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3. November 2011 13:28
by Jobo

The Finest Thread...

3. November 2011 13:28 by Jobo | 0 Comments

At the Maritime Handspinners' Retreat this year they held a small version of the Longest Thread Contest... where in a nutshell spinners are given a small sample of wool (10 g) and are asked to spin it as fine as humanly possible into a long single by whatever method they choose, 2-ply it, and then measure the length of the thread and see who manages the longest one! 

For the worldwide contest, raw wool is used (locks I'm assuming) and the rules are very strict - thread must be washed and balled, and then the threads are measured in Meters.  If the thread breaks or weighs less then 10 g, only the longest piece of the thread is measured.  The results are quite amazing on a global scale! (results taken from the website linked above)

Overall World Results for 2011:  First prize was given to a thread that was 1005.678 m / 10 g !!! by a spinner from the Netherlands - Jan Zandbelt

The world records are even a more incredible feat... when you consider that the actually single spun was twice as long as the listed length (remember:  these are 2-ply threads!)

Current World Record:  First prize 1468.61 m / 10 g by a spindle spinner from Kyoto, Japan - Naoko Tamuro

For the local contest... our wool consisted of samples of Colonial Wool, but because of a discrepancy in measuring, in the end our thread samples were compared scaled down to 8g.  Because the samples weren't passed out ahead of time, spinners had to spin their samples at the retreat, so I'm not sure that the spinner-sample was really representative of the attendees.

I chose to spin my sample on my 16g Birdseye Maple Bosworth Mini... where most people chose to spin on their wheels.  One other participant spun her sample on a supported Russian style spindle.  There were 15 participants in all. 

It took me most of Saturday to spin up my sample for the contest.  I was afraid of spinning too thin and having my thread break... so in retrospect, I could probably have gone a little lighter.

Regardless of my 20:20 hindsight... the hard work paid off - I won!

Oct 23 11 095

My thread was a pathetic 69 m / 8 g.... which when converted to what it would have been for 10 g... is only a measly 86 m.  When you compare that to the best fine spinners in the world it doesn't sound all that impressive.  The judge did comment though that my yarn was nice and substantial, and was in no way in danger of breaking during the measuring (2 other people's threads broke). 

I'd be interested to see how well I could do with more time and a different type of wool preparation... i.e. spinning from a nice fine wool lock instead of a chunk of top.  I'm finding that I can get a much finer single from a bouncy crimpy wool lock than I can from a mostly smooth highly processed type of preparation.  Also, Because there was a time constraint, I think I might have rushed through some sections.  I think if I had a little more time, I would have been a bit more consistent and might have been able to spin a more even thread.

Fun Facts:

What can you do with ultrafine thread? Knit some amazing Lace!

Estonian Lace (i.e. Haapsalu Shawls) are knit using very fine, soft, bouncy, 100% wool threads that are 2000 m / 100 g

Orenburg Lace (i.e. Gossamer Shawls) are knit using very fine 2 ply thread of silk and Orenburg Goat Down that is 3000 m / 100 g

Shetland Lace (i.e. Wedding Ring Shawls) are knit using Shetland Wool yarns, often cobweb single ply yarns, that are 2000 m / 100 g

Compare with the World's Finest Thread:  (converted to 100 g to compare with these lace traditions)  14686.1 m / 100 g !

Compare with my sample:  (Also converted to 100 g) 862.5 m / 100 g

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