Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Children II

Twenty or 30 years ago, several wheel makers did try making wheels using DRS and accelerator concepts. They did not gain market acceptance. And those wheel makers found they could make more money selling slower wheels  -- and teaching.  For teaching they used the kind of wheels their students liked, and the high speed wheels disappeared, almost without a trace.

Yes, spinners as a culture are responsible for the absence of DRS and accelerator wheels that will spin faster than a child.  That culture is still out there, and you wonder why I am not respectful of the old spinners.   As a group, I blame them for not conserving the more productive technologies of old hand spinning.  I blame them for the extra work I had to put in to reconstruct these old technologies.

There are folks out there that want me to respect those old spinners that chose to spin low grist yarns slowly.  If they had done that out of an informed aesthetic, that is, after they had explored the possibilities of finely spun yarns, I might grant them great respect. However, if they spin low grist yarns because they never bothered to learn to spin fines, then I give them no respect - they are like  children that did not do their homework. Why do I talk to most highly experienced spinners the way I do?  It is because I think that they never did their homework to learn to spin fine (and learning to spin very fast to make high grist/high twist spinning practical.)

Now, I assure you that Stephenie Gaustad used DRS and accelerator concepts back in the days when Alden Amos made such wheels. She can sit down at my wheel, and spin wicked fast. However, mostly she teaches theses days, and as a good teacher, she teaches what the students want to learn. So, she brings her wheel that is like the wheels the students have, and she teaches spinning slowly, even when the name of the class is ,"Production Spinning".   Being nice person, she does not mention  that there are wheels that spin faster.

Now, you may not believe that I can spin as fast as I say I do, but that is the nice thing about technology - it works whether you believe in it or not. I really do not care what you think or do not think.  I spin yarns that produce textiles that I like. I judge my yarn by the finished objects that it produces.  And, I treat people that deny the virtues of DRS and accelerator concepts as children that have not done their homework.

Some spinning projects are better done without DRS and accelerator concepts, so I do not use them for every project, but they are tools that I use when I need them.  They let me get high grist/high twist
 spinning done in a reasonable time frame.


Ruth B said...

But, Aaron, you don't have any finished projects. All you have is hundreds and hundreds of samples. Unless you plan to stitch them together into a quilt or a sweater, a sample is not a 'finished project" in any sense of the word. And that is why nobody respects you.

Ruth B said...

Do you know for certain that Stephanie used DRS and accelerator wheels and then switched to a "slower" wheel to satisfy her students? Have you actually had a face to face discussion with her about that? Have you asked her whether the wheel she spins on in her classes is one she uses because it is, or was, being made by Alden and would, therefore, be available for sale? Perhaps it is a more portable wheel for classes. Have you asked that? Have you asked her why she doesn't discuss DRS wheels? Are you sure she never does? Have you asked her whether she teaches production spinning on the wheel she has because her students might have all kinds of wheels and she wants to focus on their techniques so they can spin faster with the wheels they have? In short, do you have any evidence at all to substantiate your statement? I really, really doubt that you and she have had such a discussion. As usual, Aaron, you are making up "facts: to suit your preconceived notions of how things are when you have no such facts available.

If I was Stephanie, I'd tell you to stop telling such tales, as it would hurt her ability to make a living teaching. With friends like you, who would need enemies? Of course, if Stephanie is as nice as you say she is, she's probably trying to ignore you. When you affect her bottom line, she may decide to take legal action. That would burst your little fantasy bubble, wouldn't it?

Aaron said...

I know that Alden experimented with DRS and accelerator wheels extensively and built a number of them. I know that there are no longer any such wheels at their house/shop/studio. And, Alden discussed his impression of modern spinners as we stood outside his shop, and which discussion will remain confidential.

Stephenie teaches what students want to learn. She will teach you to use the wheel that you bring to class, whatever it is. She is a great teacher.

Today DRS wheels are not available, so she is not going to waste class time talk talking about exotic tools that nobody in the class owns.

Aaron said...

Have you read Priestman? He wrote how many books? And, how many pictures of his textiles does he show?

The blog is about textile technology, not finished objects. Lots and lots of people talk about FO. I do not need to do that.

purplespirit1 said...

Why is it that every book on knitting is wrong, because (apparently) every book or author or publishing company is supposedly dumbing themselves down to knitters that aren't as smart as you - and now every instructor who teaches knitting is also dumbing down their lessons for classes of knitters who are (again) not as smart as you?

Is it possible that maybe what others do isn't wrong, but different? Why the condescension?

I know you're convinced that what you're doing is right, and you're convinced that you're in the minority because either no one dares to try the things you've tried, or are too lazy to.

There is a chance that you're not as smart as you think you are, regardless of how much "science" you write about.

"The blog is about textile technology, not finished objects." It needs to be about finished objects - how do you know the wearability of all you spin if you don't wear it? Isn't it just theoretically warm and not warm in practicality?

It just doesn't make sense. The lack of my understanding isn't because I'm a woman or my lack of a Big Fat Science Degree, but because your science is invalid, for reasons so many have already pointed out.

Anonymous said...

I saw Stephanie recently. She is spinning with a heavily customized electric wheel Alden made her because he body is not up to treadling. Before that she had what she described as the ideal wheel: a single treadle saxony customized to her preferences. Neither wheel was accelerated, but neither wheel was available for purchase from Alden, either. And I've seen her draft at full tilt. She's a fast spinner, but her wheels have always been able to keep up with her, with no acceleration.

Aaron said...

For years Alden made what sold.

Stephenie is an "intuitive" spinner that does not like doing DRS math - she likes long draw -- e.g., woolen.

Stephanie with her electric spinner, can certainly spin low grist wool yarns faster than I can.

And, what she teaches is fairly low grist. I have the "finest she could spin" samples from when she tested the flyers that Alden made for me. It is woolen spun @ 22,000 ypp. At one point, Alden told me that was about as fine as he had ever spun.

Six months later, I was turning out 45,000 ypp worsted at a good pace on that flyer and was working at spinning much finer.

However, I can spin worsted singles of 5,600 ypp about twice as fast as SG spins on her gear, and at ~11,000 ypp, I am about 3 times as fast for both worsted and woolen.

I assure you that SG is a very fast spinner compared to other modern spinners, but she is never going to spin you 500 yards of worsted spun, sport weight 5-ply in a day.

Aaron said...

I have discussed this at length.

Professional spinners and knitters had tools and skills that were discarded by the Victorian ladies as unlady like.

These were tools and skills that allow the rapid production of functional textiles.

Modern books on spinning and knitting do not include such tools that are very useful to anyone that wants to produce a functional textile.

Why should you have any objection to my making functional textiles? Why should you have any objection to my telling others how I make functional objects?

You go make pretty stuff, and I will make useful stuff. Just do not call me if your toes are cold.