Watch mesmeric fingers at work with a traditional hand spindle, turning coconut fibres into long ropes.
Coloured mats, wall hangings and carpets of coir are available at roadside stalls and shops all over Kerala at comparatively cheap rates.
In the outskirts of Kollam and Alappuzha, you can see many coir villages where coir is made using the traditional had spindle method. You can see expert fingers at work as they turn the spindle in lightening speed to spin the treated coconut fibre into long ropes. You can always give it a try as the operation is simple though it could be painfully slow for a first-timer.
Mostly ladies are engaged in this traditional coir spinning industry. The coconut husks are soaked in water for days together to make it soft. After which they are beaten to extract the fibres. The spinners will walk up and down with the stationery wheel while another person will turn the spindle to spin out heaps of golden coloured coir.
Typically in hand spinning, the fibre is rolled out into short length of 6 to 9 inches, by twisting the ropes in a clock-wise direction and once this length is attained, two of these short lengths are taken in hand together and made into yarn by employing a counter twist, using both palms.
A set of two wheels- one stationary and the other movable are used in spinning. The stationery wheel with two spindles, carried by the person gives the fibre a uniform thickness while the twisting of fibre is done by another operator by turning the handle of the spinning wheel. Later it is dyed in bright colours and made into various products like mats and wall hangings.