Skeins of 2 ply wool recently spun and dyed – Northern India
When yarn or twine is coiled for dying or wrapped for selling it is done so by a set length and description – hank, ball, cone, bobbin, spool, cop etc.
The lengths might look random but they are standardised, or at least known. For example, in hand dying small quantities the dyer needs to know exactly how much has been dyed in order to plan for it’s sale and use.
As a general industry measure, we expect linen to be 300 yards – 270 metres and cotton or silk around 800 yards – 770 metres.
Again with hand dying the lengths can be specific to the dye shop by the amount of dye, the size of pot etc. the dyer uses.
The loose hanks are dyed as they are and once dry are easily twisted to make neat coils.
Hanks and skeins are often less expensive to buy than rolls or balls – but for crochet and knitting the yarn only works in practice when it comes from a ball. The back of a chair or the outstretched arms of a small child who will stand still for 2 minutes ( yes that was me… and my siblings ) are perfect – the hank just needs to be held still whilst the knitter rolls it into a ball.
Generally wools and threads are rolled or twisted and sold by weight
also list the materials needed by weight. So a ball may be 25 – 50 grams, but as lace mohair
and chunky aran
wool are clearly at opposite ends
of the weighing scales, common sense alongside manageable ball size governs the decision for each fibre
Embroiderers need to know the length for most stitchwork, especially for running lengths and couching
, where the main threads are laid onto the material
to follow a given or freehand design
is 1/6th of a hank, and just to confuse matters this can be by length or weight. Depending on its type, weight and strand
thickness cotton tends to be around 8 yards ( 7.5 m ), tapestry
weight wool 10 yards ( 9 m ) and crewel wool as being 33 yards (30 m).