DIY: How to make flax (harakeke) placemats

Cook up a feast for family and friends, decorating the table with these flax placemats.

Words: Extract from Nadia: A Seasonal Journal  Photo: Rachael McKenna

Makes a 18cm x 22cm placemat


5-6 leaves
6-8 bobby pins


Step 1: Pull the flax leaves into strips. There is no need to cut them – they strip very easily. You will get 3-4 strips per leaf, depending on the size of the leaf. We have used 22 strips in total.

Step 2: As shown (below), start with four strips, weaving them in an ‘over 1, under 1’ pattern.

Step 3: Continue to add strips, weaving under and over, over and under, in the one direction. You will use 11 strips in one direction. Pin the two centre strips with bobby pins to stay in place while weaving in the other direction.

Step 4: If necessary, turn the mat for easier weaving, and weave the remaining 11 strips in the other direction. Secure the corners with bobby pins if required to keep them from moving.

Step 5: Turn the mat over and bend the alternate leaves over onto the back. Cut the leaves shorter and weave the ends into the back. Continue until all the alternate leaves are woven in.

Step 6: Turn the mat back over, cut the remaining leaves shorter and weave them into the front of the mat.

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Nadia This article first appeared in Nadia: A Seasonal Journal Magazine.
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