Updated July 6, 2021.
Once when I was visiting Needlepoint, Inc in San Francisco, they had their shop decorated for Christmas with a charming tree with nothing but needlepoint ornaments on it. My favorites were needlepoint flags. There are painted canvases of flags of many different countries. But what really struck me was the finishing. They were finished as rectangles about 1/2″ thick, with fabric for the sides and back, and cording around the sides. They weren’t stuffed, but probably finished over blocks of foam. The fabrics were glitzy but didn’t overwhelm the graphic simplicity of the flags.
I was delighted.
I’ve tried to make needlepoint flags before because they are so fun on a tree as ornaments, and I’ve always been very disappointed with the results. They were just too thin and insubstantial to look good. A fabric or paper flag on a little pole will drape, but being needlepoint, these didn’t. But they weren’t enough to show up and making them bigger didn’t really appeal to me.
You can easily make flags yourself. draw a rectangle onto canvas the size you want your finished flag to be. If you want to make a vertical tricolor, like the Irish flag above, divide the long side into three equal parts and stitch one section in each color. If you want to make a horizontal tricolor, like the German flag, divide the short side into three parts and stitch one in each color. If you want to make a Scandinavian Cross, like the Swedish flag, find points one third away from the bottom and upper left corners. These are where the two narrow lines of the cross will be. These lines should be two or three stitches wide.
Other flags with crests and diagonal lines are harder to design.
This is a fantastic way to make flag ornaments. I can’t wait to make a bunch for next Christmas. I probably would have bought a bunch of canvases then and there if it weren’t for the fact that my DD was waiting down in the car and we wanted to beat the traffic.
About Janet M Perry
Janet Perry is the Internet's leading authority on needlepoint. She designs, teaches and writes, getting raves from her fans for her innovative techniques, extensive knowledge and generous teaching style. A leading writer of stitch guides, she blogs here and lives on an island in the northeast corner of the SF Bay with her family
Needlepoint, Inc. says
A customer from Atlanta was just in the shop and told us about reading your blog. Thank you, Janet, for the wonderful praise about our flag ornaments. You’re always very kind and talented in your observations.
We have some new ornaments you should see the next time you’re in town. They’re for using up leftovers and are very small but we finish them on a wooden ball and they look like a million dollars!
Have a wonderful summer!