Thursday, February 26, 2015

March Prayer Flag

I have been making two prayer flags each month; one is my practice or test flag that I keep and hang with the others in my garden, and one I swap. Everyone in the swap gets to chose their theme for the flag they make and use whichever skills they have. The only real requirement is that finished flags fly at 6 x 9. I've been adding the ties to mine but haven't always received them from my swap partners. 

Ideally the flags disintegrate outside in nature, flying in the winds. Edges are meant to fray, so that when they go down, according to tradition or legend, the prayer is answered.

Winds are pretty strong here in Tehachapi, so I take it prayers are answered faster than average. My January flag went down the other day. Rather than fraying, it was quite faded and came untied from the tree to the North side of the house. It was such a surprise that I couldn't remember my prayer and the writing on the flag had faded. I guess when prayers are answered, you don't have to look back. You just open your heart, mind and soul to receive. 

My goal is to have enough of them to string between the two trees in back on the West side. 

This month, my first flag is relatively simple so that it can be all hand stitched. I selected a scrap of green that worked for the size and has clovers and pots of gold on it. March is actually named for Mars who was regarded as the guardian of agriculture. St. Patrick's Day is the 17th of the month where the shamrocks and pots of gold themes originate. We did 'take the Irish' when I lived in St. Paul (that means everyone is Irish for the day), and I would often get my Sons out of school so we could go to the parade on the weekdays. There are a lot of other themes for March, and my choice was simply to up the fabric scrap. 

I plan to make another one in green for this month and this theme. However, when partners are assigned, I will consider their profile. 

As I played with ideas by looking at my scraps, a consideration for next month came from a fabric one of my Australian swap partners sent as an extra. Its an interesting hand dyed piece that was just about 8" wide WOF. It has seven 6" repeats with the figure in the center. I hated cutting into the scrap and ruining the design, yet had no idea how it could be used. This is rather a perfect solution for how to use the panels without cutting into or across them. I need to come up with an idea for its actual construction to meet the size requirements as they are an inch short right now.

Its not that hard to be without a machine, knowing that it is temporary. I am catching up on a lot of things related to my quilting, like sorting the scrap boxes tonight while watching the latest episode of "The Originals". Along with working on these Prayer Flags, I've been progressing on other projects and still have many to go that will need cutting. I have one box of pins left to use on Grace's Spring borders.

The word 'temporary' is key. And also, I've been taking it in for an annual servicing, and remembering to clean it after using 3 bobbins. Nothing was really wrong with it and usually after service, the timing is re-set, and its oiled in places I cannot reach.

This is something I planned to do, which makes it easy to be without. I remember the first time it locked up, which was quite unexpected, so there were no planned projects waiting. I was thrown into chaos of mind. That was when I asked him how I could maintain the machine a bit on my own. He showed me how to take the bobbin case apart and use a Q-Tip to clean dust, and again using a clean one to oil and where to oil. Its all part of quilting.