Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Straw figures

B.Q, or better before quilting I worked a lot with wheat straw. This is a very ancient craft. I found my first book in England, where it is called "corn dolly making". It is confusing, because what we call grain in Canada is called corn in England, while what we call corn is called maize over there. Anyway, one of our crops is wheat and since we have a test plot anyway, it was easy for me to get a variety of wheat, dark, light, bearded ( bearded wheat has long hairs) or not. I would cut it by hand, dry it and "clean" the wheat. This means that only the stem with the head would be left. This would be stored till needed. Till about 10 years ago I made hundreds of items. Problems with hands and shoulders made it harder. Before you can work with the straw it has to be soaked,after which it is pliable enough to handle. It also means, that you have to finish the project before the straw dries out.
So it got too much to do the bigger projects. Applique was much easier. Whenever I had trouble, I could stop and proceed later. I have not stopped completely though. Every year I pick a few handfull of wheat. And when I need a small present it is fun to whip something up. My fingers still seem to know how to make the braids.
One year I decided to start the work on a Nativity scene. That year I made these 5 figures. The plan was to make a few every year. That did not happen and these are the only ones I have.
They are about 12 inches tall and usually they come out of the box for Christmas.
When the tree is not too big, one of the angels stars on top of the tree. Not this year. I managed to buy a tree that hit the ceiling!


  1. I've always loved these wheat ornaments! I have a few that I am sure are from China but still someone had to make them.

  2. These are just wonderful. I've had quilling ornaments before, but I think that is a think piece of wood instead. What beautiful pieces to have, and to know that you made.

  3. These are beautiful--they're bound to become family heirlooms!