Wednesday, 17 March 2010

The Way my Days are spent.

For a while now, my days are spent like that:
I get up, I make myself a pot of tea, I sit down with it at the computer and spend most of the morning with reading and answering e-mails, blogging, and other computer stuff.

And then, my workspace is shifted to a spot on the livingroom floor that may look approximately like this:

Well, sometimes (for preparation of smaller bits) I even get to sit down on the sofa, but for the most part, tent-making means floor-sitting. Note the large cushion to sit on. The little rectangular thing is my block of beeswax for waxing the sewing thread (a very thick, sturdy linen thread), and beside it there's my cup of tea. The text on the cup, by the way, says "Alles unter Kontrolle" (which means "everything under control"), and that's an expression of hope, most of the time. What you can't see from the photo is that I amuse myself with nice music while I'm sewing. That is one of the perks of that job, I think - you sit down quietly, your hands occupied, and can just relax while having favourite musicians entertain you.

But you are probably more interested in the tent right now?
Here is one of the main constructive elements, innocent-looking as it might be:

This is the corner bit for the right-hand back corner. Its job? Holding up the crossbeam and tensioning the fabric across the upper edge of the back wall. There's an additional tunnel to be added that will cover most of the crossbeam and distribute the stress on the fabric more evenly, but the tent would function with these cornerpieces without additional tunnels.

And here's a closeup of the work on one other innocent-looking constructive detail, the pocket for the sidebeam in the top front corner:

It is a little blurry, but you should be able to make out the needle I use (one of the two needles, the other one being below the fabric at the moment). All seams are done in saddler's stitch (more or less saddler's stitch; there is no half-hitch in the stitch where the two threads cross in the fabric). Aside from a measuring stick, needles, a pencil and my resurfacing mathematics skills (right-angle triangle sidelength calculation, anyone?) you can also see another of my all-important tools for the tentmaking: binder clips. They are incredibly useful in marking a spot, holding down a fold or fixing something into place until it is sewn down. No tent-sewing without them for me, thank you!

 (By the way, did you know that the official German name for binder clips is... "Foldback-Klammer"? Very German, eh?)

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