Cleveland Tunic Project

Last October I had the opportunity to visit the Cleveland Art Museum. They were just about to open an exhibit of ancient Andes Wari art. My weaver friends urged me to enter a proposal for the Tunic Project.
Now, according to Mary Frame, sprang was known to pre-Columbian people in what is now Bolivia.
I entered a proposal for a sprang tunic with a design inspired by the face-fret patterns in the Cleveland Art Museum exhibit.
Initially I ordered some baby alpaca and silk yarn from KnitPicks. I set up my tunic and started work. The yarn was quite soft and fuzzy. After struggling for a couple of inches and plenty of warp sizing (a whole can of spray starch) I decided to abandon this warp, set it aside for now, and turn to a tried-and-true worsted: Bockens Mobelatta.

Red, gold and black warp

Red, gold and black warp

I submitted a proposal for a sprang tunic. This is a circular warp. I figure I am working from the neck down. When the cloth is finished, I will open up a slit at the center for the neck hole.

Working a Wari pattern into the tunic

Working a Wari pattern into the tunic

The tunic needs to be finished before Christmas, to get it to Cleveland by early January.

The weaving on the circular warp completed, I cut it apart at the knees.

Circular warp complete, I cut it apart into a long rectangle.

Circular warp complete, I cut it apart into a long rectangle.

I tied the loose ends into fringes. The whole thing curled quite badly (as to be expected) Blocking is required for sprang garments. This means a soak and then squeeze out in a towel.

The piece was washed, and pinned to my ironing board to block it flat.

The piece was washed, and pinned to my ironing board to block it flat.

The tunic seemed to need side panels. This will ease the closure under the arms, attaching front to back. I set up a figure-8 warp.

The side panels are created two at the same time.

The side panels are created two at the same time on a long warp.

The figure-8 warp gets cut apart, two side panels made at the same time.

The figure-8 warp gets cut apart, two side panels made at the same time.

I sewed the side panels in.  If you are careful to match the stitch the seam is invisible.

I sewed the side panels in. If you are careful to match the stitch the seam is invisible.

The neck wanted re-inforcing. I crocheted around the edges to stabilise the point at the base of the neckline.

The neck wanted re-inforcing. I crocheted around the edges to stabilise the point at the base of the neckline.

Big news!

My ‘tunic’ took second prize at the Cleveland Museum of Art. It will be on display in their atrium starting January 15.

Wari Tunic spread

The Tunic, in the dressing room backstage at the musuem.

A big Thank You to Haley for the great job modelling!

See a video that features some of the ‘making of’ at

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