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Old thread ball sizes


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I have a number of vintage patterns one of which is a chair back set which I want to make. I want to use a partular thread I have available, but I cannot work out how much thread the pattern is asking for.:think The pattern says 5 balls of thread, no length or weight, I assume therefore that balls used to be standard sizes. I have written to Coats to ask them and have had no reply, does anyone know per thickness (10, 20 and 30) what the ball sizes would have been in white? Also some patterns ask for Big Balls :eek and ideas on that one ?

 

In the past I have just started and seen where my thread has got me, but as this is a somewhat larger project I want to make sure I don't run out mid-set.

 

Thanks for any help or ideas.

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I've just seen I can't post the website where the pattern is but here is all the information that I have from the beginning of the pattern, no information on gauge.

 

The pattern is from 1944

MATERIALS: J. & P. COATS' Six CORD MERCER-CROCHET, Size 30, Blue Label; 5 balls of White or Ecru, or of any color.

MILWARD'S SHIP BRAND STEEL CROCHET HOOK No. 9.

Chair Back - about 10 x 16 inches. Arm Pieces - about 7 x 10 inches.

 

 

I'd post a photo if I knew how.

 

 

 

Any suggestions?

Edited by sue702
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I'm sorry, I misunderstood your original question and thought you were asking which thread SIZE, not amount of thread. Sue, if you are using white (which I can't tell for sure from your posts) it probably won't matter much if you have to buy extra. I say that with the caveat that if your stash is very old it could have become discolored. In that case mixing lots won't work. I've mixed whites from different dyelots before and it is totally unnoticeable.

 

Basically, go for it! Buy extra if you need to.

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Thanks Carla. I'm guessing that the orginal balls were 500 yards (that is the standard today for 30 cotton as far as I can tell from American websites) so they are asking for 2500 yards or 2250 metres which in the thread I have is 425 grams (cotton is sold in grams here in Europe very confusing!). I have 400 grams of white plus some extra (maybe up to 80 grams) from half finished balls. Unfortunately the brand is now discontinued so I can't just buy another ball and it is a bit close to the edge. :ohdear

 

If however, the balls used to be 400 yards (today's standard for 20 and 10 cotton as far as I can tell) then I need 2000 yards, 1800 metres in my cotton = 340 grams, so I am well in. :clap

 

Still pondering what to do.

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Hmmmm... if you do run out or get close, could you make the "head chair" somewhat different? My dining chairs are all armless except for one, the head. Or possibly make some other relatively minor change to all the chairs so that you mix newer thread with your original?

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  • 2 months later...

Sue,

Looking at the date of this post, you have probably already started your chair set. Wanted to let you know the Best 6 cord did NOT have 500 yds, but only 350. The six cord was more expensive to make, hence less yardage than the standard 3-ply.

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  • 1 year later...
Sue,

Looking at the date of this post, you have probably already started your chair set. Wanted to let you know the Best 6 cord did NOT have 500 yds, but only 350. The six cord was more expensive to make, hence less yardage than the standard 3-ply.

 

I am so glad that you posted this, as I've been going a bit crazy trying to find yardage of the threads called for in vintage patterns. I've done a pretty good Google search for yardage charts to no avail.

 

The pattern that I want to begin is for a centerpiece or a tablecloth (if one is so ambitious) and for the centerpiece it calls for: :

 

J&P Coats or Clarks ONT Best Six Cord Mercerized Crochet Cotton, size 30: Small ball: J & P Coats—7 balls of White or Ecru, or any color; or Clarks ONT—11 balls of White or Ecru, or 13 balls of any color. Steel crochet hook No.10.

 

This is very confusing to me as both requirements are say Clarks ONT!!!

 

Do you have any other yardages?

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The small balls normally had about 125 yards of thread on them. So calculate from there. Add at least 25% more for the larger thread you wish to use and you should be fairly close.

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Just a bit off topic.... This isn't going to help your search, but you may find it interesting....A bit of history from Coats, Their early cotton thread was very coarse and wiry, suitable only for hand sewing. In the 1860's they developed a softer thread that could be used in the recently invented sewing machines. It was known as Our New Thread or the ONT that soon became part of their trademark. It is still used today,150 years later!

