Tuesday, August 26, 2014

How long to spin a yarn for a bolt of shirting?

A bolt of shirting is about 8 pounds, so it is 320 hanks.  At 22 hanks per week, it would take one spinner about 4 months to spin the yarn for a bolt of shirting. Not very convenient for the weaver, and not easy for a factor to maintain consistency and quality.  However, 4 spinners could do it in a month, and 16 spinners sitting together in a spinning room could turn out the the yarn for a bolt of shirting in a week.  Very convenient for the weaver. Very easy for the manager to maintain quality and consistency.

Thus, 16 spinners and a dozen support staff including talented professional combers and dyers, could spin the yarn required for 50 bolts of cloth per year (circa 1520).

It took me all fall to spin 7 lbs of wool as 6 hanks of loom warp/weft at 3,000 ypp. It only took me a couple of weeks to spin the 30 hanks of 5,600 ypp warp. That increased speed of spinning, allowed in part by the use of an accelerator wheel, so excited me that I put weaving and my new (to me) loom aside for months, to improve my spinning. It was very worthwhile.  Today, I can spin 3 hanks of 40s in a day. It can be done.  With modern ball bearings, it can be quietly. Spinning was the critical competitive advantage in textile production.

Modern spinners do not want to believe that a hand spinner can spin that fast.  That is ok, they should come watch me spin. (http://treadles2threads.blogspot.com/)  I will have my wheel and some 40 count wool.

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