granny gear.

You know, the smallest (third) chain wheel on a bicycle with at least 3 wheels (a triple crankset). It makes it easier to ride uphill. I rode my bike across the country seven summers ago. 4200 miles, a handful of mountain ranges, and the realization that Missouri is not flat (I had conveniently forgotten the Ozarks), I was even happier to have that granny gear.

Today I moved my drive band to the “granny gear” (third/smallest whorl) of my Lendrum DT, and it struck me that the set-ups are similar: a smaller chain wheel or a smaller wheel makes something (the pedals/crank on a bike or the bobbin on the wheel) spin more easily per revolution of the wheel, making it (a) easier to turn the pedals on a bike while going uphill or (b) easier to make thinner yarn — fewer treadles required to get the bobbin going more quickly.  Among cyclists (or at least among the hardcore, of which I am happily not a member), to use the granny gear is to be shunned/jokingly ridiculed, while in the spinning world, a smaller whorl equals a finer yarn, and is often what the spinner is looking for as s/he develops his/her skills. (I think I got that right, but if I’ve switched or inverted my bicycle and wheel mechanics, I blame it on the strawberries.)

soulwindow1

This is Soul Windows, the colorway of the April 2009 Spunky Eclectic Fiber Club:  4 oz of 90% corriedale/10% nylon. I’m aiming for sock yarn, and so far, I think I’m on the right track. I am absolutely loving these blues!

soulwindow2

I’m working on a super thin single, but one that has enough twist to be sturdy. I’m about halfway through the first bobbin after about 2 hours of spinning today. It feels like it is taking longer than the targhee, which I’m interpreting as a good sign in the land of my wpi. We’ll see…

Also, for those worried about Boh’s emotional state, I did manage to cast on and work the toe of sock #2. I’m aiming to make more progress before bed tonight so that Boh can sleep soundly. It’s so hard to be a dog.

sock2lacyrib

Today was a good day: I woke up early and curled up with coffee, knitting, and Laura Gibson’s most recent album, Beasts of Seasons (link goes to an npr article with links to places to listen) which is incredible, and the perfect accompaniment to the sound of the rain hitting the plants outside my window. I made good progress on a great book I’m reading, and when the weather cleared up partway through the afternoon, Boh and I went for a run. I puttered around in the kitchen, slowly simmering a big meal of greens, and then I sat down at my wheel to spin until sundown. A quiet, calm Friday.

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5 thoughts on “granny gear.

  1. That sounds like a lovely day. After a very wet spring, we’re in a bit of a dry spell/heatwave, which of course aligns with our moving. A relaxing, rainy day sounds fantastic. My wheel came with a “high speed kit,” which I assume is designed to make a thinner yarn. I’ll have to try it!

  2. One of my friends just built a spinning wheel out of bike parts. So maybe your comparison isn’t so far off!

  3. Hooray for relaxing summer days. The spinning is looking lovely; I hope Boh is handling the pressure of being head sock-supervisor without too much trouble. Does he play a similar role in your spinning endeavors?

  4. Beautiful spinning – I will watch in jealousy as you create sock yarn! You’ll have to figure out how to do it perfectly so that you can instruct ME how to do it once I’ve got my wheel ;) :D

  5. The comparison between bike and spinning wheel gears was very interesting! I’m getting quite the spinning education from this blog – thank you! That’s going to be some lovely sock yarn — I love the blues, too! Hopefully Boh will coerce you into making some pretty socks with it right away! :)

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