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Palm Weaving

Palm Weaving

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Published by Hans Gommans

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Published by: Hans Gommans on Oct 27, 2012
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12/07/2012

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Palm Weaving:
The Story... and The Art
By Sister Cecilia Schmitt, EdD OSF
There are endless uses of palm on stationery. You could make a palm ornament by using an extremelynarrow strand of braided palm and affixing a card. Or one might take a tiny 3-strand braid, shape it into aheart or circle, affix it to a card and maybe add a picture, ribbon, or ornament.For folks who do much reading, the palm cross bookmark will remind them of the presence of God as theyread. Here the tiny cross made with a punch will be very easy to use. Because there is a great deal of shuffling in and out of the book, it is wise to dry it well and cover with contact paper or laminate it.Religion teachers can introduce the art of using palm by creation a piece called "Crosses on a Hill". Simplymake 3 vertical beams and 3 shorter cross beams and paste construction paper. This can also be a lesson inperspective when children make the closer cross larger than the others. Press under a heavy book for threeweeks. Click on any image to see a larger version.
A-4 The Thumb-Tack Cross
 Our ancestral fathers often cut 2 pieces of palm to make a "thumb tack cross". Theywould make a cross of these two pieces and place a thumb tack in the middle, attachingthe cross to a doorway in the barn or shed. Their strong faith told them that the blessedpalm would protect them from the dangers of fire, theft, and storm.There are many ways to do crosses. One way is to fold the palm to make vertical andhorizontal beams, then staple or sew the center. The cross can be decorated with apicture or ribbon.
A-5 The Folded Cross
 Trim a piece of palm and cut to about 10" and cut another to about 5". Fold the longerpiece so the ends meet about 2" from the top of the back side. Staple in place. Fold thesecond piece so the ends are also in the center and place this as a crossbeam on thecross. Staple, sew, or glue the center. If you wish, you can secure the center by wrappinga narrow piece of palm or the tough rib. Press until dry.
A-11 The Folded Aura
 
 
This is the easiest design possible. Take 2 leaves of equal width connected at the bottom and fold one overthe other at 90° angles. Continue to fold one over the other holding the folds tightly with the left thumb. If itgets too large to hold, leave some go and keep holding the new folds as you make them.You can use the aura to encircle a bouquet of other palm designs. It can be made into a kind of crown to beplaced on a crucifix, made into a heart-shape and decorated and, if made small enough, can be used as aborder for pictures. In bouquets it can hang loosely in a cascade effect.
A-12 The Circular Folded Rose
 You need 2 tapered leaves of equal length connected at the bottom. The rose will have acenter only if the palm leaf is tapered and becomes smaller as you fold. The width of thepalm can be up to 1/2" at the base.Beginning at about 2" from the base, fold one leaf back, slanting 45° to the left (1), foldthe other leaf back, again at a 45° angle under it (2), fold the first under again continuingin in a counter-clockwise motion, bringing the "rose" as it is now appearing, over the frontof the stem (3). Since the palm is tapered, the rose begins to become smaller as youcontinue. When you feel you have a nice rose, secure the center with a pin or inserting theends into the weave. You can either trim the ends, or let ends spin off. The center of the rose can bedecorated with sequins, a tiny ribbon, or just a knot. It does not need to be decorated if done well. Roseslook nice alone or in a bouquet of roses. A palm rose bouquet is welcome as a gift to the person who haseverything money can buy! If hung on the wall, the roses can open and hang down, forming a nice spiral.Some leave the folds tufted, not pulled tight, for a rounded effect.Roses can also be made into a circle with tape or by stapling; they can be placed next to each other on acardboard cross. Tiny roses can be made into corsages. Give a corsage or bouquet of blest roses to a familywho has lost a loved one. Make the number of roses you place in the bouquet significant. Perhaps you canhave 7 roses for the years of a child's life.
A-18 The Square Cross
 1. Cut 2 strands of palm about 1/2" x 14". Place the ends of the 2 strips together toform a right angle. Bend #1 down and around the back to make a loop around #2.2. Fold #2 behind and bring it through the loop in front.3. Bring #1 through the top of the loop to create the top of the cross. Loop #2 throughthe same side in the same manner to create the left side of the cross.4. Tuck the loose ends of #1 and #2 into the center to finish the bottom and right sideof the cross.
 
 
Introduction to the Cone Patterns
 The pattern referred to here as "The Square Cone" is often called the "grape". Since this is the mosttraditional of all patterns, it has been carried down through the ages. However, it really never had a name.Some just called it "palm braiding". Others called it the pyramid, the basket, the bird's nest, the rosebud, etc.Sailors called it "boondoggling".Children (and sometimes their parents, too) struggled every year to remember how to start the cone. It is oneof the more difficult pattern but as diagrammed here, will be easy to do. There are actually 5 kinds of conesas shown here. It is best to begin with the square cone.
C-1 The Square Cone
 Take a palm which has 4 strands or make 4 strands by slitting palm pieces,stapling palm together if they are not already joined at the base. Your widthof palm will determine how large your piece will be.If you have very long pieces of palm you might consider cutting them inhalf and using the tapered end for your cone since a tapered leaf makes anicely shaped piece.Take 4 strands connected at the bottom. Begin by bending one strand away from you (pointing north),another strand over this and pointing to your left (pointing west), another strand over this toward you(pointing south). The last strand will point to your right and be placed over the 3rd and under the 1st(pointing east). Thus you have a strand going in each direction and are ready to weave.Pull the braid tight and continue to fold the strands in 4 directions, weaving the 4th strand under the 1st. Thechildren chant, "1, 2, 3, weave". You will braid clockwise then counter-clockwise, beginning with anystrand. To speed up the process, try to have only one weaving leaf and trim the end for easy weaving.Otherwise all 4 ends need to be trimmed. Watch that your weaving is even and the tightness of the weave isconsistent for nice looking piece.Finish by putting a pin in to secure the tightness. Remove the pin when dry. One can simply trim the ends orleave them curl on their own. Others pull the ends together and tie them; others tuck in the ends. A highlyartistic look can be achieved by making a loop with the ends and passing some loops of thin strands of palminto the loop. The cone then has a "bow" at the top.

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