Things You'll Need
- Wheat stalks
- Soaking pot
- Embellishments (optional)
- Crafting wire (optional)
Leave it to the folks who introduced the world to eye-popping yellow and blue big box stores and Nordic meatballs to boast an artistic heritage that takes advantage of Sweden’s lush agricultural base. Traditional Swedish wheat weaving isn’t just a December craft; you’ll find wedding knots displayed beside holiday ornaments and large wall hangings everywhere Scandinavian crafts are produced. If you’re not up for threshing wheat to get your crafting material, you’ll find everything you need at a hobby shop or online, so check out the material list in this article and get your wheat weaving groove on.
Shop your local farmer’s market or craft store for wheat stalks. Soak these materials in a water-filled vessel for up to an hour to soften the wheat for bending, shaping and wrapping. Create a basic Swedish braid ornament or wall accessory by clipping or wrapping three seed heads together (paper clips, rubber bands and baggy ties all work well) and braiding the three sections to form a thick piece.
Continue to fabricate as many three-headed braids as you wish, whether you’re making multiple small pieces of Swedish art or experimenting with a much larger piece, such as a wreath or holiday door decoration.
Curve the ends of your braids to shape them into fanciful symbols. Feed crafting wire into braids that require more complex shaping that won’t naturally evolve from bending and wrapping (for example, a heart shape). Alternatively, loops and circles are easily shaped using your hands to create traditional Swedish wheat art.
Attach ribbon to your shapes to match the occasion for which you’re making these all-natural Swedish pieces. Choose red for Yuletide, soft pastels for Easter, white for wedding-related occasions, and yellow and blue if you’re celebrating a Swedish holiday, since those are the colors of the nation’s flag.
Add embellishments to further enhance your traditional wheat crafting projects. Use crafting wire and beads to make favors for parties and showers, or find instructions for more complex projects using basic Swedish braiding techniques to expand your crafting repertoire.
Also include the men in your life when you create these crafty touches. Wrap braids into circles and tie them together with blue ribbons. Thread a nametag into each ribbon before you tie the circle together, and then hang the braids around the necks of chilled bottles of wheat-based beer. Guys will always be able to tell which brew is theirs at your next get-together.
Further your interest in traditional Swedish wheat weaving by taking classes at regional Scandinavian centers, or go the distance by becoming a master crafter at a professional folk art school.
If you leave the wheat stalks out too long, they can begin to get stiff, so simply put them back in water until they soften up again.
Based in Chicago, Gail Cohen has been a professional writer for more than 30 years. She has authored and co-authored 14 books and penned hundreds of articles in consumer and trade publications, including the Illinois-based "Daily Herald" newspaper. Her newest book, "The Christmas Quilt," was published in December 2011.