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Monday, May 3, 2021

Lavender Wands, Dilly Dilly

lavender wands


"Lavender's blue, dilly dilly
Lavender's green.
When I am king, dilly dilly
You shall be queen."

Once upon a time I had an ample supply of blooming lavender, and a wonderful co-worker showed me how to make lavender wands. This was, oh, perhaps 40 years ago now? 

Alas and alack, I have a very limited supply of blooms this year. Between three small two-year-old bushes, I had enough blooms for three wands.

It's easy to make them, and it's a bit of lore I'd love to pass on.

All it takes is the fresh lavender cut with as long a stem as you can manage (it can have little leaves and side-buds on it); 1/8" satin ribbon or similar narrow ribbon of your choice for a small wand, and wider ribbon if you are lucky enough to make a big wand; and a toothpick to help you move the ribbon among the stems evenly.

Skip down to read about how to make wands! 

But first, some garden news! (1) The Egyptian Walking Onions at the community garden are making "pups" and I have planted some at home. WILL THEY MAKE IT? (2) The lemongrass in my courtyard seems a lost cause. It is not visible any longer! The doggies have eaten it all. I always call one of my dogs "my little curly lamb," and indeed she is like a sheep, chewing grass. The chiweenie was in on it, too. They split up the lemongrass between them: He ate all of it at ground level, and she climbed into the raised beds and ate the rest! (3) The Sweet Meat squash is up and looks like it might make it. 


Back to our wands:

Gently remove any side leaves or side-buds. Work with fresh lavender. The type doesn't matter. If needed, put the cut lavender in water in a vase in the fridge, like the florist does.

ribbon and lavender for lavender wands


I could not put my hands on my plastic canvas sewing "needle," made of plastic with a huge eye for yarn. But that might make the weaving so very much easier.

There are many tutorials on the web on how to make these wands, but many of them are bunk. Why do I say that? They don't share the most basic part of making the wands: YOU MUST HAVE AN ODD NUMBER OF STEMS. The simple over-under weave will not work with an even number of stems. You are going in a spiral pattern, a basketweave, and thus an odd number is a must.

But the other tutorials have nicer photos. I was doing this, oh, around 3:12 a.m. I had intended to do it in the morning, but I had already picked the stems and taken a photo of them with the ribbon,then put them in the fridge. Since I have terrible trouble sleeping more than an hour at a time without having to get up, it seemed like a good idea to get up and make wands at that hour, but it didn't lend itself to clear thinking or clear photos.

Gather as many stems as you want together, with the HEADS of the lavender together. Make sure to have an odd number. Tie a piece of ribbon right under the heads. Don't make the knot too tight. Don't cut into the stems. 

how to make a lavender wand


I just use one piece of ribbon, so I make sure the knot has a tail that extends down several inches. I'm going to tuck that tail in the middle and let it just hang, and let it be covered by the weaving of the other end of the ribbon, and then once I am done weaving and wrapping the unwoven stems about a half-inch to an inch, I use that bit of tail between the stems to tie off the weaving ribbon, and cut the excess from both tails.

The other way is to just make a nice knot and cut, then tuck in the end of another piece from the ends of the stems and coming out from the top of the "cage" described below. 

Making the cage: Once you have the knot in place under the heads of the lavender, you carefully pull up each stem to make a "cage" around the heads. At this point, just pull them gently, one at a time, up and over the flowerheads. You will use the toothpick or your fingers to arrange the stems as evenly as you can. Now turn it over. You are holding the stems and the caged flower heads are at the top. 

lavender wand DIY


Some people with a LOT of lavender make wands that are practically CLUBS. I envy them! If you want to make a huge one, limit your weaving to just the outer stems.

To figure out how much ribbon you will need to cut to do the weaving, I put my fingers together, like two fingers for a small wand (I have tiny fingers), and wrap the ribbon round and round in a downward spiral until it's as long as the caged flower heads. Then I add about two inches. CUT. 

If you are using the one-ribbon method, the other end is still inside the cage, part of the knot that is under the flower heads. Come up under a stem, pull the excess ribbon through, and go over the next stem. Then under the next, over the next, under the next, again and again until you have covered the entire head. Don't overthink it.

