Chapter 42 – The Weaver
Once Eiji finished his morning breakfast, he went out together with Tanya to check the other women’s labor.
Even if the cooking methods and the weaving were the same as the ones Eiji knew, understanding the technology standard from this era will make it far easier for Eiji to improve.
Just now, Philip’s wife, Eve, was weaving.
Indeed she was a petite woman who didn’t bear the slightest similarity with to Philip.
She was a head smaller than Tanya, who was already one head smaller than Eiji.
Because of that, whenever someone would talk with her face to face, there was a need to lower their head even lower.
To think that she has bore 3 children, indeed, that was surprising.
The youngest child could be said to be still tottering. It looked cute.
da da – the child raised its voice and clung to its mother’s feet.
Will our child be raised in the same way? – Eiji wondered.
Eve welcomed the sudden visitors.
– Ara, is that Tanya-san and Tanya’s husband, Eiji-san? If my work won’t be bothering you, feel free to watch it.
– No, sorry for interrupting you.
– Somehow, having a man watch the work feels strange, you see.
As soon Eiji received a flirtatious glance mixed with a jest from Eve, Tanya’s mood turned rapidly worst.
Because responding cheerfully to Eve would hurt Tanya’s feeling, Eiji ended with just having the top of his hand pinched.
Being stared fixedly by her, Eiji thought – Even though I wasn’t having any wicked feelings….
Eiji realized that this was the reverse side of the coin that represents his and Tanya’s love.
The work was carried outside the house.
It seemed that weaving was only done on a sunny day.
And then, once Eiji witnessed the actual work, he couldn’t express his surprise in words.
If one was to describe weaving, it was a labor where warp and weft crossed with each other producing a piece of cloth.
The women of Siena are used to hanging multiple strings of warp from on a single branch, and stretch the threads using weight stones that are attached with clay at the end of the threads.
Then pushing and pulling the strings one by one, they pass through between the gaps in the weft.
If it’s used to make something small, that method will probably work.
However, once it comes to sewing clothes that require a large piece of cloth, dozens and hundreds threads passing through will be needed.
The workload becomes huge, making the weaving hardly progress.
A piece of cloth was considered precious, whereas, fur was used as a cheaper alternative.
Eiji could feel his face becoming naturally stiff.
– Eiji-san, what’s the matter?
– No, I just felt a little bit of a culture shock.
– I don’t particularly think there’s something strange in it, but…
– It’s not like I think of it as strange, still… it’s extremely strange.
Eiji scratched off his head.
Back in his old days, Eiji would be told about different conventional methods by his parents. Therefore, he wouldn’t brood more than that.
If one was to be told of them, it would be natural to consider that way.
Nevertheless, till now, Eiji had been doing all the works using his imagination and creativity.
Let’s try solving this problem. – He thought.
Even among the women, there was nobody who would gladly do all sorts of jobs.
Since they were not able to come up with any idea to overcome obstacles, they had to do their jobs despite them being troublesome.
Using his own power, Eiji planned to create an environment for work, in which everyone would be pleased.
As such, his way of thinking hadn’t changed til now.
Now that he had the technology and knowledge needed for advancement, there was no way for him not to use them.
Eiji felt as though he knew what kind of influence they will have.
– Is it fine with you? I’ll try to make a miniature of what I plan to create from now on. Please lend me the threads.
– Then, Eve-san, please lend me a comb.
– I’ll bring the one from our house.
– Since we are still making the preparations, there’s no need to rush.
After Eve left them behind, Eiji began to hang down some of the warp strings.
As long he explains the principle, there should be no need to place the strings horizontally.
– I’ve brought it.
– Thank you. Well then, shall I have you watch?
Eiji picked around ten warp threads and spread each one of them on the comb while entwining them.
Once he raised it up, he understood with a glimpse that there was still one thread remaining, which was not placed between the teeth of the comb.
– Eve-san, can I have you hook the threads on the remaining warps one to each?
– Like this?
– That’s right. By the way, it should be fine if you catch these threads on a ‘ko’ shaped hook, or anything similar.
– I see.
– Well then, next please turn this thread toward the opposite direction of the comb. Let’s go. First, I’ll raise up this comb.
Half of the warp strings rose up. Watching from the sides, it looked as though they were crossing with each other.
At that time, Eiji passed through the weft strings.
