This is a "flat plait" and is known as the Dunstable Plait (named after one of the towns involved in producing straw plaits for the hat industry).
Remember the little plaiting rhyme:
|Plait from the front.
|Back of the plait.
Before you start make sure the straws are pliable. If they have been stored for a time they will need to be dampened. To do this put the straw in a container (like a plastic garden trough) and cover with warm water. Leave for a few hours until the ends of the straw bend without breaking. Try not to get the straw too wet as it will be limp and lifeless. When you are working with the straws keep them wrapped in a damp towel.
Insert a new straw (as shown in the diagram above). Do not cut off the ends until the plait is dry.
If you would like to find out about the Straw Hat industry the web has many links that you can follow. The following books are worth searching out.
|Shire ISBN:0 85263 580 X published 1981
|N. Agar Ph.D.
|Hitchin’s Straw Plait Industry
|Hitchin Historical Society(N. Herts. District Council Museum Service)
|J. Dony PhD
|A History of the Straw Hat Industry
|Gibbs, Bamforth & Co. published 1942
|J. Dony et al
|The Story of Luton
|Luton and the Hat Industry
|Luton Museum and Art Gallery published 1953
|June Kraft Garges
|Handcrafted Straw Hats
|Private publication published 1982
|I. Chalkley Gould
|Straw-Plaiting, A lost Essex Industry
|Reprinted from Essex Naturalist Vol.XIV published 1906
|Children of Straw
|Barracuda Books ISBN:0 86023 290 5 published 1988
|Children of Straw
|Baron Books ISBN:0 86023 672 2 published 2002
|compiled by Mrs. Hughes
in collaboration with Mrs. and the Misses Batchelor
|A First Course in English Straw Plaiting
|Reprinted from the original Victorian publication by Cuckoostone Productions
|Luton Museum & Art Gallery
|The Little Straw Hat Book
|The Romance of the Straw Hat
|published 1933 Reprinted 1964, 1976
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Events, Exhibitions and Courses
7 Straw Flat Plait