I recently got a request for details about one detail of my tuam project.
Hope these pictures are helpful!
The Viking, er Saxon* and I went to MGT, and tried out the wool geteld as a pavilion, with one side propped up.
(*He's decided to switch sides and move back in time to meet me. Looks like I get to avoid making myself a Viking apron for good!)
Our friends Vladimir and Illaria sat with us, and brought rugs and their very comfy upholstered chairs. Besides the upholstery, I really like how the high backs fill in the vertical wall of the tent, visually. I'm wanting to find more pictures of people seated for more chairy ideas.
We really liked how the tent worked as pavilion. The front poles are stolen from my sunshade - there's two 8' poles in the middle, and two 6' poles. This setup works well to hold lots of people and stuff - and we could even lower the lamps over a table and feed a bunch of people in rather grand style.
Honnoria, here's how we decided to hang your lamps. The chain *barely* fits through the eyebolts of the ridgebeam lap. But the chain is long enough to pull them down significantly. As the year progresses and the dark comes earlier, I hope to get a chance to light them in the tent. I want to see how much oil they use, and how bright they are...I wonder if there's a light meter in my camera!
Your Viking apron was rather admired...it's very soft.
This MGT was the first that I had my own pavilion as "home", and so did less bopping around to everyone else's. Pros and cons to that - I didn't get around to as many people as I usually do, but then again, lots of people did come and say hello. I made progress on the other edge of trim for Honnoria's apron (the diamond twill that Bergthora is loving on has tablet-woven trim, woven directly onto the cut edges of the fabric to finish them. You can see green/red trim sewn on with yellow weft here - the other edge will be blue with yellow dots.) Progress is important these days that I don't have so much time to do SCA stuff.
Another pro was getting to be a resource for people - apparently people see things on this blog, or they hear that I have a thing, and have questions about it. Bringing all my goodies with me means they can investigate their own questions - I love that I can facilitate self-directed learning, and it motivates me to keep making stuff! One person (Holla's husband, are you Ingolf? Sorry to not ask your name!) actually recognized my bee-on-a-stick standard as a Frankish bee! That just about made my day!!!
MGT is actually about fighting, not just bringing out all one's pretties, and I managed to pay a little bit of attention. I'm starting to get a handle on how fighting styles differ, and forming some theories on how they interact. Not that I think I'll ever be able to sideline-kibbutz the field, but it'd be nice to be able to provide cross-training support to the Viking Saxon, so that he can play with as little pain as possible.
So now I've been in the SCA three years. Gulf Wars was my first event, so it's a great time to think about how my play has developed, see where I've grown, and set priorities for the next year. Basic recap first:
We got in just at sunset Wednesday, and after setting up camp, got ourselves over (late) to the Meridian Social. The theme this year was RagaROCKS, and since I have about as much memory of eighties' hair metal as I do blue hair, my impression may not be quite recognizable, but it was fun to pull together:
My idea was to rockify my Borum Eshoj stuff. (Mom, the "nalbinded beret" is on its way to becoming a filk, and was very popular. You were right, again. Albeit roundaboutly.) So we have here: Nalbinded beret, made by my mother with indigo yarn she dyed herself, vest and necklace from thrift stores, the infamous BE gravefind string skirt, miniskirt version of BE skirt, and new bog coat that I made at Convivium Collegialis. Fishnets and tall boots were already a part of the Costume Box of Wonderfulness.
This year I camped again with Glynn Rhe, but now it is my home group, and felt nice to belong somewhere properly. The wool tent did fine again, though I am now sure I want to put toggles on the door ties to make getting in and out faster. I now have two wood benchboxes, and they are perfect for keeping camp and foodstuffs in. The Viking's cooler was totally ample and very efficient (the ice we brought with us got to go home again). I need to remember to pack a broom next time, and I am still playing around with lights - he's wanting a multi-wick oil lamp, like this.
We brought one too many tunics for him, but just the right amount of food - maybe the catfish was excessive, but I distributed it to people in an area of about 2 acres. We had plenty of goodies; enough to be generous, and people are learning that I like to bake. That Krispy Kreme bread pudding may not be period, but gosh darn is it tasty.
