Revisiting the Yurt

Revisiting the Yurt

If you haven’t been a reader here for very long, you might not know that back in 2013, I made a 16 foot diameter yurt (ger) with my husband. I wanted to try “large” felting and decided a yurt would be a good idea. It was a real learning experience and a ton of work but I had a good time and we ended up with a yurt (ger). Click on any of the links in the post to read the original post which goes into the details of how it was made.

The yurt began with buying 200 pounds of wool in March of 2013 and getting it processed. You can read all about it in my post “Wool Gathering”.

Then we moved on to building the frame. “Yurt Beginnings” explains how we handled the lattice walls.

We continued working on the walls with drilling, sanding and figuring out how it all went together in a big lattice puzzle. In my post, “Sanding and Being Confused”, you can read more.  Then another update about the wall is in the post “Wall Success”.

Then in August, I finally started felting. The photo above shows my sample for thickness and shrinkage which you can read about here. 


Next we started working on the roof structure which is called a tono.  We were on 51 days and counting for constructing the yurt.  Somehow, I’m getting tired just rereading these posts.


Finally, we got into the large format felting. We made our first wall panel and with the help of the tractor, we got it felted and fulled. 


Then because it was so much work, I recruited more labor. We had a felting party! And then we had a day of felting in the rain.

Next up was painting the wood structure orange which is a traditional color for Mongolian gers (yurts).

We were feverishly working into October to try and get this enormous task completed. It was getting cold and as you can see, I got a little muddy. But we were getting closer to the end being in sight.

One of my favorite things about building this yurt was the community involvement. I even had a youngster named Kostya who was born in Kazakhstan who came to learn about the process. 

And we did it! Our yurt raising party was held at the end of October and it worked. We had a yurt. It was really satisfying to complete the project and honestly, looking back now, I’m not sure where I got the energy. Of course I was a bit younger then but I guess determination and perseverance can get you anywhere. I hoped you enjoyed the reminiscence with me.

26 thoughts on “Revisiting the Yurt

  1. So good to read this…and I will see what still exists from your original posts. I was lucky(!) enough to purchase a yurt frame 2 years ago, with the idea of holding community events to felt the outer covers at some stage…and then came Covid! So the framework is rolled up in my daughter’s shed, awaiting the energy to organise and execute the felting. I’m not the only nutter on the planet! 😊😊

    1. Glad the posts can be useful for you Anna. It’s good that you have the frame already because that was a big task getting that made. Have fun felting the cover! If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

  2. Just out of bed but I’m physically exhausted just reading this post Ruth. Total respect! What a project and what a way to engage the community. I must read all the posts but I do have one question. Is the structure still standing. We need an epilogue. 😊

    1. Helene, I was exhausted too 😉 I’m not sure how I did it. The yurt has been packed into the garage for years now. We had plans to create another roof panel (since the door was taller than it should have been, the roof didn’t fit correctly), build a platform for it to sit on and perhaps have a canvas cover over the felt. But life got in the way and none of that has happened.

  3. Wow! What a phenomenal achievement. It was wonderful to see its construction stage by stage and the support you got from family and friends. Like Hélène I’m needing to know if the yurt is still in use after all this time.

    1. Thanks Karen, as I told Helene above, the yurt is packed up in the garage. We did take it to a maker’s event the following spring and it was very well received. But we haven’t been able to finish up the remaining tasks needed to have it up year round.

  4. I really great project – so much work.
    Seeing the first wall panel being laid out, I thought you were going to try to felt it on the ground and I said to myself – you need a horse for that. Then you brought on the modern equivalent – the Tractor. I should have known.
    It was great that Kostya came to learn about how her ancestors used to do it.
    I don’t suppose that you’ll be doing patterned hangings for the inside of your ger? Ildi’s methods would be great for that.

    1. Thanks Ann! We discussed using horses but since we don’t have any, we decided the tractor was much more practical. I have considered making patterned hangings for the inside but have not created any yet. Ildi’s method would indeed create appropriate designs.

  5. Wow, what an epic project Ruth!! It’s absolutely fantastic!! I really admire the effort you put into this, and the finished project is magnificent!!

  6. So this is the famous yurt everyone was talking about yesterday! Wow, what an endeavour. I love it, Ruth! Whether you choose to use it for Yoga or storage (or anything else), this is a wonderful reminder of hard work paying off.

  7. I cannot even begin to understand how much of everything it took to get the yurt from start to finish. All I can say is congratulations to all involved! It is a momentous job!

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