Introducing Fit Chick Knits | a companion blog

I’ve written before about my love of knitting.

How it’s the ‘yin’ to my exercise ‘yang’.

Fit Chick Knits

Hand knit yoga socks; what’s not to love?

How it’s taught me many lessons that apply directly to fitness.

How it gives this non-runner a ‘runner’s high’.

And how I need both in my life to feel balanced and centred and creative and productive.

Last Saturday night, I was bored. Nobody to hang out with on Facebook. The latest month’s IDEA Fitness journal already read. All caught up with last week’s episode of Outlander. A knitting project that was turning out to be more work than fun.

So I started a new blog. (What would you have done?).

A blog where I could share my other love. Because, despite my original intentions, Fitknitchick ended up being much more about fitness than knitting.

Fit Chick Knits

I love how bright and engaging the header is!

Introducing Fit Chick Knits (I have a hard time with titles…). My other blog. The one where I’ll be sharing primarily knitting-related posts (although I can’t promise that fitness won’t sneak in from time to time because they really do combine to form the perfect ‘fabric’, in my opinion).

A place to share my current projects, ruminate about challenges and provide some instruction for my readers (I’ve been teaching people to knit for years and years and years…)

Even if you’re not a knitter, take a peak. See what I do with the time I’m not in the gym. And if you’re interested in learning to knit, I just may have a Facebook group for that… (new members are always welcome!)

More than you ever wanted to know about fitknitchick

Happy Tuesday!

Are you ready for more randomness?

1. This week’s theme on Tuesday Trainer is ‘Rest week – Getting to know your trainers’. That means there’s no exercise video, just a clip of my answers to the three questions Lindsay posed last Thursday. Have a look (or not) and tell me what your answers would be! (If you’re desperate for a workout, check out my Upper Body Bootcamp video).

2. I’ve been nominated by the lovely Elle (of Eat Run Sail) for The Lovely Blog Award. The award is essentially a way of making bloggers reveal deep, dark secrets about themselves. Things they might not otherwise write about (unless they’re had a glass of wine first). I need to answer some questions (again, with the questions!) and tag some other bloggers to spill their guts too. Thanks so much Elle for the nomination and shout out!

fitknitchick

I’m going to break the proverbial chain and only follow the first two steps. I’m hoping nothing terrible will happen to my husband or children as a consequence.

Seven things about myself (presumably things that you don’t already know):

  1. I can’t whistle without a blade of grass between my thumbs.
  2. I once jumped out of a moving car to avoid something terrible happening to myself and a friend.
  3. I dislike wearing shorts; short skirts are fine, shorts are not.
  4. I received my Canada Cord in Girl Guides (the highest honour attainable!).
  5. I was the only cheerleader on my squad who couldn’t do the splits.
  6. My favourite chocolate bar is an Almond Joy. I always buy one when in the United States.
  7. My youngest son’s name is Adam only because we were tired of looking through the baby name books by the time he came along. We never made it to the ‘B’s’.

3. I’m celebrating a 2-FO week; that’s two finished objects (knitting, remember?) in one week. Never mind the fact that they’ve both been on the needles for at least two months. I won’t show you pictures of the socks I knit for my daughter because you’ve seen the yarn at least three times already. Yeah, it’s been that long.

I will, however, show you the lovely cardigan I made for myself. I plan on wearing it to this week’s Fitness and Health Blogger’s Conference in Denver and thought that those of you who are going might appreciate knowing what I look like (and what I’ll be wearing to the Thursday evening reception, in case you want to coordinate with me) in advance!

Hand knit sweater

Pattern is Pas de Valse knit in Saffron Dyeworks Pali Sport

Now tell me something random about you! 

Short and long term goals in fitness, knitting (and life)

Believe it or not, I am a knitter. (I know, I don’t look like a knitter. But what does a knitter look like?)

I knit for the same reason I exercise; it relieves stress, it’s a productive use of my time, it teaches me new things and it’s introduced me to many new friends; friends I might not have met otherwise.

There are a lot of similarities between knitting and fitness. I’ve blogged at length about them before here. But one of the most important elements the two have in common is the need for both short and long term goals.

Short term goals hold your interest for a few days or weeks at best. Not too much investment. Easy to forget about once attained. In contrast, long term goals require you to look beyond the immediate and see the bigger picture. More investment, more stops and starts, more satisfaction when you reach them.

My current short and long term goals?

