Chinese traditional Straw sandals

While China’s northern and northwestern people were sewing hide boots with bone needles and hide thread, people in the east were making straw shoes using bamboo needles and flax thread. Archaeological finds show that as early as 7,000 years ago, ancient Chinese had learned to make articles of daily use from plant fibers. Certain researchers believe that bamboo needles and flax thread date back even further than bone needles and hide threads.

There is a legend tells how straw shoes came into being: An impoverished old man eked out a living by chopping up and selling firewood. When fetching wood from the mountains, he often injured his feet on thorns and pointed stones, and so would wrap his wounded feet in wild grass. However, as the grass would inevitably come loose and fall away, he devised a way of twisting it into ropes, which he then tied around his feet. Still later he wove this rope into a sole and instep to facilitate the wearing and taking on and off of this footwear.

Many kinds of grass can be used to make shoes. In ancient times, therefore, almost all people across China wore straw shoes, excepting only nomadic tribes. The main difference in mode of this footwear was that people in the frigid north wore thick straw boots, while those in the hot, humid south wore straw sandals. Straw footwear was worn by all, whether they were nobles, men of letters or farmers. Along the eastern coast of Shandong Province, farmers would wear “straw nests” — boots woven tightly with the stems and leaves of cattail or corn leaves — in the depths of winter. These materials were most effective in keeping the feet warm and, even today, local farmers still weave this kind of boots for export.

nowadays, straw sandals was made to be more fashionable, in early days ,it looks rather coarse and pristine.

All handmade straw sandals,the whole process of making one this straw sandals will last for 2 days,after the whole process,a brand new,water resistance,cool straw sandals is done.

 

There are several effect which the straw can bring you,it’s comfortable,prevent sweaty feet,prevent beriberi……the most important thing is,it’s very cool and unique!

looking for more details and pictures ,please visit my etsy shop:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/giftshandmade?ref=top_trail

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Let’s make a straw hat

You can create a custom-made straw hat
 by using simple techniques and tools that have been adopted from the days of the pioneers. All you need is good quality rye straw, a darning needle(Do not use a straight needle as this will not go into the flat surface of the braid and come through easily) ,doubled twine string, an upholstery needle, and grosgrain ribbon.

The first step is to purchase the rye straw. Rye straw is the preferred straw for handicrafts
 because of its general toughness and long sections between the nodes.  If you obtain the straw from a farmer’s field it will be necessary to cut, sort, and dry the stalks yourself. Of course ,you can solve this complicated process in a easy way :purchase the straw directly from a straw supplier.  🙂

 

Before you begin making the straw hat, submerge nine, thick, long straws in a basin of water. Soak the straws overnight or pour boiling water over them and soak for one hour. Do not soak the straws unless you are definitely going to use them within one day because they will develop a yellow color. After the straws are soaked, flatten them and lay five side by side horizontally and four side by side vertically at right angles to the first five and on top of them. Keep the straws flat on a hard surface and secure the nine ends together by taping or stitching.

Make the braid by first bending the first horizontal straw (starting at the top) and crossing it over the next two and under the last two horizontal straws. Then take the first vertical straw (working from left to right), bend it and cross it over the next two vertical straws, and under the following two vertical straws. Next, bend the second horizontal straw; weave it over the next two horizontal straws, and under the last two horizontal straws. Bend the second vertical straw, weave it over the two vertical straws beside it and under the following two vertical straws. Continue with this pattern of alternately bending and weaving
 horizontally and vertically until all nine straws have been used once. Resume weaving again, beginning with the first straw. If you need more straw length for one of the straws, lay another flattened straw on top of it, overlapping generously and continue weaving until your braid measures in appropriate inches in length.

As the curved braid spirals around, stitch each coil together with the curved upholstery needle threaded with twine string. Ensure that as you pull the drawstring through, the crown is kept pressed and flat. After the braid has spiraled approximately three times, cut a makeshift brim from cardboard or card stock paper. Ensure that it fits your head comfortably. When the braid has spiraled five or six times, place a second drawstring in the bottom edge of the crown and pull the braid upwards to fit the head hole of the cardboard brim. Press the gathered edge until it is dry, and secure that drawstring with stitches or a knot. Remove the cardboard brim and discard it.

Continue spiraling and stitching the spirals of the braid as the brim takes shape. Make the front of the brim one-inch wider than the back. When you are at the last spiral, bring the end under the brim and stitch it in place. After this you can proceed to make a smaller braid of four or five straws that should be long enough to stretch around the circumference of the hat. Stitch this finishing braid to the under side of the brim at the outer edge. Remember to soak the straw before you begin to weave the finishing braid. Weave another four or five straw braid to make a hatband. Use thin straws to give the hatband a neat, contrasting look. Finally, attach the one-inch long grosgrain ribbon to the inside edge of the crown of the hat as a sweatband.

Your straw hat is now complete and you can either decorate it with beads, ribbon, netting etc. or leave it in a simple natural style. Whatever your choice wear it proudly as your creation hand made from straw.

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How to make a BeiJing Figurine

The main materials for silk figurine making are silk, gauze and thin, tough silk. The figurines put emphasis on the capturing of someone’s bearing and expression at a particular moment. The making of a figurine involves a dozen or so processes, including carving, color painting, sewing, dress and prop making and headwear arrangement etc. Every single work needs the craftsman’s clever design.   

The making of a silk figurine normally begins with the head. From the unpainted clay idol to the figurine head, multiple procedures are needed. The eyes alone have various types, such as laughing eyes and weeping eyes etc. When the head is finished, tiny silk threads are used to cover the head and to make a bun. After that, iron wire, cotton and gauze etc are used to make the figurine’s bone frames, muscles and skin. After all parts are assembled, the figurine takes shape. The final step is to make dress with thin silk and satin. The finished work is gorgeously dressed, lifelike and lovely.

Because of its complicated and delicate making procedure ,only those rich and honorable family could be possessed of it in ancient China.

 China’s famous silk figurines are those made in Beijing and Yungang etc.

you can find many kind of silk figurines here :   http://www.etsy.com/shop/handmade9joy

               

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BeiJing Silk Figurine

A silk figurine is a kind of folk cloth toy developed from handicrafts like “pin cushions” and “color embroidery works” etc.

In ancient China, it was fairly common for people to make various handicrafts with bamboo and paper. In the Tang Dynasty, color embroidery works were popular. Originally, people used paper to create all kinds of animal images. Later, they began to make decorative lanterns featuring stories in operas and mythology. The techniques of lantern making gradually developed into color embroidery handicrafts making. In the Northern Song Dynasty, silk figurines were used in large scale folk activities and silk handicraft was taking shape.   

In the Ming Dynasty, it was a folk tradition to make plane silk figurines to give the younger generations as a gift during the Dragon Boat Festival in south China. And in the north, color silk and satin were used to make the god of longevity and goddess Magu ideal birthday presents at that time. In the early years of the Republic of China, silk handicrafts like silk flowers and silk palace lanterns were very popular, but few people made silk figurines due to the complicated techniques. At one stage, the silk figurine making techniques suffered decline and the booming development didn’t return till the 1950s.

   

           

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