Take one blade of palm frond and slide your fingernail along the thick "spine" of the leaf- slitting it length wise, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch in width.|
Do the same with the remaining part of the leaf blade shredding it into 1/8 or 1/4 inch wide ribbons.
You will need one firm "ribbon" (coil of shredded leaf) from the spine of the leaf and three "ribbons" of the softer part of the palm leaf blade. ~~Trim them all to the same length-cutting at the blunt end.
HELPFUL HINT:~~Place the fresh palms you will be using for other "crowns" in a plastic bag. ~~Store them in the refrigerator or a cool place, to keep them pliable and easy to bend. ~~~~ You can also re-use dried palms by boiling them in water to soften. If you do, cool the palm blades until you are able to handle them and keep them moist while you are weaving. Dried palms do not keep well when stored in the refrigerator. They will mildew.
Secure the ends of all four pieces of leaf "ribbons" at one end in a clip (clothes pin, beige thread or clamp) or have someone hold the ends together firmly.
START: You are going to braid the three softer strands around the firmer strand of palm leaf "ribbon".If you are right-handed try to place the stiffer "spine" piece (of palm leaf "ribbon"), second from the edge on the left of your bundle of four strips. ~~Reverse these directions for left-handed people if they find the braiding directions difficult to follow.
#1 strand starts on left of center "spine" ribbon (#2) and remains straight until it's turn to fold. ~~Hold these two strands firmly in your left hand (don't let go) and move your right hand to weave the other strands. ~~
You may use those long, thin, curly palm threads that peeled off when you were shreading the palm blades into ribbons-- to bind the circle ends, too. Ms. Helen and I prefer using the thread to bind with.To make the "thorns" - use scissors to cut (on an angle) small cuts 1/3 of the width of the "ribbon" ON A DIAGONAL to the length of the ribbon. ~~Make one cut in each outside loop of the braid. ~~Be careful! ~~Do not cut all the way through the ribbon - only 1/3 the width on a diagonal. ~~Do this all the way around the outer edge of the braid/crown. ~~Using your finger curl these tiny points "upward" and curl all of them in the same direction. HELPFUL HINT: If the palms begin to dry out refresh them by soaking them in water. ~~Take them out and shake well to remove the excess water. Tie a short length of purple, lavender or pink "satin" ribbon (Easter passion colors) over the bound ends of the crown to create a bow or make a square knot. ~~You are finished. Some people like to leave the thin curly tips of the palm lengths dangle out from the one end of the palm crown. It is a personal preference. ~~You can make long purple ribbon tails or short ones. ~~I use short ribbons with the ends cut on an angle because that was the way I was taught. ~~Hang the crowns on the frames of religious pictures, crucifixes, statues, grave stones, etc... in a place of respect because the palms have been blessed. This Easter palm craft was taught to me by Mrs. Helen Freeburger of Sacred Heart of Mary Church. The "crown of thorns" helps us to remember the sacrifice of the Easter Passion, throughout the year. Helen's wish. Please, pass this palm tradition on to future generations. Each year, try to teach one new person how to make the "crown of thorns" and help to preserve this traditional Easter craft into the next millenium.