Sunday, 27 September 2015

How to make a 7 metre-long protest banner poley-holdy thing (keywords for Google)

Hey friends and allies.

Last time you saw me I was delirious and hysterical because I couldn't work out how to make a structure for the immense 7 metre banner, and I started wondering what the hell I was thinking when I decided that would be a good idea.

After I posted my tantrum online I got absolutely tons of responses from helpful kind people, thank you all, I know some awesome dudes.

I ignored the problem for a few more days, and yesterday Kelly, Claire and Laura, my chief pole consultants, came round to tackle the stupid thing in the garden. And.... it worked!

 Extensive googling tells me that there are no online tutorials explaining how to construct supports for such a long banner. So this will be the first ever one. If you're making a very stupidly long protest banner, follow these simple steps for easy and efficient banner-carrying (I hope).

You will need:

  • Long tent pole, the same length as the banner, one of those bendy ones with elastic through the middle that come apart.
  • Some bits of wood, the height you want your banner to be off the ground. I used 1x2in (ish) pine from B&Q.
  • Some hose clips. The same number as bits of wood.
  • Twenty million cable ties
  • Drill
  • Capable friends

1. Get wood. Drill four holes in the end your banner is going to hang from. There should be enough room between the holes for a hose clip to fit, vertically (I'll show you in a minute).

Claire being rugged

2. Attach hose clamp to the wood using two cable ties in a cross configuration, like this:

3. Do the same to all the other lengths of wood.

looking sweeeeet

4. Realise you haven't got enough wood or hose clamps and send Laura to buy some more. Thanks Laura!

5. Attach all the tent pole bits together and thread through all the hose clamps. Make sure the uprights are roughly evenly spaced, tighten all the hose clamps.

My tent pole is about 9mm wide and the clamps won't tighten that much, so we wrapped strips of fabric around the pole and taped them in place, to thicken it up a bit.

If you look closely you can see Kelly in the undergrowth. My garden is not quite long enough for this project.

6. Attach the banner to the tent pole and uprights in a manner of your choosing. At the march I will probably use cable ties or sew some fabric to keep the banner in place, but for the practice run we just tied it on using the loose threads at the back.

7. Lift the banner up with the help of as many people as you can find. It will be v wobbly but strong enough to hold. Oh, I should mention that we taped round all the joins in the tent pole, to stop it from coming apart.

If you're very lucky you will have a washing line in the way that impedes the banner somewhat, so in this event, send everyone round to the front of the house.

This tip is only really useful for protest marches taking place in your garden.

Finally - hooray! It can stand up.

Here's me shouting, when Laura zoomed in by mistake. I was excited.

You may have noticed that Claire is holding the end of the banner up because the pole isn't bloody long enough. Don't worry, I'm going to add a bit of stick to that end.

8. March! have fun and get the bastards! Basically what I'm hoping is that David Cameron sees the banner and immediately disbands the Tory party. realistic.

so that's how we did it. Whether it will stay upright for the whole day next Sunday... well you'll have to come along and see for yourself won't you! Rest assured I will have a rucksack full of cable ties, tape and glue for emergencies.


Monday, 21 September 2015

Crisis at Banner HQ

Hey fellas, nice to see you again.

So the general consensus on Facebook was that the banner should be LONG, as originally planned, which I was pleased about, because I agreed. So I've sewn it all together now and it is bundled in a corner of my living room awaiting its debut.


there is a bit of a spanner in the works here, in that I don't know how to construct a poley-carrying-structure for it, in fact I apparently don't even know what that is called :( I am going to appeal for help in a minute, but first I will describe my cack-handed attempts so far.

I'm illustrating this on MS Paint because I haven't taken any photos of anything and I love MS Paint.

Okay so first of all I went to B&Q with no idea what I was going to get. I thought I'd just mosey around and see what looked useful. So mosey I did, and eventually I decided on a structure somewhat like this.

After an appropriate amount of moseying, I decided to get some wooden dowel and some T-joints and elbow-joints that plumbers use, they're copper. You've seen them. I actually got 15mm square cut pinewood, instead of circular dowel, because it was cheaper and I doubted it would make any difference. My plan was to wedge the ends of the wood in the joints like this.

Bob's yer uncle. When I got home, I realised that the wood didn't fit in the ends of the joints, so I shaved a bit off one end with a Stanley knife (by now you are seeing what my DIY efforts are generally like).

The wood now jammed quite solidly in the joint, but I was suddenly struck that we would be carrying this around a lot, it might be jostled and stuff, and basically this was not very secure and quite rubbish. Also, a piece of wood 15mm wide and 2.3m long is quite bendy and I think they will snap if it's a bit windy or anything, really.


