Tag Archives: yurt cover

Spirits Intent Yurt Covers

Perfect yurt coverWe have been sewing Yurt Covers in our way for many years and have never really written about how we do it and what makes us special. So here goes…

The main thing that makes us different from other yurt makers is that we usually make our yurt covers without seeing the frame. “So how do we do this”?, you may ask. Well it is a fine art that we have refined and fine tuned over the years, and have now made (literally) hundreds of canvas and felt yurt covers in this way.

Yurt covers

It is an ancient recipe starting with a measurement sheet which we send to be completed by the yurt owner, with lots of clear instructions to ensure the process is idiot-proof (although there have been a few cases…). We then add lots of circle geometry, a bit of algebra, Pythagoras theorem and sometimes some trigonometry, before getting out our amazing Vietnamese scissors to start cutting the canvas, the webbing, the cord and all those little bits and pieces which make our yurt covers so delicious.

Making yurt covers on siteTop quality canvas is an important ingredient in the pot. We usually make our yurt covers from 12oz polycotton canvas which is flame, water and rot-proofed, and have worked with the UK’s canvas proofers to raise the ‘water head’ (level of water proofing).

And we make our yurt linings with a really snuggly wool felt.

We have two trusty sewing machines, both walking foots (feet?) which means that the heavy fabric is always held tight from slipping. One is a Durkopp-Adler, and the other a Seiko. The Durkopp is the Rolls Royce of sewing machines (which means a tiny screw can cost £75), and is fast, good for the long stretches. It can also sew through a surprising number of canvas layers. The Seiko is better for detailed work like windows and it is lighter to move around so is the one that usually goes out on missions.

Yurt cover sewing machine

Sewing yurt covers
Windows are nice in the yurt covers: as our late friend, Bill Coperthwaite used to say ‘there is something indescribable about the view through a round window’ and I would also recommend opening ones, which we used to do only rectangular, until we worked out that a round hole with a rectangular PVC opening bit was much easier and nicer etc

Window in yurt cover

Round yurt window
…and we like doing decorative details..it makes life interesting.

Coloured yurt coversWe decided a few years back that it was time to share our secrets with the world so we wrote ‘The Yurt Cover Sewing Course’ which reveals all tricks of our trade.

It is always a lovely moment when the cover is all packed in the bag, and ready to be picked up by our latest friendly courier. As we make our yurt covers at a distance, we don’t usually get to see them up, so it’s good when customers send us photos and feedback. We will always hear when something is wrong, but not always when things go right. It’s often a case of needing to hold the intent until we get the thumbs up.

Yurt cover bag
Now, once again the wild Easter sewing rush has begun, so we have sharpened the scissors and got our thimbles out to be ready for the storm….

Yurt Cover tools

The meaning of פירגון

פירגון (firgun) is a an Hebrew term that means – giving someone credit, to speak highly of another person without any investment for yourself, telling of the worth of a third party individual.

So in the firgun slot of today we would like to speak of another yurt maker we think highly of, Henry Dowell .

It was a several years ago….. we were contacted to make a cover for Henry, for a school yurt, soon later another followed when he bought another of our yurt covers, one that was a part of a job that went bad.
He made the frame to the cover measurements, which was very clever.

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Few years have now passed and we have seen Henry becoming one of the most popular yurt makers in the country, his nice yurts are very reasonably priced, and he is easy to work with (I know not all of us yurt makers are like that, I mean easy to work with).

We have seen so many yurt makers come and go, partly due to the fact that yurt making is like hunting gathering, sometimes you have no orders, and sometimes you hunt for big game, a reality which led a few to diversify and hire yurts too, for those moments when the prey does not come near enough.

Here is an amazing hire yurt Henry just finished.

 

Henry Dowell yurt palace

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A really interesting yurt type we think, and that cute little upper storey trellis is adorable, with it’s mini doors (where the flu comes out of).

We feel like there is really not near enough of this type of פירגון (firgun) going on, the fact that there is not even an English equivalent sheds some doubtful light on the chances of it becoming a full scale activity in these parts, especially not amongst yurt makers, who tend only to their own yurt hunting.

We recently finished a 32ft cover, for (the now famous) Henry, which actually gave birth to this blog entry before it became a Hebrew lesson.

