Friday, May 22, 2015

Flag Friday - Embroidery

Incorporating hand stitching into a prayer flag helps me to pray
and ponder over the person(s) I am creating the flag for.
Hand embroidery can be used to create text, as Sue Rideout did in her flag, or. . .
. . .to emphasize shapes, as Jamie Fingal did in this flag, or. . .
 . . .to create images, as Annika Lund and her embroidery students did in these lovely flags.
There are a plethora of stitches that can be used on prayer flags. Many more than just a straight stitch and french knot (even though those are both great stitches).  Rather than rewrite the book on embroidery tutorials here on the Prayer Flag Project, we are sharing some links to some top notch hand embroidery tutorials.

Mary Corbet's Needle 'n Stitch Video Tutorials - Over 70 easy to follow videos!
Sarah's Hand Embroidery Tutorials - Picture Dictionary with links to Tutorials
The Purl Bee Embroidery Basics - Tutorials of basic stitches

I hope they will inspire you to incorporate a new stitch or two into your prayer flags, and then fly your flags by sharing them on the blog.  If you know of a tutorial not listed, please feel free to leave a link in a comment.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Flag Friday - Crocheted Flags

Lisa asked me to explain how I use crochet in my prayer flags after seeing these pictures:
Picture 1

Picture 2

Picture 3
The joke is that I used a different method in each one.

Picture 1: I begin with a length of chain stitch before simply crocheting along the hanging edge with half crochet stitch. If its a single flag I then do more chain stitch before turning and crocheting back along it.
If it's too difficult to pass the hook through the fabric you can make a hole with an awl first such as in the following picture

Picture 2:   I stitched a row of blanket stitch across the hanging edge and then crochet a line of chain stitch before crocheting into the blanket stitches and again doing a chain stitch, before turning and crocheting back across it.
As in this pic you can see the blanket st in red thread and the crochet in yellow thread.
You can also see the first amount of chain st.

Picture 3: I used an old piece of pre-existing crochet and stitched it to the flags by hand but a zigzag machine stitch would work just as well.I have used a strip of lace edging in the past as well.

Here you can see I left gaps between the flags and decorated the gaps with buttons.This one hangs in my studio.

Crochet stitches used?  Any stitch you are comfortable with.
Number of rows crocheted?   Any number you want and it can be solid or lacy style crocheting.
Do you join a few together or make then singularly?  I make what is needed, be that one flag or a number of flags.
Do I need to be a crochet master? I like to use crochet because it fast and easy to use, and you don’t need to be a crochet master to do it. As long as you can make a chain and do one type of crochet stitch, anyone can do it.
The whole point of making prayer flags is to send love and positive thoughts out there to the universe and you can’t do that when you are stressing about your work……well I can’t.

I do hope that helps and will answer any questions, but I will say it now after years of following patterns I make things up now as I go.
Happy flag making!
 Cheers, Faye

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Flag Friday

For this weeks Flag Friday we wanted to share a couple of links to stories about Prayer Flags being made for Nepal that we thought might be inspirational.

SAYING A PRAYER: Little Hallingbury Church of England Primary School pupils Oliver Engehan, 8, and Amelia Lellow, 9, with their prayer flags for Nepal - from the Herts and Essex Observer

Read more: 
Follow us: @HertsEssexObser on Twitter

Children in Chichester UK make flags for Nepal victims

Prayer Flags Serve As Tribute To The Fallen

If you have seen something of interest, please share it in the comments!  If you have made a prayer flag you would like to fly on the internet, please email us at

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Prayer Flags for Nepal

My name is Sue and I live in Maine.  I am an old friend of Vivika Hansen’s.  She shared your idea and I had to sit down and make a prayer flag for Nepal.  There were so many things that the people there need and I couldn’t decide on just one to focus on.  So I decided to make a prayer flag full of many prayer flags!  I chose the gray background to represent the ash in their sky.  I chose bright colors for the mini flags to emphasize the goodwill that is coming their way from around the world.  What a wonderful way to show the people of Nepal that we care.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Flag Friday

