Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Lambtown Yarn Contest.

In America we have spinning contests called, "Longest Thread", but which have little to do with spinning fine or fast. In the past, the Lambtown longest thread contest was very much about spinning fine and fast.  Now, it is about who can spin wearing gloves, who can spin blind folded, who can spin the fastest given an unlimited amount of fiber, who can spin on other people's wheels, and who can spin "art yarn".  Nowhere in the contest are points given for spinning fine or well.

Real Longest thread contests are still held in other parts of the world such as
 ( ) .  Look and see how American spinners place in such contests in recent years!  Under the leadership of Boss Cows such as Holin, American Spinners have distained technical merit.  As a result, the best American entry to the 2013 Spin-in was based on singles of 
~26,654 ypp.   Not a very good showing. (Sorry, when I should have been mailing my entry, I was passed out in a back alley in Bruges. )

"Spin count" has been a part of the British defined wool quality for hundreds of years. It is/and was the finest thread that a COMPETENT spinner could spin from that grade of wool.  The US is one of the world's largest producers of fine Rambouillet wool with spin counts near 80.  The US also produces Merino with similar spin counts.  Why doesn't the US have many, many hand spinners that can spin such wools at their spin count?  There are many such spinners in Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. 

Why did the US not submit hundreds or more entries to the 2013 Bothwell that were at least 45,000 ypp? (Ok, or at least 99 entries, because I was in Bruges.)  I will tell you why.  Because Boss Cows in the American spinning community distain technical excellence.  They distain spinning fine.  They distain spinning fast.  They pretend it does not happen.  They pretend it cannot happen. 

As a result of years of such "leadership", American hand spinners are not as technically competent as spinners in Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. 

In 2013, I was learning what I could spin.  Then, I started looking at how I could use that technical excellence in spinning to produce better yarns.  Today, I make better yarns suited to their purpose.  Holin pretends to  judge them from photos of the process.  The thing is, she spins to win yarn contests.  I spin one kind of yarn if I am entering it in a "yarn contest", but different kinds of yarn for knitting, and weaving.

Lambtown will be a yarn contest, so I will be spinning California Rambouillet at it's spin count -  about 45 thousand yards per pound.  Bring your linen tester.


Holin Kennen said...

Aaron wrote: "when I should have been mailing my entry, I was passed out in a back alley in Bruges"

Really? And whose fault was that? Unless you were kidnapped, assaulted, and dumped in that alley, it was your fault. What a sorry excuse. Most people would have had the sense to mail the entry before leaving the country. Not you, apparently. And how many "longest thread" contests have there been since then? It seems to be a yearly event. What excuse do you have for this year? Do tell. I can't wait. Alien abduction?

Judging your yarn quality from photos wasn't hard, Aaron. They're thick and thin all over the place and not particularly fine at all. Several of the spinners I know have commented on the poor quality of your yarn. We know garbage when we see it. It's not rocket science, even with your intentionally blurry photos.

I spin for CUSTOMERS, Aaron. Real, live people who have projects in mind. Like durable winter socks for one (a fine-wooled Romney - the customer has asked me to spin up the entire fleece for her). Or a lace shawl made from in-house dyed English Leicester in a gradient that runs from blood red to black for another customer. And somewhere in the next month I have to spin up a warp yarn for a piece of woven religious regalia - I've chosen a grey Icelandic with black tips as the base and will be spinning some white and a tiny bit of red warp as well. The weft will be a black of some kind, but I haven't decided what fleece to use yet. You can't say the same because you have NO customers - NONE. The spinners of the Renaissance would have starved to death if they had no customers, so how you can consider yourself a master spinner is totally beyond me. When/if you produce quality yarn, you may have some if you haven't completely ruined your customer base by now, which seems likely given your disdain for all things and all fiber artists from the 1840's to the present. Why not try to peddle your "superior yarns" to people from the 1800's or even earlier? Oh, wait. They're all dead.

Mooooo! Boss cows can boss around a silly, blowhard bull like you any day. Get used to it.

Annie Belle said...