Here are a few pics of the cover making, as you can see the 32ft cover is a big thing, below you can see the joining seam, (this seam is when you have to feed the whole cover through the machine) It went through the machine like butter, so all the worry about trying to join such a big one and it not going through the machine was for naught.

yurt cover making

yurt cover making

Yurt cover making in front of yurt

Yurt cover making

And here it is in it’s new home

yurt cover complete

30 yurt cover complete

And finally if you follow the link you can see a movie of Henry putting this 32ft yurt up, amazing how quick he does it too!.

Tales of Yurt Power: The Elfi

So the background of this tale is that once upon a time we were in Wales building two 4×4 trucks to go on the road: an oh-so-sweet Unimog and her big brother: a Mercedes 1820.

We had done the outer structure on both: put on bodies, spray painted them (the original “yellow in the Welsh rain saga“), added ‘Spirits Intent’ stickers, put windows and doors in the boxes and, a crane at the back of the 1820 for good measure.unimog 1300L and mercedes 1820

But then the cosmic clock said its ‘time to go’, so we ended up buying a Brockhouse Army trailer for living in, which was to be towed by the Unimog, loaded up the two trucks with everything else: the materials for doing the interiors (such as insulation and piles of red oak tongue-in-groove), the combination saw machine, the sewing machine, canvas…and 2 coppiced yurt frames which were nearly finished, and tumbled onto the road.

The Trailer (Stay tuned for the full movie)

The Trailer (Stay tuned for the full movie)

(Incidentally reversing the trailer which is a draw-bar, meaning it pivots both at the trailer and the Mog, was not impossible but almost).

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Unimog 1300L, Brockhouse Trailer, and Mercedes 1820

Anyway, the core of this story began when we were waiting in Italy for the go ahead on another Yurt Power Story, this one involving our Garden Fairy. It was eventually a No on that yurt, and we were (literally) about to turn for France where we had another yurt cover job when…the ‘phone rang and it was an Elfi woman wanting to know if we had any yurts. (The Elfi are a group of wild communities mainly in Tuscany, north of Pistoia, which are either on the land, or in houses they made themselves or resurrected from the old mountainside dereliction). The internal builds of the trucks were coming along slowly on the road, but it would be good to have a bit have more room in them so maybe we can get to live in them, especially with winter drawing near, so we gave them a good price. We still needed to finish the frames and sew the covers.

We understand that the first sequence of an event is the ‘map’, the blueprint for the whole story. This map was that when we went to meet the Elfi woman (elfess?) in a tiny hamlet, there was no room to park which, as you will see was to be played out in the body of the story.

The roads up to ‘Casa Sarti’, the community who had invited us, are narrow and winding so the 1820 and the trailer would never have made it but the Unimog did! Looking for a place where we could park and work on the yurts somehow, one of the communal fields seemed the only option. That evening saw a community event in the opening of a new forno (pizza oven), and we met all the players. When we asked them what they needed they all said, RAIN, as it had been dry for a few months. I told them we could do rain, then we had all the dramas of the community run about us using that field.  There were all the objections: the cows, the road, the noise, the wells, the lack of water….so we would be going straight into the heart of the inner conflict of alternative communities. We realised we would have to find some other way to do it, maybe on the road somewhere.

That somewhere came when we returned to the petrol station where we had left the 1820 and trailer and the boss said we could stay there.

So life at the Tamoil gas station started, with a laid back boss who had a strong liking to wine lunch breaks and playing the clarinet.  There was not much room so we had to pitch the 22′ and the 16′ yurts concentrically and sew outside next to the trucks. concentric yurts concentric yurts We were finally doing it on the road. I think the gas station must have had 50% more clients just so they could ask what was going on.  It was somewhat hard to hold such a space, but it seemed that in comparison with the elfi politics  it was easy.

The trucks guard the space

 

Oh those seams

Seams good

The main issue seemed to be the weather, as maybe that long awaited for rain was on the way…so we did a little marathon to finish the yurts, and, as we finished the second yurt cover, the rain started.

22' complete in the Tuscan Tamoil

22′ complete in the Tuscan Tamoil

We got the boys to help and we drove the bigger yurt to the platform it was going to go on…. …and then all hell broke loose on our heads. We decided to stick it out, so we put that yurt in the strongest rain ever getting completely soaked, and even heaving to paddle ankle deep on the PVC groundsheet.

Reflection of the wheel in the lake made on the groundsheet

On the deck after the rain

On the deck after the rain

We later heard that that yurt had blown down in a storm. La Dolce Vita.