Camp cooking is a recent and mutual interest. I want to be able to take care of me and mine, and have it all look nice, and work. A friend focuses on things cooking+Roman, and she put together a beautiful Roman kitchen, winning the Period Life competition. I'm so impressed with her setup:
But we used some of our heirloom castiron on Wendy's kitchen setup, which worked pretty darn well. Modifications need to be made regarding being able to "turn down" the heat. I'm not sure whether a setup where you are able to pull the fire out from under the pot, or install a trivet under the pot, or perhaps both is the best way to go. More options to try!
Cooking pots are definitely catching on in the merchant area, with varying prices being quoted for various things. Fire Horse Pottery had a collaborator in Gode Erthe Pottes, who'd brought all sorts of ceramic cooking things: a heat reflector, with notches for a spit, a drippings tray, a waffle iron, a chafing dish, and even a lobster trap! in addition to the bread ovens that I'd seen before. Apparently the bread ovens work, though there's a learning curve (isn't there always?!) on how to use them.
We did most of our shopping on Thursday: I bought two wool shawls for $65, one heavier weight in iridescent twill green/red, so that I can wear each of our colors, and a wonderfully light one in charcoal and gold so I can quickly dress up for court. The Viking says the shawls make enough of a difference that he had difficulty finding me in a crowd - I consider I've gotten a bargain, considering that's two more "clothes changes" for the price of yardage and zero sewing effort. Plus they pack tighter. We also bought a lot of music - 5 CDs. Two are of Owain Phyfe, a wonderful guitarist. Three are from Vince Conaway, who I had met at Pennsic with Heather Dale, and got to talk to both of them again here. I was so pleased that the Viking got to meet them too - I've gushed about how impressed I was with them as people, not just as professional musicians. He bought some elbow cops, and we got a packet of leather to use on various projects - we're thinking a bag for feastgear and a gorget for me.
Friday I hoped to get into a bookbinding workshop, but it had sold out the day before. I did get to watch and take pictures, though. They were making these:
I also got to do a little painting of one of the class participants:
And then I painted the dyeing setup, which is one of my favorite things about Gulf Wars though I never have the patience to hang out there and dye things:
Saturday we packed up, trying to beat a storm out. I squeezed in one last sketching session (hopefully I'll get to watercolor that sketch soon), and a really intriguing math history class, from someone I want to find again - she seems incredibly knowledgeable, and very bright to make connections.
It worked! A cold front came through and blew down 2 tents in the night, and three more needed serious emergency help, but this geteld weathered like a champ. It got restaked in the morning, and there was a bit of water intrusion, but all the bedding and stuff stayed dry, and I slept, so I count it as a SUCCESS.
Lots of people admired it, including mundane visitors to the fort. The fabric is very pettable.
More pics below, with my comments on some further fine tuning.
Here's the pile of my stuff: Clothes chest by Gregg, table from Peg. The bedcover is a monster embroidery work in progress...it'll continue to change. My handspun/handwoven shawl is on the bed. The colorful rug is a Turkish one. I still want to ornament the chest, the table, and the vanity box too.
This outside shot shows the bee standard (which flew for the first time here), my wooden buckets (courtesy of Eoin and Theadora) and my solar-powered rechargable lightning bug jars. You can just see that the tent floor is fabric sewn to a green tarp, where it's flipped up slightly.
Here's the remains of the weather front, as it passed in the morning, and a closeup of the cast aluminum bee. That was my first project with Michael von Moulton's help, and started the Summer of Ambitious Projects. Also here you can see my interpretation of the purpose of those ears - on this tent they help to keep the fabric tensioned along the ridge pole. I did a little henstitch on the cut edge of the ear to keep it neat. I'd like to do a bit more embroidery on the ears - bees and confronted intertwined Gs.
1. That loop is probably in the wrong place.
2. Another jute strap along the door edge would be a good idea.
Here's a panel on the windward side. The dark line of stitching on the left is dark because it's acting as a conduit for water shedding. The fabric at the base is saturated - this is the only area where water came inside, when it was this wet, and then got blown on. The height ranged from a few inches, as here, to about a foot up. If a curve occurred in this saturated area, it did drip inside at the belly of the curve, but all of that happened at the very edges of the floor.