Can I see a photo of your finely spun singles in the 45,000 ypp range? Maybe 22,000 ypp too? I just started using a wheel and I want to see what really fine yarns look like!

Aaron said...

How about misdiagnosed and prescribed the wrong drugs?

And the weavers complained about the quality of the spinning that the received, and 400 years later we look at the cloth and think it excellent.

The neat thing about spinning at the spin count is that there 20 staples in the cross section of a single. If there are only 18, then your grist is 10% high and if there are 22, then your girst is 10% low. With a linen tester it is easy to check. People can see me spin and check the grist themselves.

You talk about warp and weft, but nothing about grist. Unless the grist is fairly high, the effect will be pixilated rather than graduated.

Considering that there have been times when I got 10 consecutive hanks of 560 yards to within 5% of the desired 45 gram weight, I think I trust my scale more than I trust you.

Holin Kennen said...

Your yarns are quite easy to see, and what we see is bad yarn. People on Ravelry have taken photos of yarns much finer than yours using a regular camera, so that excuse won't hold water any more than the dozens of other excuses you've offered.

Oh, and the thing about cows: ask any dairy farmer whether it's worth it to keep a bull on the farm. To a man or woman, they will tell you that a bull is largely a waste of feed. The cows are the producers, not the bull, and artificial insemination is far cheaper and more efficient than keeping a bull around. The exact same thing can be said of you, and all of us "boss cows" who are actually producing yarn and finished objects and teaching students and selling our yarns know it.

Unknown said...

The word is "disdain." You could look it up.

Sheri said...

We need a teacher. We need a leader. Write us a book. Pictures. Videos. Please

Aaron said...

Now you are looking forward to projects and telling us what your are going to do, and even talking about projects involving new skill.

Watch your self there, or you will get to be more like me - always exploring new things.

: )

Aaron said...

When I was first leaning to spin at the spin count, I took a bunch pictures - they looked good on my computer, but then on the internet, the resolution dropped and the yarn disappeared. It looked like the emperor's new cloths.

Think about it. At 75 wpi, my 5,600 ypp is 0.013 inches thick. 22,400 is half that thick. At resolutions of 300 dpi, it just does not show up. At 45,000 ypp the single is 1/200" thick. That means images have to be megabytes. The first time I tried that, upload time was 10 minutes. Then I found that Blogger had reduced the resolution down to 300 dpi. Now that everyone has broad band and high resolution screens, I will try this again.

In the mean time, I am going to let people see me spin fines, and then let them count the number of fibers in the cross section of the single (20), so they can see that yes the grist is ~45,000 ypp.

It is Anna Harvey's best Rambouilet, so the spin count is well above 80.

Can yarn be spun thinner? - Oh, Yes!! One can use thinner fibers, or spin fewer fibers into the single, but it will be more fragile. Many of the modern suit fabrics have singles in the range of 67,000 ypp by using finer fibers.

Aaron said...

Following your example, I want citations and references.

Where are there images of modern hand spun yarn singles in the range of about 30,000 ypp to photos of Bothwell contest entries showing finished 2-ply?

To be eligible, the image must be labeled as to grist and method of determination or contain some indication that allows discrimination of the grist.

Without citations and references, your post is just libel.


Aaron said...


I refer you to the images on my post of 9/24/2015 to demonstrate how hard it is to distinguish a difference in grist of almost 10,000 ypp, despite both being photographed in front of the same millimeter scale at almost the same enlargement.

This is another reason why when measuring wpi, the yarn must always be "packed to refusal".

I suggest that you find a patch of shade, and meditate on the issue of grist determination.

Aaron said...

My wife came across some of your comments on my blog, and she was quite dismayed at your rudeness, ignorance, and over all poor quality of writing.

She instructed me to, "Dance on her head!". I had never heard such strong language from her.

I will take the instruction, seriously.

Holin Kennen said...

I couldn't care less what your wife thinks. I'm not even sure she exists, but if she does, her command of the English language seems to be somewhat wanting.

I suggest that you find a patch of shade and meditate on your arrogance. If you are trying to threaten me, I am not in the slightest bit intimidated by you. Go away, Aaron. You bore me.