I am working on a joint project to create a tapestry hat for the Fashion Show at the Color Connects conference taking place in Riverside in March 2009. We need to have it completed by January 15th the point at which the entry forms are due along with a picture of the piece.
Here are the pieces we need to make...actually we need to make two brims...one for each side of the hat so the wearer can flip the brim towards the top. This is a big floppy hat - the brim measures 22 inches across so it is not inconsequential to weave. It is also...obviously...curved.
We want to have a bird theme and focus on the conference colors. My friend dyed the cotton weft and has woven her side of the brim with a flock of parrots. I am starting to weave my side of the brim with three hummingbirds getting nectar from some colorful flowers.
Here is how far I got on day one of weaving - -
I have just started the first hummingbird. I am hoping to have green be the primary hue in the hat along with a white background. The first hummingbird is green with some bright orange. I think it will have a stain glass flavor since I am avoiding shading, not worrying where the light is coming from and there are large blocks on a single color. The colors are saturated and selected to pop when next to each other.
We needed a loom that was somewhat portable and had at least 22 inches weaving width. We borrowed the one in the photo. It met our basic requirements but it's fairly difficult to weave on since if I make the tension as tight as I would like for optimal tapestry weaving - it is near impossible to move the bars that hold the mulitude of string heddles. Plus, I need to be careful not to let the heddles slide off the bar when I change sheds. There are lots of heddles...let's see 10 epi and warped 24 inches wide... 240 string heddles - all hand made. And its a pain to put them back on...I have already had to do it once.
It's also tough to see how things are going, in the photo as well as when weaving, since I am weaving from the back and the other woven brim is one the back side of the loom. That was another nice thing about the loom...we were able to put enough warp on to handle both brims that we are weaving. We only had to warp it once.
When I weave from the back, I normally check the front every 10 minutes or so to see how things look and then consider whether I should modify something. With this tapestry I will just have to go with the force - no peeking & no pondering. My goal is to complete my part of the weaving in November. Looks quite doable.