I ordered a bunch of natural straws from the lovely online shop, Imagination Childhood (they call them swedish straws). I bought them for another project, but I loved working with them so much I wanted to make a simple garland with them too. Obviously this can be done with plastic straws or even some pretty paper straws if you donâ€™t have any swedish straws lying around. But the natural straws are, well, natural and because of the they are curved slightly and the colors are mottled and the surface uneven, all of which makes them pretty beautiful.
First you have to make some pompoms. If you have a pompom maker you are good to go, if you donâ€™t thatâ€™s fine tooâ€“just use this simple tutorial over at Bella Dia( http://belladia.typepad.com/bella_dia/2006/03/post_1.html) for making pompoms using only your fingers. You can, of course use the little store bought pompoms too.
While you are making your pompoms put the natural straws in some very hot water to soak. This makes the straw less brittle and less likely to split when you cut them. They should sit about an hourâ€“enough time to make a bunch of pompoms. When you are ready to use them, take them out from the water, drain and wipe them off gently.
To cut the straws, make a mark on one straw every two inches. If your yarn needle is shorter than two inches, make your straws a little shorter tooâ€“this will make things a little easier when you make the garland. Then take about 5 or 6 straws, including the one you marked, in your hand and line them up. Then cut. Some might go flying, but if they are still a little damp they shouldnâ€™t go too far.
Now take a long piece of thread, knot it, and stick it through a pompom. It might take a few tries before you find the right spot where the knot doesnâ€™t go right through. Then alternate pompom, straw, pompom, straw. Finish with a pompom and hide the knot in the yarn. If you want to keep going but ran out of thread, ready another needle and thread (knotted) and insert the need where the last straw and pompom meet, then just keep going.
Pretty paper stars also look nice between the natural straws. Popcorn might work, dried orange slices would look nice. And I bet you can think of a bunch of other things too.