‘Straw is an ageless material closely associated with Christmas. […] Love and joy go into the craftsmanship, and each member of the family has a part in it. The father cuts the grain, the children husk and sort it, the mother makes it into wonderfully imaginative objects. And Christmas Eve seems mystical when the candles are lit and the shiny straw reflects their shimmering light.’ (The joyful Christmas craft book, 1963, p. 76)
The following instruction on how to make straw stars were published in the 1960s book “The Joyful Christmas Craft Book”.
How To Make Straw Christmas Ornaments
‘Any kind of grain straw may be used for decorative purposes. Wheat, rye, oat, barley, or rice straw differ only in the length of the stems. Large objects require the longest pieces available. In cities, some straw may be purchased from florists, but baled straw is apt to be
damaged and to require careful sorting. If you drive into the country, stop at a farmhouse and inquire about hand-cut sheaves of grain straw. […] Many gardeners prefer to grow their own wheat or rye for craftwork. […]
Straw should be hand-cut at the peak of growth. A large hedge shears or scythe is the best tool. Tie the straw in loose bundles and hang to dry in a garage or shed for ten days to two weeks. Then, on some fine summer day, invite a few fellow craftsmen to a husking bee. […]
Soak straw in warm water for a few hours or overnight before working with it. To prevent it floating, weight it with a heavy plate. […] Tie the ends of two straws tightly together with red or gold thread […] It is important to tie the thread tight enough to score the straw, as straw shrinks slightly as it dries and loosely-tied threads may slip off. […] The secrets of good workmanship are equal spacing and tight, neat tying. Cut threads short and trim the ends of the straws. Attach a loop of thread to the top point and hang.’ (The joyful Christmas craft book, 1963, p. 77ff.)
Straw Star Ornaments Made With Ironed Straw
‘1. Cut four matched straws of equal length, and press flat.
2. Place two straws at right angles.
3. Place two additional straws on the diagonals.
4. Bring an end of thread from the back across the face of the topmost straw, under the vertical straw, over the next diagonal, and repeat around. Tie securely.
5. Repeat with four shorter straws.
6. Superimpose small star on large star and weave as before. Tie securely. Trim ends into desired pattern.’ (The joyful Christmas craft book, 1963, p. 88)
Straw Sunburst Ornament
‘Materials Eighty-eight long straws (18 to 20 inches)
1. Pencil-mark the centers of the straws, and tie with nylon cord as tight as possible.
2. Weave a circle, about 2 inches from the center, with ecru nylon or cotton thread, catching up two straws with each twist of the weaving.
3. Tie four straws into each of twenty-two bunches in the next round, 2 inches from the preceding round.
4. Take two straws from adjoining bunches, cross and tie together 2 inches from last round.
5. Tie alternate bunches together to form the last round, which must be tied very tight to avoid loose construction.
Note: To make a heavier sunburst, simply double all the specified numbers throughout.’ (The joyful Christmas craft book, 1963, p. 89)
Eight-Pointed Straw Star
‘1. Pencil-mark the centers of eight uniform straws, 6 inches long.2. Wind thread twice around straws as close to one side of the needle as possible, and pull thread gently to make the straws flare out into a double fan. Remove needle.
3. Tie two straws together, 1 inch from center. Repeat around.
4. Using 1 straw from each pair, tie the ends in tight double knots. Trim uniformly.’ (The joyful Christmas craft book, 1963, p. 102)
Eight-Pointed Straw Star Variation
‘A. Pencil-mark the centers of twelve uniform straws, 6 inches long.
B. Proceed as in 2 above.
C. Tie two straws together, 1 inch from center; skip one straw; tie two straws together; repeat around.
D. Let the single straw that was skipped in C become a center spoke for each of the eight points of the star. Tie three straws at the ends, allowing the center spoke to remain straight, as pictured. Trim uniformly.’ (The joyful Christmas craft book, 1963, p. 102)