The braiding is a craft producing woolen braids (gaytani). The woolen braids are knitted cords made by twisting of woolen threads. They are produces in multiple colors. The main use of braids is decoration of different clothing and costumes’ edging. The use of braids has positive and practical effect: the edging and needlework become stronger and seams are masked. The braiding gave the opportunity to Bulgarian women to express themselves as creators and artists through high quality production.
XIX century is the period when that craft appeared and flourished. Main centers were Gabrovo, Karlovo, Kalofer, Kotel, Sopot and some other areas. Braids were handmade: by wool spinning and knitting. In the early years of XIX century the cog wheel was introduced and that becomes the main reason for the flourishing of the craft.
The cog wheels were water-driven like water-mills. Depending on the thickness of the braid it could consist of 8, 10 or 12 threads. The principles of functioning: several parallel reels with threads are spinning one after another by certain pattern and scheme and that is how the braids’ knitting is formed.
The facilities where braids were made and where the cog wheels were situated were called braids’ rooms. An important conditions is the location: near by the river because cog wheels needed water power. Every single braid room usually contains between ten and twenty cog wheels drawn up along the wall.
At present days braids are produced in Etara and Zlatograd. The process remains almost the same through the years with a little exception – now the cog wheel uses electricity instead of water.