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arachne's weave > cocooned > to weave a tangled web >
spider's parlor > charlotte a. cavatica > pumpkin pasties >
black widow > itsy bitsy spider > infestation   
Samhain 2007
Project Name

Spider's Parlor, Plain
Barbara Armitage (photo)
click image to enlarge

Spider's Parlor

A spider's mark on the world is small. When she dies both she and her web become no more than dust in the winter's wind. Don't be too sorry for Alice—she got to eat the only man she ever made love to, and not one of her 1400 children will ever move in with her!

by Barbara Armitage

Suggested Reading

The works of Mary Howitt, particularly "The Spider and The Fly"

Difficulty

Boy Scout Dropout
Click here for definitions of difficulty levels.

Materials

  • Tobacco stick or something like it (see design notes)
  • Flexible wire (30 gauge or as high as you can still bend it)
  • Cotton or jute string
  • Small pruning shears
  • Needle nose pliers
  • A crapload of flexible vines and branches, such as fresh cut lengths of Forsythia or Pussy Willow

Design Notes

I live in the country on a farm, so I have an endless supply of branches, vines, sticks, and stuff like that on hand. If you live in the city and don't have a big, flora-filled backyard, you'll need to visit a craft store and substitute. You can just buy a grapevine wreath and attach it to a stick it'll work!

I started with a tobacco stick—for your city people, that's a wooden pole about 1 inch square and 4 to 5 feet long. You could use a 1 inch dowel, part of an old curtain rod, or a broom handle instead.

Directions

Plain Version: (photo at top of page)

For this version I pulled vines from the trees in my yard (but grapevine would work well if you have it); about 30 to 40 feet total.

Step 1:
Your vine will probably be in several different lengths, so choose one that is roughly about the size of the circle you want to make. Secure it with the flexible wire so it doesn't unwind. Now secure it to the end of the tobacco stick with wire. Create a second circle close to the same size and attach it to the opposite side of the tobacco stick with wire.

Step 2:
Working with one length of vine at a time roughly weave it in/through the outside of two circles so that it is secure. (See you could have bought one at the crafts store). Weave additional lengths in to give extra stability as needed.

Step 3:
Add small branches to the base of the circle where it attaches to the stick to give your spider a place to hide and feel safe.

Step 4:
Wind jute or cotton string around the end of the stick where you attached the branches to hide the wire and to help secure the frame. Using a figure 8 pattern will add extra strength.

Project Name

Spider Parlor, Fancy
Barbara Armitage (photo)
click image to enlarge

Fancy Version:

I cut about 10 to 12 four- and six-foot lengths of forsythia for this version. Pussy willow would also work well, and you could use any lengths of flexible green wood you have leftover from pruning.

Step 1:
It's best if you have a friend to help with this step. One of you will hold the tobacco stick in one hand and the large ends of 4 of the forsythia branches in the other hand. Now as if you were splinting a broken bone lay the tobacco sticks over the top of the forsythia, overlapping them about 6 inches. Using the strong flexible wire, tightly secure the lengths of forsythia to the end of the tobacco stick. Repeat the process with 4 more branches attaching them to the opposite side of the same end of the stick in the same manner. Wrap it all tightly with wire and twist the ends together with a pair of needle nose pliers. You now have something that resembles a very bad broom.

Step 2:
To form the circle, work with one branch from each side. Gently bend it into a circular shape and wind the two ends together. At this point you can adjust the size of the circle by overlapping the ends of the branches. Secure with a small length of wire. Now, working with one branch at a time, roughly weave it in/through the outside circle so that it is secure. Alternate sides until all the branches are woven in forming a wreath. (Seriously, you could have bought one at the craft store. I wasn't joking.) Weave additional branches in to give extra stability as needed.

Follow Steps 3 and 4 from the Plain version to finish.

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