Knitting:

Short term: socks, always socks. I’m currently working on a wild-stripey pair for my 9-year old daughter. Knitting socks for kids has to be about the shortest term project out there. You cast on, knit while watching an episode of House and presto, it’s time to turn the heel. Four to 6 evenings of television and they’re done. Almost instant satisfaction (unless, of course, your child then refuses to wear them because they’re either too pretty or too itchy to come in contact with their foot…).

Long term: a beautiful, flowing, drapey cardigan for me. Garments don’t always have to be long term projects (I’ve knit a chunky weight vest on 6 mm needles in a weekend), but this one is knit in sport-weight yarn (very thin) on 4 mm needles (moderately small) and has a very large, overlapping collar and extension PLUS long sleeves. I’m hoping it will be done in time to wear as an evening cover up come summer… Here’s what it’s supposed to look like

This is what mine looks like right now; still a fair ways to go…

Fitness:

Short term: consistently get to the weight room 3 times a week, yoga and spinning once or twice. Showing up is all that matters for my short term goals. I’ve been tweeting (and will continue to tweet) my #PROOF pics just to stay accountable and motivated.

Long term: other than my super long term goal to do unassisted pull-ups (it occurs to me that if I was being consistent, this would be a short term goal; funny how short terms goals can turn into long term goals, isn’t it?), I don’t really have any. I’m not training for any particular event. I’m not trying to drop weight or body fat (not to say that I wouldn’t love to be a bit leaner, but I’m not really concentrating on it these days).

I think I just added another action item to my short term fitness goal list: identify a long term fitness goal!

I’m keeping my long and short term life goals to myself (for now). Suffice it to say, we’re  all works in progress!

What are your current short and long term fitness goals?

What other areas in your life do you set goals for?

 

The tyranny of perfection: why fitness, food and knitting slip-ups no longer faze me

Years ago, I was a perfectionist.

I held high expectations for myself and all of my endeavours. Workouts had to be all or nothing. If i missed one, I was ‘lazy’ and ‘soft’. Diets had to be adhered to ‘to the letter’ or abandoned entirely. Recipes had to be tried and perfected before serving to company. An accidental right slanting decrease rather than an SSK in my knitting? Rip it all out and start again.

Then I had children. The perfect anti-dote to perfectionism. They remove your ability to control the world around you. You can fight it, but it is an tireless and insanity-making battle. Embrace the chaos they embody or go mad.

Evidence that I’ve moved beyond perfectionism?

This week, I missed my Friday workout due to (yet another) Pro-D Day, Saturday yoga because I slept in (an extremely rare occurrence) and Sunday step class (sorry guys, I’ll be back next week) out of sheer exhaustion. No worries. There’s always tomorrow and sometimes rest is as good as a change. No one de-conditions over the weekend :).

Valentine’s Day chocolates tempted me to relent on my ‘no sugar’ meal plan. I enjoyed each and every one of the nut and caramel-filled treats, without guilt or worry that I would immediately revert to my old ‘sugar filled’ ways. (And more importantly, without running to the bathroom scale to see whether I’d gained weight)

I finally finished the sweater I’ve been knitting and cast off only to discover a mis-crossed cable. I decided to leave it there in the age-old tradition of quilters who purposefully make one mistake per quilt just to acknowledge that no one’s perfect.

Bet you can’t even spot it (okay, maybe you can, but I’m not going to worry about it!).

Pattern is Irish Coffee knit in Madelintosh Vintage (Briar colorway); ’cause I know that somebody will ask!

My children have taught me that life is TOO SHORT to fill it up with negative thoughts about errors and might-have-beens. A little imperfection is a small price to pay for a more relaxed, enjoyable life!

Enjoy the rest of your perfectly imperfect weekend; I know I will!

Snow day! Fitness, food and fiber at home!

This morning we woke up to a winter wonderland. The first day of snow this winter!

After a quick breakfast, the children bundled themselves up in last year’s snow gear (snow pants were a little short all round!) and headed outside for some fort building.

Given my unease at driving in the snow, my planned day of Hatha yoga, some deep discount shopping (60% off all fall styles!) at Vive and a mid-morning coffee stop at my favourite local caffeine joint got nixed for a yoga DVD,

some home-made black bean soup (see recipe below),

and getting re-acquainted with my knitting,

(pattern is Irish Coffee, yarn is Madelintosh Vintage in Briar; so lovely!).

