Weaving in Romania

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horizontal loom

Weaving with small boards - scândura  (Bulgarian – kori)

This form of weaving using small boards with four holes is known to have existed since prehistoric times. It is used to make belts, waistbands and other decorative braids. Slightly twisted yarn is used for the warp for strength. This yarn warp was wound on pegs or a warping mill, four warps for each tablet.  All 4 warps were one colour for lengthways stripes, and different coloured for patterns. The weft was wound onto a bobbin. The warp ends were tied to a stationery object or to a backstrap fixed round the waist. Some sashes were woven by turning the tablets causing the warp behind the tablets to twist. Weaving by this method made geometrical patterns such as stripes, waves, diamonds, zigzags and spruce branches. Once weaving was completed the unwoven warp ends were tied together to make tassels finished off with pom-poms or plaited into braids or fringes.

Weaving on Loom - Război de Ţesut

Cloth was woven on two basic types of wooden framed hand looms. Vertical looms were used for weaving larger objects such as carpets in specialised workshops, horizontal looms for smaller weavings such as fabric for clothes. Horizontal looms superseded vertical warp weighted looms in Europe from around 13th century. These looms filled a room in a typical Romanian peasant cottage. They were made of a framework of solid timber. In the earlier houses the looms were positioned so the weaver sat with his legs in a pit under the loom, to ensure the moisture was kept at the required level.

Yarn to be used as weft threads (băteală) was wound onto wooden shuttles (suveici), and yarn to be used as warp (urzeală) was reeled on either big wooden pegs driven into the wooden wall of the house (vârteniţă) or onto a large wooden frame revolving on an axle fixed between a ceiling axle fixed between a ceiling beam and the floor (urzoi). These warp threads stretched the whole length of the loom. The loom had a beam at back and front which was fixed to side props, the warp was wrapped round the back beam, and stretched between the 2 beams first passing through a crossbeam to open the warp, then the warp threads were arranged alternately through 2 or 4 sets of frames of vertical wires, called heddles (iţe). Each of these wires had an eye through which a warp thread could be passed. The threads were then securely tied to the front beam. This beam was also used to roll up the woven material. The heddles were controlled by foot treadles leaving the hands free to throw the shuttle from side to side and beat up the weft.

Cloth for shirts and certain aprons was woven using two heddles as this gave an open weave which was suitable for decoration with embroidery or patterns woven in loom. Fabric woven using 4 heddles had a closer weave and was used for coats, trousers and belts. This was either woven “înscortat” with weft covering all of the warp, or woven “pânzeşte” with warp showing.

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© Eliznik2005, Last updated Aug-05