Friday, March 20, 2015

Why I am not like a real knitter or real spinner

When  Cold Fusion was reported, I went down to the metals lab, got some titanium, and in a week had replicated their results right down to the anomalous explosion without ionizing radiation.  That is me, I go try things even when the expected results is everything blowing up.  I had set the experiment up in my Berkeley apartment, and it did make a mess of everything.

Real knitters and spinner do not do that kind of thing  They read. They buy commercial available knitting and spinning tools. And, they buy books of patterns. They do not set up experiments in their apartments.

For example, Mary Thomas's Book of knitting discusses knitting sheaths and hooked knitting needles.  It has been widely and easily available for a very long time. How many real knitters bothered to make and try knitting sheaths?  In the last 7 or 8 years that I have been knitting with a knitting sheath, I have only met 2 knitters that had used a knitting before I sold or gave them a knitting sheath, and I have heard of 5 or 6 others.   The book is out there.  Knitting sheaths are easy to make.  Why have not hundreds of knitters that have tried knitting sheaths?  They might have tried them and not found a knitting sheath helpful, but it says something about knitters that they have not tried them.

Alden's Big Book of Handspinning has been out for a long time and is widely available.  In it are a number of pictures of spinning wheels with accelerators.  Why haven't more real spinners tried them? They might try accelerators and reject them, but why not try them?  Why have not more spinners tried differential rotation speed (DRS) controlled flier/bobbin assemblies?  It says something about spinners that they have not tried either technology.

Regarding cold fusion, I had seen the explosion exactly as reported, but by the time I had cleaned up the mess, I knew with a visceral certainty that it was just a hydrogen explosion, rather than cold fusion.  It would have taken a long time to get that kind of visceral certainty from the reticent language of peer reviewed papers.  If I had not tried the experiment myself, it would have taken me years to get over the fear that the fossil fuel done a cover up.

By then, it was very clear that the  public relations groups working for the tobacco industry had perfected techniques to throw doubt on good science.

My results are that knitting sheaths are powerful tools that are well worth their cost and the effort to learn to use them very well.  Likewise DRS.  Likewise accelerator wheels for spinning. The cost and effort in every case is significant, but very worthwhile.


kenneth Whitworth said...

For what it's worth, I enjoy your blog immensely. When I read your recent posting that had a picture of your knitting sheath bolted to a belt, I said "I can do that." I have long DPs on order and will be making my own knitting sheath as soon as they get here.

Minimal investment of cash, and minimal investment of gumption. I'm looking forward to trying something that offers both faster and better results.

And if it doesn't work, I will have lost very little in the attempt.

I plan on getting a Polonaise wheel in the near future (it is like the wheel I learned to spin on while living in Sweden 30 years ago) and I plan on rigging an accelerator for it after I have mastered the use of it as it is. I would have rigged an accelerator for my Minstral, but it didn't seem worth the effort since it's a castle wheel.

Keep up the good fight!

purplespirit1 said...

Something said about uncommon practice. Just because the majority of knitters don't use knitting sheaths, it doesn't mean that they haven't been tried and then not used. Frankly, I've never heard of a knitting sheath before your blog, and my grandmother (who taught me to knit, and has been knitting her whole life) never heard of or seen a knitting sheath.

If a knitting sheath is what makes you knit faster or better, is it possible that others can knit faster or better without one?

My grandmother is one who can knit an entire sweater in under two weeks, as you can. And she's not spending every waking moment doing it either (maybe 2 or 3 hrs a day), and is making her sweaters out of sport weight yarn or thinner. And she uses circular or straight needles, sans sheath.

The issue I have with your blog, if nothing else, is the "my way or no way" mentality of it. You sometimes claim otherwise, but really you focus on one technique for spinning or knitting, and anyone who says that a way other than yours works seems to be wrong. Why?

Is it possible that people who have decades more experience than you do have techniques that work for them, that produce knitted garments just as durable or warm as yours? If you think 'no', then you truly are stubborn - and it's no wonder that people think you're a "jackass".

Aaron said...

Last week I was sailing with Dev, and he said that when he was a kid in Punjab, it got very cold in the winter - the house was cold, the school was cold, and he had to walk through the snow to school and back home.

His mother used a knitting sheath and steel needles to knit very warm wool objects that kept them all from freezing.

Meet fellow that was caught in the Winter War between Russia and Finland, and as taught in school in Sweden, he knit himself a sweater with steel needles and a knitting sheath that saved his life.

An fellow that served on a British destroyer in WWII said that they knit using steel needles and a knitting sheath - just like the one I was using.

Rutt talks about knitting sheaths.

Mary Wright, talks about knitting sheaths in Cornish Guernseys & Knit Frocks.

Mary Thomas's Knitting Book (1938) tells us that in the past every knitter used a knitting sheath.

Have you ever slept in the snow in one of your grandmother's sweaters? Have you ever taken cold green water over the bow while wearing one of your grandmother's sweaters? Have you ever worn one of your grandmother's sweaters while intertubing down an icy cold rive in WINTER?

I really do not care how you knit or spin - I simply point out that there are ways to knit fast and tight, and there are ways to spin fast and fine.

That thing about a "my way or no way mentality' is all in your head. It is your own guild trip. After all, if you spin slowly or knit slowly, it makes me look faster!!!