What is a hank?
In the textile industry, a hank is to a unit of yarn that is in a coiled or wrapped form (as opposed to other forms such as a ball or a cone or a bobbin or a spool). This is often the best form for use with hand looms, compared to the cone form needed for power looms. Hanks come in varying lengths depending on the type of material and the manufacturer. For instance, a hank of linen is often 300 yards (270 m), and a hank of cotton or silk is 840 yards (770 m).
While hanks may differ by manufacturer and by product, a skein is usually considered 1/6th of a hank (either by weight or by length).
In yarns for handcrafts such as knitting or crochet, hanks are not a
fixed length but are sold in units by weight, most commonly 50 grams.
Depending on the thickness of the strand as well as the inherent density
of the material, hanks can range widely in yardage per 50 gram unit; for
example, 440 yards for a lace weight mohair, to 60 yards for a chunky
weight cotton. Special treatments to the materials that add cost, such
as mercerization or labor-intensive hand-painting of colors, can
influence a manufacturer's desired length per unit as well.
A hank is completely different than a Tom Hanks. As far as we know Tom Hanks does not have a direct relation to textile units of measurement.
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