Thursday, April 17, 2014

My prayer flags

My prayer flags hanging on a door in our home.
Last week, I made my first prayer flags. Haven’t heard about them? Prayer flags are small pennants or banners, made as invocations – hopes, questions, requests, prayers or wishes. Prayer flags probably originated in Nepal or Tibet, and are still found in the Himalayas, and are often associated with Buddhism. You can make prayer flags as a religious statement, or simply as a way of expressing your spirituality or mindfulness. They make lovely gifts for friends or family who are going through difficult times, helping to remind them that you are thinking about them.

I made mine as a form of meditation. As I worked, I thought about the attributes and personal qualities I am working on cultivating: Compassion, Patience, Peace, Acceptance, Trust, Forgiveness, Love, and Comfort. Each of the flags I made represents one of these qualities. 


First, I got out my favorite paints and stencils. The paints are transparent textile paints by PRO Chemical & Dye. (They come in small lidded containers; I pour mine into bottles to make it easier to use paints in the classes I teach.) I mixed the paint with some of PRO Chem’s Transparent Base Extender to make them even more transparent. 



Most of the stencils I used came from Artistcellar. I really love the ones I just got by Jill K. Berry that feature calligraphic lines. I used a Moda Banner Set that contains 8 banners made of 80% linen and 20% cotton:


If you'd like to make prayer flags, but need some ideas, here’s a great resource: Quilting Arts has a new 47-page e-book that is a collection of articles called Prayer Flags: Make Banners of Hope & Peace from Fabric Scraps and Fibers ($6.99 on the Quilting Daily Shop).


For a limited time, you can get the Moda Banner Set together with the Prayer Flag e-book from the Quilting Daily store for $24.99. 


On a few of my flags, I also used some acrylic inks by Daler-Rowney:



After the flags dried, I added a layer of interfacing underneath (I used Heavy Weight Shaping Aid) and machine stitched some of the stenciled pattern using white thread. On some, I added fabric circles and stitched them down. Next, I added some buttons and hand embroidery. On each flag, I used circles, which to me, symbolize wholeness and balance. The process of hand stitching is very meditative, and I let it take me where it wanted to go. 

I took my flags outside and hung them in my dogwood tree, and on our azaleas and phlox, which are in full bloom.









Want to know more and see some different kinds of prayer flags? The Prayer Flag Project blog shares some of the thousands of prayer flags that have been created since Vivika Hansen DeNegre, the editor of Quilting Arts magazine, started the project in June 2011.

“Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul.
It is daily admission of one’s weakness.
It is better in prayer to have a heart without words
than words without a heart.”
– Mahatma Gandhi

“For me, prayer is a surge of the heart;
it is a simple look turned toward heaven,
it is a cry of recognition and of love,
embracing both trial and joy.”
― Thérèse de Lisieux


The Prayer Flag Blog Hop
Make sure to check out each hopper’s post for a chance to see some beautiful prayer flags, and win prizes!
April 14: Jane LaFazio
April 15: Meg Cox
April 16: Deborah O’Hare
April 17: Jamie Fingal and Susan Brubaker Knapp
April 18: Carrie Bloomston


Give-away! 
Quilting Arts is providing me with a copy of Jane Dunnewold’s Quilting Arts Workshop “Design & Print Your Own Fabric: Tips and techniques for successful online fabric design” to give away! If you live in the U.S., you can choose to get the DVD or the digital download. If you live outside the U.S., you will get the digital download.


Leave a comment after this post and tell me a little bit about why you’d like to win, or if you’ve ever made a prayer flag (and why). Please leave me a way to contact you. I’ll pull one name at random at 6 p.m., Tuesday, April 22. The winner will be announced at the end of this post on that day. 

Note: If your comment does not show up right away, please don’t freak out. Please post only one comment. I now have to moderate/approve all comments, because I was getting a ton of Japanese porn spammers leaving comments and links on my blog! 

We have a winner! Laceflower has won Jane Dunnewold’s Quilting Arts Workshop!

35 comments:

  1. I've never heard of Prayer Flags before, but after reading this I think I'm going to try making some. Things have been rather rough in my life right now and this seems like it might be a good way to re-channel some of my sadness/negative energies into something positive. I like what your Prayer flags are for - and also the idea of sending them to people to let them know you are thinking of them. My mother is very ill and I can't be with her right now so this might be a way to send her something to let her know I'm thinking of her and will brighten her room. Thank you for sharing.

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  2. I have loved the Tibetan prayer flags that hang in my friends backyard. I have been meaning to make some for myself.
    I would love to win the dvd since I am just getting into dyeing and painting on fabric! I have heard that Jane's class is the one to watch! Thanks.

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  3. What a beautiful way to express your prayer and emotion. Love connecting the heart with the fabric and having a banner to the world!

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  4. What a lovely post, I like the whole idea of prayer flags. When my friend Lori Schneider climbed Mt Everest, just about every home and business had prayer flags flying. I think they communicate, hope, and peace and like you say join us together. I so appreciate you and your work! Thanks!

