More on random weaving basketry

Sadly, the short course on random weaving basketry with Polly Pollock that I started four weeks ago at City Lit has come to an end. I loved every minute and think I’ve found a new obsession.

After the first basket made with cane, we moved on to working with paper yarn. Here are some samples made by Polly to inspire us.

First we dyed some of the yarn using Rit liquid dyes, which were new to me but are pretty simple to use – just add to water and vinegar, put in the yarn and leave until you’re happy with the colour, rinse and dry.

As before, we made a mould with rice, clingfilm and sticky tape, and created a base layer with some thicker paper yarn. Then we used the thinner dyed yarn to weave into the base layer, using soumak stitch – essentially looping it round a base strand – going in random directions.

You can build this up in the same or different colours. Here’s my piece in progress.

And here’s the finished piece. I didn’t leave the yarn in the Rit dye long enough to get a really dark blue, so I dyed some in indigo. 🙂

indigo paper vessel

I also started on a more ambitious piece but didn’t manage to finish it. Here’s a sneak preview of the beginning – watch this space for a progress report!

At the end of the class we had a display of all the work created over the four weeks – there were some really lovely pieces in paper, cane and wire, as well as some wrapped glass.


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Flextiles uses shibori, ecoprinting and felting to create original, one-off upcycled pieces. Extending the life of a garment by an extra nine months reduces its environmental impact by 20-30%.

8 thoughts on “More on random weaving basketry”

  1. These are really cool Kim! I look forward to seeing more random weaving projects. Would felted yarn work to create one of these? That would be cool.

    1. I was wondering that Ruth! The issue with felting of course is that it will shrink but the mould will prevent that so I’m pondering on whether it would be possible to make a mould that is solid, removable and shrinkable! 🙂

      1. Depending on the size you wanted it to be, you could try a Gertie ball…. but shrinkage as one of your requirements suggests you would be wet felting the yarn.
        Unless I’ve misunderstood, I think Ruth is suggesting using felted yarn dry….in which case shrinkage wouldn’t be a problem!

        And even with these comments you have multiple directions to explore. I always think ideas grow exponentially. Looking forward to seeing your next weaving.

  2. I can see why you’re obsessed. So many different varieties of things to use and shapes and colors to mix. They are all lovely. I look forward to seeing your Felt piece.

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