Search the Blog

patreon logoLike what you read? Find the posts helpful? Support the blog via Patreon to get even more of the stuff you enjoyed!

Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt, folks.

Emotional rollercoaster ride, anyone?


Well, it wasn’t what I had planned for the weekend, too – but I was in for it anyways. After all the elation and good vibes from getting the book safely delivered here and it being just as nice and well-made and smelling of freshly printed book as could be imagined, Saturday had a rather big and nasty surprise for me.

Friday evening was spent happily sewing along on the market stall tent, making good progress with some help of the most patient of all men. On Saturday morning, after a nice breakfast, I finished off one of the side wall seams in the left side of the tent; the side wall slant was cut partly and sewn in partly at that point.

Saturday afternoon, we took the tent into the garden to put it up – to mark the spot where the side wall and the back wall would be sewn together. And that was when it happened: As we were arranging the fabric on the lawn, the half-cut-off strip from the side wall got caught somewhere, or maybe I pulled on it slighly.


Well, let me tell you – that is not a sound you want to hear (or expect to hear with heavy-weight, brand new linen canvas cloth). The fabric intended for the tent and, indeed, 80% already transformed into said tent, rips as easily as wool cloth. And that is not at all suitable for a tent which, after all, will bear considerable wind load.*

However, this accidental discovery has finally made me bite the bullet and face the fact that I have bought a very, very bad quality cloth for a rather high price.** And thus I spent not only the money, but also many hours of sewing for nothing – because there is simply no way at all that this stuff will make a tent. (I guess I should have realised that long before now, but hindsight, 20/20, rivers in Egypt, stuff like that.)

And that meant that 12 days before Freienfels I am without a suitable tent for a market table. (In case you didn’t notice: Low point of rollercoaster ride, right here.)

What to do except try to find some way out? Naturally, our plans for the rest of the weekend did change at that point. I went digging for the rest of the fabric left over from our existing tent in the basement, hunting down the bolt of cloth left over and the scraps as well. Saturday evening I spent mostly thinking, planning, sketching and measuring (and a little knitting, to relax).
Sunday morning I spent doing tent-y maths again and trying to figure out how best to turn 9,78 metres of fabric 2 metres wide plus a trapezoid piece of 90 cm on top and 144 on bottom, a bit more than 2 metres long, and a rather long but not more than 80 cm wide (at the widest) strip into a tent large enough for one small person, some customers of undefined tallness, and a market table. With as few seams as possible, of course.

It will be a double-belled wedge tent, with one side opening up into an awning. Eight main seams (each about 2 metres long), plus seams in the tips of the bells. Plus hemming (at least the door/awning has to be hemmed, to take the strain). Measurements will be around 2,5 m x 4,5 m floor space, with 2,25 m height.

The rest of Sunday? Spent sewing, together with the most patient man of them all. And receiving offers for help from several sides, to my profound gratefulness. Happy is the person who gets help from friends in such dire straits!

And the plus side of all this (because there has to be a plus side): The sturdy cotton fabric has served for our normal, spokewheel tent for years now, without any traces of wear; I know and can totally trust that this cloth will be absolutely waterproof, even if things lean against the fabric from the inside in heavy rain. And due to some quirk of nature, sewing the sturdy fabric is somehow much faster than stitching together the soft linen stuff – so we made very good progress yesterday.

If anybody is looking for me later – I’ll be sitting on the living room floor, working on the tent.

* The tent design is not without its flaws, and high wind load is one of them. This last test has also shown that the stall would not stand without pegs – not because of low stability in good conditions, but mostly because it is so lightweight that it can be lifted up by slight gusts of wind already.

** I do believe that this is not the fault of my supplier, who has only ever delivered me best quality stuff up until now, and I have contacted them to find out they are as amazed about the “properties” of the cloth as I am. I will send them a sample of my very soft, as-water-deterrent-as-a-sieve, very rippable cloth and we will discuss matters from there.

This entry was posted in the tent-making saga. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt, folks.

  1. Harma Piening says:

    That really is bad luck. All that work for nothing.

    We've had that with a wax coat we bought. After three months of wearing, you could tear it into shreds just by looking at it. The shop gave us a new one from another brand strait away.

  2. Yes, the work for nothing is bothering me quite a bit (though I try not to think of it, and thankfully I haven't kept proper count of the hours). I could have done so many other things in the time spent – best not to dwell on that thought.
    Anyway, at least this happened before the thing was all finished and standing on a market – because the one thing worse than finding out an 80% finished tent is crap and will not hold up? Finding out that a 100% brand-new finished tent is crap and falling apart while set up on a market with you, your customers and all your wares in it. At least that hasn't happened.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *