WOVEMBER WORDS #13
The next five Wovember Words all come from one book: J. Geraint Jenkins – From Fleece to Fabric, The Technological History of the Welsh Woollen Industry. It’s only a small book, and very matter of fact, yet it’s full of words relating to processing wool, including some local Welsh words. These five posts all relate to different aspects of wool processing, from sorting the fleece to giving the cloth a final finish.
Willeying: a process carried on wools that are heavy with dust and sand to disentangle the fibres of wool before carding and, in some cases, before scouring. In the early days this was a hand process: a quantity of wool was placed on a horizontal hurdle or a series of cords fixed to a rectangular framework and beaten with wooden rods. It is said that these rods were made of flexible willow, hence the term ‘willowing’ or ‘willeying’ for the process of beating wool. Around 1920 most Welsh mills had a water-driven machine, which is known by a variety of names: ‘willey’, ‘willow’, ‘teaser’, ‘wool mill’, ‘twilley’, ‘diafol’ and ‘diawl’
– J. Geraint Jenkins – From Fleece to Fabric, The Technological History of the Welsh Woollen Industry, Gomer Press 1981, Llandysul, Dyfed