In the last post about the Welsh Wool Museum I showed you photos of all the industrial machinery that was bought in during the industrial revolution to increase cloth production. However, the museum also has a collection of older machinery, the hand powered spinning wheels and looms.
These are by no means ancient artefacts, after all, the industrial revolution is only 250 years ago, roughly as old as the cottage we live in.
When you go upstairs, this is the first thing to meet you. a very ancient loom, obviously in working order, though something has happened to the tension since the last time a weaver sat down to use it, the warp was rather baggy!
It wasn't until you took a step back that you realised the entire thing was supported by being fastened to the celling!
I was also utterly enchanted by this old shuttle. In design it's no different to the ones I use now, but was obviously a favourite as one end has been repaired with some sort of filler when it must have started snagging on the warp as it got worn.
They also have a collection of old wheels, 2 very lovely Great wheels, and a more modern (!) treadle wheel.
I'd always presumed that the quills on great wheels would have been made of metal, but both examples here were wooden. Incidentally, this (or wool combing) is where the Sleeping Beauty Myth comes from. On a modern flyer wheel it's impossible to see how she could have pricked her finger, but on a great wheel that was in regular use the quill would have got sharp as the thread jumped off the end when you added twist.
This is slightly more industrial, but still rather charming. This wasn't used to card wool to prepare it for spinning (teasels aren't strong enough for that), instead it was used to raise the nap on the woven cloth, particularly welsh flannel. Replacing the teasels was an expert job, and they were specially grown for this purpose.
What was really lovely is that we happened to time our visit for one of the demonstration days by the Ceredigion Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, so it's nice to know that visitors are being shown how the spinning wheels work, and that the craft of handspinning is alive and well.