Trading Post Tutorials

Fall is officially upon us, which means Fall Festival is just around the corner! Who (besides me) is excited and counting down the days?

Prayer Flags

Two prayer flags I have made so far to ring in autumn, my favorite season. I dyed a vintage table runner, and cut it into several 5″-wide pieces to create individual flags.


If you are coming to the show, not only do I hope that you are making Pet Postcards for our Pet Postcard Project fundraiser, but we also have some fun opportunities for our Trading Post, where we invite you to trade your ATCs (artist trading cards), Inchies, Mug Rugs, and Prayer Flags. Sharing a bit of your art with other show attendees is a fantastic way to explore new techniques (without committing yourself to a large quilt), and also bring home some (free!) handmade mementos by other quilters. There is no limit as to how many items you can bring and trade. There are no rules for the Trading Post, except to trade like-items at the show (i.e. if you want to trade out your Inchie you brought to the show, you must trade it for another Inchie, not an ATC, prayer flag or mug rug).

All four of these small trading projects are a snap to make, and a great way to use up scraps and embellishments. We invite everyone to use all kinds of media and techniques–don’t feel you must stick entirely to fabric!

4 Simple Projects for Trading

Prayer Flags

Prayer flags can be as sturdy or delicate as you like, but keep in mind that it is quite possible the recipient will be placing your prayer flags outside, such as hanging off the railing of a front porch. Prayer flags are celebrated and cherished for their frayed, weathered look, so feel free to upcycle those vintage table lines too worn or stained for daily use.  The suggested size for this particular prayer flag trade at Fall Festival is in the range of 5″ w x 6″h, and make sure to stitch a sleeve across the top for a piece of cording or string to slip through. Some of my very favorite prayer flags are by Vivika Denegre, who challenged herself to make a prayer flag every day for the month of June a couple years ago. She recently told me that she spent just one hour each day making them, using materials she had on hand.

Vivika Denegre's prayer flags

A sampling of Vivika Denegre’s prayer flags she made in 2011.


Simple two-step construction instructions:

1. Cut your background fabric to size, about 5″ x 6″ for this trade, and fold over the top by about 1″ to the back. Machine stitch closed to create the sleeve at the top. Don’t worry about the fabric fraying along the sides, that’s part of the prayer flag’s charm!

2. Now the fun part: time to stitch and embellish! You are limited only by your imagination for materials and techniques. Feel free to combine paper and fabric, too!

For more prayer flag inspiration, visit Vivika’s prayer flag blog where you will find lots of inspiring examples.

ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) 


ATCs give you a good excuse to use up fabric scraps and share a bit of your art with someone else. Only guidelines are they are 2.5″ x 3.5″ in size, and are signed on the back with your name, date, and contact info (if you would like the recipient to contact you).

I find it easiest to make a batch of ATCs at once, creating and machine stitching on a larger piece of background fabric that I later cut up into individual ATCs.

Suggested materials to make a batch of ATCs:

• Fabrics for the front of your ATC

• Approx. 9″ x 12″ piece of craft felt or batting

• Fusible web or fabric glue

• Fabric scraps (cottons, laces, and sheers) in various colors
• One larger  piece of backing fabric the size of your top fabric to cover the back side of your batting
• Threads and embellishments
• Sewing machine
• Rotary cutter, quilting ruler and mat
• Iron and ironing board
• Embellishments (beads, buttons, trims)
• Fabric scissors

• Cardstock

My ATC Recipe:

1. Create your larger background fabric that you will later cut up into individual 2.5″ x 3.5″ pieces. You could wholecloth dye, paint, stamp or stencil, or piece the background. (This is also a good project to use up unfinished blocks that you don’t think will ever get into a quilt.)

2. Baste the top fabric to batting or felt, cut to same size. Before cutting into individual ATCs, I like to practice my machine stitching and free-motion the background at this point.

3. Cut the top fabric and batting into individual 2.5″ x 3.5″ ATCs.

4. Make them personal! Add motifs or designs using raw edge appliqué, hand stitching.

5. Cut the card stock to size, and glue to the back. Sign and date your ATC.


See the above instructions for creating ATCs, except the finished size is 1.5″ square. Inchies are perfect for wearables–they make terrific brooches as well as charms for bracelets and necklaces.

Mug Rugs

Mug rugs are small(ish) patchwork placemats approximately 6″-7″ in size for a cup of coffee or tea and a small snack to rest on while stitching in your studio. For a host of mug rug tutorials and styles, visit this mug rug page!

We hope you will be creating and bringing a lot of stitched art with you next month to Quilt Festival!

7 responses

  1. Yes! I am excited about fall festival! And I will have my sister, her daughter, our Mom, and my sister in law with me. We have such a good time together!

  2. I decided to make the trading cards and had great fun. I wasn’t going to do the inchies but had smaller pieces left over after cutting the trading cards to size. Great fun ! Does the trading go on at any certain time ? Can’t wait !

  3. Pingback: Fall 2013 Make It University! Schedule « pokey's ponderings

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