Spinning, two kinds, not three

Earlier this week, I bought myself something I’ve wanted for a little while. A cycle trainer. It’s not what you think, by “trainer” I don’t mean someone who yells at you about how fast you’re going and tells you to do another 5km, but a frame that holds the back wheel of my bike and turns it into a stationary cycle. I set it up in the kitchen and it sits there, with my bike stuck in it,  and I mean this in every way possible, it is a huge pain in the arse.  (Do you like the way I made it sound like setting it up was no big deal? In reality it was hours, and several phone calls, and advice from Ken and Pato, and about four websites. It has never been clearer that I have no idea what I’m doing.)

it is supremely, horrifically, in the way. I have to step round it to go from my little office behind the kitchen to the rest of the house. I have to squeeze past it every time I want a coffee. It glowers at me as I make meals, or listen to the CBC on the radio, and I can see it from the front door.  I got  it because I’m trying to get a jump on the spring training for the rally.  I’d like to be a little fitter and more ready this year when the outdoor training starts, and starting earlier seemed like the only way to do that – barring heading down to a spinning class or something, which (in the absence of real spinning wheels) seems like exactly my idea of a personal nightmare.  I like to suffer alone.  I put it in the kitchen, because – frankly, the only other room that could hold it was an unused bedroom, and I know myself too well to play that game. I’d be able to ignore it in there.  Here in the kitchen, there’s nothing I can do to make it stop staring at me that way, except ride it, and I’ve made a personal pledge to do so for at least 30 minutes every day that I am home – until it’s warm enough to ride outside.  I’m telling you this so that I’m a little publicly accountable.  Today’s day three, and my my arse is sore, and my legs are sore, and I’ve learned that riding on a trainer is way, way harder than riding outside – which I’m telling myself is good, because it’s more of a workout, but I’m having trouble with my own reasoning there. Here the the thing sits, and today, before I do the kind of spinning I like, I’ll have to do the kind that I don’t. I hope it all pays off in the spring. I have visions of the first training ride, where instead of panting along at the rear of the pack, I sail through – faster and stronger than ever. This is, of course, complete delusion. I’m still going to be a slightly dumpy middle-aged woman who is only ripped in the sense of owning old bike shorts that need mending, but it’s got to help. Right?

battopen 2015-01-22

Speaking of spinning I do like, I’m just over halfway on the wee project from yesterday.  I’ve split the batt right down the middle, and I’ll spin two singles that each have the same colour progression. (If you’re the sort that’s interested, I’m spinning these long draw. It’s what it wanted, and this is all about process.)

battspin 2015-01-22

When I ply them together, hopefully I’ll have a two ply yarn where the colours (mostly) match up, and a cool gradient yarn.  If I can finish the singles today, tonight they can rest, and tomorrow – I ply.

battspin2 2015-01-22

I have no idea how many metres I’ll have, or what I’ll cast on after that.  It’s about 100g, and that should give me at least 300m – ideas?

battspin3 2015-01-22

Strung Along April Retreat – Start to Finish

A quick note to let you all know that sign-ups for the Spring Retreat are open. This time we’re doing something a bit different – and we’re so, so excited (and a little nervous) about it. We’ve gotten lots of emails from people wishing that the retreats weren’t all for textile artists who knit AND spin. Apparently many of you don’t spin (yet) but would still like to come to the April Retreat. Well, okay then! Another knitter-only retreat (although there’s a ton that will be valuable for spinners) just because we really are listening. If you’d like to know more about it, click here.  (Also, because I always forget, and it makes Debbi crazy, Strung Along has a Facebook page here. You can “like” it if you want. Debbi LOVES that.)


67 thoughts on “Spinning, two kinds, not three

  1. That’s a seriously beautiful batt. I should really get on that spinning thing too. Not the kind that’s blocking your kitchen – I’ve got an exercycle in the basement I’ve been successful at ignoring for years.

    • We’re thinking of getting an elliptical trainer. Would you resent/ignore your stationery bike more or less if it were in, say, your living room? Hubby wants it in front of the main TV. I want the living room to look civil.

      • Ha ha…my husband wanted to put a treadmill in the living room, and I flatly refused! It ended up in a corner of our bedroom, and we both use it (more so in winter, though), but I did NOT want my comfy, relaxing living room to start looking like a gym with furniture attached!

