Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Faustian Bargins

A while back I bought a couple of lots of fine long wool, both from reputable high end dealers.

Both are "fiber porn"; beautiful, soft, lustrous, top -- that did not spin worth a dam. They were too expensive to discard, and I was not going to inflict them on another spinner.  With recent improvements in my spinning gear,  I thought I would give them another chance.

Previously, I had tried to spin them at ~20,000 ypp (20 tpi) and ~30,000 ypp (25 tpi), and had problems.   Lo and behold, with Irish Tension (single drive, bobbin lead), they are perfectly spinable at those grists, because with IT, one does not monitor inserted twist.  Now, I know they can be spun at 20k ypp and 30k ypp, but they want more twist, a lot more twist.   All that was needed to spin those fibers with DRS was to use a flyer whorl that delivered more twist. On the other hand it reminded me that not only does Differential Rotation Speed (DRS) drive higher rpms, but it also allows much faster drafting.  Over all, DRS is perhaps 5 times faster than IT or ST or DD (outside of  the DRS range for the single being spun).

So, DRS is a technology that works, but the social group of spinners do not like it, any more than the social group of knitters  like knitting sheaths and knitting belts. Using one of these technologies sets one aside from the respective group.  What will one give up for technology?  Goethe was referring to new technology, and I sacrifice belonging to the community because I use forgotten technologies.

Over all, looking at my yarns, the DRS technology allows me to produce a better product with less effort than IT or ST.  Using a knitting sheath allows me to make better and faster rewards for my time knitting. Better products at a lower cost lead to a rise in the standard of living.  That is what the Luddites were fighting against - a rise in their standard of living, they wanted the old way --  more work to make less, and lower quality product - which inevitably kept wages low.

My reward for my time spinning is the yarn. The community wants me to accept less, and lower quality yarn.  The community wants me to accept lower wagers, because they accept a romantic myth about the English hand spinning.

I accept that in doing this, the spinning and knitting communities lower their own wages/ rewards for their time spinning and knitting.  As  groups, they suffer  much more than I do.  My grandmother called it, "Cutting off your nose to spite your face!"

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