Finding the Wale
Duration 2 minutes 34 seconds
H: Fabric is made up of, of stitches, and if you get hold of one end the fabric will undo itself all round, 'cos it's all of one loop, or a mass of loops, loops together, loops inside of loops, loops inside another you see, and if you can get one end you can find you can unwind it you see. Now in between them loops is the 'wale', you see, and it's something that - you can't have a wale, you can't have a loop without a wale, you know, they're both together, one makes the other, as you see, and er, um, and once you can get that wale, you know, and hold it, you can't - you can undo the fabric but you can't get past that wale, 'cos that holds, that holds the fabric. You can undo a piece of fabric but if you can fasten that wale, you can't get on no more, 'cos it, it locks the structure.
A: And I tell you what Harry, you can't beat a linked toe.
H: It's the finest thing there is.
A: Yes, look at it now, there's no linking... that's what I say, cheapness all the while.
H: But I've seen the girls you know when they used to teach them - when their mams used to teach them or they've come to be learned. They'd perhaps been for two or three days, more than that, I've seen girls cry, I've seen girls go on, you see, I've seen girls go on you see, 'cos they couldn't find it. Then all at once, all at once there was a hell of a hullabaloo - I've got it! Then they'd say, she's got it - who is it? So-and-so, she's got it. And that was the secret of the whole thing, you was looking for a hole that in the first place you thought wasn't there, and then you got your eye in and that hole became as big as a, as a football, you know what I mean don't you? And from there it were all plain sailing, yeah, you could see them wipe along, the machine were going and all that...
And of course the mothers used to pay I mean Atkins, at one time Atkins used to accept money, in the first place, so I understand. In years ago I understand that mothers could pay Atkins so much for their daughters to come along with them and they'd show them how to link, 'cos a linker was marvellous. But now, even menders... now Sandra, Sandra, she were telling me she'd got a mender, she's 63 and she's a goldmine, 'cos these menders they understand the structure of the fabric.
Source: East Midlands Oral History Archive (Accession Number 000299 Collection Number WF/006/HO4/A)