The Age of Homespun: Objects and Stories in the Creation of an American Myth - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

pages 186-190:

 

Sheesh, yarn was measured like money back in the day--confusingly.

 

If nothing else, this is for my own note-taking purposes to get all the things semi-straight, although some of you yarn-minded readers might find it interesting:

 

Colonial New England: 1 revolution of the reel/niddy-noddy=1 Thread; 40 Threads=1 Knot. Seven-knot skeins were common, but could also be as high as 15- to 20-knots, depending on the town/area.

 

England & Ireland:

~Dorset: Threads & Knots the same as New England. 20 Knots=1 Run

~Gloucestershire: 40 Threads=1 Snap; 20 Snaps=1 Run.

~Wiltshire: 40 Snaps=1 Skein; 5 Skeins=1 Run.

~Both countries, for linen yarns: 110 revolutions of a 54-inch reel=1 Lea; 10 Leas=1 Hank; 40 Hanks=1 Bundle (or Spangle, in Boston, where this method was adopted and adapted)

~England, for worsted yarns: Similar to New England's method, with 80 revolutions of a 54-inch reel=1 Wrap; 7 Wraps=1 Skein.

Also, reel measurements could vary greatly. "In one place, the reel measured two yards around, and in another 'two yards and one eighth.' Seven-knot skeins in those places would have varied by a thousand yards."

Very fascinating stuff.