June 10, 2013

Fibre Prep, Spinning, and Nalbinding Videos from Russia

I came across some videos from Russia about nalbinding.  Both sources refer to it as knitting with one needle.

"Вязание одной иглой," [trans. knitting with one needle] http://kizhi.karelia.ru/culture/crafts/vyazanie-odnoj-igloj.

"Marina Korshakova (Center for Traditional Crafts, Petrozavodsk) shows knitting on one needle technique," www.kareliancraft.com/en/crafts/4026/.

Both state that hunters and woodsmen would make their own mittens.  I got that in the printed description on the first webpage using an online translator and in the narration in the second webpage's video.  Also, both state that horsehair was incorporated for durability.  I've heard elsewhere that horsehair and sheep's kemp (guard hairs) were used in mittens like this because they did not soak up water like wool did.

On the Karelian Craft webpage, there is another video about combing wool and spinning with a spindle.  The presenter calls spinning clockwise (Z twist) as "along with the sun," and spinning counterclockwise (S twist) as "against it."

At the 7:30 mark, Korshakova refers to a rustic L-shaped style of distaff this way, "Of course you have seen old women in villages spinning.  This distaff," and she motions with her left hand from shoulder height downward to the hip and then in toward her body indicating the position, size, and shape of the distaff, "was made from a whole tree trunk from a root, to put it on a bench, sit on it, make it comfortable."

I wonder if they used this part of the tree because it was durable.  I like to know how things were done and why things were done.

I've heard about this sort of rustic design in one other source: The University of Innsbruck's article about spindle typology in the entry for Russia, www.uibk.ac.at/urgeschichte/projekte_forschung/abt/spindeltypologie/russia.html.  To quote, "A traditional Russian distaff is L-shaped and consists of two elements: the lopastka or blade, a vertical panel with wide flat top to which the bundle of flax or wool, called kudel is fixed, and the dontse, or base, a horizontal oar-shaped board on which the spinner sits and stabilizes the structure with the weight of her body. Sometimes the distaff is carved from a single piece of wood - a tree stump with a root protruding at a right angle.  In some areas of Russia the upper part of the blade has the shape of a comb, and the kudel was mounted on the teeth."  There are photographs and a detail from a piece of 19th century art, though not of the whole tree trunk style of disaff from what I can see.

Similarly, a Doukhobor spinning board forms a L-shape with its detachable interchangable pieces such as a forked distaff, post for paddle combs, and flax combs.  This setup is of Russian origin as well.  It's difficult to see in this photo taken at the Doukhobor Discovery Centre in Castlegar, B.C., but the flax comb held by the mannequin is toothed.

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