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Ukrainian Vinok

Vinok is a Ukrainian flower crown, traditionally worn by girls and young women. A crown woven of flowers and herbs decorated with bright ribbons is one of the oldest Ukrainian symbols. In the modern society, it’s widely used as a cultural symbol on festive occasions, holidays and daily life. I am very pleased to introduce my new crochet design – Ukrainian Vinok.

The flowers used for making vinok were generally fresh, although paper and waxed flowers were optional in the cold seasons. As a part of a wide cultural revival, a contemporary vinok is often made of fabric, polymer clay, and paper.

Generally, there should be no more than twelve different kinds of flowers in the vinok, where each flower has a special meaning. I chose to create a composition using crochet Poppies, Daisies, Sunflowers, and Cornflowers. If you wish, you can use fewer flowers for your vinok.

  • Poppy — A flower of dreams and a symbol of fertility, beauty and youth.
  • Daisy/Chamomile — A symbol of love, health, purity, sensitivity and fidelity.
  • Sunflower — A symbol of fidelity, devotion, strength and well-being.
  • Cornflower — A symbol of humanity, simplicity, modesty, beauty and gentleness.

No less importance is given to the ribbons – the colors, length, and selection. A combination of twelve or fewer colors has a healing and protecting power. The ribbons are measured along the length of the hair braid, and cut below the braid to hide it. Brown is tied first in the center (a symbol of fertile land), then yellow next to it on each side (a symbol of the sun), next to yellow is light and dark green (symbols of beauty and youth), and next to the greens are light and dark blue (symbols of sky and water that give strength and health). Next comes orange (a symbol of bread), then purple (wisdom), crimson (sincerity), pink (wealth), and red (prosperity). White is only used if the ends are embroidered with silver and gold (the sun on the left and the moon on the right).

From my crochet pattern you can make a traditional vinok to fit your head circumference using wired twine, or you can use a fabric covered headband for a simplified flower crown.

To decorate a headband, you can make just 1-2 flowers or up to 7 flowers and a few leaves. The possibilities are endless when it comes to creativity.

You can also add ribbons to your headband. Simply cut 2 different colors for each side (double the length you want them to be), fold each pair in half and glue them to the side edges.

There are many other ways to use these crochet flowers. For example, you can attach them onto your clothing, hat, brooch, or hair pin. Our team member Cynthia Fuller decided to use her flowers to make a portrait by gluing them on to canvas.

I choose to wear yellow and blue in support of Ukrainian people…because if we are strong alone, together we are stronger.