Wheat Harvest - Make House Blessings

For centuries it has been traditional, during the wheat harvest, to bring a bit of the harvest into the home and fashion simple or intricate wheat weavings  as  "house blessings"  in the hope they will bring prosperity and good fortune to the family.  In the spring, the wheat buds were scattered over the newly planted fields to ensure a bountiful harvest.

I am no wheat weaver!  But I have learned how to make these simple wheat weavings, called Mordifords, and I thought it would be fun to show you how to make two very simple versions - a braid and a twist.

Wheat can be purchased from craft shops, flower shops or ordered from Blackbeard's . I used a variety called Blackbeard for this project.

In order to be used for weaving, wheat usually needs to be prepared by removing the sheaf from the straw.  This is done by cutting the wheat straw just above the first joint below the wheat head.  The sheaf will easily slide right off.



Just before use, soak the wheat in very hot water for two hours to soften
.

NOTE: Diane's beauriful hands were not available for use while I photographed this post. I am very grateful to my husband for stepping up to the plate and not only holding my wheat bundle while I was weaving, but also for stretching out and working the shutter button at the same time!  Please overlook our "well used" hands! Hand positions during the weaving should be helpful as you are learning.

WHEAT BRAID

Tie six wheat stalks together at the base of the heads using dental floss.  Divide into 3 groups of two each.

This is a fun craft to do with a partner - your child, spouse, BFF!   Have your partner hold the heads together as shown and provide a bit of tension.

If you must make one alone, simply wrap a piece of twine around the wheat head bundle and attach to a door knob!

If you know how to braid hair, you already have mastered this technique! Move on to the finishing steps for the wheat braid. 

Begin by bringing the group of two straws on the right over the two straws in the center.  The right hand group is now the center group.

Now bring the left group over the center group so that it becomes the new center group.

Again, bring the right group over the center group...

the left side group over the center group...

and continue until you have braided about 4 inches in length.

Secure with dental floss.

Bring the end you just tied off to the base of the heads....

and tie securely by winding dental floss around the joint several times and tying with a surgeon's knot.

Finished!   I have always snipped off the long shafts.  However, while I was teaching a class at the Pumpkin Patch Harvest Festival, several of my students wanted to leave the long shafts just as they were.  And I fell in love with the "new look"!

WHEAT TWIST

Start again with 6 wheat shafts but this time, after tying them together at the base of the wheat heads, divide into two groups of three each.

Hold one group in each hand with your palms facing UP!

Now, believe me when I tell you this is much,  much,  much easier to do than to explain! 

Tucking the left group into your left hand palm as you see me doing, hold the right group between your left forefinger and thumb.  Then with your right forefinger and thumb, firmly grasp the right group below the left thumb and begin to twist the straws away from your body.  Your left thumb and forefinger help with the twisting by rolling the straws as you twist.

Be patient! The first time I read instructions for this technique my brain exploded!  I am hoping the photos will help prevent that from happening to you!

Continue twisting until you have a twist about 1 inch long.

Trade hands so that the twisted group is in the left hand and untwisted group is in your right.

Twist the new right hand group away from your body to about 1 inch.

Now, keeping a firm grip on everything, lay the right hand twist over the left hand twist and change hands! You will get the feel of this very quickly - I promise!

Be sure not to let the wheat in you left hand "un-twist" as you continue working.   Twist the wheat in your right hand a few more twists and again change hands.

Continue twisting and changing hands in this manner...

until you have twisted to a length of about 4 inches. Tie off as before.

Tie the base of the wheat heads and the end of the twist together to form a loop as shown.  Snip the straws to within an inch of the knot if desired.

EMBELLISHING!

Almost anything can be used to embellish your "house blessings". Let your creative juices run wild!  I'm thinking these flowers or these flowers or even these bows made of newspaper or magazines.  Or why not a few quilled flowers -Ann shows you how to make them here!

I  embellish mine with flowers, leaves and seed pods gathered from my summer garden and then dried.

Additional wheat and oat stalks can be tied on with dental floss.

Note: I love the look of oats.  If you keep a watchful eye this time of year, you can often see wayward oat stalks growing by the roadside OUTSIDE  farmer's fences.  I try to "save" them before the county weed whacker destroys them!

To attach dried flowers and other fragile dried material, I like to use my glue gun.  I added oats and a dried echinacea flower to my wheat braid.

Dried hydrangea flowers and dried poppy seed pods on the twist with the cut straws.

A rose, forgotten in a vase, dried beautifully and I couldn't bear to toss it.  Good thing too!  It worked perfectly with dried ferns on a twist with the long shafts left uncut.

See - easy!  And fun!  Make some.  And send me pictures!

CHRISTMAS NOTE: These are also very, very pretty as ornaments on Christmas trees and as package decoration - especially if you are wrapping in brown paper bags or craft paper.

 

Thank you Pam for the

Thank you Pam for the tutorial! Many years ago our Extension Club made some but ours were woven, would you know this technique, too. Our Hospice volunteers are making these for our Tree Of Lights program we have for Christmas memorials. Because we are making hearts from the braided wheat we thought we could call the weavings, "Wheat Hearts".
Thanks for the explanations and a special thanks to your patient husband.

Eileen

That is sooo pretty! What a

That is sooo pretty! What a beautiful way to bring nature in and craft something meaningful. Thanks so much for the how-to, I'll be linking.

These are so beautiful!

These are so beautiful! Lovely tutorial, even if Diane's hands weren't available. ;-)

what a great project.

what a great project. Reminds me of the Christmas decorations in Colonial Williamsburg. Love it!

Very cool as always Pam! Now

Very cool as always Pam! Now I just have to figure out where I can get a hold of some wheat.

Beautiful! You know, I've

Beautiful!

You know, I've never been much of a wheat person, but these neat wheat things you keep featuring are changing me .... ;)

Now it's making me wonder if a wheat-themed banner change should be in order for GS .... :)

Happy Fall!

How cool! Very neat! And you

How cool! Very neat!

And you both have amazing hands!

Hello from vancouver, BC!

Hello from vancouver, BC!

Just waiting to go to dinner... so stopped in for a quick look to see what you are up to. And what fun! I love the team effort! These wheat decorations are lovely. I remember seeing them in Bavaria as I was growing up and later, too. I think we must have had them in the north when I was small, too. Only They are very popular in farming communities and in the countryside. You could buy them at the Christmas markets but definitely making your own would be preferable.
Wonderful tutorial!

Bonny

Oh Pam, what a FABULOUS

Oh Pam, what a FABULOUS post!!!! These turned out just beautiful and your embellishments are wonderful.

Several years ago I asked a lady to teach me how to do this, She said yes but it never happened. Now I have to find some wheat and try this. I wonder if Michaels has some. Your instructions are perfect as always.

A very long time ago I bought a piece of wheat with a woven mouse crawling up the stem. I still have it and still love it.

Thank you for this post. And every post! They are all wonderful.

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