August 2013 Seminar

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OBOD Druid
Posts: 738
Joined: 23 Jul 2003, 06:39
Gender: Female
Location: North of the Thames, East of the City

August 2013 Seminar

Post by Oakapple » 26 Jul 2013, 19:15

The Making of a Banner,photo tutorial

I have seen pictures on the board of the beautiful Grove Banners at the Glastonbury Gatherings and it occurred to me that there were lots of people who weren't in a Grove, or traveled from abroad to the gatherings and they weren't represented by a banner. Since I have made this one it has been suggested that “under the banner” is a good place for people to meet up. Makes a change from under the clock, I suppose!

This seminar explains how I made my banner,it isn't really instructions on how it should be done! My patchwork is really quite in keeping with the message in the gwersi , “do what feels right”.If I am unsure how to do something I will look it up in a book or online, and adapt what they say to something that works for me.
I started making patchworks when I was in the Bardic grade, it was the way my creativity went as I am unable to sing, or play music. I started out with the Bard Symbol,directions and elements.
Bard patchwork.jpg
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On the back there is my depiction of the Wheel of the Year, looking rather crumpled,I'm afraid.
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Planning the Design.

I wanted my Gathering banner to represent the international community of OBODies and have the name of the forum.
On my computer, the link to the forum comes up as The Druid Grove, so that is how I think of it, rather than the Druids Head Pub.
Also If I used the DHP wording I would have liked to use the logowhich is too complicated for me!
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I put my first idea up on the forum. The plan was a circle of trees forming a Grove around the earth. I wanted to make each tree shape as of the flag of a country with members , and hopefully use the shape of that country's national tree e.g. oak for England,
banner plan1.jpg
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I got lots of good advice,most of which I ignored,sorry! I realised that the trees would need to be large and distinct and that there were too may countries to be represented.

I thought of doing a large tree growing from the earth with the flags as leaves.
Or a round banner with the druids round the earth and the flags as a circular border, but I couldn't work out how to hang it.

So the next plan was still a tree grove with flags as a border,which allows for more flags.:-
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I was very happy with that idea and resisted changing it for ages although I knew I would have trouble with appliquéing the trees.

I know I should be able to do them by needle turning. You draw the shape on the fabric,cut it out with a small turning allowance, and sew on with tiny stitches, clipping the edge and turning it over as you go.

Excellently described here ... ep-vs.html

All sounds very simple,but even with the use of “Fray Check” (a sort of fabric glue of which more later) ,it doesn't work for me, and my tiny stitches?, well, they're not so tiny and always show. So no tree shapes.

So I came up with this after a great deal of help from my brother in law (David) and his computer aided design programme,cheating really!
SA flag.jpg
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I expect I could have done it the old fashioned way,with measuring and calculations involving pi,but the computer way was much quicker and easier.
The size was determined by the width of the fabric I had already chosen.
I had to fiddle it a bit to make the druids hold hands properly (arms sloping down) and change them from the “stick druids” in this computer plan.
David was bemused by my insisting on having a number of druids divisible by 3. (equal numbers of Bards,Ovates and Druids ), but played with his design until I was happy.

Choosing the Fabrics

Usually this is one of my favourite parts of a project,but there was less choice here than usual. I wanted the background to represent space, for the earth to be hanging in, and there is a beautiful “proper” patchwork fabric for this.
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Sadly the price per metre for this is beyond me so I had to settle for the plain blue.
I needed lots of plain colours for the flags,and plenty of red,white and blue,even for other than the the Union Jack.
Luckily I found a fabric with small Union Jacks for the corners of the New Zealand and Australia flags , narrow red and white stripes for the American flag,and some Welsh fabric with the dragon flag.

welsh flag.JPG
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The Bards Ovates and Druids needed blue,green and white, and for the lettering, I chose grey to be a colour not already used and to have the right contrast.

I wanted the earth in the centre to look like the pictures of the earth from space
There are several patchwork fabrics with planets, but none were just right.

