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The Young Mr outside our tents

The Young Mr outside our tents

I’m making one. Or two. Whatever: I’m making them for famille Calash. Sleeping on straw and a sleeping pad is better than either alone, but I find with the arthritis that I need more warmth and more cushion than I used to require. True, I am self-padded, but the steel prosthesis does feel—it is only an illusion, but I feel this—closer to the surface, and thus colder, than bone. This makes for a Cranky Kitty, and it is far better for all concerned that Madam Commissariat be a Happy Kitty. I will forgo chairs and tables and other clutter—it is both authentic and pleasant to be unburdened—but I like to sleep well.

There’s a simple enough pattern in one of the Packet books, but the gist of the thing is this: Enormous Market Wallet. Interior common tent dimensions are about 6×6 or 6×7 feet, so you need to end up with something along the lines of 3×6 or 4×6 or 6×6 feet. The Packet suggests four pieces of ticken, each 30 x 80 inches, aiming for a finished size of 42×72 inches, with an center slit four inches wide and a couple feet or so long. (I used the 18th Century New England Life market wallet instructions for a guide in making ours, and will use the same idea for bed sacks.)

I’m not yet aware of extensive documentation of these for Continental troops, but there is one reference in a West Point waste book (see here, footnote three). Since we don’t allow fire in the tents, I am willing to compromise on cotton ticking for these, and (ssshh!!) machine sewing the seams, with a hand-finished slit edge. I might even borrow the serger from work to make really quick work of this business. They will truly hardly be seen, so although I know I am cutting corners, I don’t feel too wretched about it.