Creating prayer flags is not about making a perfect piece of art, or finding the perfect words and images.  It is about putting our hopes, feelings and prayers into the world and having the faith that they will be heard and answered.  There have been many terrible and great things happening in the world this week and we are hoping you will find uplifting words to share with the world and create a flag (or two or three) to put into the wind, whether that wind is outside or across the internet.  Below are a couple of word clouds we hope might inspire you.  
 If you can think of other resources for words or sayings, please feel free to share them in the comments.
And as always please feel free to email us at to share your flags on the blog.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Prayer Flags for Nepal

Nepal was hit with a 7.8 magnitude earthquake this past Saturday.  The death toll is 3,000 and rising. Sometimes I feel so helpless when these great tragedies happen.  I can't pick up and run there to physically help.  I can make a monetary donation through one of the many reputable organizations which will help the people of Nepal pick up and move on with their lives.  And just as importantly, I can pray for healing, comfort and peace for the people of Nepal.  I hope you will join me in putting your own prayers onto a prayer flag or two and flying them in your area.  I hope that together our prayers will spread across the world to provide healing and love to the children, women and men of Nepal.  Posting your flags on to the blog is another way of putting your flags into the wind to share the love and comfort you wish to share.  Please email photo's to if you would like to fly your flags across the world wide web.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Prayer Flag Tutorial by Jamie Fingal

I have been making prayer flags for about 3 years, first primarily for my own healing.  I felt it was way easier to make a small project, than to struggle with a large one.  I've made these for myself that hang in my studio, in my backyard and gifts for friends. I have made 5x7, 6x8 and now 4-1/2 x 8-1/2 #658113.  I used a Sizzix Fabi die cutting machine (same as the Big Shot) and the die cuts a perfect rectangle 4-1/2" x 8-1/2"  This photo is of 3 pieces of wool blended felt (National Nonwovens TOY002), that were cut on the machine.

This text fabric is from my line 'Heart and Soul Sisters,' by Hoffman Fabrics - all about being brave, strong and bold girls who dream big.  So there are great words to use on flags  The fabric is pre-fused with Mistyfuse, so I can cut out the things that I want, and iron them onto my composition.

These are words of encouragement for a dear friend who needs some good cheer

and some little drawings are part of the collection with birds, flowers, do-dads and houses, which make the perfect accent piece

I begin by laying out the words onto the wool blended felt, and not ironing them down yet.

I added some background, placing it under the words, so there is an overlap.  Some colors at the top and bottoms to make the flags more colorful.  When I am happy with the placement, I press them with a hot dry iron on the cotton setting
Flip them over, and cut the excess fabric from the back, using the felt as a guide with some sharp scissors
Here is a drawing of the flower dies that I used from Sizzix

I had made dozens of these flowers for another project - all with Sizzix die cuts in the Fabi machine (Big Shot).  I admit that I do have a sort of addiction with Sizzix flower dies. They can be used so many ways.  They are all pre-fused with Mistyfuse, to make it easier to put them together, and then on another project. I think they are totally fun!
I selected three flowers that would work for the flags.  I hand cut the stems and leaves out of a darker color of green so they would stand out on the lime green background.  I placed the stems under the flower petals.  Press into place, using a hot dry iron.  Note:  fabrics can be repositioned if they are fabric to fabric.  Fabric to felt sticks remarkably well, so you cannot reposition your artwork.

Using one piece of hot pink wool blended felt, I placed the flags on it, making sure there was a bit of space between each one.  This is my backing, and the idea is for it to show all the way around the edges when completed.  I pinned the top to the pink and free motion machine quilted each flag to the pink.  First with an outline around the flowers, and the tops and bottoms of the text and coordinating fabrics. This is yet another way to practice free motion machine quilting.  I free motion zig zagged the edges, all the way around.

Using a rotary cutter, mat and ruler, I trimmed the edges leaving about 1/8th of an inch all the way around.
Then I pressed them all with a hot iron, because most times when you machine quilt, the piece shrinks a little from the stitching.  The iron flattens everything out.

Be true to yourself, be strong

Be authentic, be bold

Be brave

I machine sewed them to a long piece of ribbon for easy hanging.  I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on making prayer flags!  Feel free to visit my Twisted Sister blog for more 'How To's'  -- Jamie Fingal

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Jill Berry's Prayer Flags

Jill wrote a blog post about the prayer flags sent to her that you might be interested in seeing.  So many beautiful flags.  Thank you to everyone who participated!

