Tuesday, June 10, 2014

More on Reading History

I went to Spinning at the Winery on Saturday. On the way home, the wheel was badly damaged.  Monday morning was spent fixing it, and yesterday afternoon was spent testing the fixes. It took about 6 hours to spin a hank of 5-ply gansey yarn.  I guess, I tuned the wheel up a bit.  Another sacrifice to the Gods of Speed.

I would say that  everything one needs to know in order to spin that fast is in the Big Book of Hand Spinning by Alden Amos. He spends a lot of time on DRS. Thus,  I knew DRS is very important, so I worked out thousand problems in DRS -- that means I have a very good feel for the solution of any DRS problem I come across. He talks about drive band tension and friction enough that I could see that it was really important.  It was so important that I had to find ways around it. In the discussion of wheel types, 3 of the 11 drawn wheels are are accelerator wheels.  That tells me accelerator wheels are important. And, then he says quite bluntly to use a distaff.

Thus, for me, reading between the lines is as important as reading the lines.  And, the result is I can spin hank of 5-ply gansey yarn in 6 hours total time, start to finish.  Now, a lot of people tell me that I do not understand or know history.  I read history like I read Alden Amos.  What is not written  can be as important as what is written. Reading between the lines is as important as reading the lines. How the people that tell me that I do not understand history, read Alden Amos?  Do they get enough out of Alden Amos to enable them to spin  hank of  worsted 5-ply sport weight  in in 6 hours?   If they do not, perhaps they did not read carefully and missed something?

Alden writes clearly.  If someone misses something in the Big Blue Book, perhaps they also miss things in the obscure and verbose tombs of history?  I assert that I get  more out of AA, and I get more out of history.  I assert that my critics get less out of AA and in the same way learn less from history.

I am going to keep that view, until my critics can come to me and show me that they can get more out of AA than I can. That is their reading test.  I eagerly await their comments telling me that they can use the information in AA to spin a  hank of 5-ply in only 6 hours.  :  )

I would refer everyone to the article in the march Scientific American on "Why Good Thoughts Block Better Ones, by Bilanic and McLeod.  These days a very limited set of approaches dominate the thinking of hand spinners and keep them considering way better ways to spin.

To HC:  I know you understand DRS, and have very good reason to hate it, but it allows me to spin a third faster, with less physical effort. I go back and review the options every so often, and I always come back to DRS.   For me, spinning a third faster, is worth developing and maintaining the extra skill.

With the changes to my wheel, the flyer orifice is much farther away.  As I spin worsted, my hands are almost 2 feet  from the orifice.  Spinning woolen, my drafting hand stays 3 or 4 feet away from the orifice.   My hands are near the orifice only when it needs rethreading. On the other hand, I do need to reach over and change hecks frequently. So, I do need to see the bobbin., and I do need a wheel that can be started and stopped fairly quickly.

Some would say that I should use something like a WooLee Winder.  I am certainly thinking about it.  That stopping to change hecks eats rpm. To get my 3,000 rpm average, I am really running at 3,300 - 3,500 for 50 seconds and then stopping for 6 seconds.  And, I have not perfected the stopping. Starting is easy, give a spoke of the drive drive wheel a good push.  However, I cannot stick my hand into my drive wheel when it is spinning at 90 rpm, well I can, but the results are not always good.  It turns out that spinning wheels need brakes.


Einar Svensson said...

"If someone misses something in the Big Blue Book, perhaps they also miss things in the obscure and verbose tombs of history?"

You have read Alden Amos cover-to-cover, I assume, so yes, you have read all the lines and know enough about spinning and mechanics to read between the lines. Good.

You have not systematically read history. You have cherry-picked to prove your theories. The study of history is more than reading a few secondary sources and googling.

Understanding history is a skill like knitting tight fabric. It takes experience and the right tools. Google is no more the right tool for studying history than a fence pole is the right tool for knitting socks.

You must read the lines before you can read between the lines. Stick to what you know, and for your own sake please stop pretending to be a historian.

Aaron said...

History requires a model, and models require assumptions. Different readers come to history with different models, assumptions, and goals.

If you and I both go to history to find better spinning techniques, and I come away spinning better than you do, then my reading of history was better than your reading of history. The proof is in the spinning. The history is past and cannot be revisited. There is no proof in history. Proof is always in the future.

Yes, I cherry pick. I was data manager. Somebody once handed me 6 million data records (history of ground water in Idaho) and there were 600,000 errors in the data, each signed by a professional registered with the State. If trained, registered, and bonded professionals can make that many errors, think how many errors the various writers of history have made. And, I might ask, Einar, are you licensed as a professional historian? Do you carry errors and omissions bonds and insurance for any errors in history that you might make? Like Dole and Del Monte, I sort out the bad cherries. I seek the good and leave the bad.

History is full of bad data, and historians are full of models and assumptions that are of no help to someone only interested in what will help them spin better tomorrow. I cheerfully violate all of the historian's models and assumptions. This does not bother me in the least. After all, you have discarded the models used by the Victorian historians. If you can discard historical models, than I also can also discard historical models.

(Neither Charon or St. Peter return souls so that they can sue for libel.)

Einar Svensson said...

As a data manager you were trained in your field, so you had the knowledge and experience to spot even the smallest mistakes.

You have no knowledge or experience of more than a layman's interest in history, so you can only spot the obvious mistakes. You do not know enough about these cherries to know the good from the bad.

If you and I read the same history and you come away a better spinner, it means that you are a better spinner, not a better historian. Spinning requires hand-eye coordination, history does not.

If a doctorate from an internationally ranked university is a licence, than I am a licensed historian. My "insurance" as you call it takes the form of the risk to my credibility and reputation if I make outlandish claims.

Where is your licence to practice history? Do you carry any insurance for the errors you make?