Week 4 Wool Lab Group D Data

As group D data recorder, I particularly focused on taking notes on the speed of each activity to attempt to understand how much time would have been required to process a particular quantity of wool in the ancient world.


We began the initial spinning with 0.5 ounces of wool per person. Without any wool spooled on it, the spindle (with string) weighed 1.5 ounces. Knowing this, I could determine the weight of the spun wool on the spindle by weighing the spindle and recording how much the weight had increased beyond 1.5 oz at particular time intervals. The data is as follows.

Total Time Elapsed (minutes)Wool Spun (oz)min/oz
45 0.2225

It seems reasonable that I spun the initial 0.2 oz at a slower rate than the remaining 0.3 oz because it took some time to get a hang of the spinning process. 45 minutes was an appropriate length of time to get a rhythm going and learn how to avoid costly mistakes. In the final 30 minutes, I spun 0.3 oz of wool at a rate of 100 minutes per oz. If I were to spin the wool required to produce a sweater (let’s say this weighs around 16 oz or 1 lb), it would take me 1600 minutes, or around 27 hours at this rate.


This calculation was fairly imprecise, but my group members and I were able to weave 5 rows in approximately 15 minutes. 5 rows seems to be about 0.5 inches tall; I didn’t measure the loom, but it seems to have been around 18 inches wide. This means that we loomed at a rate of 9 square inches every 15 minutes, or 0.6sq-in/min or 36sq-inin/hr. A 10 foot by 10 foot area rug would take around 400 hours at this rate.


The rate of carding was pretty easy to calculate. It took me around 8 minutes to card 0.5 oz of wool, suggesting a rate of 16min/oz. To card the wool for the same 16oz sweater would take 256 minutes, adding another 4+ hours to the 27 needed for spinning. It makes sense why spinning is described as the bottleneck in the process!

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