Romanian traditional fiber mills
During my visit to Romania from March 2016, I visited the fiber mills that spun our yarns. I took this opportunity to learn more about the process of spinning yarns and also, I made some short videos of this process. I am quite sure that such old machines are hard to find in Europe or elsewhere, and documenting how they work is like a trip back in time! I hope you will enjoy taking this trip with me! Also, I apologize for the raw quality of the footage and sound. Like our yarns, these are also minimally processed :)
So where does the process of making yarns start? It starts with the wool. First, the fiber has to be opened. And the machine that does that is very rudimentary, loud and the air around it is very dusty! Phew! And that is exactly why the spinner has to cover his nose during work!
After several times through this machine, the fiber is open and ready to go to the drum carder. This huge machine will take the scattered fiber, will align it and transform it into huge batts. Traditionally, these huge batts were also used to make mattress toppers.
And here is how you take off such a huge bat! Looks like fun, isn't it?
The huge batts can't be spun directly, they need to go first through another machine that will pre-draft the wool. The thickness of the yarn will depend on how thick the batts are. There is no button to "tell" the machine the thickness of the yarn that you want to spin. The spinner knows from experience how thick the batts need to be for a certain thickness yarn! Is all about experience, testing and the craft of the spinner.
Next, the most impressive machine, called in Romanian "ring". This one takes the pre-drafted wool and spins it. I was fascinated by the dexterity of the lady in the film! Her movements were magical! I know that I would be in great difficulty if in her place! Respect!
And the last step at the fiber mill - from spools to skeins! Each fiber mill has a bit of a different skein maker, but the principle is the same. Hypnotic, isn't it?