Tuesday, September 01, 2009

quantity vs quality

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The Fiber Festival at Fort Delaware was so busy, that I didn't have time to take any photographs. My good friend Judy was kind enough to email these photos that she took of me while I was demonstrating double-flyer flax spinning. Thanks, Judy!

Looking at the photos gave me pause.

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The idea behind the double-flyer wheel-was obviously all about production...and it is by far, the most challenging wheel that I have ever met.

Getting a steady rhythm, and producing two equally consistent threads at one time, with one hand on each thread, is a demanding task.

I have yet to be satisfied with any of the linen I have produced on this wheel. Many hours of practice remain before I would be able to achieve a fine thread...if ever! So it makes me wonder. Just how many spinners were able to make fine thread on this type of wheel? And yes, perhaps they were able to produce twice as much linen, but did the quality of product they produced, deteriorate in the process? Quantity is not always better than quality.

Quantity..according to merriam webster: is the aspect in which a thing is measurable in terms of greater, less, or equal or of increasing or decreasing magnitude...

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Quality is defined as a degree of excellence ...merchandise of quality.

I think about other areas in my life where quality is sometimes forfeited due to quantity. I remind myself, it is good to strive for quantity, but not at the expense of diminished quality. Funny, the things that spinning can teach me.

14 comments:

Lynn said...

I always appreciate your posts, they're so observant and thoughtful.

Donna B said...

Thanks for this post...

I am trying to slow myself down a little these days... I tend to rush through things thinking I don't have time to do things properly... which usually ends up costing me more time later...

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Always go for quality unless shoveling compost into the garden.

Anne said...

I suspect that if you "practiced" for most of your daylight hours not tied up with food prep, you'd get very proficient - far more quickly than those of us in the 21st century do with our more limited "practice" time.

Valerie said...

Wow...talk about doing two things at once.

If you're doing handwork, quality trumps quantity....otherwise machines would never have been developed.

But thinking about the double flyer wheel: IMO most of the quality in spinning comes in the fiber prep. So I suppose if one had fiber that only needed the twist inserted, then you'd get quality (after much practice!)

Jody said...

That wheel must be a real challenge to spin on but it looks like you are doing pretty good at it :)

Cathy said...

Valerie has a good point about the fiber prep - I could see that rationale for quantity and quality.

I admire your hands!!

elizabeth said...

Wonderful thoughts! I love Lisa's comment! Trying to get quality into one's life in this world isn't easy, but so necessary.

Debbie said...

Good point, although I am still impressed with what you had turned out anyway! It was great meeting you and putting a face with the blog! See you again at Endless Mountains, hopefully the weather will be better!

Tam said...

Wonderful post Cyndy!
Great pics Judy!

Sharon said...

I can't even comprehend spinning on such a wheel. I guess the spinners of old must have had so much on their plate, that they had no choice but spin like that, even if it did compromise the quality. I guess its all about finding the right balance isn't it. I certainly know that thread I would spin on such a wheel wouldn't be worth the quantity!!!

judy said...

Whew! Good for you to be practicing. After all, you have in this day, many things that you are doing to divert your attention. I'd have liked to see more of your new outfit that you just finished. And, all the food you are busy putting away. Not to mention all the time and learning it takes to use the computer and share these thoughts.

Judy said...

And it quality differs from view points because I sat watching you spin and thought that you were doing an amazing job. Now I could get on there and I might (if the planets all aligned right) be able to spin up you up some rope!

Leigh said...

I've never seen one of these wheels. You make a good point about anyone's ability to achieve certain types of threads on various wheels. Some wheels are better suited for some sizes of yarn than others. Of course, I've never spun flax, so I don't have an experiential clue as to your question.

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