Okay so THEN I sat around and tried to think outside the box and I thought, tent poles are long and strong and flexible and can be dismantled and mantled (?) with ease (oh yeah. it needs to be dismantlable because I have to get it on the tram and I doubt the other passengers would take kindly to a 7m stick taking up the whole carriage).

Off I went to Go Outdoors (other camping shops are available), and lo and behold, a tent pole repair kit with 11 sections which add up to exactly 7m. Excellent. I bought one.

Now I still don't know how to attach the vertical bits to the horizontal bit. I thought I could still use some of the wood I bought earlier for the upright carrying poles, but ARGH

So I traipsed off to Wilkinsons (other shops which sell everything in the world are available). I wandered round the DIY section for a bit and eventually came away with these.

And this was how I envisaged it all working:

the superglue is for emergencies.

Anyway, that hasn't worked either, because the hose clamps won't tighten to the width of the tent pole and the plastic clippy things are too wide for the wood. so fuck it.


sorry for shouting but I'm fed up now. Please pass it around: I need someone to help me with the banner poles. thank you guys, I love you xxxx

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Crafters Against Cuts workshop #4: MORE SQUARES

Hi creatures

I'm feeling ill and sorry for myself today, so I thought I'd cheer myself up by writing a post celebrating what we've done.

Here are some very low-quality pictures I took at the workshop last night. We had some new people and some old faithfuls. It was a fun evening and I left with 4,000 squares (again).


Ruth is sick of me

Mark is overjoyed by Cathy and Deborah's knitting

That's it. It was dark in the pub, and I tried to adjust the exposure and stuff on my phone but it didn't really work. Will try harder.

So if you are friends with me on Facebook or you follow any of the groups related to crafting against cuts, arting against austerity or taking back Manchester, you will know that the banner is pretty much done besides a bit of sewing together. Now I have a dilemma and I want to ask you about it.

This is the photo I posted on FB the other day: the banner is currently in three bits:

Welcome to my messy shelf

Now, originally my plan was to sew it together in a long strip, making it 7 metres long and just under 1 metre wide. Which would be very amazing to see marching up Oxford Road. I have just tried to take some pictures of it in this state to show you, but again my photography skills are somewhat lacking. Plus my flat is actually not 7 metres long at any point so it's a bit scrunched, but see what you think

Panoramic experiment 1

Panoramic experiment 2

It does indeed look pretty awesome, although you need to use your imagination a bit, sorry. My preference is still leaning towards the 7m long version, just cos it's a proper sight to behold. However, I am a bit concerned about a) the logistics of carrying it, b) the fact that it might be hard to take pictures of, and c) because I am always concerned. Square-banner will be very tall and might also be hard to handle.

What do you think please. Squarey or longy? 

PS I am SO STOKED that this is where we're at on 15 September. I can't believe it. I started this project about three weeks ago. This is NUTS. 

thanks buds xxx

Oh PS. I think we're still meeting next week, maybe to knit squares and also discuss what we should do next. Crafters Against Cutz 4eva <3 p="">

The Castle, Oldham Street, Manchester M4 1LE - please come! x

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Crafters Against Cuts workshop #2 (or #3) - we are cookin' with gas my friends

Ey up!

So two weeks ago we held our first workshop, so far so good, we made some squares, more than I had imagined, it was fabby.

THEN, last week I wasn't in Manchester, Kelly stood in as workshop lady, no one turned up, she cried and went home. I hoped people hadn't lost their momentum, and it was just because it was a bank holiday and raining.

Last night I was completely astounded, and moved, and excited, and demented. LOADS of people came, LOADS.

Check it out:

HUGE pile of squares :)

It's gone dark in this one.

As you can see it's a bit of whatever the opposite of a sausage-fest is (Becca's suggestion: clam-jam)

We want more boys! Do you know any crafty boys? GIVE THEM TO ME

Are you wondering what the banner looks like by the way? Have some of that.


OKAY so this is the banner half-finished. I think I have enough red and white squares to finish the banner within the next couple of weeks, which is utterly, utterly bonkers seeing as how we only started properly two weeks ago. Knitters are angry, guys! So angry they could knit!

NOW don't think you are allowed to stop being a crafter against cuts just yet. I've got a lot of leftover squares and I thought we could sew them together for blankets, for the Calais appeal or for the homeless camps in Manchester (or anywhere). If you've got any ideas, let me know. We're doing good, don't let's stop now! So there will still be another workshop next Monday so COME.