Monday, February 28, 2011

Ooo! More stuff from the stash

While I was poking around in my box of trims I also came across this

Short blue fringe

and this

Blue velvet, black cord and "gold" trim

I have a theory that fringed edges may help keep bugs out of the tent, so I'll probably use the fringe on the bottom of the door curtains, but where else? The doorway opening?

Would it be strange to use it at the bottom of the mottoe band, even though the tent walls don't seperate there?

And the other trim...what to do with you....

Wow. Gold ribbon? NICE......

I am so glad I looked in my stash. The ribbon is magnificent on the lettering. There is really no other word for it. It sparkles--even in the dark. It is just the right size. And strangely the weave of the ribbon even makes it look like the whole letter was embroidered in satin stitch. (But all I had to do was stitch the edges down. Woo hoo!)

I have no idea if it will hold up once it is out in the elements, but I am really glad I decided to try it out. Below, see the wonders of what cheap-o "gold" ribbon can do in the right application:

The lettering on my Pavilion, in progress

Saturday, February 26, 2011

More is More

As you have probably gathered, I come from the Guild The Lily school of stuff-making for SCA reenactment. This explains--at least in part--why I started embroidering my doorway panels on Friday. You know how it is; it snows 14 inches, you haven't decided how you are going to approach the next scheduled task (the mottoe, in my case), embroidery is *way* down the list in the 'if I have time' section of the plan but you suddenly feel like winter will *never* end and you might as well keep busy...

So anyway, I had a ball of thin black crochet cotton sitting around which I am now couching down around the outline of my applique. I've never done couched embroidery before (so I'm probably doing it all wrong) but it goes very quickly thus far (one day and I'm practically done with the first doorway panel--fire) and it makes an amazing difference!

As promised, Pictures!

In other news, I remembered that I have a large quantity of metallic gold ribbon hiding out in my fabric stash. I had absolutely zero plans for it--it was just too good a price to pass up, back in the day--so I've decided to use it to make the letters of my mottoe. I'll be stitching on two widths of the ribbon for the thick parts of my letters and one width for the thin parts. We'll see how it goes.

Wish me luck!

(BTW, if anyone wants to share a Latin translation for "more is more" I'd be very grateful!)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Done at last!

OK, it's just step 1, but I'm done with the applique for the doorway.

Done! Done! DONE!!!!

(Thank goodness.)

And they came out rather nicely, don't you think?

The completed applique on the four door panels

I needed a bit of inspiration to continue going forward, so I decided to lay the door way out on the floor for more pictures. Keep in mind that the *actual* tent will be 6 feet wider and 3 feet taller--and three dimensional--but here is a taste of ...

The front door of the Pavilion


The back door of the Pavilion

To keep up my tradition, here are detail shots of the last two elements:


(which you may notice got a small bit of trapunto) and


As I said...Done! Done! DONE!!!!

Now on to the next stage of the plan...the Mottoe.

I've been cutting out the pattern pieces for the text and I've been slowly and reluctantly coming to the conclusion that maybe I should rethink the idea of applique for the mottoe. I'll make the final decision when I go shopping for materials this weekend, but at the moment I am leaning towards embroidery after all. (It's all the fiddly bits on the letters.) Stay tuned!

Saturday, February 19, 2011


A link to a site which has captured my imagination, answered my questions, and beguiled my time on many occasions...

Support disk after conservation

It is the diary of the Deutsches Historisches Museum conservators restoration of a Turkish tent captured in 1683. (But dated earlier as I remember.) The links on the left go to German text, the ones on the right are in English.

Absolutely beautiful!

More importantly it is full of details on the materials, construction, conservation and erection of the pavilion.

And, as I said, absolutely beautiful!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

In other news...

Last time we had the camera out I also took pictures of some of the other (semi-completed) parts of the tent. I am still stitching away on the AIR panel and so, since I have nothing new to report on my door panels, I thought I'd post them.

The Piece That Started It All

Yes, this is one of my 2 triangles of assembled pieces which I mentioned in my first post. The bad news is that I still need to figure out how to extend it by about 3 feet in length but the good news is that I have an idea!