Speaking of the floor: I'm glad I made this floor, but I can see when there might be times when I don't want to use it. If water comes in, it can't get back out without my help and a chamois cloth. I will probably make another floor without a tarp lining. At the structural seam for the ears, which occurs at the middle of a jute strap, water runs along the seam and then drips when it runs out of seam. I think this can be alleviated by moving the structural seam to the edge of the jute strap, so that the conduit line will be continued by the edge of the jute strap, and carried safely down the tent wall.
I did rig up an interior rain fly, but I don't think it really did anything, since I didn't see any moisture on the plastic membrane the next morning. I'll keep it in the "emergency tent pack" regardless - it helped me relax enough in the storm to sleep. I worried about the few manufacturing flaws in the fabric, but NONE of them dripped whatsoever. I still might put patches on them in time...of course I'll put them on with the madder-red wool yarn, so they'll add to the effect.
I now know what the tentbuilding guy at Pennsic meant by "wool tensions beautifully". It sags a bit when it gets damp, and then *shrinks to the new shape* when it dries. The jute straps prevent over stretching, so the restaking after a hard rain is an improvement in the performance. I'm really really happy I made a wool tent.
Now I understand why. A very strong argument for upgrading the weatherflaps and mudflaps to wool in future.
(This picture is the weatherflap on one of the doors, sewn to the door.)
They aren't now because I ran out of the main fabric, and as they needn't match, or be light-colored, I'll find something I like in future based on weight and weave type.
The fine print: After my rain test Friday night, I let the tent dry all day Saturday. "Dry" is a relative term in Florida. I put the fairly dry tent in my car that night, intending to put it back up again the next day at a shire meeting. But then mundane stuff got in the way, and I brought the tent inside. That was Sunday. Today is Tuesday. Man, that stuff is fast.I won't try using bleach to deal with the mildew, because chlorine bleach dissolves wool (and linen - I have some very nice holes in the cuffs of some office trousers from a pool deck). I think if I decide to do anything, it'll be ammonia...but more likely, I'll replace the cotton with wool before I use the tent again.
Bright spot, it does look more broken-in now.
It figures, after a summer where it rained a lot nearly every day, I'd have to wait a few days for a paltry half inch.
But still, a half-inch is a half-inch, and it's created the 'wet sag' that I was looking for...
Tarp inside was completely dry, and the fabric was not wet to the touch on the inside, on the main. I'm calling this project substantially complete, and after it dries, it comes down to get mudflaps, and the ears closed properly, so those clamps can go away. And the floor gets its finishing layer tomorrow. That's two more days of sewing, and it's DONE!
But of course, there's a bunch of little things I still want to do to make it prettier...
Going out with mp3 player to baste ties.
The tent frame now works. (Thanks as always for snapping pics, Mike.) I'd gotten another joint suggestion from GMA fan Carl Smart (thank you!), and we used part of it, to great success.
We ended up dropping the height of the ridgepole a total of 7" from where it had been. I notched the short bits of the uprights to carry the ridge directly, which places the uprights at good section-modulus orientation* when you're pushing the assembled frame up underneath the fabric. Ridge is now at approximately 8'-9".
*This means a rectangular section vertical, rather than horizontal. Much stronger shape. Mike will now mutter, "Architect," under his breath.
The bit of Carl's idea that we used was the hinge - which was the smallest strap hinge Tractor Supply would sell us. Previously we'd considered a hinge, but that was before I'd had the notch idea, and I'd discarded the 'hinge-alone' plan as having too much lateral play. Fortunately the notch is very stable, and the hinge+notch works great. No issues with legs wanting to fold in on top of one, especially if the bells are properly tensioned.
Which at present they are not. I'd been conservative in cutting the triangles, and sure enough, what worked well in paper, didn't account for the stretchiness of fabric (let alone this fabric - more about that in a minute). I need to trim back the length of the bell centerline - fortunately this is simple. Still have ears/ties/mudflaps/floor to do - but it's coming along. All those should happen this week.
