Two years ago I was contacted by a seminarian at Church Divinity School of the Pacific and asked to create a banner for the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio. Having grown up in the Episcopal Church as the daughter of a priest (now bishop), I'm very familiar with the Episcopal shield so I agreed and got to work making this:
Nice, right? I was pleased with it. The problem though, is that we seemed to have some mis-communication. See, I thought I was being asked to recreate the Episcopal shield in fabric form, but instead, what she was asking for was the Diocesan Seal, which is very different. After boasting to my father that I had nearly completed the banner, he realized my mistake and sent me the image I was supposed to recreate, which was this:
At which point I felt a little sick. No offense Diocese of Southern Ohio, but that is quite a random assortment of symbols you've got there. A bale of wheat? A plow? Is that water flowing through it? And that crown! Those letters! My head was spinning thinking of all the applique and embroidery it was going to entail. So I took some time to think it over, about two years in fact. Although I always had it written on my to-do list, other projects and jobs and moving came up and the seminarian and I lost touch. But, this past November she contacted me again and said she was still interested so I promised I would have it finished by the end of January. On January 2nd I got to work. First, since there was no way I could do this freehand, I blew up the image 450% in photoshop and printed out 18 pieces of paper like a puzzle and taped them together to make this:
to use as my template. Next, I pinned the template to heat-n-bonded fabric and carefully cut out each section.
Then I cut out all the letters and nearly gave myself arthritis.
Then I forgot to take pictures, but I slowly cut out each section and ironed them down onto the banner canvas. It took about two weeks working a few hours every day.
Next it was time to embroider. Unfortunately I don't have a fancy commercial embroidery machine, so I just shoved the whole thing into my Janome and outlined everything with black thread in a wide and close zig-zag stitch. This part took another two weeks working a few hours every night (about 45 hours total so far). Here are some close-ups:
Next, all I had left to do was turn it into a banner, the easiest part by far, though ensuring it will stay flat and hang straight was tricky. I attached the embroidered panel to a rectangle of red canvas, stitched together the edges and made a channel at the top for the rod (with a hidden buttonhole in the center for a hook to attach it to a pole, if needed), then added some decorative trim along the bottom:
And Praise the Lord, it was finished!