Obair na Clòimhe / Wool-Working

Donald John MacLeod
Harris, Ardhasaig
April 1962
  • [NOTES: the original title of the list is “The Autobiography of a Fleece”.]
  • [NOTES: one word contributed by ‘Mrs MacLeod, Ardhasaig, brought up Kyles, Harris, 75 yr old’ and one by ‘Mrs MacDonald, Bays Harris, br. up Scalpay’. See below for details.]
  • [NOTES: the person who wrote down in red ink the date and location also made a few additions to the text itself: mostly question marks next to illegible words.]
smiùradhprocess of ‘shedding’ – parting the wool of the sheep and inserting a paste of Archangel tar and ‘eòlan’ [q.v.] (about mid-winter). [Mrs MacLeod]
eòlanoil made of the livers of fish by boiling them in a large pot; used for ‘smiùradh’ [q.v.]. [Mrs MacDonald]
bearradhcutting the tips of the wool off year-old lambs at shearing-time.
sealbhaga ‘binder’ used in dyeing wool and made of the roots of the ‘cuiseag’.
cìreadhcombing the wool.
colmadhmixing wools of different colours.
ath-cholmadhre-mixing the wools when many different colours were required.
càrdadhcarding the wool. ‘Eòlan’ [q.v.] – oil added to the wool at this stage.
rolaganrolled wool.
[cuibheal-shnìomh]The reel of a ‘cuibheal-shnìomh’:
fiaclan[See the illustration under ‘cuibheal-shnìomh’.]
roileir[See the illustration under ‘cuibheal-shnìomh’.]
deilspindle. [See the illustration under ‘cuibheal-shnìomh’.]
sèicle[See the illustration under ‘cuibheal-shnìomh’.]
biurna[See the illustration under ‘cuibheal-shnìomh’.]
rèimthe big ‘wheel’ of a spinning-wheel.
siol-coisepeddle [sic].
bann-beagband tied round ‘roileir’ of the reel and part of the frame of spinning wheel to regulate speed of reel.
acfhuinn-mheadhainspindle of big wheel.
gairdeanantwo supports of big wheel.
slibheagconnecting rod between big wheel and pedal.
àireamh5 ‘snàdhlain’.
slat Ghaidhealachthe length of wool that fills the ‘crois-iarna’ [q.v.] once (about 9 feet).
croiseadhthe practice of using the ‘crois-iarna’ [q.v.].
slat shingilteslat Ghaidhealach [q.v.].
slat dhùbailte2 fills of the ‘iarna’ (18 feet).
iarnaa hand of wool.
dealbhthe process of using the above [i.e. ‘beart-dhealbh’].
croisan[?] the way in which the ends of the wool were arranged on the ‘beart-dhealbh’ for convenience.
fuaineanthe pins on the ‘beart-dhealbh’.
innodhscarcity of some type or colour of wool.
fidheachan[?] a way of binding the ‘rope’ of threads coming off the ‘beart-dhealbh’ so as to avoid untidiness.
[note][NOTES: the three words, ‘croisan’, ‘fuainean’ and ‘fidheachan’, have been made unclear by corrections apparently made by the informant himself. The person who edited the list put question marks next to them.]
cuibeanachadhbinding the wood [sic] [wool?] to the loom, or more particularly to the ‘slat-fhuidheag’. It is bound by inserting this slat into the first loop of the ‘croisean’ and a string later bound to both ends of the slat is passed through the second loop. The first loop is known in Ardhasaig as ‘croisean ceàrr’ and the second as ‘croisean deiseil’.
beartachadhinserting the wool into the loom before weaving.
casachanthe parts of a loom worked by the feet. Casachain mhora –  the actual pedal. Casachain mheadhain – the connecting rods by which the further end of these is bound to the loom itself. Casachain bheaga – the parts of the loom at the top which are directly connected to the bottom ‘casachain’.
crann-snadhroller round which wool is first wound.
clàrone heddle.
rèlaa long rod with teeth (fiaclan) which keeps the wool going to the heddles well spread.
slìna similar contraption after the heddles through whose ‘sùilean’ the wool passes, either with one or two threads to each ‘sùil’ as the pattern requires.
sùilthe opening in the ‘iomallan’ [q.v.] and in the ‘slìn’ [q.v.].
slat-chuibeanthe rod on which the ends of the wool are tied after passing through the ‘slìn’ [q.v.].
dlòafter 40 threads taken together and which are divided into two, which are then passed over different sides of the ‘slat-chuibean’ [q.v.] and tied.
slinechlarthe long block of wood of which the ‘slìn’ [q.v.] is part.
caraman-uchdthe spar in front of the weaver’s breast and just level with it, probably there for him to lean on.
urchaira shot of the ‘spàl’ [q.v.].
iteachanwooden bobbin, or spool.
òrdthe part that ‘projects’ the ‘spàl’ [q.v.].
mìl-àroidh[?] the instrument which is used to stretch the tweed and keep its edges straight as it comes off the loom. [NOTES: A question mark in red ink added by the person who edited the list.]
an crann-aodaich(often known merely as ‘an crann’) – the spool on which the finished cloth goes.
lunnused for waulking and consisting of washing-soda, melted soap and warm water.
soluismelted soap.
armadhthe oil and grease put into wool when carding and sometimes also known as ‘eòlan’ [q.v.].
coinnealbole of tweed (after waulking).
cinnloose ends appearing on the surface of a tweed.
ball is coranherring-bone pattern.
sùil-eòinbirdseye weave.
balla single check or the part of the tweed contained within one check.

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