"Wow! You make an awful lot of assumptions about me, Aaron. You clearly have a very active, if completely inaccurate, imagination. I don't need a wheel like yours. I outgrew my Ashford Traditional years ago and moved onto different wheels with features that allowed me to spin faster and more consistent yarns. I do have an accelerated wheel - it's a Great Wheel - but I wouldn't build a wheel like yours for love nor money. It would be superfluous.
If the finished product is nothing, as you say, then you're going to be very, very cold in your non-existent gansey because there will be no finished product to wear. I hope you can stitch your numerous samples into a blanket, because it seems that you will have nothing else to wear unless you take a trip to Neimann Marcus."
The above is a comment from a reader. Let us see what we can deduce from it.
There are no measurements, numbers, or objective criteria anywhere in the comment. Thus, this is a person that does not do objective quality control, engineering, science, or math. She says she spins faster. I can spin and ply 560 yards of worsted spun, 5-ply sport weight in less than 7 hours. That is more than 3,000 yards of 5,600 ypp worsted singles and 560 yards of plying in less than 7 hours. I can do it anywhere, any time. I can do it in front of a judge and jury if you want. Knit on 2 mm long needles with a knitting sheath it makes a lovely, light, warm garment. It is remarkably durable, and can be worn around the campfire without any fear of sparks burning a hole in it.
Now, how long does it take my reader to spin a good hank of "gansey yarn", and has she posted any pix of it? She has one standard for me, and a very different standard for herself. Do we see rulers on her blog/web pages? My educated guess is that she can spin woolen @3,000 ypp at a rate of under 300 yards per hour on her great wheel, and spin worsted at @3,000 ypp at a rate of under 100 yards per hour.
And she says she spins more consistent. The last pound of 10s (worsted spun hanks of 560 yards at 5,600 ypp ) that I spun were all within 5% of the desired weight of 45.4 grams. Can my reader spin skeins of singles that are consistently within 5% of the desired grist? I think not.
So not only do I spin much faster, I likely spin more consistently. This is because I do understand objective quality control, engineering, science, and math. I report testable results. She claims vague fantasies.
I have half a dozen very good ganseys that I have knit from various yarns over the years. Some of these are from hand spun. I have knit hundreds of socks over the years. Socks, that I knit were worn on over 300 man days of downhill skiing this year, and it was low snow year. (e.g., my socks are worn by several, dedicated skiers, some of whom would have to be classed as "powder hounds".) If I put my friends off, and stop knitting for them, I can knit a good gansey in less than 10 days. I have enough 5-ply on hand for several sweaters and I have plenty of singles (5,600 ypp) spun for the loom that can be re-tasked, and plied for knitting yarn. Knitting a gansey to a conventional design is trivial.
The hard part, the interesting part, is finding better textile designs, and better technologies to produce the designs. Spinning is easy. Spinning fine is harder. Finding a better way to consistently spin fine and fast is very hard. Knitting is easy. Finding a way to knit better is hard. My reader is clearly not interested in finding a better ways of producing textiles by hand. This blog was started to record my search for finding ways to hand knit warmer fabrics. After I had advanced knitting, I needed warmer yarns, so I added the search for how to hand spin warmer yarns to the blog. More recently, I realized that I had erred in my interpretation of knitting sheath technology and blunt or flat tips on needles used with knitting sheaths result in faster and better knitting.
Lots of people write about pretty knitting and pretty spinning. There is no need for me to write about pretty. I write about warm and durable. These days, many write vague fantasies about warm and durable hand spun and hand knit objects, but very, very few have done objective quality control on the objects/fabrics that they write about.
We cannot say that my reader is "stuck in the past", because the professional hand spinners and hand knitters of the past (e.g, 16th century) were very, very good. And, since I do not own anything that was ever purchased at Neimann-Marcus, she is not very well informed and does not read carefully.
I really do not care how anyone knits or spins or how fast they do it. I merely point out that there are options. I point out that one can ALWAYS seek to spin and knit faster and better.