Hand Spinning Chunky Yarn in Maramureș – A Single Ply Bulky Yarn
Nestled along the Cosău valley, the village of Budești, home to a UNESCO wooden church dating back to 1643, is a beautiful place to stroll and observe the local craftsmanship in the massive Maramureș gates. But behind the monumental gates, life run its course like centuries ago. Many things have changed, but locals still preserve a habit cast aside by our modern society: patience. They have patience to raise animals, crops and create things with their hands. Wood and fiber crafts are still alive and thrive. Women still provide their faimilies, houses and guests with textiles woven in the busy summer days or during the long winter nights.
Following our visit to the traditional textile artist Anuța Ciceu, where we were introduced to the traditional Romanian textiles of Maramureș, we cross an old wooden bridge to the left bank of Cosău for a short visit to her neighbour, loom weaver Maria Marinca. The river is so clear you can see the smoothness of the rocks underneath. Against the bird chirps, the gentle murmur of the water can only just be heard from Maria’s backyard. A distaff laid against the wall. In the summer kitchen, a big loom dressed up and yards of freshly woven wool fabric cover the floor.
Quite abashed by our sudden visit, she takes the distaff and starts spinning a chunky yarn. This spinning method is new to me. It is called “îndrugat” or fulled weaving for felting, and is used for producing a single ply bulky yarn. For spinning chunky yarn, you don’t need much twist at all. The yarn is thick, lightly twisted, but still has lots of elasticity in it.
The yarn is then woven into a wool fabric, with wool warp and weft, which is then manually processed into a felt-like fabric, circa 2 mm thick (postav, pănură).
This fabric is commonly used for colder weather garments, such as traditional men’s wool pants in white or grey (cioareci) and black or grey vests (laibăr).
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