reedy jawns

Usually called “St. Brigid’s Crosses” for those who honor her — and something I’ve made for years, and for which I’ve even written a tutorial before, for a children’s craft column, in 2012.

I remember making them last year in the last hours of my birthday, using colored zipties — also a fun way to do it. I’ve seen very simple ones done with slips of paper with intentions or other important things written upon them.

This year we decided to have them available as an easy in-house craft for a potluck dinner (crafts definitely help me in social gatherings!) and for this, we used reed. I wish we lived somewhere where I could have gathered reed, but I had to buy this on amazon. It is about a quarter inch wide, and I cut it into ten-inch pieces to make each cross/jawn, and this was a visually aesthetic ratio, it seemed.


We soaked our ten-inch reed pieces so they would not split, and folded them each in half. Tucker created a more stable beginning and end for this four-armed jawn by securing his first four pieces not just by slipping the folded reeds over one another — but on the “closing” one (the lower, horizontal reed), he’s slid it over the last vertical one as he has the others — but (the spot that creates the bottom-left corner of the internal “square), has slid both ends of that reed inside of that reed — which is a folded end, not two loose ends.

Have I lost you? Tightening it up makes it clearer.


You could continue to turn the piece counterclockwise and add one at “twelve o’clock” each turn, continuing to “lock” in the last one — but we did not continue locking them in. Just did so on the first round, and on the last one. We could have tied the edges — and aesthetically it might look nice to do so — but the piece wasn’t going anywhere.


(You can see above that that last reed is being snugly tucked into a folded corner.)


For the five-armed jawns, nothing different is being done other than the angle at which you add the pieces.


We talked about this, as Béla is just learning about right, obtuse, and acute angles. For the three-, four-, and five-armed jaws, the angles created should add up to 360 degrees. NOT SO with the two-armed jawn, which is pretty, but took a whole lot more tucking and wrangling to keep it together.

For those who celebrate Imbolc or honor St. Brigid, these are to be made for/on February 1st. But, if you just like Reedy Jawns, you can probably do it anytime, although I always enjoy feeling like I’m taking part of a ritual along with unseen others at a particular time, even if it has nothing to do with my belief systems. A fun manipulative math craft, and I really DO think I will try to dig up some colored zip-ties… it gives an entirely different look.