The Awning / Door Flap /Front and Back Wall Pieces

I have two of these. They just need the banding on the bottom edge and they will be ready to sew into the center section of the soon as everything else is ready.

I'm also including detail shots of the banding

Back to work for me!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Now these are my kind of people!

Hmmm. Just where is An Tir anyway?...

Stage Two: Mottoe

As you may remember, the doorway panels are going to be attached to a 1' deep header. This band of blue-green will run the entire circumference of the tent (at 7' up) and Clarence and I have been searching for months for the proper mottoe to put on it. After much deliberation we have decided on:


Which we understand translates as " In serious works and ones that promise great things, one or two purple patches are often stitched in, to glitter far and wide." (Horace 65-8 BC)

I love it.

I'm planning on doing each individual letter in applique (of course) because I just can't see myself taking on the project of embroidering all 29 +/- feet and finishing it before Pennsic...or this year...or ever!


I just need to finish up the applique work on AIR and EARTH before I can move on...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I spoke too soon...New Pavilion photos are here

As promised, a full length shot of all four door panels thus far. The dead twig-ish thing in the third panel will be a tree (EARTH) as soon as we finish the step I left off of my previous list:

?) Lay the panel on the floor and stare at it and fiddle around with the pieces while Clarence figures out how we are going to make the symbol to represent the element...and we talk about it...and look at pictures...and talk and fiddle some more.

Not that I am saying he is the Spike to my Harmony, but we have a division of labor agreement going on...

Here is a detail shot of the fountain on the WATER panel .

Oops! forgot the Camera!

Well, the plan was to post lovely pictures of my 4 door panels so that you could see the progress. I've finished the applique on the second panel (WATER) and almost finished all the prep work on both of the remaining panels (AIR and EARTH) so I am definitely moving faster than in the beginning. I'm really happy with my progress and I think you will be too...If we just remember to get the camera!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thoughts...OK, questions really...on Pavillion poles

First let me say that I believe that the most common structure for holding up a double belled wedge pavilion (in period) was very likely two poles, one at each end of the center section.

That being said, I'm pretty invested in making a "swing set" style structure because I like the flexibility of having all that open space. I'm also pretty sure I want to go with bamboo for my support poles. Mostly for the "green" characteristics of bamboo, but also for their strength, lightness, non-conductivity (in case of lightning!) and proportions similar to a classic pavilion pole.

I see lots of indications that bamboo tent poles are(or were) common in India, and I've seen some very interesting sites about the use of thinner bamboo poles in place of the shock-corded fiberglass poles common in modern tentage, but unfortunately I've yet to find any suppliers of *just* the bamboo poles for a pavilion, or any pictures of the connectors used for larger dimension bamboo tent poles, or anything which compares the strength of bamboo to a wood I am more familiar with (like say, pine) etc, etc.

I'm just a flood of questions.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

About the applique...

It occurs to me that I should talk a bit about how I'm doing my applique, just in case someone else would find it useful.

I got the idea for the candelabrum form from the examples and text I found in the book The History of Decorative Arts: Renaissance and Mannerism in Europe edited by Alain Gruber. Apparently it is a classical design theme which was extensively used in the later Renaissance period due to an upsurge of interest in grotesques following the discovery of some ancient frescoes in Italy. It works for my purposes because of the overall shape, and because it is basically just a whole lot of stands, basins, plates, tazzas, urns and candle holders stacked on top of each other.

I decided to cut some appropriate shapes out of paper and stack them in various ways until I liked the look, then use the selected pieces as patterns.

The process is:

1) fold piece of paper in half and draw/cut out 1/2 of a tazza or other form

2) lay various forms onto my (doorway) panel and play with the design until perfected

3) number each piece for order and direction so I will be able to recreate the design

4) pin the pattern pieces to my applique fabric--leaving about 1/2" of space between them for seam allowance

5) cut the pieces apart (remembering to leave the seam allowance!)

