Grapevine Wreathes

How can anything so simple
be this frustrating?

Making grapevine wreathes is simple:

Start with several long ( at least four times your wreath's intended diameter), flexible (either new cut or soaked overnight), pieces of grapevine. Twist these first vines into a circle bending gradually until you can wrap the ends around each other tucking in the ends as you go. Try not to bend the vines too sharply or they will break. After you have a doughnut shaped core, continue adding more grapevine pieces by wrapping them around the wreath by repeatedly passing the end of the vine through the hole as you wrap.

But, Frustrating:

Grapevines are brittle. They snap the minute you bend them even slightly too far. Soaking them doesn't help much, mostly it means that when they snap, they spatter water in your face.

Grapevines are vines. They are made to clutch and climb, and they maintain this character even after death and dismemberment. As you work with them you will learn how fundamental this characteristic is. They will untie your shoes, scratch your face and pull at your hair. I've had grapevines pull off my glasses and poke me in the eye. I've had them pull pens and pruning shears out of my pockets. They catch on the hem of your pants, grab other vines waiting their turn on the ground and fling them in your face. They will grab neighborhood cats and drag them screeching from the bushes. In short grapevines are diabolical, and, I believe, Evil.

My approach:

When I started making grapevine wreathes about eight years ago, I would prune my concord grape, drag all the vines out to the center of our backyard, sort them and then soak them overnight. The next day I would make wreathes starting with large over-the-fireplace wreathes, then making smaller ones for hanging on doors, and finally making little decorative wreathes. I used to end up with about five or six wreathes a year with a fair amount of swearing and a lot of frustration. Over the years my output has dwindled. I now usually make only one large wreath with my main challenge being to avoid throwing the thing down, half finished, and stomping on it. This year my mother-in-law was visiting, helping with yard work (clearly a saint). So I was quite restrained, no swearing, even when an errant vine unfastened my pants. No stomping, and only a brief period of disgruntled muttering. I only made one wreath this year. In spite of the fact that there were plenty of vines left over when I finished. I decided to hold these in reserve for my future amusement.