– Then, Eve-san, please pull this thread.
After the comb collapsed, the horizontally positioned warps were pulled using the thread Eve was holding onto, and created a reverse intersection.
At that moment, once again Eiji passed through the weft.
– Do you understand?
– I-I don’t get it.
– How about Tanya-san?
– If you continue doing it like this, you will obtain a cloth, won’t you?
– That’s right. Actually, shall we continue this for little longer?
Eiji resumed the work.
Pulling the comb back, passing through the weft, once Eve pulled the thread, the warp was passed through again.
What they obtained was a fabric similar to the one they would get by putting in lots of time.
– H-how come…?
– Shall we continue for a bit longer?
– No, I get it. What I can’t understand is why I haven’t notice this before, I wonder.
Eve’s shoulders trembled.
Casting her eyes down, she covered her face.
No… could it be…?
Eiji’s sight met with Tanya’s. Her face was still dyed with disbelief.
– *Hic hic* *Hic Hic*
Could it be that she’s crying?
What should we do?
Despite Eiji turning his face toward Tanya, all she did was shake her head side to side.
– Eve-san… I’m sorry. It seems that I’ve caused you trouble.
– I apologize for my husband’s rudeness.
– *Hic hic*….. this is…….amazing! Eiji-san, are you a genius?! You’ve gotta be a genius, right!?
– Y-Yes? N-no, that’s wrong?
Eve, who suddenly lifted her face, had a smile despite her eyes being red.
No, rather, it would be fine to say her expression was brimming with joy and her eyes were shining with curiosity.
– I’ll help as well! After all, this is just a demonstration, isn’t it? I can probably guess that the real thing will be amazing. Once the prototype is completed, we will be able mass producing completed goods from now on. Waaahh, when I think about this becoming reality, I….!
Eve, who was thought to be talking vigorously, embraced her body while trembling.
Seeing that sudden change in her, Eiji and Tanya could do nothing but feel puzzled.
She was staring at the weaver with a beaming face. Her eyes were filled with enthusiasm.
Speaking of which, this person is a bit scary – Eiji thought.
Perhaps it is a suitable view for someone who have just witnessed a technology advancement.
What’s more, if that person can notice the great value of the product, won’t that person strive to improve it further?
Eiji shrunk his body without realizing it.
He could feel his face becoming stiff.
Trying to calm himself down, Eiji coughed once. He put a smile forcibly on his face while hiding his stiffness.
– A-Anyway, you’re saying that you will cooperate with us, right?
– Yes! Allow me to help you with gathering the materials for the prototype as well.
– I-I too will help you!
– Tanya-san too?
– Is there any problem…?
– N-No, please do so.
Why is she staring at me like that? – thought Eiji.
Despite being surprised at the sudden outcome, it seemed that Eiji had a rough idea for the development of the weaver.
– So, you came to me because you wanted to borrow some tools?
– That’s right; please lend me your tools.
– Well, if it’s Eiji-kun, you will know exactly how to operate them, so it should be fine, but….
Fernando took a glimpse behind Eiji’s back.
His expression turned a little bit dumbfounded.
– Why did you bring Tanya-san and Eve-san along? I don’t get it.
– I want to see the completion of the weaver even if it’s just a bit!
– Aiding the husband is the wife’s job… that’s right, the wife’s job!
I too, don’t get it – he thought.
Eiji wanted to reply that way, still, he would probably make her mood turn worse.
An ambiguous smile surfaced on his face.
Did that convinced Fernando? He guided them to the storage location of his carpentry tools.
A plane, chalk line, saw, sledgehammer, bar, chisel, fasteners, and screws, lots of miscellaneous tools were stored.
Picking the necessary tools one by one, Eiji put them into his box.
– Well then, I’ll borrow these.
– No problem, but if you ever consider to make them by yourself, I’ll help you even if it’s just a little. So, what are you making this time?
– Is it fine by you? I’m thinking of improving the weaver. Here’s the blueprint.
– As always, you draw some nice pictures, don’t you?
What was drawn on the blueprint was a petal-shaped horizontal weaver.
The advantage which made it different from the perpendicular built weaver was the possibility of weaving broad cloths.
The pedal would make it act just like a seesaw. If you move it to the right, every other string would lower, and reversely, those same strings would rise when the pedal was moved to the left.
