I've crocheted a lot in the past with very fine threads. We used to use size 30 crochet cotton for doilies. Anything heavier was just plain lazy. Using size 10 was unheard of for anything but bedspreads. My preference was always for size 20 thread. It suited me in a lot of ways. I like the fineness and detail that 20 gave me, but it wasn't so fussy as the 30. 20 displays my little streak of laziness.
To work with an old fashioned 30, you had to use minute little hooks. I found one of those a while ago, whilst cleaning drawers. Who knew kitchen junk drawers contained 0.60 hooks? Its so tiny that it used to cause little fissures between the ridges that make up my fingerprints on prolonged use. I've looked around for a couple of months, and no one seems to carry anything this small anymore. Mary Maxim seems to carry them, but what was a British 0.60 might no longer actually be what is now sold as a 0.60. My rusty little treasure is in the process of being restored and polished with some auto polisher stuff the guys use on car parts. Anything for a teeny tiny tool that might very well be irreplaceable.
The size of the lace weight merino I am knitting with reminds me of working with size 30 thread in a way. Lace weight merino is not sturdy. Its probably stronger than I think it is, but as it runs through my fingers, it feels like I am working with fairy wings. Delicate. Good old mercerised cotton threads are strong, even the finest of them. Even with a 30, I never worry about it breaking, or catching on an edge. This merino is a whole other ball game. Parts of me are entranced by this game, and parts of me know its going to be a while. Just like baseball, lace weight merino has shades of the past in it. Working with this yarn makes me feel like I am in an long ago time, where moving fast is unheard of. Its an antebellum sort of piece.
My lunch time work is going to go back to my ruffly crochet pillow edge (I'm already contemplating starch for this project - I hate starch) or son2's sock (his is the green, and blue Lorna's Laces sock). Much though I might want to, the lace weight merino project is not for working on in the river valley at lunch.