Thursday, June 25, 2009

Lavender Wand Tutorial and Contest!

Seize the day! Now is the time (at least if you live in the Mid-Atlantic region) to harvest your lavender. You want to harvest your lavender while it is still in bud form - before it has bloomed or flowered. If it has already flowered, it will look lovely in a vase, but will not hold its fragrance for as long it would pre-bloom. Harvest it in the morning after the dew has dried, but before the sun gets too strong and draws the oils out of the buds.

Materials needed:
1 yard of 1/4 - 1/2 inch wide satin or grosgrain ribbon
38 freshly cut lavender stems
vase of water
small gauge knitting needle, crochet hook, or tapestry needle

The particular variety of lavender I grow is the Grosso variety - meaning big or tall - this particular plant has nice long, tall stems to make a very pretty, large lavender wand. After cutting your lavender, you will want to grade the stems. I create four or five piles of lavender stems that are the same length from shortest to tallest.

After grading the stems, I normally put the lavender in the graded bunches in a vase with water. This is because lavender stems are very woody and usually by this time of the year are rather dry. We need the stems to be supple so that they can be bent without breaking.

After soaking the stems for 1-2 days at the most, count out 38 stems of lavender. Align all the heads and pinch the stems together just below the heads. This is where you will tie your ribbon.

When I tie my knot, I always leave one tail of the ribbon least the length of the lavender stems, or about 12 inches long. The other tail stays attached to the spool of ribbon until the very end.

Next, I grip the knotted area with my thumb and forefinger, turn the buds toward the floor with the stems pointing upward. With my other thumb and forefinger, I gently squeeze the lavender stems just above the ribbon knot. Because lavender stems are so woody, this pinching breaks down the fibers in the stem and allows it to be bent more easily. You will pinch and bend all of the stems so that they fold down over the lavender buds.

Once all of the stems have been bent over the knot, pull out the longer length of ribbon (still attached to the spool) and begin weaving it through the stems. With 38 stems, I weave over and under two stems at a time, making 19 the odd number of times I weave in and out. This ensures that I will always have an over/under pattern every time I go around the wand.

Watch the video for tips on getting the stems and ribbon tighter.

As you weave, it is helpful to go back to the beginning with a small guage knitting needle, crochet hook, or weaving needle to tighten the ribbon around the wand and also to push the ribbon up the wand in order to close the gaps in your weaving.

Once you have woven the ribbon past the buds inside the wand (so you can't see them) and have tightened the ribbon around and up the wand, you will need to let the wand dry for a few days to a week. You will know when it's dry when you roll the wand in your hand and the buds feel loose inside the wand and the ribbon feels loose in its weaving.

After it's dry, you will start back at the top of the wand and tighten the ribbon with your pointed tool as before. Depending on the size of the wand and the width of the ribbon, you may end up with 3-5 inches of excess ribbon. This is why I don't cut this end from the spool until the end.
Pull the shorter length of the ribbon through the stems and tie it in a knot to the long end of the ribbon so that your weaving will not come undone. A square knot (right-over-left, left-over-right) or a bow look nice.

Trim the stems with scissors so that they are all even. Any length you prefer will do; I normally leave them 6-8 inches long, for a total wand length of 12-14 inches, but it can also depend on the natural length of the stems. At this point, you can also cut the ribbon from the spool.

This is the finished wand.

However, if you don't like the loose stems, you can also use additional ribbon to wrap the uncovered stems. Simply take the ribbon and criss-cross wrap it up the stems to cover them.

The final product is shown below.

Visit my Etsy shop at or my Artfire shop at and pick your favorite things. If you leave me a comment on this blog about which item is your favorite, along with your name and email address, you will be entered in a contest to win this lavender wand! The contest will end July 27th. Winner will be chosen at random based on the criteria above.


LauraB said...

omgoodness, Liz! I had no idea so much worik was involved to create one of these beautiful wands! Your tutorial is excellent! Thanks for all your hard work. Off to check out your ETSY shop!

LauraB said...

back from your Etsy shop-what a marvelous collection!! My top 2 favs are the Felted Flower Brooch and the Medallions Milk Glass Compote.
have a wonderful vacation!

haigek said...

This is a fabulous thing to share! Thanks!

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