Lavender Wands ~ Making the Most of Lavender Season ~ 27 June 2017
One of my most favorite herbs is lavender. It's easy to grow and my current "mama" of the garden is over 10 years old and still produces a fortune in blooms. Bees love it and it's one of the most showy plants in my garden during bloom time.
But the story today is about lavender wands, a perfect way to save the precious blooms to fragrance your wardrobe, sock drawers or bathrooms.
This little DIY project takes about 45 minutes, minimal equipment and is a great gift for a special friend or loved one. Lavender wands will last for years- in fact in the photo, the more brown-stemmed wand is over 5 years, the next about 3 years and the greenish stemmed wand is 2 years old. All still give off a beautiful fragrance when gently hand squeezed.
To begin, you'll need an odd number of stems for the weave to work out. I choose 19 which is enough to encapsulate the buds and still be able to make a nice weave at the bottom of the wand when the stems are pressed together. The lavender must be harvested and made into wands immediately- if the stems dry out, they will break while working on it and you won't have enough stems to make the weave.
As you can see in the photo, the lavender stems are cut long when the buds are just starting to open, at the height of fragrance. You'll also need 1/8th to 1/4 inch ribbon and a heavy thread- like quilting thread.
Some of your stems may have (what I call ) bracts where the stem produces smaller branches of flowers, or leaves. These should be taken off so the stems are clean.
Bunch the stems with the flowers finishing together on the stem end. Run the ribbon through the center of the stems with about 12" of ribbon sticking out from the flower end. Tie the stems together (and the ribbon) with the quilting thread tightly, but not so tight as to crush or break the stems. The stems are fragile.
With great care not to break the stems, fold them over the lavender buds and try to arrange them evenly around the flowers.
Begin weaving over and under each stem with the ribbon that is still attached to the spool. It's important to keep the ribbon flat- with no twists- to produce the prettiest wand. After a few go-arounds, you'll develop a finesse which makes it easier.
It's tricky to start. Sometimes I really think I need a third hand to hold it together while starting the weave! The stems that you've gone under are still free to move and as I go around they sometimes get pushed in the wrong place creating a mis-weave which I don't notice until I've gone around again.
Like this- DON'T DO THIS! It's easy to back-track to where the mistake began and re-weave it. Often the stems will get caught in the flowers and it's easy to loose track of one which starts the mis-weave.
I've straightened out my mess and now I can weave round and round until I get to the end of the flowers. Pull the weaving ribbon taut as you go so the flowers are snug within the weaving. As the wand dries, it will shrink a bit so you want to be as tight as possible.
As you get closer to the ends of the flowers, the weave will be very tight around the stems. Wrap the weaving ribbon several times around the stems to finish. Using the other ribbon end, tie them into a bow and cut the weaving ribbon off.
I usually trim the stems evenly to finish. The wands should air dry for a few days, then I wrap them in tissue paper before giving as a gift.
Lavender wands- so sweet!
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