The Scent of Lavender
Don't you love the scent of lavender? I do! Years ago I had lavender plants all over my yard. I would carefully cut the flower stems and bring them in to dry. When they were dry I would separate the stems and the blossoms and set the blossoms around the house in bowls or small sachet bags to brighten the cloudy gray seasons with the scent of my summer garden.
Then one day, as I was shopping at an outdoor market in Eugene, OR, I saw fragrant ribbon tied lavender wands for sale. Wow! A smile caught the corners of my mouth and a certain childlike way of viewing the world came over me as I admired the beauty of this natural craft. I bought one to remind myself to try this at home. Aside from the fairy tale quality of ribbon tied wands it occurred to me that this was a pretty and practical way to preserve the fragrance of lavender without going through the sometimes messy process of drying and stripping the lavender blossoms from the stems.
Years have passed now. My lavender plants are gone. I have a few small new ones I planted this year and last, as I have begun to remember how I love lavender, but they aren't very big yet. To get a real taste of the beauty of lavender I have to look elsewhere these days. While shopping at the Camas Farmers' Market I found lavender products for sale along with large bunches of freshly cut lavender from Lacamas Lavender Farm. Once again I felt inspired to make lavender wands so I bought a bunch of lavender and took it home.
At home I looked up some directions on the Internet. There I found that to make wands it is essential that the lavender you use be fresh. It should have been picked within the last 24 hours and even then the fresher the better so that stalks remain supple. I was told that my lavender had been harvested the night before so I gathered various instructions and my ribbon and settled onto the back deck with the lavender, not wanting to waste any time.
Making Lavender Wands
I found that you can make lavender wands, or lavender favours, most any size. Some prefer to make slim ones by starting with fewer stems and staggering the height of the flower head. Some make more rounded wands with more stems. I read recommendations varying from seven to about thirty. The important thing is to start with an odd number of pieces, or an odd number times two. Then choose a piece of ribbon, 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide, depending on the look you prefer, and several yards long. Tie it tightly around the lavender stems just below the lowest flower head, with one end of the ribbon about 12 inches long and the other, preferably, on the spool trailing on the other side of the knot.
When the knot has been secured hold the bundle with the stems pointing up, flowers pointing down, and bend the stems, carefully, down around the flower heads, evenly distributing the stems all the way around. This will create a frame.
Gather the stems around the flowers like a cage. Pull the short end of the ribbon down through the flower heads in the middle of the cage and grasp stems and ribbon just below the flowers. Now take the long end of the ribbon and pull it to the outside of the cage at the top, close to the knot you tied. Begin weaving the ribbon in and out of the lavender stems. If you chose an odd number of stems, weave the ribbon in a pattern of over one, then under one stem. If you chose an odd number times two, pair up the stems and weave the ribbon over two, then under two stems. Each pair of stems should continue to work as one as you weave the ribbon around the lavender wand.
1/4 inch ribbon with one up one down weaving
3/8 inch ribbon with two up two down weaving
Push the ribbon together as snugly as desired, keeping it as even as possible while you weave. When the ribbon is woven to the bottom of the lavender flowers pull the short end of the ribbon through the stems to the outside and tie it with the long end of the ribbon into a tight bow. Add another length of ribbon to wrap the stems if desired.
Lavender wands make pretty sachets. Slip them into a drawer to keep the contents smelling fresh, arrange them in a vase, or hang them from a robe hook or hanger in your closet. These pretty wands make great gifts or package decorations too.