|Straw hat Weaving at Festival
Rirkl, Toni. "Straw hat Weaving at Festival." Jamestown Sun, 11 August 2006.
Larissa Rott, of Ashley, will be
demonstrating the art of straw hat weaving at the Jamestown
Culture Festival Sunday.
Larissa Rott of Ashley, N.D., learned the art of straw weaving
from her grandfather so future generations will know how it was
“My grandpa learned it from a Russian neighbor,” Rott
said. “He asked me if I’d be interested in learning
it when I was 14. He didn’t want it to be a lost art.”
Now, at 16, she has two years of weaving under her belt, but the
work takes time. To date, Rott has completed two hats that she will
show at the Jamestown Culture Festival Saturday. She’s also
started sewing together pieces of a third hat.
Although he shared, what he knew with her, Rott’s grandfather,
who died earlier this summer, never did complete a straw himself.
However, Rott said, “he learned about weaving and how it was
The Russian neighbor who taught her grandfather died many years
Rott, who is in 4-H, won a plaque at the county fair last year with
her first straw hat. Her second one achieved a “superior”
ribbon this year.
Making a straw hat starts with rye straw, which Rott said she gets
from a framer in the area who grows rye.
Just before he’s ready to combine, we go get what straw I
need, she said.
The weaving is actually more like braiding, except she works with
seven straws that are wet, she said. And to get the 45 feet of “rope”
she needs for a hat, Rott splices new straws into the hollow ends
of the braided ones.
“I can do about three feet an hour,” she said. And usually
weaves while watching TV.
When she has enough, she’s ready to sew it all together to
make the straw hat. It all takes a great deal of time so she doesn’t
actually make them for people to wear.
“I just have them for decoration and for demonstrations,”
The whole straw hat-making process can be exasperating as well as
time consuming. Rot said it’s much harder than doing embroidery,
which she also enjoys.
“Sometimes the splices can come undone and that’s so
frustrating,” she said.
Still, she’s pleased with what’s she’s learned
and likes demonstrating the art of straw hat weaving, which she’s
done at similar events at the Jamestown Culture Festival
“I do think it’s neat that I’m preserving the
art,: she said. “But I’m not planning to make a career
Rott will demonstrate the technique of straw hat-making throughout
the day at McElroy Park.
Sister Michaeleen Jantzer will demonstrate palm weaving and Meridee
Erickson Stowman will make baskets.
Reprinted with permission of the Jamestown Sun.
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