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Plant fibers, wool, and webs can be turned into weavable thread. Such thread can then be woven into cloth, which can be used to create a variety of textile products such as bags, clothing, rope or crafts. (For a full discussion of the process and possibilities, see textile industry.) An entire spool of thread contains 15,000 inches/units of use.
There exists four types of common thread, each with their own method of creation:
- A dwarf with the thresher labor enabled can process plants (any plants with THREAD_PLANT_TEMPLATE in the raws) into thread at a farmer's workshop with the "Process Plants" job order.
- Wool is collected from sheep, alpacas and llamas by the "Shear creature" job; the resulting "stacks" of wool must then be processed to yarn with the "Spin Thread" job. These jobs also take place at the farmer's workshop and require the shearer and spinner labors.
- With a loom, any dwarf with the weaver labor enabled will automatically collect any spider silk webs that are on the ground, turning them into thread, by default. This can be disabled in the orders menu.
- Hair that is produced from a butchered animal can be spun into hair thread at a farmer's workshop using the "Spin Thread" order in a similar manner to wool. Unlike the other types mentioned above, animal hair thread cannot be used for the production of cloth or related items. This type of thread is not part of any stockpile, and by default, will stay in the farmer's workshop where it was made unless it is manually moved elsewhere.
Beyond the aforementioned textile industry, any thread can be used in a hospital to suture any wounds shut, or at a craftsdwarf's workshop to bind quires into codices. These are the only uses of thread made from the hair of non-shearable creatures, as they cannot be spun into yarn.
Suturing a wound will use 1% of a spool of thread, leaving the rest in the hospital, e.g., "cave spider silk thread (99%)". Correspondingly, the suture can be viewed in a dwarf's inventory, e.g., "cave spider silk thread (1%), Sewn into Left lower arm". Note that if hair thread (from a non-shearable creature, e.g., "water buffalo hair thread") is used for suturing, then the remaining spool of thread is just left on that tile. As mentioned, this type of thread cannot be stockpiled.
All types of thread, weavable or not, can be dyed.
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Adamantine strands are treated as a special type of thread; they can be dyed, used to suture wounds and woven into cloth. However, most adamantine strands should quickly be turned into wafers, to avoid such usage — using adamantine for a suturer's job is widely seen as a frivolous waste of a rare and precious resource.