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

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!