

LynCC said...

Oh, Bahahaha!!! Love the toilet label story. :D It's funny that nobody said anything about it. pretty little block

Mara said...

mmmm.... I think I need to label my toilet!

Di~ said...

I love the bike path fabric you used up there! I'm looking for all the colors for a GREAT price ... somewhere...
Thanks for the labeling tip!

Dedra C said...

My sewing machine sews fonts. One of my teenagers embroidered on a towel 'face' on one end and 'bum' on the other. Our label maker is used all the time. Including the label that has been placed on it that says 'label maker'. They're just too much fun.

Sallie said...

Duh! Why didn't I think of this? Great tip! Thanks!

Mary on Lake Pulaski said...

I certainly know I need to start labeling my solids. I recently tried and tried and tried to match a grey and never found it. Thanks for the tip Amy and all the great ideas in the comments.

Becky said...

Yep! I label mine too. And as a mom of 2 boys, I immediately recognized the "potty humor" LOL We also have boy-produced labels on light switches, bunk beds, toys, etc... I think every English teacher should hand out label makers to her students for spelling practice ;-).

Books_Bound said...

The toilet label is awesome! My parents' house featured an old trash compactor (a relic of the 80s!) One day, my younger brother decided to make a small sign for it that said "Bone Crusher." It stayed on there for YEARS. We didn't really think much of it, until guests would do a double take. :)

Grandmasewnsew said...

I just started writing in the selvage for solids as I kept forgetting what brand and color they were too! Sunday I ran out of white when I was almost finished with a quilt and am hoping that what I was using was Kona white as that's what I just ordered 6 yards of!

Katy Cameron said...

I totally use my label maker to label my solids. Never used for *that* though.

When I was in my last couple of years at school I rowed, and the winter races are 'head of the river' races, just known as 'heads'. Our first race was coming up, so I had noted on our little magnetised whiteboard thing on the fridge 'Head in Tewkesbury November 4th' to which my mum added underneath 'Body in agony November 5th' It's still there, on a different fridge in a different house, and people always have a double take when they see it!

Jenny said...

I Sharpie-in-the-selvage. But I do use the label maker for lots of other things, and when my oldest was first learning to read, I labeled all over the house (mine is the old crimping style that peels right off) with the names of everything. Except the toilet, actually, but I should have!

Jenny said...

Label maker label. Too funny.

Claire said...

Oh Amy you are way too funny, as is your little boy. There are much worse thing that could happen, your guests would have had something to smile about while they went about their business at least. Great idea for remembering the names of the solids - I too suffer from not remembering sometimes.

Julie Snow said...

I would use my label maker for a sign "PUT DOWN THE SEAT", too

dolores said...

My 24 year old son and I totally appreciate the potty label!;)

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ljeanne said...

Thank you for the link to the free ebook. I like all of these blocks.

jenni said...

I love the poo and pee sign, how fun to have such a clever boy!

amy smart said...

Brilliant!

amy smart said...

Hahahah! Those label makers are addicting, I tell you!

Cathy said...

Labeling your fabrics is a great idea! Love that Poo&Pee!

Michele said...

I'm chuckling at you here. I quickly realized this very same problem when I started to use a bunch of Kona White and Kona Snow. In the evenings especially it is hard to tell them apart. So I started labeling them with a post it note attached with a pin.

I have yet to decide which reader to switch to but I need to figure it out soon. I don't want to wait until the last minute.

Ruth said...

Take a picture of the end of the fabric bolt with your phone, include the pattern you think you want it for if you have it with you...

Rebecca Grace said...

I ordered a couple different shades of solid white and off-white recently and had the same concern, so I wrote the brand and color name on the selvage of each piece with an extra fine point Sharpie (so it wouldn't come out when I prewashed). I like to prewash fabric before it goes into my stash, and since these whites were all going into the wash together I knew I'd never be able to tell them apart after I washed them otherwise. My plan is to cut from the opposite end of the fabric so I don't have to keep rewriting the name. For a really dark color, that wouldn't work. I guess I could use the built-in alphabet stitches on my 'Nina to label the selvage edge of dark fabric with a light colored thread, but I haven't tried that yet.

The label on your toilet seat is HYSTERICAL! I, too, have boys, so I appreciate this. Although now I'm feeling tempted to use my label maker to put some INSTRUCTIONS under my toilet seat, or threats about what will happen if I have to clean pee off the wall ONE MORE TIME because groggy little boys are peeing in the dark with their eyes closed... Grrr... ;-)

Siobhán said...

Sorry, the label on your toilet had me rolling with laughter. I blame it on the fact that I have 3 brothers and 1 son--I always giggle at potty humor.

Great idea about labeling solids--I need to do that! With linens for stitching I would staple the info written on a piece of paper into the selvage but this would work much better.

Jan said...

Great tip on the solid fabric. Thank you.

Leila said...

I label my solids too. One time I bought a ton of solid Kona fabric at JoAnns when it was on sale. The lady cutting gave me a weird look when I asked for tape and a pen and taped the name on each piece as she cut it. :)

Cheryl said...

I seriously thought "poo" and "pee" Were labels for two different colors of fabric. All I could think was, "Shouldn't One of those be Browner?

Please excuse the weird capitalization. My iPhone is being very weird.

Hitch & Thread said...

I label too. Helps me feel 'organised'. i use a frixion pen on the selvedge.

Claire Jain said...

The potty label is hysterical! I always wondered if folks had a method for keeping better track of their solids. I'm going to start being more methodical for sure. This is awesome :-D

Lindy said...

Very true about forgetting the fabric names that is a wonderful idea to label the fabric. Its always nice when someone comes up with an idea that helps any of keep with our fabric. It also is something that help someone organize there fabric better.

prsd4tim2 said...

Great idea on labeling solids! I've often wondered why the manufacturers don't label solids in the selvage as they do prints. Your post made me wonder why I didn't think of that!

As for little boys and the label maker - well, I'm sure this isn't the last time that their idea of humor will cause some, um, embarrassment. But it did make me laugh! And remember the many times my son did something similar. He's almost 30 now - I kind of miss it.