  2. Is it the stationary; bolted in kind, or the extremely scary and impressive two-roller kind? We need a picture! I am in awe either way.

  3. Our lab had a rig for using a bike that was immobilized like that into a generator. Maybe you could use the bike to power the radio? Or to power the light you need to see your knitting chart? Nothing like a bit of incentive.

  4. Somehow you should be able to do the spinning you like simultaneously with the spinning you don’t like. Except I guess you need to hold the handlebars. I really can see you in the spring, leading the pack while everyone gasps in amazement.

  5. I’d love to know more about the Strung Along retreats. How are meals handled? Are there any accommodations for special diets? Are non-drinkers welcome (asking because it seems like there is a lot of wine )?

    • Meals are buffet, lots of choices for everyone I think. We absolutely accommodate special diets. Chef Dan is actually really good at it, and of course non-drinkers are welcome! Wine flights are an optional add-on for those of us who like it.

  6. Good luck!! I know the feeling – I have to figure out how to get my own arse out to swimming or something so that I don’t burn up my joints!

    Also – if you’re getting about 300m on a gradient, I would look into Zuzu’s Petals by Carina Spencer!

    Katie =^..^=

  7. The tip from my husband to make trainer time pass faster is to stick a screen in front of it and watch something interesting. In your case you’d be wanting a 30 minute programme – when you get to the end you’re done.

  8. I asked for and received a new bike and stand for Christmas! I’m a bit older than you and plan to use it to strengthen my poor aching knees…..and maybe lose a few pounds in the bargain! Mine is in front of the T.V. (less boring) in the basement. I’m up to 5 miles a day…
    Love the other spinning too, maybe someday I will also give that a try 🙂

  9. When I first looked at the photo of the fiber, I thought you had already spun and knit part of a sweater already! I am so relieved, I feel like such an underachiever! LOL. =)

  10. Here in Boulder, Colorado, home to lots of professional cyclists (and way more wannabes) I always have to qualify the term “spinning” so people don’t think it’s the *other* kind of spinning

  11. My husband stuck a dollar-store basket on the front of our exercise bike, just bit enough to hold an ipad. So you can watch youtube, at least, as you cycle along. Still very boring…

  12. I have thus far resisted (not an easy thing) the entire batt/hand dye/hand spin world because I know that I would fall into it and be lost forever. Since I can barely see above my current stash and projects and commitments, I am holding fast….but you make it so, so difficult!

  13. I love the idea of an inanimate object mocking me. I knit and quilt. Knitting usually wins out so I moved my quilting frame into my dining room. Since the dining room is really a pass-thru from the kitchen to the rest of my townhome, I’m mocked by the frame all day.

  14. Should you decide you tire of bike a la kitchen, a spin class is more fun than you might expect. I went with a ginormous chip of skepticism on my shoulder when I started. It is the hardest work out I have ever done, harder than riding a bike, because you never get a break. That said, you are the master of the tension knob on your bike, so you get to decide how hard to ride each day. And I say this as someone who is much more drawn to individual sports than group activity.

  15. I also use a stationary bike to keep my knee moving. I read books while biking, but they have to have large enough print for me to be able to read while I am zooming up/down those fake hills. I prefer this to street biking because I go much farther and it really helps my legs. Only thing, now when I go biking outside, well I like trails so I don’t have to go so slow around traffic.

    Now if you could figure out how to spin while you spin . . . Hahaha

  16. What if you triple the time for the spinning or knitting that you DO like for the time that you do the spinning you don’t? For example, 30 minutes of the kind you don’t like for an hour and a half of the kind you do… I know the only way I make it through the treadmill at the gym is to have my tablet open and be reading an e-book while listening to my spotify playlists….

    I’m in love with the blue…. I’m one of the non-spinners (for now, was 1/3 of the way towards having room for a spinning wheel but another kid moved in…. is it wrong that I have already informed the one who goes off to college at the end of next school year that when he leaves, i’m turning his bedroom into my craft room since his father took my craft room for his home office/bedroom when he started working from home?)

  17. Good for you – and yes, it will help. I have to echo what others have said – give yourself some entertainment. My DH likes music. I have to have TV shows/movies – I bribe myself that I only get to watch certain ones when I ride. Intervals can be fun – so warm up, then do 2 minutes hard/1 minute easy for a while, 3 minutes hard/1 minute up to 4, and come back down. Or something like that. Or try a workout DVD like Spinervals – those will get you in fantastic shape quickly (no connection, other than purchasing them, suffering through them, and reaping the benefits….).

