How To: Cereal Box Woven "Wheat Straw" Stars (Suns) to Celebrate the Primstav Summer Season

Woven Straw Star Ornaments

 

Woven Straw Stars = Cardboard Strip Version

Today I am celebrating the beginning of the summer season!

Oops! Did I just rock your world?

According to ancient Norwegian calendar sticks known as "Primstavs", the year is basically divided into the summer (growing and harvesting) season and the winter (using up and surviving on what was harvested) season. And April 14th is the beginning of the summer season!

Primstavs of long ago were long sword shaped wooden boards originally used to help families living in isolated valleys throughout Norway keep track of church feast days. Each special day was given a specific symbol that described some aspect of a special calendar day or a saint. For instance, the winter solstice was represented by an image of a sun.

The earliest known Primstav dates from the early 1400's but some were still in use into the 19th century. Over time, as Lutheranism replaced Catholicism, the Catholic based symbols came to represent more secular needs and the Primstav became a sort of calendar of reminders for farming and household duties - when to plant, salt fish, begin spinning.
Take the time to read and enjoy the links below! I think you will find the images and the story of the Primstav, the special days and their symbols all quite fascinating.

Gotta love Google images! 

Learn history and about ALL of the symbols

More history, drawing of a complete Primstav and about the Swedish version

So now - you know a little more about the symbols. No doubt you might be asking why I would be treating you to a tutorial for a star (or sun) instead of the official symbol for April 14th which is a tree!

Well - if you must have a tree: TREE Tutorial!

I am just so happy that the sun is now shining a full 14 hours a day - waking up the seeds buried in the soils of the northern hemisphere - I thought a pretty wheat star (which could also be considered to be a sun) would be appropriate! And even better, made of cardboard cereal boxes to also celebrate Earth Day which is only a week away!

Before beginning the tutorial -  a quick THANK YOU once again to my re-use/upcycle Muse, Michele at Michele Made Me, who has taught me that cereal boxes make for excellent crafty endeavors. While you are visiting be sure to check out her brilliant and beautiful Recraft-along (using cereal box cardboard of course!)

And now......................................................

HOW TO MAKE A WOVEN WHEAR STAR ORNAMENT FROM CEREAL BOX CARDBOARD!

All you need to make a "faux" woven wheat straw star (sun): cereal box, pencil, ruler, scissors, masking tape, X-acto knife, perle cotton and bits of leftover yarn .

I bet you have everything on hand - right?

The very first step is to make a jig!

Weaving the stars can be a bit tricky (especially getting started) so I created a little jig to make it much easier.

The jig can be used over and over again, so once you have made the effort to make one, you can weave stars very quickly - and you won't feel like you need an extra pair of hands to do so.

Believe me if you have ever tried to juggle six wheat straws and weave them together without the jig, you will appreciate how much easier it is with the little jig!! AND best of all the jig makes weaving very kid friendly!

Woven Wheat Straw Ornament process

1. Cut a 8"x8" square from a cereal box. Trace a 3"x3" square in the center.

Woven Wheat Straw Ornament process

2. Cut a square in the very center that is approximately 1 1/2" x 1 1/2".

Woven Wheat Straw Ornament process

3. Mark each side of the 3" x 3" square into 1" segments.

Woven Wheat Straw Ornament process

4. Place numbers 1 through 12 right next to each mark in the same orientation as shown. Begin at the top with number 1 and number each mark clockwise around the square.

Note: The numbers are not designed to designate steps in winding but rather to indicate placement of the cardboard "wheat straws".

Your jig is complete!

Woven Wheat Straw Ornament process

5. Using a straightedge and X-acto knife, cut 6 thin strips from a cereal box. Cut each strip 1/8" wide and approximately 7" to 8" long.

