Friday, July 3, 2015

A New Flag In Front

Since shortly after I opened the shop a sandwich board sat out front so that people driving by could find us and know when we were open.  Because the store is located down from street level and our homeowner's rules have strict requirements for signage it is sometimes hard to find us.

Sadly some of my neighbors also did not like the sandwich board and it had to go.  Since the U.S. flag is federally protected and lets face it who can be have a problem with the flag?  we decided to hang one high up so people who drive by can at least spot us.  Since we are a yarn and fiber shop we had to do more than just hang any old flag.  We decided to make our own U.S. Flag.

In this post I am going to include all of the information you need to make your own!

Yarn: Cascade Eco Plus in Red (8511), White (8010) and Blue (8550).  Cascade Yarns has other names for these but I am sticking with the simple ones.
We needed about 1.5 skeins of each.

Needles: Size 10 circular 40"

Gauge: 16 stitches for 4"
Finished dimensions:
 Full flag:26"x48"
 Blue rectangle 14"x18.25"

My mother in law and I knit this together.  Her gauge is different than mine (she is normal and I knit loose).  We got our gauge in sync by each knitting a swatch and comparing.  I went down needle sizes while she hit gauge right away with the size 10's.  Because this flag is knit then felted it will shrink a lot! My goal was to get a flag approximatey 2 feet by 4 feet.  We ended up with 26"x 48" when it was all finished.  With the sewn on header for the grommits it grew anouther couple of inches in length to 50".



Long stripes under blue field:

Cast on 250 stitches in the red
  1. In stockinette stitch knit 17 rows, change white yarn by tying a knot
  2. In stockinette stitch knit 17 rows, change to red yarn by tying a knot
  3. in stockinette stitch knit 17 rows, change to white yarn by tying a knot
  4. in stockinette stitch knit 17 rows, change to red yarn by tying a knot
  5. in stockinette stitch knit 17 rows. change to white yarn by tying a knot
  6. In stockinette stitch knit 17 rows.  

Transition to short stripe section (positioned to the right of the field on finished flag)

1.Bind off 100 stitches. using a knot tie on red yarn and knit in stockinette stitch to the end of the row.
2. Continue in the stockinette stitch for 17 rows. Change to white yarn by tying knot.
3. In stockinette stitch knit 17 rows. Change to red yarn by tying a knot.
4. In stockinette stitch knit 17 rows. Change to natural yarn by tying a knot.
5.In stockinette stitch knit 17 rows. Change to red yarn by tying a knot.
6. In stockinette stitch knit 17 rows. Change to natural yarn by tying a knot.
7. In stockinette stitch knit 17 rows Change to red yarn by tying a knot.
8. in stockinette stitch knit 17 rows, Bind off.


Blue Field:
Cast on (100)
  1. In stockinette stitch knit for about 120 rows (or 30 inches inches).
  2. Bind Off

Felt your flag pieces

With rough towels or blue jeans wash your flag pieces in hot water and then dry them in a tumble dryer on hot until you can only faintly see the original knit stitches.  These pieces will shrink quite a bit and likely more in height than width.  My neighbor did this for me as I only have a front loading machine.  She said she washed and dried each one twice (full cycles)

Trim pieces
 trim a thin strip off of each side of the felted pieces (the edges will be firmer and less flexible than the remainder of the piece.  when trimmed the felted piece will stretch and lay flat more easily.

Block the flag pieces

using hot water soak the now felted trimmed pieces in the sink until they are saturated.  wring them out as much as you can and position blocking mats or thick towels onto surface that can become wet.  It is a very good idea to do this on a warm day outside.  Using lots of pins and a ruler pin pieces into as even a rectangles as you can.  
Cut your flag pieces into the felted flag dimensions (see size above)  If you want to alter your flag dimmensions you can find the U.S. govt. flag specifications here.  You can use these ratios to create a flag of any dimensions (larger than this one or smaller)


Baste the blue field into the open space on the striped section of the flag (I used a hand whip stitch). Once your piece is anchored and square use an overlock or zigzag stitch with matching blue thread to secure these pieces together.

Stars:

Using a medium needle felting needle, white/natural fleece, and a 1 inch star shaped cookie cutter needle felt 50 stars on one side of your flag.  In the process shadows of your work will show on the back side of your flag.  Use these shadows to align your cookie cutter on the back side of your flag.  repeat the needle felting process.  Fuzz will appear on the first side of your flag.  You can gently felt these bits back and and trim some with extra sharp scissors to make you flag tidy.

Sew on canvas as bias binding and to reinforce the hanging edge of your flag.  Using a 1/2’ grommet kit install two grommets to the edge of your flag.


Your are ready to fly your hand-knitted and felted flag.

I plan on adding some scotch guard before it starts to rain..I think this thing will suck up the rain like crazy!  I also have a backup nylon one if needed on stormy days.












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