I would say pencil sized or a little bit smaller than a pencil, and I haven't checked to see if she has a video of how she started them or if she talks about how she started them, but I can see a clear distinct two-strand twist pattern in some of her locks. So I'm going to go out on a limb and say that's how she started them. Number, that's a hard one. I guess you would just tell the loctician how many you wanted and then he or she would work it out depending on the characteristics of your hair and how you wanted them started. If I had to guess, I would have said she had about 140-150, but I could be wrong.