The Granny Knot
And Its Kiting Applications
Chances are you have heard of the humble Granny knot! It's a
general-purpose knot which is useful for tying two ends of a line
together. I suppose grannies from many generations have used it for
tying up a parcel with string...
As a child, the Granny is one of the first
knots you learn. I can certainly remember using it with coarse twine or
And yet, this knot does not do a great job of fastening 2
lines together. Try it - and see how the knot tends to slip through when
you apply a lot of strain.
Despite being a bad choice for fixing your flying line (!), the
Granny Knot does come in handy in less demanding kiting applications.
Now, if you really
want to go overboard with knot-tying...
The book Knots: The Complete Visual Guide
has an amazing average review score of 5 stars from 12 reviewers - the last time I looked. If it's a more general
knot-tying resource you need, this would definitely be it!
Back to the Granny...
For my kite designs, I mainly use this knot for tying a completed
keel to its vertical spar. The 2 lines already have a Simple Knot tied
in next to the keel's edge, so the Granny pulls the edge tightly against
the vertical spar, but does not distort the keel edge.
In this situation, fixing the knots with glue is a good idea, so the keel can't shift along
the vertical spar. Of course, you need to use enough glue so it
contacts the spar as well as the knot itself. As a side benefit, the
Granny can't come loose either.
In a keel, the flight load is shared among several lines, so a
fancier stronger knot is not required. Well, I've never had one let go
yet! When I say 'stronger' here I mean 'less likely to weaken the line'.
The first half of this knot is also handy for attaching
shoe-lace ties to dowel. By not completing the knot, there is less of a
bump to interfere with the other dowel when it is laid across and
secured. A drop of glue ensures that nothing shifts.
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Sep 17, 14 06:33 AM
Well, it was the same reserve and a similar time of day. A bit closer to sun-down perhaps. Only the kite was different - the Dowel Barn Door kite this time, chosen to suit the 'gentle' strength wind gusts of between 15 and 20 kph.
The first flight went well, with the kite soaring straight up on around 45 meters (150 feet) of line. The late afternoon sun glinting off the panels as the kite moved about at steep line angles. In the gusts and lulls, the kite had a tendency to pull to the right at times.
As I was taking the kite down to do a bridle adjustment, the main problem became apparent. The horizontal spar had pushed through the tip-tape on the right corner of the sail, drastically reducing the sail area to the right of center. It was actually surprising how well the kite was still flying, given the gross problem with the sail!
On a second flight, with the tip repaired, there still appeared to be a slight pull to the right. So, after taking some video footage of the Barn Door's antics, it was brought down once again. This time the bridle knot was taken across by about a centimeter (1/2"). That was better! The 1.2 meter (4 feet) span pale orange kite shot right back up, showing much less tendency to pull across when under pressure.
After some more video was taken, with the kite soaring around almost directly overhead at times, it seemed safe enough to let out more line. It was surprising to feel the flying line touching my jeans while it was anchored under-foot! How much rising air can there be at this time of day? At the time I was concentrating on keeping the wandering kite in-frame as I took video.
Finally, after enjoying the kite doing its thing on over 60 meters (200 feet) of line, it came time to pull the Dowel Barn Door down. When within 30 feet or so of the ground it started to float and sink face-down. Then it was an easy matter to pull in the remaining few meters of line, keeping the kite flying until the bridle lines were in hand.
Weather stations were reporting around 10kph average wind speeds with gusts almost to 20kph.
"Simplest Dowel Kites": A free but very useful kite-making e-book. Make a super-simple Sled, Diamond and Delta - step-by-step with photos. Sign up for the e-book and get an emailed series of messages called "MBK Tips'n'Ideas". If you don't need the e-book, consider signing up anyway... You won't believe what's on offer in that message series!
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