Monday, July 23, 2007

70 Flags for 70 Years

J, born 70 years ago

There was a long, hard, think about what to do for my Papa's 70th birthday gift. He's my host father from a student exchange in Germany from over 12 years ago, I love him dearly, and we would be there for his party, 3 days after my host sister's wedding.

Married H and had the first 2 children right away

After much thought about the number 70, their love of garden parties, his love of sailing, and my love for the fabric banners/garlands/buntings that have cropped up over the web (see them all in a Flickr! group here), I landed on the idea of a banner with one flag for every year of his life. I made larger flags with initials of important people for special dates: the year he was born, the year he married his wife, and the years his children and grand-children were born.

An S for daughter number 2

The flags hung well in the garden and were very festive, and I sewed them with a water-and-outdoor-friendly cord in the spine, with extra length at both ends, with the idea that they might also be able to string them up on the sailboat. We watched them get tested through their first rain on the day of the party, and they survived quite well.

An E for the first Grandson

Project Details:

70 flags, smaller ones about 5" across the top, larger about 8" across the top Total length: about 32-34 feet

Fabric: Free! Mostly upholstery samples that were being thrown out of my office


-For the flags, I pinned two fabrics back-to-back and drew the outline of the flag on one side. I did a dense zig-zag of the outline (not quite a proper satin stitch), then cut out. None of the flags are the same on both sides.

-For initials, I sketched them on paper, cut out, applied double-fusible webbing to the fabric, traced the outline of the letter onto the paper backing of the webbing, cut the letter out, fused it to one piece of fabric with flag outline traced on it, then outlined with my not-quite-satin-stitch zig-zag.

-To put it all together, I laid everything out on the floor in rows to get the intials in the right places for the right years and get a reasonable distribution of colors/fabrics, then started sewing onto the spine. I stitched each flag onto half of a one inch piece of cotton webbing (woven strip of cloth like they make kid's belts with), then tucked a nylon cord into the center of the webbing, folded the webbing over, and stitched the cord and flags into a sandwich. The 1" webbing worked - I would have preferred a little wider, but I was working (and shopping) with a bit of a time crunch there at the end.

Flags in the Rain

A big E for the littlest Granddaughter

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Doll Quilt Swap II: Progress Shot

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Rainbow of Miters, Baby Blanket

The big reveal, taken at the very last moment before we left it in Berlin with the mother-to-be and dashed away to the airport.

Rainbow Miters Baby Blanket

Yarn: all cotton: Debbie Bliss Cotton Aran, color #510 (dark blue), Araucania Patagonia Nature Cotton, Reynolds Saucy, Rowan 4-ply, Blue Sky Cotton, Manos del Uruguay Cotton

Pattern: Variation on miter formula and no-sew formula from Mason-Dixon Knitting

Needles: Crystal Palace dpns size 6. With rubber bands on the ends, and actually rather too short at the beginning of a square, but I was too cheap and too excited to start to go buy new ones. Yes, I laughed at myself the entire time.

Started: April 2007?
Finished: June 26, 2007 (with many breaks inbetween)

Best part of the making: My dear husband couldn't bear to watch me weave in all those ends by myself, so he asked for a needle and did quite a few of them himself.

Rainbow Miters Baby Blanket

Thursday, July 05, 2007


That's German for Accomplished! Done! Finished!

Trip to Germany and Copenhagen was successful and very fun. Handmade gifts were a big hit. I made a baby blanket for my host sister and 70 flags for a 70th birthday for my host father. Baby blanket and flags to come, with stories and pictures. Blogger, now "saving my drafts automatically," just ate the post while I previewed it. I don't have the time to re-write it just now, but I will.

In the meantime, On To The New!

I made it into the Doll Quilt Swap - hooray! After an hour of cleaning up the craft room from all those flags and a little ironing and sorting, I have this:

Doll Quilt Swap Beginnings

Doll Quilt Swap