  18. I love to run if I can do it outside, but I run on a treadmill in the winter, both because of the cold, and because the hours of light are so limited here (Alaska) in the winter that I’m almost always working when it’s light out. I get HORRIBLY bored running on the treadmill, even if I’m watching something. And its when I’m bored that my mind starts playing games and telling me that what I really am is tired (well, I probably am, but so what? I can keep running) and I should stop. I have to start bargaining with myself… ok, half a mile more and I’ll stop and go find something else to do… ok, I can manage another quarter mile, and then I’ll quit… and so on…

  19. I had one of those for my bike – it clamped the handlebars, and the rear wheel rested on rollers. It was easy to assemble, and easy to get the bike in and out of it. You don’t realize how long a bike is until you have one of those things.

  20. I haven’t put my bike on the trainer yet, but if I don’t want to look like a fool come spring it has to happen. It’s podcasts for me, with occasional music. I try to tell myself it’s a special treat because when I am on the road I do not listen to anything but the sound of other cyclists bearing down on me from behind and cars trying to kill me. It’s not working so far as a motivator.

  21. Wait until you set the twist to see the loft. The yarn will let you know what it wants to be. Sometimes it says so during plying but that looks like it has merino and merino can be slow to decide.

    • I can confirm that there have been vegetarian options at every meal at the ones that I attended. The soups have all been vegetarian, there are usually salads, and the main dishes are generally vegetarian with meat available on the side.

  22. ooooh I really like that batt! I think I have too many cats (or not enough closed doors) to have a training bike in my house. But I really like the idea of one.

  23. Whenever I want to ply a gradient yarn, I just ply one gargantuan single and then do a Navajo chain-ply. Of course, this means that all I can ever make is 3-ply yarns of various weights, but … well, since all I WANT is 3-ply yarn of various weights, I’m fine with that.

    Full disclosure: I haven’t spun roving in about six million years, to the point where I’m not entirely sure if the drive band for my Joy hasn’t disintegrated from disuse by now. I’d really rather knit, although I do like the idea that I can talk myself into a bomb shelter with this skillset.

    Human verification: “Click or touch the computer.” What do you THINK I’ve been doing?! 😀

  24. I’m a runner in Ohio so although our sports are different, I feel your pain, the treadmill is my “track of shame” for when the weather is too cold/icy for me to be out. I work with seniors so I just tell myself that I will be so grateful that I exercised now when I’m eighty and I’m still moving well due to the foundation I started now.

  25. Way to go, Harlot! Good luck with using the bike as an exercycle. I’ve thought about getting either an exercycle or your set-up, but I don’t really have the room or the tenacity for either.

    I wasn’t sure about the colors in the batt, but it looks like it is spinning up into some gorgeous colors. Hope the shading works well in the finished yarn. In any event, I know some of those shades look good on you and are among your favorites. Perhaps you’ll end up making yourself a cowl, scarf, and/or hat from the yarn.

  26. OK….so I just walked in the door from a long day @ work & went thru my emails…..then checked out what the Yarn Harlot has been up to & combined reading the last 2 posts. Well….Sam looks absolutely gorgeous in her new hat….the perfect colour for her….BRAVO!!!! Then I started to giggle (must be tired++) ‘cuz I thought IF you could hook up that spinning wheel to that stationary bike…WOW…”product & process” would collide head on….mahahaha!!!! G’nite!! ((:

  27. I am so glad to hear about your trainer. My husband surprised me with one for Christmas to get me through the winter. I like it, but find that I needed to adjust my bike a lot to get comfortable on it — I still need to change my seat angle, I think, since I feel very hunched over.

    Good luck with it, and enjoy! I do 30-40 minutes each time when I use mine also, and I bought myself a cute little “cycle journal” at the bookstore on half off post-holiday to keep me motivated and track my workouts/thoughts/comments.

    For now, spinning and spinning are separate . . . but someday . . .


    Enjoy it!