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But that wasn't quite what I wanted so I started playing with fabric ink on plain white fabric. I used dark and light blue and turquoise and lots of water so the colours blended together. You can see the picture of the effect I was aiming for in the corner.
sa flag template.jpg
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When all that was dry I put on the cloud effects with white acrylic paint,using a dry brush and a sponge. I really enjoyed this “messing about with paint”,maybe I should do more!
E template.jpg
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Making the flags.

The flags measure 6 by 4 inches,and I cut out a paper template for each.
Some were very easy, eg Switzerland,a plain red background with a white cross.

banner pinned.jpg
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I made paper templates for the cross,tacked the fabric over the templates and attached the cross using a blind hemming stitch. There's a picture of this right at the start of this page : ... gfour.html

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I used the same idea for all the flags with crosses like Netherlands and Sweden.

For France ,Italy and all the other simply striped flags,
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I just cut my original 6x4 template into the right sized strips,tacked on the fabric and sewed them together from the wrong side using the traditional English paper piecing method. ... agons.html

The Canadian flag has a basic striped background but a complicated maple leaf. As it was not too big,I just cut it out actual size and oversewed the edges as I was attaching the leaf.

Some of the flags I made using patchwork techniques,to avoid those pesky inside corners I have such trouble with.
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So for South Africa I started with two rectangles red and blue. Then the white triangle and rectangle,with the smaller green ones over them. Last,the yellow triangle and the small black one. This led to lots of layers,but I was able to trim the excess away from the back .
after acrylic.JPG
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The rest of the flags were very similar,maybe with a bit of embroidery for example the stars for New Zealand and USA,and for details on Brazil and Spain.

Making the Druids

At first I thought I would have some male and some female druids but then decided they should all wear robes to avoid all that trouble with legs.. I had some gingerbread “person “ cutters I planned to use as templates,but that didn't work out.
I had another go at the dreaded needle turn method, but had trouble with the angles at the neck and under the arms. I think my chosen fabric was particularly prone to fraying so I used “Fray check”,a type of fabric glue/sealer. Unfortunately it ran into the right side of the fabric,so it looked as if my druids had sweaty armpits!! That wouldn't do at all, so again I resorted to patchwork type techniques, and separated the template into simpler pieces.
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Making the Letters

Again,to avoid those horrid corners I broke the letters down into simpler shapes and joined them together as in paper piecing. The curved ones, C and O, I managed to tack onto their templates fairly successfully as I tried to make the curves as gentle as possible.
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Putting it all together

I started from the centre outwards,tacking the world over a paper template and blind hemming it in place. I cut a slit in the backing to remove the template afterwards.

The druids were equally spaced round the earth,and sewn in place., leaving slits for the arms. I had made the arm pieces extra long so they could slide into the slits and under the body pieces so that they could join neatly and “hold hands”.

I discovered a new method for sewing on the circular head pieces. ... of-photos/

This makes it possible for me to do a form of needle turning! The tacking stitches make a sort of perforated line where the fabric can be turned underneath,so I was able to get reasonably smooth circular heads.

This was a trial layout just to be sure. You can see that I was still using the original one piece druid templates,and that despite trying to space them equally,some of the arms overlap and others don't meet.
druid templates.JPG
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All the druids now in place,the trouble with the arm lengths overcome by sliding them under the body pieces so each could be individually adjusted.

I liked the simplicity of this image and almost didn't want to add anything else,I may make this again as a cushion cover.
swis flag template 2.jpg
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Next the lettering,here it is pinned on with my guide lines tacked to get the spacing right. You can see the edges of the turnings where the pieces of the letters meet,especially on the Ms and Ns. They were tucked under while sewing on.

awen cushion.jpg
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Now the flag layout. I wanted to get as balanced an effect as possible,not too many striped or plain flags together,and an even distribution of colours.

Long man cushion0001.jpg
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Then I joined the flags together in strips for each side,added the square blue corner pieces,and sewed them to the background, always a bit of a fiddle to get everything to lie flat,but I got there in the end.