 

I have many old advertising and trade cards from the late 1800's that show the old advertisements from Coats and Clark, pretty interesting. They were passed down in an old scrapbook that is from my Mom's side of the family.

 

Here is a page about Coats history.... the info about ONT is under "1864"

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I'm interpreting the yarn requirements to be written in a sort of back and forth way; first listing 2 brands, then listing the amount of each brand. I'd read it as

 

J & P Coats Best Six Cord Mercerized Crochet Cotton, size 30: small ball:—7 balls of White or Ecru, or any color, or

Clarks ONT Best Six Cord Mercerized Crochet Cotton, size 30: small ball:—11 balls of White or Ecru, or 13 balls of any color

 

My SIL had recently brought me some miscellaneous thread that she'd found at a jumble sale, one is a JP Coats Best 6 cord BIG BALL, size 20, which is 300 yards, and some Clark's (probably 3 cord) BIG BALLs size 30, in colors at 250 yards. Based on some similar colorways I remember buying when I started crocheting around 1970 I'd suspect these are a similar vintage. So all this implies is that small balls have less yardage than 250-300 yards.

 

The DMC 6-cord cordonnet that I've seen at Michael's is a smaller ball than these, it's 216 yards.

 

Not sure if this helps, but just a few clues...

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  • 8 years later...

This is 2021 and I just found your conversation.  I have a small stash of vintage crochet thread left from my grandma.  It hasn't been touched in 40 years.  

My question is what should be done with these partial and full balls?  How do I tell if I should use, sell or toss all of this thread?  

The answer to the original question is

Clark's Big ball 30 weight white was 550 yds full.  Clark's also sold 30 weight in  250 yds and 100 yds balls.     20 weight came in a 300 yds ball.

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Hello there, it looks like I was the last replier to this thread before you, but 9 years earlier.  

I have heard (via forums) that cotton thread can be brittle, but who knows how something was stored; in a clean, bug-and-light-free plastic bin in the closet in a not-humid area, or as a doily sitting out near a sunny window for 50 years, getting crispy?

One of your choices was 'use'.  Since this is from your grandmother, I would definitely USE it, if thread items (and making thread items) appeal to you.  When my grandmother died (this was in the 1970s, I'd just learned to crochet a few years earlier) my Dad helped clean out her house to get it ready to sell; he brought me a bag with some small thread motifs that she'd made but not put together, and a matching thread ball.  My Dad said he remembered that she was working on that project when he came home from WWII!  I managed to reverse engineer the pattern and get fairly close to her gauge, and used most of her motifs plus a couple of mine to have enough to piece together a doily which was mostly made by her.  Anyway long story, but the bottom line that is that this doily is more special to me than the dozens I've made before and since because of Dad's 'coming home' story and because it's a remembrance of my grandmother.  And if my Dad's timeline was right, that doily (thread) is now nearly 80 years old and isn't brittle.

If you are a threadie, do you think any of your Gran's female descendants would have any interest in/appreciate an item you made from Gram's stash...maybe make a snowflake and stick it in their holiday card if you send holiday cards.  Any not-too-tiny kids who might appreciate a thread animal or 'action figure' ?  Stiffened thread  bookmarks?

Or if you don't want to keep it, is there is a way you can find out if there is a crochet group that meets in your area in your area that might be interested?  Or a nearby church in your area that does holiday bazaars, maybe church members can use the yarn to make something for the bazaar? 

I don't think I'd bother to try to sell it; in my 9 year-old post post I mentioned my SIL gave me a big bag of thread balls from a flea market; I didn't ask but I'm quite sure she didn't pay very much for it (was like 2 grocery bags full...I still have most of it, I should 'shop' there for my next thread project....and I just poked around that bag, there's nothing brittle about that yarn either and some of it appears to be older than when I started buying thread 40 years ago...)

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Thanks.  I wasn't sure how to get back to this post.  

We're looking for all options.  I do have a friend that makes crocheted jewelry.  The tiny dream catcher type.  I'm going to show her a sample.  It wasn't stored in a climate controlled area.  I can't tell if the dinghy appearance is from age, use or from the dirty storage unit.  

Your answer has helped.

 

 

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If you do decide to give this away, try and make ONE thing with it.  That way, you have something special that was made with this thread.  An angel or something that can be passed down.

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