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  5. Love them, Susan!.
    I'll have to look through recent notes, but it seems Paint, Stamping and Stitching is a theme that keeps coming up...! I'm seeing it again with your Prayer Flags.
    Gorgeous Colors!

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  6. My daughter has been studying Buddhism and we have spent a lot of time discussing it. I am very impressed with both the flags and the tenets of kindness and mindfulness of the Dali and the followers of Buddhism. I would love to make some of the flags! Yours are very colorful and I enjoy the ideas expressed.

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  7. I love your flags Susan - especially the circles!
    Since finding this hop I'm planning on making some in memory of my son.

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  8. I like your prayer flags very much. I'm very interested in colouring my own fabrics with dyes, paints and whatever else comes along. Guidance from a great teacher like Dunnewold would be helpful in my pursuit, I do have her first book.

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  9. I loved the idea of the prayer flags. The first time i had seen them was from a friend's trip to Nepal. I thought they looked stunning all grouped together blowing the in wind against the backdrop of a high temple in the mountains. Not being Buddhist, I assumed that this was something I could not do, but I like your spin. Lately I have been seeing a lot of the pennants hanging around quilt stores and I really liked the look. However the meaning behind yours carries a more spiritual symbolism.

    Would love to win the book. I have been very curious how to take what I paint on canvas, and incorporate it into a fabric. I'm wanting to break outside the box!

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  10. I would love to win the DVD so I can learn more about designing and printing my own fabric. I'm not able to get out much so I have to use the internet, books and DVDs to learn more about the art/quilt world. I have started on my first prayer flag. Thanks for sharing!

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  11. This would be a great book to win for I'm eager to expand my knowledge and discover new techniques. -- soparkaveataoldotcom

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  12. I have not yet made a prayer flag but am inspired but the blog hop. Love your colorful, embellished flags! Thanks for the chance to win this book; it looks great.

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  13. Your color choices are just beautiful ...love the work you have done...thanks!

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  14. I love the idea of prayer flags and intend to make some over the Easter weekend. One will feature my word for the year (release), and others will be for friends who are facing various struggles. Your flags are beautiful.

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  15. I love the fact that you have created your own designs with paint and stencils. Your flags are beautiful.

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  16. I have never made any prayer flags, and would love to have some ideas to make them.

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  17. Thanks for the history and information about the flags. They are intriguing on many levels. Your flags are outstanding!

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  18. Oh I sure would like to win! We have a motor home with an awning and I would like to make some prayer flags to hang from that awning. They would be so much more beautiful than those plastic flamingo lights! I have never made them but I do have sewing skills and would LOVE to win this prize.
    (hey)Jude

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  19. When Vivika first started the prayer flag project my heart connected with it right away. I was going through a difficult time in my life in addition to having some rather serious health issues. At that time my prayer flags helped me pray in a way that was even deeper than my prayers in "spoken word." Over the past several months I have been able to make prayer flags expressing prayers of gratitude as my health is improving faster than my doctors expected. Sharing is very important to me so I've made prayer flags (and continue to) for people that I know or for people I don't know or don't know well, but who I know are going through difficult situations. I put them in an envelope with a note explaining prayer flags and I mail it to them anonymously. It's just a small way to hopefully help others.

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  20. Hi Susan, I'm new to prayer flags, I've made 4 so far....sew an instructional DVD would be a great thing for me to have. Your work is wonderful as always.

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  21. I love prayer flags and want to start printing on fabric.

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  22. I haven't done any yet but I'm inspired

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  23. Love your designs on the prayer flags. Thank you for the background context. Would love to learn how to print on fabric.

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  24. I love your bright and cheery flags.

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  25. Love those colorful flags and how they look fluttering in the breezes.

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  26. I have been getting german gobbledy-gook on one of my blogs... what a pain. I love your flags...

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  27. I love your bright colored prayer flag. I have not made one but after reading the inspiration behind them, I will definitely put that on my todo list. I would love to win this DVD. I am a quilter and am interested in making my own fabric for custom quilts. Thanks for the chance.

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  28. I do have Tibeten prayer flags hanging in my home, but never thought to make them myself, or considered that they could become meaningful to me if I did. It's a lovely idea. And I would love love Jane's book.

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  29. I haven't ever made a prayer flag, but do love them. I love the thought of sending prayers out into the Universe. And such a lovely way to do it.

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  30. I just found out about prayer flags through this blog hop, so I haven't made any yet, but I love the idea. Thank you for the inspiration!

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  31. I love your flags. The only time I have made the flags was for my grandsons first birthday last year. His momma hung them outside for his birthday weekend celebration then moved them to his bedroom afterwards.

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  32. Love Jane's work! Printing my own fabric, I hope, is coming soon!

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  33. Love the prayer flags. I have to try this!

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  34. Would love to try this. My daughter took a trip to Nepal a few years ago and had many pictures of prayer flags.

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  35. I love your prayer flags. I made one several years ago when my bro was dealing with a serious illness. Made me think of and continuously pray for him.
    Thanks for the oppmto ein the tape. It looks fascinating.

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