A question that continues to arise within the crochet community is how to properly label one’s work, especially gifts. I received a nice assortment of labels from a company called Namemaker.com. They offer a wide variety of labels, including ones that you can design yourself. Prices start at $16 for a set of pre-woven labels. ‘Designer’ Labels start at $21 for 20 and go up from there. Some labels are designed to be sewn in. Others have a backing so they can be ironed on to adhere to the item – maybe not a great choice for crochet.
A low-tech way to label your work is to cut a used dryer sheet to the size you want, write on it with indelible marker, and sew or glue to your work. Since labels can be scratchy on delicate skin, I prefer to affix any labels where they are unlikely to cause irritation. For a sweater, for instance, instead of the typical inside the neckline location for a tag, I’ll place it inside the lower hem edge of the front of the sweater. On an afghan, any edge will do. For stuffed animals, consider placing the label on the bottom of a foot or some other location where it won’t be terribly noticeable.
Why label your work? For a number of reasons. First, many of our crochet projects will become heirlooms. In a few years, it might be hard for the recipient to recall which relative or friend made a particular item. For this reason, I like to include the date, my name, and the name of the recipient on a label, as well as the occasion for the gift – an anniversary, birthday, or whatever. In addition to this, it’s often helpful to have laundering instructions on any project. Consider that you don’t want the many hours you spent crocheting a lovely wool cardigan to be rendered worthless by a washer and dryer. Easy to solve this problem if you affix proper laundering instructions right on the item.
The advantages of a used dryer sheet are many. First, they’re ‘free’. Second, they machine wash and dry nicely. Third, they can be sewn or glued (Aleene’s Flexible Stretchable Glue is my favorite) easily. Fourth, you can cut them easily with some pinking sheers to create a decorative edging and make them whatever size you need for the message you wish to include. Permanent Sharpee Marker works well for writing on the used dryer sheets. The longest message I’ve ever used was for a wedding afghan I made with two other women as a gift from a large group. So, on that label, we included the date, occasion, the names of the crocheters, the group they represented, laundering instructions, and a greeting. Whew! That’s a lot to get on a label! I sewed it inside the cover of a heart shaped pillow I crocheted to store the afghan in when not in use – where it sits nicely on their sofa.