Friday, 3 July 2009

Summer Time Lavender Blues

My lavender hedge gets woodier and more gnarled every year and yet I still haven't got the heart to replace it with a younger model. It cuts across the garden in an undulating  blue wave  and provides me with enough flower heads to fill a hundred bags ( I should think - haven't actually tried to make that many.)  

 I have however made many types of lavender bags over the years, including fairies with big organza skirts full of the stuff. This year for a change, I thought I would try my hand at some lavender wands. I always admire them when I see them in trendy gift shops but usually balk at the price and now having grappled with ribbon and stems I realise why they are so priced - they are pretty fiddly to get right and as I bent to the task I also remembered why I chose embroidery over weave at college ... somehow that over and under technique doesn't flow naturally with me ! 
Although I'm probably not the best person to demonstrate this craft I shall attempt it and must say that I did enjoy working with the heady scent and even though my efforts are rather raggedy they will still cheer me up when I see them hanging up in my winter wardrobe.
So first you cut 14 dry stems and strip them of their leaves. Then arrange the heads in a tapering bunch that measures approximately 10cms and tie just below it with 1.5 metres of ribbon, leaving 25cms of it hanging.

Bend the stems back over the heads.

Then the tricky bit is to weave the long end of the ribbon between the stems - the shorter piece is left to hang through the heads. The weaving does get a bit easier the further down you work.

When you get near to the end trim the stems and start to wrap the ribbon down to the bottom and tie into a bow with the dangling end.

 Here are my efforts - don't look too closely ! I've finished them off with the odd velvet flower and button ... you do need to let them dry out before you put them in with your undies.

I quite like this top one as the edged ribbon helped it make look more expertly woven ...
the butterfly motif seemed quite fitting as an embellishment. I wish you happy weaving, happy summer days !