Ornamental Separator

You Name It

An autograph inspires a signature keepsake

Embroidered autographs and calling cards decorate this quilt made by Clara Jane Ulmer. She used her skill with needle and thread to turn a collection of signatures — friends, family, local business officials and even Buffalo Bill Cody — into a table cover. Born in 1871 in Pennsylvania to German immigrant parents, Ulmer was participating in a fashionable pastime that 19th-century librarian Theodore F. Dwight referred to as “autographomania.” During the 1880s and 1890s, Dwight defined the amassing of signatures of the famous and the familiar as obsessive collecting.

Embroidery, of course, has a much longer history. Its earliest roots are thousands of years old. Cross-stitch is one of its oldest forms with examples running from simple to elaborate.

This ornament brings to mind a gift tag and requires only a few simple steps to re-create the very singular act of signing your name.


2½-inch-by-3½-inch heavy interfacing

Red embroidery floss

4-inch-by-6-inch white fabric

4-inch-by-6-inch red fabric


White ribbon




Step 1

Write your name in the center of the white fabric with the pencil. The length of the signature should not exceed 3 inches, and the name should be centered over the interfacing. Lay the white fabric on top of the heavy interfacing and pin the pieces together.

Step 2

Use 2 strands of red embroidery floss to stitch the name with the outline/stem stitch. Sew through the interfacing.

Step 3

Neatly fold the white fabric over the interfacing and stitch the edges together to hold the material in place.

Step 4

Neatly fold the edges of the red fabric to make it slightly larger than the embroidered rectangle and iron the folds to help hold the shape. Place the embroidered rectangle with folded side down, so that the name is visible, on top of the red fabric with folded side up. Pin the two together.

Step 5

Using the herringbone cross-stitch, fasten the two pieces together following the edges of the white fabric. To make the hanger, form a loop with the ribbon and tuck its ends between the two pieces of fabric before stitching it into place.

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