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Here’s How the Antique Yarn Winders Work

Romanian Traditional Fiber Arts Demonstration of How Yarn Winders Work

How often we see primitive yarn winders in use? Thinking back a few years, when watching these antique yarn winders in museums, little did I know that some families have held stubbornly to some of the old ways of weaving.

Experiences, such as watching these early tools brought back to life, allow us to cross the boundaries of time and understand these rare examples.

traditional fiber arts

Not long ago, in the village of Botoșana, I met a family of three loom weavers working in a room designated for weaving activities. We made ourselves comfortable and got to know each other.

loom weavers

Each one is doing a part of the work. Veronica is weaving, while her aunt, Casandra, is handling the weaving swords.

They learned traditional fiber arts from Iustina, mother of Veronica, who had been a cooperative member, weaving for 16 years, until the fall of communism in 1989.

yarn winders

And because she was working from home, her daughter and sister also got involved in weaving.

She tells her story while hand spinning yarn in preparation for weaving. The commercial yarn, she says, is loosely spun and requires additional twisting.

hand spinning

When the spindle is full, her sister holds it, while she winds the yarn into a clew. Next, the yarn is wound on a wooden shuttle bobbin (teava) by use of a handmade primitive winder.

yarn winders

The old spinner is made of a pointed rod, with a wheel at one end, supported horizontally by two vertical legs fastened to a wooden base.

yarn winders

The bobbin is placed on the pointed end of the rod. She wraps the yarn around it and starts winding the rod with one hand, while holding the yarn very loosely with the other hand.

yarn winders

Soon after, she demonstrates how to wind a hank of yarn into a ball by use of four arm yarn winders, which holds the hank while it is being wound off.

traditional fiber arts

yarn winders

They were very friendly and eager to show us their works, which include some intricate patterns. One thing I noticed was that the tv was missing, probably because they didn’t need any distraction. And they seemed to enjoy themselves anyway, making jokes and laughing while working together as a team.

Read Also Romanian Traditional Weaving with Heddle Rods and Weaving Swords

VIDEO – Here’s How Antique Yarn Winders Work


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