6) draw around each pattern piece

7) remove pattern and hand stitch around each applique section staying just inside the drawn line (This stitch line ends up being the outside edge of the finished applique piece)

8) clip the seam allowance in the curves as necessary to make the edges turn back smoothly, then turn, baste and press all the edges

9) pin the prepared applique pieces to the panel--referring to the notes re order and direction as needed

10) stitch the applique to the panel

11) remove the basting stitches from the applique

12) do happy dance!

13) repeat as necessary

There are methods for doing applique which would sew the paper pattern into the tent--sandwiched between the two layers of fabric--but I prefer this method, and I get to keep the pattern pieces and use them again for the next panel.

The first panel took just over a week for the whole process but the second one is going much faster--a lot of which is probably due to my developing callouses on my fingers. Canvas is hard stuff to sew by hand!

(Additional pictures posted 3/27/2011)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I submitted my device!

Creepy huh?

It and my name are now off traveling thru the mysterious lands of the SCA heraldry approval process. May their journey be both safe and swift!

If all goes well I'll soon be working on that tent liner...

Sneak peek of my proposed device

Wow. Actual content. I'm working on my Pavilion!

Lately I've been obsessively working on a pavilion. Make that a Pavilion!

In my fantasies it is all gloriously banded, appliqued and embroidered; it has mottoes and banners and a heraldic full inner liner based on our devices; it's fully furnished--in period appropriate furniture, of course--and makes quite a splash at events. (Ah, vanity, your name is Aurora...)

Of course, what I have right now is a rather large and heavy pile of chunks of fabric in various stages of construction. And pictures. I have pictures!

(Oh, and I also have very sore hands which are slowly forming pavilion-making-callouses, thank goodness!)

My doorway panels: In progress

Anyway, long, long ago in a land far, far away (2000-ish in Northern California) I started reading about the SCA on the internet and formed a desire to a) go to Pennsic, b) make a pavilion, and c) uphold my belief that the stripes and other decorations on period tents were more likely sewn than painted by doing just that. On to e-bay for canvas and I was shortly the proud owner of about 60 yards of flame retardant canvas in a lovely off-white and another chunk of canvas in a lovely blue-green and so I started work cutting 8 1/5' long oblongs of canvas into 2 triangles, attaching a band of the blue-green to the cut edge for support (thus making those colored stripes I saw on period illustrations) and assembling the triangles together.

Which worked just great until I tried to sew two of my assembled pairs of triangles together and discovered that my machine *really* didn't like trying to make 3 flat-felled seams in the same place. Hmmmm....

Now I know why people use semi-circles at the very tip.

Of course, I then decided that I wasn't sure what style/size of pavilion I wanted...or how I was going to make those roof panels work...and I've been carting around around a partially finished tent ever since!


This winter seems to be the year of the pavilion.

I've decided to convert the pieces I originally made for the roof of a circular single pole pavilion into the cone-shaped end pieces of a double belled wedge. the finished wedge is going to be about 10' tall so I'm going to have to add additional length to the original pieces. I still haven't figured out how I am going to do *that* so right now I'm working on the center section.

It will be a panel which is 11' high by 9' wide (finished dimensions) on each side. The bottom section of each side will have a 7' high by 6' wide doorway opening bordered by 7' high x1 1/5' wide panels. they will connect to an 1' high by 9, wide panel which forms the top of the doorway, which will connect to a 8' x 9' day shade flap and the remaining 3'high by 9' wide roof piece.

I hope that description makes sense, but it will all be clear in the photos as it starts coming together.

Which brings me to the pictures!

Inspired by many lovely examples of late-period ornamentation I am going for a highly-embellished pavilion. the pilasters on each side of the doorway seemed a natural place for such embellishment and accommodate the candelabrum form well. There will need to be four such panels so, naturally, I am making a panel for each of the four elements. You can see all four panels in their various stages of applique above.

I've finished stitching down the entire "fire" panel and am well on the way with "water" but, as you can see, the other two elements are still in the thinking stages. The fire panel took me a week (hand stitching) so if I can keep up the pace I could have all 4 attached by the end of February. Wish me luck!

I'm pretty sure that they will need additional embroidery to add detailing and make them look less modern. One thing at a time.

This is a detail of the Fire panel. you can see I still need to remove all the stay-stitching from the pieces