Tuesday, August 09, 2016


All objects are some compromise of: quality, schedule, available resources, and  budget,

Quality may be "pretty " for personal decoration, then the object  may need to be "warm" when worn outside or "cool" when worn under the lights on a movie set.  Or, quality may be "warm" to protect under Arctic conditions or under sustained cold rain or sustained wind.  Or, quality maybe durability.  Or, quality may be uniqueness or collectability. These are all valid measures of the quality of knit wear.

Schedule is how long the craftsman has to work on the object.  Does it need to be done tonight, in which case quality  and/or budget may suffer.  Or, is it a 30 years project, where quality and available resources may be maximized?

Available resources include all of the skills, tools and materials that are available within the schedule and budget.

Budget is the total cost of the project.  It may be financial as in you do not want to pay that much for some exotic yarn or take the time to learn the required skills; or,  you are knitting for enjoyment and want instant gratification.

Then the job of the craftsman is to produce the best compromise, within the project's constraints and the client's needs.  And, it is very possible that the craftsman is the client.

I am my own best client in that I make many things for myself.  I am also my own worst customer in that I am very demanding, and I tend to demand that objects get made over and over and until it meets very high quality standards.

Getting to such standards requires development of skills and tools.  If one does not have a teacher development of skills and tools, requires a series of studies.  People laugh at the thousands of swatches I have knit and tested.  The testing of many swatches is the systematic accumulation and organization of information.  It is science. The people who laugh at it,  do not understand science.  And, they do not understand that science is essential to real craftsmanship which relies on the accumulation of resources in the form of skills and tools.

If you assume that craftsmanship can be derived from received conventional wisdom, you miss the point that every communication results in lost information, so to retain a certain level of  craftsmanship, one must refresh, renew, and extend skills and tools.  That takes studies.  That takes science.

 As knitters with any pretension to craftsmanship we need to understand and practice good science.  If we are to be craftspeople, we need to avoid bad science.  We need to avoid studies and reports that cannot repeated.  

We need to call a "spade" a spade, and we need to call yarn by its correct name.  We need better labels and better yarn bands.

1 comment:

Isabeau said...

Why is "instant gratification" a budget example?

Also wtf does the time/cost/quality balance have to do with yarn label standards?