American Prayer Flag

img_7239I’ve been worrying, like many people, about our country. So along with my husband Jim and sisters Janet and Kathy, I marched in the Women’s March in Chicago on Saturday, along with 250,000 other people. It was an amazing experience. I have the feeling there will be more marches ahead.

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One of the oldest American flags.

Meanwhile, I made an American prayer flag. It’s based on the prayer flags of Nepal and our own beautiful flag. In Nepal, prayer flags are flown from rocky peaks and mountaintops. Here in the Midwest, I made do with our pear tree! A prayer flag flutters in the wind, dispensing blessings all around, in this case, I hope the blessings that freedom brings. I tried hanging the prayer flag indoors, but found that it needs to be outside, fluttering free in the wind.

Prayer flags are ephemeral things, and gradually disintegrate in the rain and wind. You might think of ways to make this your own: stenciling the stars instead of sewing, or just using red, white and blue squares, or making it much longer. Here is how to make the prayer flag shown.

American Prayer Flag

Gather together some remnants of red, white and blue cotton. Have scissors, thread, a sewing needle, pins, and a ruler at hand. I tore the pieces for this, and didn’t cut them. Snip the fabric with the scissors where you want to begin the tear. Tear the following pieces:

5  4×5″ pieces blue fabric
2  4×5″ pieces red fabric
4  4×2-3/4″ white fabric
4  4×2-3/4″ red fabric
small amount of white fabric for the stars
string or twine for hanging the flags

Cut or tear the pieces of fabric.

Make five stars. To do this, first cut a pattern. Google “making a five-pointed star with one cut,” and a number of pages will come up. I based my star on a three-inch square of paper. Take your paper star pattern and draw around it on your white fabric. Cut out five stars.

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Sew your stars onto the blue fabric squares. I didn’t turn over the edges, and just sewed them on with a running stitch.

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Then take your smaller rectangles of red and white fabric and sew them together with a 1/4″ seam to make the stripes. Iron the seams. The picture below shows the component pieces.

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For hanging, iron a 1/2″ hem at the top of each piece. Using a running stitch, sew the hems. Place your pieces in a row on your work surface, and measure the length. Add 20″ at either end for tying the flag up. The total length is how much string you need. String your pieces together.

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This shows the hem, and how the string is pulled through, using a large needle.
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The squares being strung together.

In hanging the flag, I first tried using our fence. But to get those blessings out there, I think the flags look most beautiful fluttering free in the wind.

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Hope you enjoy! Namaste. Fran

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One thought on “American Prayer Flag

  1. Great idea and even better follow-through. I notice you have thousands of flags in your trees. You have more flags in your trees than any other flag-hanging spot in history. Period.

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