Prayer Flag Blog Hop: Fresh Ideas for an Age-Old Tradition

 
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 Vivika Hansen DeNegre, editor of Quilting Arts magazine, said she asked me to participate in this week’s Prayer Flag Blog Hop because of my unusual combination of skills: as both an expert in quilting and traditions, she thought I might have something fresh to add to the ongoing conversation.
 
Crafters, sewers and quilters looking for small but worthwhile projects have been gravitating to making banners inspired by the tradition of prayer flags. These flags have a rich history and tradition and are made to express the maker’s prayerful pleas for a better, more peaceful world. Even creating small flags on strings using contemporary embellishments can tap into some of those feelings of thankfulness and awe. Tibetan prayer flags, simply made and decorated with sacred colors and symbols, are meant to better all living things as the breeze lifts them. But a string of indoor flags can also express love and devotion.
 
 
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  When my packet came in the mail from Quilting Arts with the Moda Home Made banner set, the timing was perfect. I was about to fly to St. Louis to help my sister after back surgery, and it seemed perfect to make my flags express a prayer for her healing. I would be staying at her home for a week without access to my sewing machine, stash or other sewing supplies, and here was the perfect portable and meaningful craft project. 
 
At first, I planned to use bright, spring colors to make it cheerful. But once I got the idea of using the bold Red Cross symbol, I decided it would work best in just red and white. And that made packing easy. I grabbed some bright red prints, some white fabric, and a few tokens to stitch on, like a guardian angel charm. Along with a pincushion, thread and scissors. There was no time to explore local quilt shops while I was in the area to add more, but I did find a packet of red buttons at WalMart, while buying groceries.  (And, I did have to buy an IRON at WalMart, because my sister didn’t own this basic quilting tool.)
 
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 I thoroughly enjoyed working on this project, my first attempt at making prayer flags. This kit was wonderful because the size of the individual pennants gave me enough room to play with. It was the buttons on the banner that inspired me to add more buttons still as a design theme. And the buttons allow one to play around with the order of the individual flags as well. Also, there are 8 pennants in the set, but since they are only attached by buttons, you can choose how many you want: my design concept took seven.
 
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 My sister — shown here with her charming daughter Jenn– was thrilled by the results, and happy to have these healing wishes shine upon her daily, even after I left to come home to Princeton. 
 
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  Now I’m eager to play with some more styles and sizes of prayer flags, and will dig into all the inspiration found in Interweave’s ebook on Prayer Flags: the readers of Quilting Arts magazine provided more than 550 miniature flags and construction ideas for this special publication. Go here to order just the eBook from Interweave or the eBook and Moda banner kit. 
 
I can envision making strings of flags for many occasions, including major milestones and accomplishments, and to send love and prayers to my nearest and dearest, whether I can bring them personally or not. And, I am seriously considering finding some fabric I could print on and leave outside, in my garden. I want to research the Tibetan and other traditions for using these objects respectfully. I feel like I’ve discovered a whole new medium, both in my crafting work, and as a maker of tradition. 
 
By the way, I will be giving away a banner kit in the April issue of Quilt Journalist Tells All.
 
Thanks, Vivika!!
 
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Want more inspiration? Visit The Prayer Flag Project blog, to learn more about this movement, upload your own prayer flags, or just be inspired and uplifted by the flags of others.
Here’s the rest of the blog hop, do visit each one. These women are far more accomplished quilt artists than I, and I can’t wait to see their takes on this project.
April 11:    Quiltingdaily.com 
April 14:     Jane LaFazio  
April 15:   Meg Cox  (YOU ARE HERE!)
April 16:    Deborah O’Hare  
April 17:   Jamie Fingal 
April 17:   Susan Brubaker Knapp 
April 18:     Carrie Bloomston

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Comments

  1. Rhonda Davis says:

    This is my first tastes of prayer flags and the way you designed yours has given me so many ideas! Since I have arthritis really bad I need small projects so I can do a little at a time and not worry about leaving it in the way. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. I love your prayer flags!!! It was so sweet make them for your sister… You’re the BEST!! Now I’m off to make my own.

  3. What a lovely gift – something your sister can treasure forever.

  4. Dearest Meg,
    I think your wonderful flags are the perfect thing to help your sister heal: that, and your loving presence!
    xoxo L

  5. A great thing to do for your sister.

  6. That first photo looks so great with the colorful flags against the blue sky. I like your triangle flags and the book looks great.

  7. My best friend made prayer flags with her kids this winter – upcycling potato chip bags! The kids drew pictures or simple wishes. She then wrapped them around a big spruce tree in her front yard. Between the story and the flags gleaming in the winter sun and snow, it was always a wonderful moment arriving at her home.

  8. From the family:Thank you all for the preayrs. We have just left the hospital and they will be keeping Nancy for a few days for further testing. She will be receiving blood transfusions as her red cell count is very low (possible GI bleed) and this has caused some stress to her heart from her recent attack and following surgery back on Sept 24th. Continued preayrs are appreciated along with praises that it was not worse. Nancy & Bill will celebrate 50yrs of marriage on the 21st!!!Chris & April Berry (+family)

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