I must be channeling my inner Victorian lady. A couple of weeks ago I was geeking out over getting an impromptu tatting lesson from Loren at the Golden Gate Fiber Institute. This week, I was delighted to learn how to make lavender wands. If I start sewing corsets and knitting silk stockings…well, you have been warned.
Kai’s school is starting school late this year, a fact I didn’t take into account when I signed up for the lavender-wand class at Weaving Works. With no childcare in sight, I pondered how to deal with the situation when it hit me: Kai likes making stuff, he’s a reasonable kid, would he want to take the class with me? He said, “Yeah.” (No doubt channeling his future teenage self.) And I called the store to see if that’d be possible. The teacher graciously allowed Kai into her class and we were off!
This is the first time I’ve taken a class where Kai and I were students together. And it was so much fun! Kai wove a bit slower than the folks who had decades more experience using their fingers, but also brought an innovative spirit that some of us old fogies lacked (see his “ultimate bamboo-enhanced” lavender wand below.)
Here’s how much fun it was (lavender wand bunny ears provided by my camera-shy son.)
One of the wands that the instructor, Marcy Johnson, brought was a 2×2 twill that she dismissed as “too much trouble to bother with.” She sells her wands, and I can see how that would be the case, but the weaver in me geeked out on it and wanted to give it a go at home. There were lavender stems left over after the class, which students were free to take, so Kai and I each grabbed enough to make one additional homework wand each.
And retired to the patio with supplies (wand-making is messy, so a good outside summer project, Tully’s coffee optional.)
We tried some unusual flat yarns instead of traditional ribbon to see how that would effect the wands.
I found that the stretchy nylon yarn took longer to weave (because small) but produced a good, tight wand at the end, because you could reef on the yarn and get it snug. The rough texture also held knots well.
The glittery wand is my 2×2 twill and I was thrilled at how it turned out. I continued the twill pattern down the shaft of the stems, creating a solid, non-fraying handle.
For his at-home wand, Kai chose a bright, multi-hued, colorway. We used matches to seal the ends of the nylon, and Kai had so much fun that he melted off a good portion of the ribbon off the end of his wand. But then—and here’s what I love about this kid—he didn’t freak out, or call the piece ruined. He kept working on it. (There’s a lesson for all artists there.)
While I was inside cleaning up the kitchen. I saw him cut down a piece of bamboo from the garden, peel parts of it off, and grind it on a stone. When I came out to check on him, he’d created: the ultimate lavender-wand weapon.
Features include an ergonomic bamboo handle, lavender-enhanced cudgel, sharp pointy bamboo end, and best of all, when you vanquish your enemies, they’ll smell good.
It is quite the ingenious and well-made thing. Stinky vampires of the world: beware.