This Straw Weaving tutorial is called “Welsh Border Fan”. It’s a typical design that has it’s origin in Wales. Like all other corn dollies or straw crafts it holds a special meaning:
In pagan times it was believed that the spirit of the corn lived amongst the crop, and it would be homeless when all the crop was harvested. So the people used to save the last crop and make little corn dollies and favours from it. The spirit of the corn could live within them until next spring. Then the corn dolly would be sowed again and the spirit of the corn was released back into the earth.
A Welsh Border Fan is a wall or door decoration and used as a kind of home blessing. You’ll need an odd number of straws for the straw weaving. You’ll get the nicest results with rye or barley, because of the long beard.
How to do it:
Prepare your straw before you begin, by letting it soak in warm water for a while.
1. Tie 3 straws together with a twine just underneath the heads.
2. Add a new straw to the right side. Slide it under the first straw and over the second straw.
3. Add a new straw to the left side. Slide it under the first straw and over the second straw.
4. Push the new straws up tightly. Now you’ll need to lock the new straws in place. Begin with the right straw. To do that, lift up the second straw on the right side.
5. Bend the outside straw to the middle, and lay down the lifted straw again.
6. Now to the straw on the left side: Lift up the second straw on the left side.
7. Bend the oudside straw to the middle.
8. Lay down the lifted straw. Now both newly added straws should be locked in place.
9. Add new straws. Begin again on the right side. You’ll always slide the new straw underneath the first one and over the next ones to the middle.
10. Add a new straw to the left. Again – under the first straw and over the next straws to the middle.
11. Now you’ll have to lock them in place again. Always begin with the right straw. Lift upt the second straw on the left.
12. Bend the ouside straw to the middle. Lay down the lifted straw. And so on.
13. Repeat those steps until your fan has the desired width. I used 21 pieces of rye for my Welsh Border Fan.
It’s always the same pattern: add a straw on the right – add a straw on the left – lock in the right straw – lock in the left straw
Add new straws: Always slide the new straw under the outer straw and over the following straws to the middle.
Lock the straws in place: Lift up the second straw on the right (or left) and bend the outer straw to the middle. Lay down the lifted straw again.
14. When you’ve added all the straws, continue to weave your fan like before, just without adding new straws. After you are happy with the length, you can tie the long straws together on each side.
15. Crop the straws evenly, or in a nice shape.
16. The basic shape of the fan is finished.
17. To hang up the straw fan, you’ll need to add a little handle. I made a basic braid with three straws and tied it to the fan with some twine. But you could also use a plain ribbon instead.
18. The finished Welsh Border Fan with a straw handle. You can decorate your fan with little ornaments or straw pieces. In the cover picture, I decorated my fan with a so called “Countryman’s Favour“. You can look up the tutorial for that here.
And that’s it! 🙂 It’s really not that complicated, I promise! Just concentrate on the summary and the little video, and you’ll figure it out!