A second shape of straw must be made exactly the same way of natural straw. This is cut out as before, and the two are then pasted together.
Now the straw plait with which all these articles are finished off must be made a natural coloured one for the back and a mixed one for the front. Two straws are needed for this. The illus-tration shows clearly how they are placed one across the other, with a number at each end to indicate the position o f straws, No. 2 being folded up to No. 1. The straws are always held with the ends upright. To begin plaiting, bend No. 4 in front of No. 2, between Nos. 1 and 2. Take No. 3 and bend backwards round No. 1, bringing it out between Nos. 1 and 4.
How new straws should be worked in. The ends are cut short when the plait is finished
Take No. 1, and bend round No. 3, and behind No. 4, to come in front of No. 2. Bend No. 1 backward round No. 2, and bring up in front of No. 3.
Bend No. 2 backwards round No. 1, bringing up in front of No. 4. Bend No. 2 backwards round No. 4, bringing between Nos. 1 and 4. Bend No. 4 behind No. 2, bringing between Nos. 1 and 3.
This is repeated for as long a length as required. For the very narrow plait, the straws are split in halves and folded over; this makes it firm, although narrow.
The illustrations of the plait are given with a whole straw in order to show the working details clearly, and also the method of working in new straws, the new straw being placed in front of the one used up and plaited in with it for the next stitch, the ends that stick out being cut short afterwards. The narrow plait is sewn on round the mat with needle and cotton, thus making all neat and tidy, and giving a firm edge.
For the tidy and blotter the straw is split in two, making it narrower, so that it looks closer woven. In the case of the tidy the straw is mounted on to rather firm cardboard instead of paper, in order to keep the shape of it better. For the blotter the straw is mounted on to a ready-bought one, and if too stiff to allow of the plait being sewn on it can be firmly pasted round the edges.
Those inter e s t e d in the higher branches of this very ancient art will find much to admire, and as their technical dexterity increases, copy in the wonderful specimens of the old straw work of Northern Italy. The most delicate pictures, figures, landscapes, and flowers, all in natural colours were made by these handi-cra f tsmen of the past, and any relics of their work are secured at high prices by collectors.
But before such an amount of consummate skill is obtained a vast amount of pleasure may be had and a deal of useful work done by those who stay content with the humbler art of straw-plaiting pure and simple.
A useful hair tidy in plaited straw. To preserve the shape the work should be mounted on cardboard
A pretty design for a blotter in coloured straw plaiting, with an edging of the same
A Holder for Songs and Music - How to Form the Front Bars - A Pretty but Useful Holder
It is more convenient to have the songs most frequently used close at hand than to search through a cabinet for them. A simply made holder will be found most useful. In the one illustrated the front represents a bar of music, the black lines being very effective.
Two round rods
A length of cane
Black hat enamel (dull)
Cut seven pieces of rod each 14 inches long. Three of these are for the back, and the remaining four for the front lines, the fifth line being formed by cane.
A length of cane is then bent to form the sides and top of the front, leaving short ends below the bar of music.
The cane for the back is cut with longer sides, and is pointed at the top. Each piece must be held over the kitchen gas-jet and slightly burnt on the inside to turn the corners, which should first be marked. The cane is then held firmly at each end and turned gradually. When both pieces are shaped, they are ready to be nailed to the wood by bamboo nails about an inch long.
For the front, the four pieces of wood are nailed into position, leaving an equal distance between each.
The three pieces for the back are then nailed in the same way, and the two parts are ready for covering with bass.
Take a strip of bass and wind it tightly round each portion of the front, with the exception of the projecting ends, till neither the wood nor cane are visible. When it" is necessary to take up a second strip, bind the ends of both in together, so that no join or loose ends can be seen. The back is covered in a slightly different way, the strip of bass being wound once round the top rail, then carried down to and round the second, and then to the third and back again, thus interlacing the strands until the spaces are entirely filled. Joins are unavoidable, but should be made as neatly as possible. The cane handle should be closely covered, as were the front rods.
The rods and sides and top of cane forming the front are enamelled in dull black over the bass, leaving the projecting ends uncoloured.
Nail the front ends to the corresponding ends of the back, and bind both tightly round with bass.
The treble clef sign is formed by bending copper wire (enamelled black), or strips of black iron (such as are used in bent iron work) to the required shape. To this glue a piece of thick black cushion card. The "C" is simply a piece of copper wire, also enamelled black.
A tiny block of black enamelled wood will represent the semibreve rest, these three musical signs being glued in their correct positions.
The same idea may be utilised to make a newspaper rack if preferred. Newspapers are untidy objects at the best of times, yet they often have to be kept at hand for a certain length of time for the purpose of reference. Such a contrivance as that above described will be found not merely useful but also ornamental. It will assuredly save a busy m a id-servant much time in her morning's task of tidying a sitting-room or library.
A music-holder of original and effective design, which is both easy and inexpensive to make and well adapted to its purpose