St Brigid’s Day is coming up on February 1 and it is time to start gathering rushes to weave into crosses for the feast day. Traditionally, the crosses were made in the hope that they would protect the household for the rest of the year. Weaving the crosses is great fun as you can make them as large as you wish. You can also fashion a St Brigid’s cross using other materials. With some fabric and embroidery, you can create your own cross, which will keep forever.
St Brigid was known for her generosity. From an early age, she was always looking for ways to assist the poor and once she emptied her mother’s store of butter and gave away her father’s sword.
She carried this generosity and passion for helping others with her through her entire life and this motivated the work she carried out. Why not follow St Brigid’s example of generosity? Make dozens of crosses and share them out with your family and friends.
How to make your cross
For the cross you will need green felt, embroidery thread, scissors, pins, card, ruler, pencil and kapok fibre (if using).
First, make your template with the card. A St Brigid’s cross differs in appearance from an ordinary cross. Because it was woven, the arms of the cross extend from corners rather than the centre.
The simplest way to make the template is to start by drawing a square.
Next, extend the arms of the cross out from the square by drawing one rectangle from the first edge all around the square. Cut the cross out.
Fold a piece of green felt in half and pin the template to this. With sharp scissors cut around the template and then remove the pins. Take one of the felt pieces and from the centre of the square run the needle and thread around in a square spiral.
For the arms of the cross, make your stitches longer. Fasten off and then sew or glue this to the other piece of felt. Attach a safety pin to the back of the cross and wear as a badge on St Brigid’s Day.
You can use gold embroidery thread but it is trickier to work with. You can always make a bigger version of the cross and stuff it with kapok.
Embroider the markings on the second piece of felt, so the design is on the reverse side of the cross too.