Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Circus goes to Jackson

Recently, I taught Stephenie Gaustad to swave.  (I was at Studio Gaustad for something else.) She is a very busy lady.  She would not bother learning a new knitting technique unless it produced a fabric that she liked, and that she could not produce in any other way.  She requested that I come up to the house and show the process to Alden. (He does not knit anymore, but he was a great knitter.)  He is always my toughest critic, and of course he knows more about the various processes and technologies of making textiles by hand than anybody.  His comment was, "Why aren't you using hand spun?"

Both of them like the produced fabrics, and said they was not like any fabrics that they had seen. (And they have both seen my gansey knit fabrics, which are also very tightly knit.)  Both like the speed of production.

Fine fabric at a high rate of production.  If it is not swaving, then it is a new process that I invented and I can patent it.  Then, soon everybody would be trying to void the patent by claiming that it was just swaving.  And, they would be correct.  The tools are right, the motions are right, and the produced  fabrics are right. for it to be swaving.

Alden reminded me that "Kersey" at various times referred to a frame knit fabric.  Perhaps not in 1746, but at some times, Kersey was a knit a fabric. Maybe, I was not as wrong as the mice said.


Anonymous said...

What you mean is that you taught Stephanie to knit with a technique that you call swaving, for which you have no evidence whatsoever to support that claim. I hope you made that clear to her.

Aaron said...

She likes the fabric. Nothing else matters.

Stephenie and Alden are both rather smart about the history of knitting.

I am not sure the term "swaving" ever came up.

I know you have your little games, but this is a game changer.

=Tamar said...

I say go for it. Patent the Aaron Lewis Method.

Anonymous said...

What? Why wouldn't you mention the word "swaving" to them when you absolutely can't shut up about to the general public? And why would you then go further to imply that their approbation (and last I checked, "I've never seen anything like it" is a looooong way from "I think this is better than any other method") confirms your assertions that what you are doing is swaving.

Ancillary question- did you show them the rowed-out mess of a back and forth swatch, or just knit in the round?

I know that you'd like to think that this is some kind of game changer, but give your well-established difficulty in managing the finer points of conversational tone, I'd be far more convinced if this endorsement of your method came from Stephanie and Alden directly, instead of being your own interpretation of their feelings.

Aaron said...

For Stephenie, it is all about the next project. She does not care about where the tools come from, she wants to know what they will do for her today, and tomorrow.

For the last 120 years, recreational knitting has been mired in a mythical past. Recreational knitting gave up the knitting sheath and other tools that allow the production of knit goods of a quality that was available circa 1800, but is by and large, not available today.

I bring those techniques forward so that my circles can knit better things today. I was interested in swaving because that was my lead on how the very fine, knit camel gloves were produced. So, Will Taylor gave me some nice Alpaca/Merino/Tussah Silk Top, and that spun into singles at 22,000 ypp, made up into 4-ply, and swaved on 1.2 mm pricks makes a nice fabric for a lady's glove.

The nice thing about those thick singles is that I can spin long wool or Suffolk to make different yarns for different parts of the glove.

I think the finger tips should be done in Cotswold for better wear, so this morning I was spinning 22,000 ypp singles from Cotswold. That Cotswold thread has a very silky feel to it and will make wonderful finger tips for gloves.

Aaron said...

I had washed some of the socks and let them dry on a teak table, and one of the socks had a brown stain from the table. Alden did not talk about the "row out", he whacked me for the brown mark. He was textile judge for years and years. Perhaps the mess is not as bad as you think.

Jeffrey. said...

I'm assuming you knit socks in the round, so you wouldn't see the rowing out there. The rowing out happens because you have unequal tension on your knit and purl rows.

Aaron said...

I knit heel flaps flat. I watched him poke at them, so he saw them, but did not comment on them.