In front of the pedal, each of the threads was stretched just like in a piano. Each time the pedal is moved left and right, the threads will move up and down, creating gaps for the weft to pass through .
The weaver’s design and its small size were settled and ready to be built.
– Well then, let’s measure the materials as the blueprint indicates.
– I can use the saw, so I’ll cut out the wooden materials.
– Since I am able to operate with the chisel and the plane just like Fernando does, leave it to me.
– Erm… w-well, then I… will… eh?
– Tanya-san, use the file to shave the materials that are cut out and form the shape.
– I-I’ll do my best.
However, the difficulty was yet to arise.
Setting the right thickness of the trench that will fix the warp, creating holes that will allow each of the conjoining parts to operate; these procedures could only be done by Eiji and Fernando, who were used to making tools with their skillful fingers.
So to speak, the works which take most of time are the ones that are short of people.
What’s more, the end product might not work in accordance with one’s expectations at first.
– Again, it’s no good?
– The field for the pedal to operate is too big. Let’s insert a thin plank near the bottom so as to minimalize its scope.
– Can I entrust you with that?
– Eve, can you do it?
– I have to cut it thinly, right? Leave it to me!
Holding the chisel, Eiji inserted a thin trench.
It was done so as to shape the connecting parts of the joints and to improve the sliding.
While blowing away the wood chips, Eiji put many details in by hitting the chisel with the wooden hammer.
Repeating the method of trial and error, the weaver was still misshapen. Nevertheless, its accuracy gradually increased.
It took a lot of time.
From the morning till dusk, they repeated their work 3 times.
Even when Eiji slept and woke up, he would pay his undivided attention to the weaver.
Once he focused on something, he wouldn’t think of anything else.
– We, We did it….
– *impressed* good job. Well, now that the item is completed, we can enjoy the mass production.
– This is the weaver….. U, ufufu, now my dream will come true!
– I’m tired… Eiji-san, were you this exhausted when making the senbagoki?
– No, that one was fundamentally easy to make. It didn’t consume as much time as this one.
The horizontal large-sized weaver was completed.
Its width was 1m. As for the first model it was a rather non-standard one.
With its gliding surface in touch made from a gentle application of plane, it was a workmanship worthy of an object of art
Eve gently brushed the finished weaver as if loving it.
The others beside Eve were exhausted.
Together with its completion, they sank down to the floor powerlessly.
– With this I can weave inside the house, so I can do my job even on rainy days, right?
– That’s right. Well, besides doing just the weaving, you can also twist some threads, still…
– Leave the production to me. As long we have this tool, we should be able to speed up the work many folds of times by assigning 2-3 people for weaving and the rest of the members for thread twisting….
– I probably should gather free people for the watermill construction.
– Aah, I want to help with that as well!
– I don’t particularly mind if these are people who can do the weaving, but…
– ……I’ll do my best and focus on the production….
Eiji encouraged Eve, who dropped her shoulders dejectedly, by telling her that there will be many other chances to build a watermill from now on. At the same time, they transported the weaver to her house.
Going their separate ways, they left Philip’s household behind.
– Finally, it’s over, isn’t it, Eiji-kun?
– Sorry for having you help me.
– No no, I don’t mind at all. Still, if you want to thank me, then perhaps you’d be willing to share some of that alcohol with me.
– Hahaha, understood. You can come tomorrow and choose at your own discretion.
– I did it!
Parting with Fernando, who was jumping for joy, Eiji was on his way back to his house.
Tanya too was tired. Her face seemed to have lost its vividness.
– Are you fine?
– Yes, to think that Eiji-san would go through that every time.
– There were also times when I would entrust other people with tasks. Only in this occasion was it this tiresome.
– Indeed, Eiji-san is an amazing person. Please continue to do your best from now on. I too, will do what I can.
– It’s because I know Tanya-san is supporting me that I can give my best.
However exhausted he was, as long Tanya graces him with a smile and welcomes him, he will do his best.
Eiji wondered whether he would be able to continue making different things, were he to be showed a single act of displeasure or disagreement.
Were he to settle only his own business silently, the situation would be much different from what it is now.
On the evening return trip, the two of them held their hands while walking back.
Inside the cold atmosphere of the newly arrived spring, Eiji could feel the warmth coming from their hands.
Translator and reference notes:
:’ko’ like the ‘コ’ symbol in katakana.