6. Place the first cardboard straw along the 1-7 marks  and tape into place.

7. Tape cardboard straws along the 3-9 marks and then along the 5-11 mark.

Woven Wheat Straw Ornament process

8. Next add the 2-9 cardboard straw and then the 6-12 straw.

Woven Wheat Straw Ornament process

9. Tape the final 4-10 straw into place. Note that this "straw" is resting on the very top of the straw pile at the center.

The placement sequence is very important. Please follow it exactly. (hint: I have actually written the sequence right on the front of my jig.)

Now we are ready to wind the yarn! 

Woven Wheat Straw Ornament process

10. Cut a piece of perle cotton about 12" - 16" long - whatever you need to work comfortably.

11. Temporarily tape 3" of one end of the perle yarn to the back.

Woven Wheat Straw Ornament process

12. Bring the yarn to the front at the 4-10 straw as shown here ( left of center "pile").

13. Bring the yarn over the 4-10 straw and then, moving counter clockwise, under the 3-9 straw.

Woven Wheat Straw Ornament process

14. Bring the yarn over the 2-8 straw and under the 1-7, over 5-11 and under 3-9.

Woven Wheat Straw Ornament process

15. Continue around the straws, always moving counter clockwise, until you arrive at the beginning.

Woven Wheat Straw Ornament process

16. Bring the yarn to the back side, pull the yarn as snuggly as possible toward the center and tie a square knot at the back.

Woven Wheat Straw Ornament process

Now your cardboard straws are anchored in place and will be much easier to hold onto as you weave.

Woven Wheat Straw Ornament process

17. Carefully remove the tape and release the fledgling star from the jig!

Woven Wheat Straw Ornament process

18. Hold the star so that the front is facing you. Following the same weaving path as was used before, begin weaving at the 4-10 "straw" drawing the yarn over and under and over and under the straws.

Allow about the first 5 inches of yarn to hang loose at the back. 

Woven Wheat Straw Ornament process

19. Once you have completed a full circle, draw the yarn snuggly against the perle cotton.

Woven Wheat Straw Ornament process

20. Continue weaving around the circle three or four more times. Then reverse the weave by placing the yarn under two adjoining straws as shown at the arrow.

Woven Wheat Straw Ornament process

Continue weaving as before and as you weave you should notice you are beginning to create a sort of basket weave pattern.

You can continue weaving in this way with a single color, or if you prefer, change color.

Woven Wheat Straw Ornament process

21. To change color, tie on the new color at the back of the star using a square knot.

Woven Wheat Straw Ornament process

22. Turn the star back over so the front side is facing you and continue weaving as before. Remember to pass the yarn under two straws as shown at the arrow before proceeding with the over/under pattern.

Woven Wheat Straw Ornament process

23. Continue weaving adding in more color if you wish. Or not!

If using worsted weight yarn, I found that I preferred my little weavings to be no more than 12 to 16 yarns wide. However, if you wish, your can continue weaving to the very tips of your "straws".

24. When weaving is complete, tie off the ends on the back using a square knot.

Woven Straw Stars = Cardboard Strip Version

If you use sock or sport weight yarn, more rounds of weaving are needed; however, this also provides the opportunity to introduce more colors!

When I made the star above, I actually used a variegated yarn to see what would happen! And - I like it! So if you have some leftover variegated sock yarn in your stash - give it a try. See what happens!

Woven Straw Stars Ornaments - Cardboard Version

25. Once weaving is complete and the yarns are tied off, you can carefully remove the perle cotton if you like. It is not necessary if the color blends with the rest of the weaving.

Woven Wheat Straw Ornament process

26. Trim the ends so they are all the same length. Or to make your star more 'star-like' - cut every other straw shorter than the straw on either side of it.

You have completed your first cardboard version of a woven wheat star (sun)!

Woven Straw Star Ornaments

Just as pretty as stars (suns) made from real wheat don't you think?

Of course most of you who follow me know that I use my wheat straw stars (suns) as tree ornaments during the winter holidays - placing them on the tree to celebrate the winter solstice. 