The incredible growing tent, part 2: I thought this was a 16' x 8.5' tent footprint. It's more like a 16' x 13' tent footprint. I am not complaining, but now I have to change an upcoming event reservation.
I worked on some other projects, too. I went up Friday night, to help celebrate Mike's birthday, and did one of my bee embroideries for a streamer end for the bee standard pole. While drunk. I consider this an accomplishment. (Flying saltine crackers deserve hazard pay...but are very very funny, for some reason.)
Oswald showed up on Saturday, with goodies for me (and I had goodies for him, so all were made happy by the Sharing). He's passing on some leftover SS lamellar, for my EP armor project (which seems to be progressing faster than anyone thought possible). I now need to learn about lacing patterns, so as to optimize protection for weight. I want a source of khaki 550 cord.
Oswald has made a FANTASTIC new sword with a beautifully decorated leather scabbard, wrapped grip, cast guard and decorated pommel. It's possibly the first SCA reproduction inspired by the Staffordshire hoard photos - over which he has spent much time. (No, I have not examined the Xray pics yet. Yes, I will get there. Someday. Geez. Mike is so indulgent of both of us EP nuts.) Mike and I are both very jealous of his accomplishment...Oswald looks at my camp stuff, and I look at his armor stuff. Heh.
We all chatted a bit about a helmet design for me, and looked at some pictures. I like one in a pile of 6thc Frankish stuff; I'm sure this is the beginning of a lonnnnng road. (happy dance)
I also worked on the first of what I hope will be several lighting fixtures for my tent. I'm interpreting the mysterious hanging bowls as a useful place to put those Kentish tallow candlepots, and have started one. (This reminds me to bring pics of said candlepots to one of Kerstyn's pinchpot classes...I bet she's doing one at Gatalop!) Mike showed me aluminum can be annealed, which made it malleable enough for me to pound out a good deal of the bowl shape by myself. (He finished it up for me, practice and strength help to smooth out the shape.) I now have a bowl ready for decoration and chain, which resembles nothing so much now as a hubcap. Ah well.
I spent a lot of time in the past week sewing on my tent.
Yes, I do all my sewing currently on a 30" x 48" table squirreled away in here. No pics of the folding required to lay out pieces in a room smaller than they are.
In case I haven't said so already, this fabric is Odd. It's a wool/Something Plastic blend, as determined by a burn test. Except that I can't keep it on fire. I can't help thinking this isn't a bad thing in a tent. I just hope it doesn't turn out to be a sweatbox...but mundane nylon tents are horrible about that, and I really think a lot of it is color. With two doors, and built-in heat vents, I should be able to handle it. (Though I have thought seriously about a shade fly, for future.)
I chose it based on circumstances: I wanted a tent, and I stumbled upon just enough (22 yards) in a clearance house for $3/yard. I figured I could learn a lot for that price.
It's also fantastic to handle - I think it's a 1/3 twill (this might account for the stretch mystery, below), brushed one side so you can't see the weave, and the other side has well-defined wales. I put the brushed side on the outside, which seemed to me to have fantastic water direction capabilities. Crawling around on the floor with this stuff, and manhandling it through my sewing machine, was not a chore. Folding it up and hauling it is also not a chore. It's pretty light, too - 38 pounds, with the extra canvas thrown in for mudflaps.
Here it is, laid out on Mike's lawn, while we worked on the frame.There's a lot of tweaking to be done yet. The fabric portion is still missing:
Note for future erection: Pause, when pulling up the ridge, to stretch out the fabric along the ridgepole. I have an idea for a design feature to help this work better.
The ridge is cut long at present, because it might be useful to be long.
There's a couple of manufacturing flaws in the fabric that worry me (sorry, no pic - they look like thin places in the weave), but I've got enough extra to do some reinforcing, which might actually look kind of cool.
The main section turned out 5" wider than I expected. How does two widths of 60" fabric sew together with four 5/8" seam allowances and yield a 125" wide center section? I shouldn't look a gift handwidth in the mouth, I suppose.
The jute tapes are fantastic. That was a terrific notion, and well worth the extra trouble and strange yard art.
