English Ivy Shrinkage in Green Weaving

When weaving with green ivy, I always weave it super tight. Still, like any weaving material, as green ivy dries it shrinks a lot. The basket above is an example of just how much shrinkage occurs. I rapped all the ivy down in a random spot to show how much space is left open. When I finished weaving this basket it was so tight that you could not see light shine through it. After a week or so drying indoors during the summer, it’s shrunk down leaving a gap of about 1/4 the entire basket. This is why I call these “survival baskets”. They are something you can fashion together rather quickly, but are not sturdy in the long run. To make them last longer, you can simply rap the weavers down as I have done in this pic and then add more green ivy in the space, weaving the same way.

To avoid this problem altogether I recommend drying out ivy under it is bone dry and then re-hydrating it for a few hours before weaving with it. It is difficult to mellow it because it dries back out so quickly. It is hollow at this age and doesn’t have much density to hold moisture. You do want to mellow it for a little while though, especially if you over soak it and the bark is slipping a lot.

This is an interesting basket because it was also my first experiment with a style of weaving called randing. I’ve never thought you could really rand with ivy because it is so floppy. I have done randing with willows, but they are nice and firm and lock in place. The ivy randing worked really well though, it just needed a little more attention. The randed section is on the left. Rather than weave with one, two, three or four weavers there is a weaver placed between each spoke and then they are woven up all at the same time. You can see the diagonal pattern that it leaves if you look closely at the left side versus the right. It’s kind of hard to tell in this picture.

One Comment on “English Ivy Shrinkage in Green Weaving”

  1. Does the ivy vine after stripping leaves need to be any particular diameter or length? Can you weave with shorter vines along with longer ones and smaller with larger?