Friday, April 17, 2015

FLAG FRIDAY Gelli® Print Prayer Flags

I'm a mixed media artist but a total newbie when it comes to prayer flags. I've always had a thing for hearts and decided to work with the color black as the top layer instead of the bottom layer.  Wasn't sure if it would work out but it would be fun to try it anyway.

These are the materials that you will need to give this project a try:
Gelli® Printing plate 8x10 (or smaller if you wish)
heavy acrylic paints in favorite colors and black
Natural or white cotton duck cloth
scrap paper and/or text paper
paper plate
wet wipes
spray bottle and paper towels
paper plates
Optional:  acrylic inks and bamboo skewers

You'll need an area where you can lay out all your materials and have a flat surface for your Gelli Plate. Cut your fabric slightly larger than the size of your Gelli Plate so you can press down on the Gelli Plate and not get paint all over your hands. You can use the excess scraps for other projects.

The first layer of paint will provide contrast with the top layer of black paint, so my first layer will be a solid layer of a bright color acrylic.  I squirted a solid color onto the Gelli plate and brayered it all over the plate.  I placed the cloth on top of the plate and applied pressure evenly with my hand across the fabric and plate.  Then I lifted the fabric off the plate.  I don't need a lot of paint. Just enough to cover the plate in an even coat.  I made several of these first layers.  It is not necessary to let the fabric dry completely before you do the next layer. Clean your Gelli Plate with a wet wipe and/or water and paper towels after each pull or each color.

Below,  you will see the 2nd layer of acrylic paint with black on the Gelli Plate + stencil.  Squirt black paint on the plate and brayer it evenly. Immediate lay the stencil on to the plate and then place the fabric on top of the stencil with paint side down.  Use your hands with firm pressure to press down firmly and evenly to get the print on the fabric.  Some people work from the middle out and some work from the top down.  Some people use a brayer to do this but I get a better feel with my hands. Remove the fabric from the stencil immediately after.  

This last one with the black paper is an example of what you get using red paint with black cardstock.  I didn't bother to clean the Gelli Plate before I printed on it.
Note:  You can set the stencil, paint side down on a piece of scrap fabric/paper and get a partial print if there is enough wet paint left on it.  I don't bother to clean my stencils until I am done with all my prints.  That's why my stencils are so colorful.

If you take a piece of scrap paper or text paper and lay on top of the Gelli Plate that you just used with the stencil and press down firmly and evenly throughout the plate you will get a ghost/residual print that you can use in your artwork.  I use mine mostly for backgrounds and journal pages in my art journals. Lay the stenciled pieces of paper aside to dry.  See my two examples below:

I wanted to have some red heart backgrounds so I could cut out some red hearts and sew them onto my prayer flags.  As a result, I brayered red paint on the Gelli Plate and got a red background on my fabric. The only problem was that it looked too plain.  I figured that I would try it again but would stick a stencil in between the plate and the fabric with another layer of red paint. This is what I got.  I really liked the texture even though I used the same color red again.

These are the stencils I used for this project.  I used stencils from MaryBeth Shaw - Stencil Girl Products and Artistcellar Stencils. You can tell that I use them a lot because they are so colorful. Yes, I do clean them all the time, I just don't get to it right away.

Once my layers of paint are all dry, I want to add a little color, embellishing, and writing to it.  This is when I get out the acrylic inks.  I use a wooden skewer to add a bit of color and contrast.

Once it all dries, I cut them to size.  I know they are 5x8" but have to remember that I have to leave a few inches more at the end to fold over so I can hang it.  So, it's more like 5x11". I marked the back side with a dot where I needed to fold it over to sew it, to make it easier on myself later.  These are what the cut-out unfinished pieces of fabric looked like.

I decided I needed to sew my little hanging end/flap first so I knew where I could position my hearts and other stuff.  Then I stitched on the hearts/flowers/stuff and did my writing. This is my end result:

Well, the prayer flags are not complete until I've gone outside and hung them out on a line.  I couldn't do it myself. My daughter had to volunteer to help me. You'll see her in one of the pictures.

Hope you enjoyed the tutorial and will have some fun using the Gelli Plate making your own prayer flags.  You can find me on Facebook. Let me know if you have any questions. Comments are always welcome. 
                      - Belinda Spiwak