What I have been doing - nerd alert
It all started with the DFW (Double Flyer Wheel).
I wanted to know where it came from (or, at least, from whereabouts in the country this kind of accelerated driving was known). I had seen something in a (borrowed) book - had to buy it for myself. Was sort of disappointed - there was a wheelwright mentioned, that much was right, but, as it were, only in passing. He had a name and a year (Abraham Hedman, 1738), but that was all there was.
I (thought I) knew I had seen something like it, many years ago, in a museum. Thought I knew which museum. Wrote to them. Wrote to several more museums, while I was "at it". Result: nothing, nada, zilch. A month later, ONE of the (by now 6) museums answered: "I don't have time to go out in the storehouse to look".
Meanwhile, I got a couple of obscure books on ILL, one of them very dull-looking: Den Ångermanländska linslöjden, en historik. (The linen works of Ångermanland, a history). It is a dull text, but once I started to really read it I found lots of, hm, nuggets(?). And lots of food for nerding...
So, here, friends, goes:
Definition of "prime linen": as you (probably will not) remember, "prime linens" come in many classes. They were (at least most of them) 1 1/2 aln (3 ft, or 88-89 cm) wide.
For class 1 there were 2720-2920 ends (or 30-32 ends/cm); for class 8 (which was NOT the finest seen) there were 4120-4 320 ends (or 45-48 ends/cm).
The History book contains some well-described examples, complete with old (and obscure) weights-and-measures.
So I got out the calculator...
One example was described as 39 alnar, 4 1/2 skålpund; 3600 ends, woven in 2299-dent reed.(If I did my calculations right, this means the cloth was 23,2 m long, weighed 1,9 kg - which would translate to 81,9 grams/metre fabric).
3066 ends x 23,2 metres of cloth = 83 520 metres of warp yarn.
But we have a weft, too. For convenience, I assumed 40 picks per cm (warp density comes out as 40,5) - which gave me another 83 500 metres.
Which gives a total of about 167 000 metres per 1,9 kg of weight.
Now, linen is numbered in Nel (Number English Linen, I believe), where the number tells how many skeins of 300 yards is accommodated in 1 imperial pound.
One yard is 0,91 metres, so 300 yards = 274 metres (rounded), which means we have 167 000 / 274 = 609,5 skeins - let's round a bit carelessly, say 600 skeins.
As an imperial lb (of today) is approx. 0,45 kg, we can go on: ( 600 / 1900 grams) x 450 = 142 (rounded)
which means this particular cloth was woven with a linen singles (*all* "lärft" is singles) of a number somewhere in the vicinity of 140/1. Handspun.
I did several calculations, approaching from different angles, 'cos I was thinking I had made a decimal error somewhere.
But - all of them came up more or less the same. There were several examples described, and they all came out with a yarn count between approx. 120 to 150. Handspun!
A picture from the book, divided in two to make it possible (I hope) to read the writings.
The caption says, roughly;
"These two photos show the strip, with thrums, cut off from the cloth for which Catharina Andersdotter got the Illis Quorum [a royal medal]. The cloth is of the seventh class, is woven through a weaving reed of 2 200 dents, contains 40 knots, or 4000 ends of warp. Every square centimetre thus counts to 40 ends of warp and circa 37 picks of weft. We have found this linen strip in the royal archives [... something "administrative" I can't translate] 1808 - 1811."
I wish... Or, on second thought, maybe not :-)
But the DFW?
Nothing much. This book tells about several "spinning schools" and some competitions - it seems that the DFW spinners always won, but that did not convince "the people". One of the arguments was that a DFW is harder to spin on (heavier to treadle, needs more concentration), and therefore, even if you are more productive/efficient for the first hour(-s - the competitions were 2 hrs), you can't spin for as many hours as a "prime spinner" usually did. Right or wrong?
Anyway. I still don't know anything about my DFW, it still doesn't work (too cold to do what needs to be done on it, the workshop is unheated) - and the only accomplishment I have done is to amass a lot more "worthless knowledge".
Here is another picture from the book:
Waiting for more ILL books, and perhaps I have to do some "hands-on" museum search, and...