  28. Inspired by your confession, I think I will quit thinking about moving the elliptical trainer out of my bedroom and into the living room where I have to look at it every day while I’m vertical (that’s the key). My accountability is having told you and The Blog that I’ll do this. While I’m here, let me say that I wish I were your kind of middle-aged dumpy. I saw you last September and you looked pretty put-together to me!

    As for your yarn, I’ll echo other commenters and suggest that you wait until you’ve set your twist to decide what to make (but you were going to do that anyway).

  29. Inspiration! I bought a vintage NordicTrak on craigslist for $50 and planned to put it in our tiny office/guestroom and watch something while on it…the DH strongly objected and it’s in the cellar where I am having a hard time getting on it –cold and dreary down there. But the kitchen is warm and bright –and I really couldn’t cook if it were in there 🙂

  30. Have same resolution, except that my bike is recumbent indoor exercise bike. I told myself that I could knit while peddling, but usually I just knit…

    • Oh so right! We mustn’t let our daughters & sons hear us being so critical of ourselves, particularly when we are holding ourselves up to standards arbitrarily impose by the fashion&”beauty” industries. You, our dear harlot, have a wonderful, well-placed sense of self but those with a shaky sense of worth lose ground with every critical remark whether directed to them or said with a laugh about yourself. We who read your blog and your many other fans think you’re perfect!

  31. Well now you can train even when the weather sucks in the Spring and Summer as well. No more cancelling your ride because it is raining.

  32. Ugh. I’d have sent you my trainer! I l donated it just last week. It’s been fully acknowledged that, for me, cycling is an outdoor thing. I recall extreme befuddlement at the whole set up, consulting YouTube videos and thinking that it’s not rocket science, for crying out loud. Anyway, I hope you like the indoor trainer!

  33. I’ve had some knee problems & am slowly getting myself up to 10,000 steps per day by using the treadmill when it’s to cold for outside. I’m also reading thru the Outlander series & now allow myself to read that series only when I’m on the treadmill. It works for me.

  34. Just looked at Port Ludlow web site (1:30 PM EST). There are no rooms available for those dates. Are you sold out already?

    • It could be that they have the rooms blocked for retreaters. If I recall correctly, when I went, I received a code when I registered for the retreat that I needed to use to book a room.

      I am sure Steph will let you know for sure though.

  35. YES! Oh, yes. That is exactly what I did and exactly why–although, mine is a treadmill. It’s between the kitchen table and the pantry and people tend to do a doubletake at seeing one in the way there. There’s room for it there and not really anywhere else but a bedroom, and if I put it in one of those it would be ignored forever. In my face, in my space, it demands to be used to justify its overbearing presence. So I do.

    Have fun biking!

  36. Not going to lie, I’ve put some serious thought into whether or not you could put a unicycle on a trainer and set up a driveband from the unicycle to the flywheel on a Sidekick. I think it would work!

  37. My mum has a rowing machine that she uses every day, and she just puts on an episode of something to watch while she rows and that helps motivate her to exercise, since she won’t let herself watch whatever it is unless she’s exercising. She started out at 30 minutes and then went up to 45 and is now looking for longer and longer shows.

    I, on the other hand, have a basement suite and a toddler, so I’m trying to remember to do yoga daily instead, which doesn’t always work.

  38. Oh, trainers are great. But what I particularly like about them is that you can knit while you’re training. Thank you for the inspiration. I’ve been procrastinating on reinstating ours since it was moved for Christmas. But you’ve convinced me that the time has come.

  39. Have you tried knitting while on the cycle? Basket on the front or high table beside and some easy knitting, like socks or ? works as my incentive. Mine’s hiding in the basement and see it as I do laundry!

  40. Imagine my distress and disappointment when I signed up for a Spinning class at my local YMCA; when I walked in the first day I realized right away I wasn’t going to walk away from the class with wonderful yarn. In fact, the shape I was in, I’d have been lucky to have walked away from one of THOSE spinning classes at all!

  41. Any body out there who can recommend a comfortable seat for an exercise bike? I inherited an exercise bike from a neighbor, I use it almost every day but the seat is HORRIBLY uncomfortable. My bottom is screaming in pain after just 15-20 minutes although my achy knees could go on longer. Every day I start with good intentions but the awful seat drives me away.

  42. A Jammer is, fundamentally, a signal blocking device, which transmits synchronized radio waves on the same frequency range of the device that one needs to blur, therefore preventing devices from transmitting data in the chosen area.

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