Not a soul about. It gets really lonely here in the workroom, when everyone’s out bringing back the peat.
Well, all the better, gives me a chance to take my time and have a little snoop. Of course, we all have a workroom like this in our homes. But this one is something special. Just look a how high the ceiling is in here.
Now, you probably want to know what that's all about. Well, it’s your lucky day, because I’m very knowledgeable about such things. The folks in here aren’t just weaving on a simple handloom, but on a Jacquard loom .
It’s an amazing invention, all the way from France. The threads all come down from the top, that’s why this loom doesn't fit into an ordinary-size room, it's too tall. But it’s amazing, the fantastic patterns you can weave on it. As it happens, that's what the weavers of Steinhude are famous for anyway. It's just easier on a Jacquard loom. How on earth did they manage to afford an expensive loom like this – that’s what I’d like to know.
I mean weaving, all right, half the people in Steinhude do that. In almost every other house, you’ll have the husband sitting at the loom, weaving linen. Shuttle to the left, shuttle to the right.
What else are we supposed to do, nothing grows here, it's all just sand and bog. You can’t make money from farming, it produces just about enough to feed the family. But the flax, that’s as tough as we are, here in Steinhude, and it flourishes. That’s our raw material, and we process it into linen. My fingers are sore from spinning the flax into yarn. And my husband Johann, he’s a handloom weaver. Just like his father and his father's father before him, and that's the way it will always be – at least we hope so. But the big weaving mills keep on growing and expanding, and they’re increasingly supplanting the handloom weavers, like my Johann. But take a job working at one of the big mills? That's not for my Johann.
We women, we sit at home, spinning and sewing and embroidering from morning till night. And in the end, you’ve still not managed to put anything by. But it's nice all the same, everyone sitting together in the workroom. People laugh and joke around, and they mend the fishing nets, and all get three square meals a day. Everyone gets together, granny, the children, all of us, even the farmhand.
Photo: © Fischer- und Webermuseum