This is the part that is difficult. The first few turns are hard to do, and the basketweave isn't very visible yet. You are working from the TOP down.

lavender want showing the "cage"


Use your toothpick to push up and tighten the ribbon as needed. It might be like lacing up a shoe. You pull up some excess, and kind of sequentially pull the slack up between each stem, all the way down. Then wrap the stems without doing any over-and-under once you are past the "caged" part. Pull out that tail and tie an overhand knot with the weaving end of the ribbon.

basketweave lavender wands


Make sure the weaving is pretty tight, because the flowers will shrink as they dry. My darker wands came out much better than the first pale ribbon one I did. The blue ribbon above needs to be pulled and the slack taken out before continuing.

To refresh the scent, just squeeze gently on the woven end of the wand.


I hope everyone had a good weekend and is having a good Monday!




17 comments :

  1. Amazing work. Besutiful result! I don't have lavender available but now I wish I did!!

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  2. I make a couple of lavender wands every year to add to my wool closet. We are no where near getting lavender blooms yet but you are right they are lovel.
    Cathy

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  3. I love lavender...surprise surprise! heehee! I have never seen the lavender wands and would love to make some.What a lovely surprise to see lavender featured on your blog today! Sweet hugs!

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  4. they are beautiful. Lavender and the wand are both new to me.

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  5. I too love lavender, but I'm not very handy. Walking onions sounds interesting. You are so talented and it was fun learning about the wands.

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  6. Those lavender wands are so cool. What a creative idea, and I love the smell of lavender. You have so many colors of ribbons. I always wanted a craft room, but with me downsizing through the years, it didn't work out. That's smart to make the weaving tight when the lavender starts to dry up. Oh, the purple ones are beautiful and my favorite color. You did a wonderful job on these, Holly.

    Happy month of May to you.

    ~Sheri

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  7. I'll bet the smell is wonderful. They are pretty and could be placed decoratively anywhere.

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  8. I was making them when I had many many lavender!
    Now I bought some new ones on Sunday, but I must wait....

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  9. I blush to say, I do not like the aroma of lavender.

    I know, it's *awful* to admit. -giggggles-

    🌷🌷"Blogs are little First Amendment machines."🌷🌷

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  10. I have a row of Lavender and have made netting bags to keep in drawers but never tried making wands. The scent of lavender is one of my (many) favourite scents.

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  11. Nice tutorial. I once planted lavender to show my grandaughters these wonderful little projects. I could not stir up any interest.

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  12. At my previous house I had the most wonderful lavender plant. Here, I haven't had much luck. Maybe I have not bought the right variety. I made many a lavender bottle. In fact, I believe I still have one...somewhere. Thanks for the memory.

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  13. Now isn’t that the most beautiful craft?? I can just imagine the heavenly scent, too!! I had a lavender plant, but it didn’t do well. I do have a diffuser in my bedroom and put lavender oil in it.

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  14. Will need to try this once my lavender blooms. I usually make sachets. Thanks for sharing and oh so pretty! Janice

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  15. I have always wondered how those were done. So pretty! I have family in Alamogordo so I know all about your Cruces weather! You have my sympathy. J.

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  16. I swear I didn't see when you posted this, Holly. I apologize for being so late visiting.

    I have tried growing lavender. I even brought it inside in winter, but it died. I left it outside and it died. I got ONE small bloom from ONE of the seven different types I bought. I have a friend who made these lavender wands. She sent me one and I had it for about five years. You are SO lucky to have any blooms at all.

    Sorry to read about your lemongrass. I planted mine in pots. Maybe you should do the same and put the pots up high where your dogs won't get them. Of course, they may have caused you to not want to grow more of it anytime soon. I sure hope you see my comment sooner than I saw your post, dear.

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  17. What a neat idea, Holly! I LOVE lavender, and wish I could grow it here. I did have a little pot of it for a while, but it finally died out and I've never found another to replace it. Lavender is my favorite scent always. I use lavender soap, hand creams, and if I had any fresh lavender I would do as you have done. What a great idea! You are very "crafty"! Have a blessed and wonderful day.

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