Now the banner needs to be stiffened and I used thick curtain lining, rather like a blanket rather than proper quilt wadding. My quilting stitches are not as neat as I would like so I quilted the letters and druids only through to the wadding,not through the backing as well. Then I tacked on the backing and quilted through all the layers round the world in the centre, the inside edge of the flag strips and between the flags. All my quilting was “in the ditch” (along the seam line). ... orial.html

Nearly there! Now I need to finish off the edges of the quilt/banner. Usually I just turn the edges under and sew with a sort of blind hemming, but I have learnt another new technique , quilt binding. For some reason I found this very relaxing and enjoyable,and it turned out really well,I will definitely use it on future projects.

Now all I needed was a strip of fabric sewn on the back to make a channel for the hanging rod (a tent pole that breaks into two pieces for easy packing),and I embroidered on the back my name and date finished, and my email address in case it needed to be returned to me.

I can't always make it to the Glastonbury gatherings,so I had a plan to send it to someone from the forum who was going, let them display it and pay for them to send it back to me. My husband managed to find an unused, strengthened fabric poster tube at work,so the banner could be safely packed up. Altogether with the tent pole for hanging and the tube,it weighed just over 2 kilograms, help, postage was getting expensive!

My problems were solved by the lovely druids in Glastonbury. I was going to visit there a couple of weeks before the gathering for a concert at Chalice Well. They invited me to coffee,we had a nice chat and they have taken charge of the banner and will put it up at future gatherings for me. Thank You.

So here is the banner, where it is supposed to be
on display!.JPG
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This was a big project and took many hours ,but I have really enjoyed it, and I am now planning the next (not so ambitious).

I have mostly taught myself patchwork, with the help of books and the internet, its all out there! So,if you feel inspired to try,go on ,have a go! Maybe start with a cushion cover as that's a more manageable size.
druid template.jpg
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I'd love to see your projects and chat about any questions you may have if you've followed me all this way!

I saw a poster in a patchwork shop that said “Piece and Love”, all very nice , but I felt I had to change it to

Piece and Blessed Be !
Piece and Blessed Be.JPG
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Nothing's forgotten......nothing is ever forgotten

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Re: August 2013 Seminar

Post by mistletoeoak » 04 Aug 2013, 21:12

THANK YOU!!!! Oh my I know how much hardwork has gone in to your work, they are truly beautiful!
I have seen members of my family make quilts over the years and when I try I get so cross and impatient when I have tried, corners do not line up and so on, where would you recommend for a beginner to start?
Also I love the way you have worked all the flags in and the detail with the world, what white paint did you use, acrylic or a special material paint?
I am really inspired to have a go again using material - thank you!!!

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Re: August 2013 Seminar

Post by Aphritha » 04 Aug 2013, 21:41

You do beautiful work! So much time and effort that all took. It turned out great! I've thought about patching together some of the family's old clothes to make quilts, but I don't know where to begin...or if patching is cat-compatible! :)

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Re: August 2013 Seminar

Post by Sciethe » 04 Aug 2013, 22:49

Wonderful work, and I see that it's already doing its job of inspiring much activity... I really like the acrylic cloud painting. You've painted cloud-gazy bird forms ...?on purpose? the element air having fun? Awen descending?
Great stuff, anyway. :)
For in his morning orisons he loves the sun and the sun loves him. For he is of the tribe of Tiger. Christopher Smart

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OBOD Druid
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Re: August 2013 Seminar

Post by Oakapple » 05 Aug 2013, 05:15

Thanks all for your kind words!

Mistltoeoak,I used ordinary acrylic for the white clouds,as I have used it before for t-shirt stenciling and I know its pretty hard wearing. I think just squares are easiest to start with, then you can progress to breaking those into triangles. As for the corners not matching - accuracy in cutting the template and in tacking the fabric to it is important,but that is why all my stuff is handmade,I find it easier to "adjust" things that way if needed.

Aprithia,using the family's old clothes is a great way to make quilts,all those memories sewn in,and of course its the traditonal thing. I would think patching would be more cat compatible than knitting!

Sciethe,the bird forms weren't deliberate, I was trying to copy the "earth from space" picture! I had good fun with it. Thats' a good bit of cloud divination,though.

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Re: August 2013 Seminar

Post by Aphritha » 05 Aug 2013, 18:33

Oakapple wrote: I would think patching would be more cat compatible than knitting!
Good point. If I can manage to weave hemp jewelry(all those flying strings!), I bet I could manage a quilt...


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