|GOT LAVENDER! LET'S MAKE SOME WANDS!|
Lavender Wands (sometimes called Lavender Bottles) originated as a Victorian Garden Craft. I can just picture ladies in their long, gauzy dresses gathered in a circle on the lawn under a shade tree on a hot day, sipping Lemonade and making Lavender Wands. They definitely had more time for such crafts than we do today. Now, more than ever, we need to drop our sharp focus occasionally and just find an escape from the demands of the world.
Wands are relaxing to make, both because of their heady scent and the meditative, focused nature of weaving ribbon between the stems. They look really complicated, but if you are a patient person, they are easy to make. Your first wand will delight you! By the second wand, you will pretty much know what you are doing. Build a stash of 1/4" - 3/8" spools of ribbon to ensure you have enough to share the craft with friends. Hint: Thin paper Raffia works as well as ribbon, and is actually easier for children or first time wand makers to use than ribbon.
Select 13 to 15 stems of Lavender, the longer and straighter the better. You will always use an uneven amount of stems. I prefer the shape of the wands made with at least 13 stems. Pick off any leaves or extra bud clusters below the main flowers. Lay the cleaned stems of Lavender on a flat surface to wilt for about two hours.
Measure a length of ribbon 3 times the length of your arms from hand to shoulder, or, approximately 3 yards. Tie the ribbon snugly against the base of the lavender buds in a knot, leaving only two to three inches of ribbon on one side of the knot.
Pick up the tied Lavender bundle upside down, with the stems pointed up. Holding it in one hand, use your first finger to pull one stem downward toward the tied ribbon. Use the nail of your thumb to gently crease the stem, slowly bending it 180 degrees down over the ribbon tied around the Lavender buds. Repeat all the way around, until you have a "cage" of Lavender stems around the buds. Find the beginning of the long length of ribbon.
Still holding the wand in one hand, begin weaving the ribbon, working to the right. Go over the first stem, under the second, over the third, continuing all the way around. If the pattern gets off, as sometimes happens, it is fairly easy to pull out the ribbon back to the error and redo it. Don't panic!
Hint: Pull the ribbon snugly when you are weaving the beginning of the bulb. Loosen the tension on the ribbon while weaving the main body and widest part of the bulb, then snug the ribbon again after the bulb has been formed. This technique makes for the most nicely shaped Lavender Wand.
If your attention is needed elsewhere after you have started your wand, simply hold the ribbon while spinning the wand, auto-winding the long ribbon around the stems to hold them in place. If you won't get back to the wand for an hour or more, stick it in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours, then resume.
This next photo is a little blurry, but it is very difficult to take a picture with only one hand! After you have snugged the ribbon for about 4-5 rows, you'll realize the bulkiest part of the Lavender bud cluster is just ahead. Now begin loosening the tension on the ribbon.
After adding 4-6 more rows of ribbon tighten the ribbon tension again. As you are weaving the base of the wand, you'll notice it is becoming more and more difficult to find/pull out the next stem. The stems start to converge upon each other. Once the wand shape is pleasing to you, call it good!
Turn the wand over so the free end of ribbon is flat against a table, and points to the left. Cut a contrasting color of ribbon about an arm's length long. Tuck the new piece of ribbon UNDER the left pointing ribbon, leaving an even amount on each side. Pick up the two colors of ribbon in one hand, and the single strand of new ribbon in the other hand. Tie the three ribbons into as flat and attractive a knot as you can manage.
Hold onto the wand while pointing the bulb down. Pick up one color of ribbon, and turn the wand slowly, making the ribbon spiral along the stem. Pick up the other, contrasting ribbon and turn/spin the wand in the opposite direction. The ribbons will criss-cross each other nicely. Tie them together in an attractive knot at the base of the wand. Trim both ribbons to about 2 inches.
Tie a new ribbon into a bow over the knot at the top part of the wand, catching the loose, third piece of ribbon into the bow. If you don't like the way the knot looks, you can glue a small crystal, bead or flower onto it to hide it. Generally, they turn out well and need no further adornment. Trim the bottom of the stems with scissors to even them out.
Once you are used to making Lavender Wands, you can weave multiple color ribbons, alternating rows. I have never tried to do more than two at a time. To see examples of multi-colored wands, visit The Essential Herbal Magazine or Blog. They are knock your socks off gorgeous!