Roofs thatched in long straw are more rustic in appearance than those of combed wheat and water reed. This is because they have both ears and butts showing on the main coatwork. The other materials have butts only showing. These more traditional looking roofs often have a spar pattern around the eaves and barges of the building, and may also have flush ridges rather than block ridges.
Traditionally, this material is initially produced in the same way as combed wheat. The wheat is specially grown and then cut with a binder and tied into sheaves. The sheaves are stooked in the field in small stacks to dry and then, made into a rick. A rick was a large stack which was thatched as a method of storage, and to keep the majority dry. The sheaves are then put through a Threshing machine or drum to remove the grains. The threshing machine pushes the straw out into a trusser where it is bundled.
The straw is then presented to the thatcher, who will “yealm” the straw into bundles ready for the roof.
Long straw thatching is very labour intensive and making good yealms can be crucial to the end result.