Below are three methods for making Brigid’s Crosses. Hopefully, one will work best for you. I have to give due credit to the geocities domain for the source of this material. I just came back from Ireland and I hate to see this lost via the internet.
Rushes are the traditional material for the St. Briget’s Cross. All materials should be blessed before construction. If you use rushes be sure to keep them wet but not too wet as they will mold and rot. To avoid the mess I have found that ordinary plastic drinking straws left in their white wrappers are just fine. Use rubber bands to tie up the ends. I generally use 9 straws and 4 rubber bands, however, any number may be used.
Size does not matter. Generally crosses are made from pieces of rush that are about 8-12 inches long. Some jewelers, however, make them in the size of ear rings.
Method 1 After searching for many months I finally broke down and purchased a cross from the traditional Irish-American giftyshop. I took it apart and found the simple secret of thedesign. The process does wonderful things for busy fingersand is great with story telling!
1. Find 9 8-12 inch rushes, swizzle sticks or drinking straws and 4 small to medium sized rubber bands.
2. Hold one of the rushes/straws vertically.
3. Fold a second straw in half horizontally over and at a right angle over the center of to the first straw with the second straw projecting to the right. Snug the inside of the bend right up to the first straw at its center.
4. Grasp the center overlap tightly between thumb and fore-finger.
5. Turn the two straws held together 90 degrees counter clockwise (left) (the two ends of the second straw will be projecting upwards.)
6. Fold the third straw in half over both parts of the second straw horizontally from left to right and snug the inside of the fold up against the center and the second straw. Hold tight.
7. Holding the center tightly! Rotate all straws (the entire assembly) 90 degrees counter clockwise. (left)
8. This time the bottom half of the first straw will be projecting upward. Fold a new straw in half over and across all straws projecting upward.
9. Snug the straw tightly against the center and against the vertical straws.
10. Holding the center tightly rotate all straws (the entire assembly) 90 degrees Counter clockwise.
11. Fold a new straw in half over all vertical straws from left to right and snug up to center and to the right.
12. Repeat the process of rotating all straws (the entire assembly) 90 degrees to the left and folding the new straw over until all straws have been used.Remember: Hold tight to the center.
13. When the last straw has been used snug all straws to center being careful to hold tight to the last straw folded.
14. Secure the last arm of the cross with a rubber band or if using rushesplatted straw or string. Then secure each other arm.
15. You may paint the drinking straws but be careful as wet paint will dissolvethe thin paper covering. Place rushes on a flat surface to dry. You may wish to seal the rushes when dry with a paint of your choice.
How did you do?
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This method produces a cross in a form which is much like the Eye of God and as such it brings to mind the antiquity of the Celtic Traditions of Ireland. Materials:Two sticks and either rushes or wire or paper twist. Heavy gauge electrical wire (I use green!) makes for a great re-usable cross which can be re-constructed for each session.I start the cross and pass it through the class audience for completion.
1.Secure two sticks together at right angles. (I use string or tape).
2.Pull rush or wire from center attachment under the X in the top image over the top across the center to the left. Then under the bottom left spoke then over the upper left spoke then curve back under it and continue in a clockwise direction (to the right). Ideally there should be a few inches of stick remaining exposed on each spoke. It should resemble a cross more than an eye of god…
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(Source:Lettice Sanford Straw Work and Corn Dollies) To the top!
This method produces a cross much like that of Method 1 For some reason this method seems to be more Archaic than method 1.
1.Tie nine straws together at their ends.
2.Spread them as shown with the tied end facing down (three to the right and two each other direction. (Image #1)
3.Fold the front straw of the three under the other two.(Image2)
4.Bring it upand over to be alongside the two at the nest corner.(Image3)
5.Completed cross is shown in Image 4
(Source: Joan Rendell, Your Book of Corn Dollies.)