I also use wheat straws to create little picture frame ornaments - cereal box cardboard would work great for this project!  Especially if covered with glitter!

I am definitely planning to celebrate every future April 14th by hanging suns and  cardboard wheat straw trees in the windows as garlands to welcome summer! 

Midsummer too!

But NOT summer solstice.  I don't celebrate that day.  The day the sun begins it's journey south and our days begin to shorten.  Don't celebrate that!

wooow this is brilliant. I

wooow this is brilliant. I like this version as well. I know of my childhood the ones of Straw you could buy in the expensive Warehouses like the Bijenkorf.
So i stood many times drowling at them, but my mother was poor for a long time.
So she tried to make them herselfs but that wasn't the same.LOL
I like this one as well, i love the idea of yours how to keep the outside of the stips straight by using this trick of yours.
Sublieme!!!!
Well done , great tute as well. Thank you for the sharing.
wooow you getting me still more impressed.XD
i didn't know that there were symbols, thank you for that link as well.
many dutch hugs;XD

Pam, Love the jig idea!

Pam,

Love the jig idea! Never would I have thought of that. These suns could also be made out of plastic straws for kids to do and small ones - maybe three or four inches wide would make great Christmas decorations.

Maureen

oh wow, that jig is

oh wow, that jig is brilliant!!

I have some little tubes or pipes or whatever, that would work great for this! Although... I do have lots of cereal box board, too...

Thanks so much for this - I

Thanks so much for this - I have been trying to make one but could not figure out how to start it and now you have shown me. Lovely idea.

Yaaaay!  i am so glad to be

Yaaaay!  i am so glad to be of help.

I went nearly nuts trying to juggle all the real wheat straws and get them tied together so i could begin the weave.  So i tried to devise something to make it easier.

Let me know how it works for you.

Thanks so much for including

Thanks so much for including the info and links on the primstav! For the last few years I've had it in my mind to attempt to make one. Or more, as they would make such cool gifts. I have a beautiful wooden bowl which has been decorated inside with twelve primstav symbols, a representative one for each month, and that's what gave me the idea. Anyway, if I ever make one I'll be sure to send you a pic :-).

I love your blog, and so appreciate the amazing effort you put into it!

Thank you Nancy!  You make me

Thank you Nancy!  You make me feel so appreciated!! :-)

And I am very happy to hear from someone else smitten with the Primstav and it's wonderfull albeit mysterious (at first) carved symbols.

Yes! Yes! Yes!  Please do send me pictures when you do make one!

 

Hah! According to todays

Hah! According to todays newspaper Spring is officially 2 weeks late this year, here in Norway!

But I love your star/suns to celebrate anyway and Spring
is coming- I heard an entire treefull of songbirds this afternoon, resting in their journeying and obviously glad to be here at last. They were against the sun, so I couldn't see them clearly, but I think they were thrushes.

My Father-in-law and I were chatting the other day, and he told me that the 14th April is the traditional day for the hiring fairs; when agricultural workers were able to find a new job and farmers could hire new labourers. He said that this day and the autumn hiring fair of 14th October were the only acceptable days to seek a new position- being out of work at any other time would be considered very suspicious indeed. He added that the farm worker would be expected to complete his mornings tasks before leaving and to be ready to take up his new job in time to do the evening tasks!

Gill, you have been and

Gill, you have been and continue to be my "Nordic Muse", guide and inspiration.  I treasure the book you sent to me "Arets Rytme: Vi lager var egen Primstav" by Vera Molland. (This Year's Rhythm: We create our own Prinstav).  Even though it is written in Norwegian, I have poured over it so many times and with the help of google translate and the sites I linked above, I am making headway into it's secrets!!! :-)

And I so appreciate you sharing your chat with your father-in-law here in comments for others to read as well.  So the beginning of the Primstav summer season and the beginning of the winter season might be considered good days to seek employment!

As always, my heartfelt appreciation for your friendship and guidance.

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