I soaked the two lengths of jute tape in the bathtub, then tied them to trees as tautly as I could, and then weighted them down with concrete blocks. The yellow rope is necessary because the tape wanted to bounce up and knock off the blocks. This was Not Easy (and a come-along of some sort was a good but late idea) but it was well worth it. The jute softened up beautifully, and the stretching gave me quite a few extra yards. I did this process twice, to be sure I'd gotten all the stretch (and some excess dye from the stripes - the tent guy at Pennsic warned about this) out.
I'm really happy with the splice joints, which got considerable worrying about (and cool hardware), but am frustrated with the upright/ridgepole joint, which didn't get any design thought. Goes to show me, again.
Mike and I tried a plywood angle, and it works, but I don't like it. I don't like the way it looks (nevermind that plywood existed, apparently), and I *really* don't like how fiddly it is to assemble, with loose hardware. I want to be able to put this up tired and in the dark, with a minimal time demand on help.
I have several ideas for the joint now - putting the frame up a couple of times (of course we dropped it the first time) taught me how it's actually pretty flimsy until the first couple of stakes go in. My favorite idea so far is a notch in the top of the upright, with a couple of stops applied to the ridge. (I think the acute slope will hang up on hardware here, so want to avoid it.)
It's also too tall, which fouls up the bell geometry, since the ridge hits the tent in the wrong place. I suspected this would be true - presently the uprights are 9' high, plus the 3.5" width of the ridgepole. Easier to trim than to add, though, so next work session we'll fool with that. And get a lot of practice setting it up and taking it down. Mudflaps and ties will be done by then, and probably a container. Because of course, when the geometry is right, then I am going to trace the floor, and test it for water intrusion. I'm going to want a bagging device immediately thereafter to help get the water out.
Although the model was invaluable to construction, and still is for showing people what it ought to look like, the lack of precision of the scale left something to be desired. And fabric just isn't entirely predictable - it stretches. I knew this, from studying fabric structures in school, but the real lessons don't show up until fulll scale experience.
The other half of my weekend was consumed with making tent stakes, a stake puller, hardware, buying wood for ridgepole and uprights, and being shown about a pretty good flea market in Dothan.
Stake puller and tent stakes. They need painting next.
Red iron is fun.
In this picture, I'm putting the heated stake in the vise, and that face is *required* to line up the notch with the top of the vise. It's really really hot. So hot, that if the rods sort of stick together, while they're heating, it's really best to go in and separate them, and then take a break to let your hands cool off before you take one to work on it. I am very proud that I didn't drop one, or burn myself. No singed hair, either.
Then one picks up a wrench with an extra lever, and starts the bend...here.
I watched Mike do two stakes, and then I tried it, and couldn't stop. Cranked out the remaining ten, and would have happily done more.
The red iron is oddly clay-like. The hotter it gets, the mushier the clay feeling.
Having access to this shop is really fantastic - stakes cost quite a bit already made, but are expensive to ship.
We also made a stake puller - Mike did the drawing out of the point, and then I helped bend the hook (doing the pounding part, while he oriented the hook in a swage block). I was glad I'd had experience with Maudey's stake puller, since that influenced our design.
Finally, we played around and copied something.
I recieved a couple of neat hardware pieces from a generous fan of this site who's also a blacksmith, and although Mike had had an idea for the ridgepole splice of my tent, we both liked this solution so much, we wanted to try making more for the vertical poles.
The black finish was achieved by heating the steel in the forge (it's a gas forge, which has more consistency of heat), then quenching it in a bucket of old motor oil, which forces the oil into the molecular structure of the metal. This won't keep it from rusting, though, so I'm going to polyurethane or varnish it when I get the pieces set up on my tent parts.
As thanks to Carl, both for these pieces and some other niceties (I now have bone hairpins, mom has a very smooth bone nalbinding needle, and the Roman lamp reproduction is just gorgeous - your email inbox is full Carl, sorry to have to do thank you's here), here are more photos of the anvils in Mike's shop. There are three.
This is the anvil by the gas forge - that's its leg in the upper right. A new, larger propane tank made its debut this weekend, with much more efficiency of fuel delivery. The date on this anvil is 1898. This is the one we did the hot work on.