Of course, there will be burpees later. I have to catch up on the ones I missed yesterday; given the snowfall warning, I decided to get downtown yesterday, rather than today. Had to exchange a pair of boots that I ordered online. Ended up coming home with these babies,

What are your favourite things to do on a ‘snow day’?

Do you exercise at home when you can’t get to the gym?

Veggie and Shrimp Black Bean Soup

  • 1 large zucchini
  • 2 peppers (I used one red, one yellow)
  • 1 large, yellow onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes (add more if you like things hot!)
  • 2 cups no-sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced, no-sodium tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (12 ounces) corn kernels
  • 30-40 cooked, peeled and deveined shrimp (you could sub cooked turkey or chicken here or leave the protein out entirely)
  1. Warm 1 Tbsp EVOO in large stock pot.
  2. Add veggies and saute until soft.
  3. Stir in spices and cook 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add vegetable stock, tomatoes and black beans. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 min.
  5. Puree mixture (as smooth or as chunky as you like). Add corn kernels and protein. Heat for 5-10 minutes and serve!
  6. Makes 6-8 servings, depending on how big a bowl you eat!

Great way to warm up after playing in the snow with your kids!

Why you should knit (or take up another creative hobby)

Somewhere, back in the fall, I lost my knitting mojo. No urge to work on any of the four projects I had on the needles. No desire to buy yarn (gasp!). No temptation to cast on the latest what’s-hot-on-Ravelry project. Nothing. Nada. Nichts.

Of course, I didn’t stop knitting.

Oh no. I had a secret Christmas sweater that had to be finished by the 25th of December (note, the knitting was all done, but hubby had to wait until the 28th for me to stitch the pieces together). And a pair of yoga socks I had promised to make for a friend (which I did finish and present to her last week).

Don’t get me wrong, both were enjoyable projects, it’s just that my usual, over-the-top enthusiasm for knitting had, quite frankly, evaporated.

Sometimes we fall (temporarily) out of love with the things we enjoy most.

So I sat down and made a list of why I like to knit (and why everybody should have a creative outlet in their life).

  • relaxation. The repetitive nature of visual-spatial tasks has been shown to change your brain for the better. And give your tired muscles a break after a tough workout in the gym.
  • productivity. Making something with your hands out of little snippets of spare time makes you feel efficient and productive. Even when sitting on your butt watching television.
  • multi-dimensionality. Having a creative hobby rounds out your personality, in particular if you tend to focus on a single facet of your life (like, perhaps exercise??)
  • friendship. Unique or uncommon hobbies are a great way to make new friends; friends you might not meet in your everyday life. My knitting and exercise friends rarely meet.
  • beauty. When I knit, I make beautiful things. Everybody says so and who am I to disagree?

In the hopes of kick-starting my creativity, I pulled together a quick collage of all the projects I finished in 2011. Just looking at them makes me want to start something new. How about you?

Do you have a creative hobby?

Tell me about it and what it adds to your life.

Favorite blog posts part deux

Earlier this week I posted the links to a few of my favorite fitknitchick blog posts of the past year (and why I’m re-posting rather than writing new content this week).

Here’s a few more that I think you’ll like, whether you’re reading them for the first time or the fifth!

  • a post about mindfulness and a speeding ticket; June 1, 2011
  • thoughts about the search for physical perfection; February 8, 2011
  • and my signature piece about exercise and knitting (this one was Freshly Pressed, but you still might have missed it :)); April 24, 2011

I’m still enjoying spending time with my family, so new posts will have to wait until the enjoyment evaporates (I’m giving it another day or two!).

A year in review; my favorite blog posts

One of the things I’ve come to love about blogging is how instantaneous creative expression can be. I can be struck with an idea while driving home from work and have a post written up and published within an hour of leaving my shoes at the front door. (Okay, sometimes it takes longer than an hour to get the wording just right and the photos uploaded, but it’s pretty quick, compared with say, writing a book!)

One of the things I don’t like about blogging, though, is how quickly those finely crafted words become last week’s post. Archived and all but invisible to new readers or those who haven’t visited in awhile. You can find them if you search, but most of us can’t be bothered.

I’ve now been blogging for a little over a year and in that time have managed to write upwards of one hundred and thirty posts! So many, that even I can’t remember what they’re all about.

Some were quick, newsy updates. Others were carefully thought out reviews of research papers, books and equipment. My favorites (and yours too, according to WordPress statistics), were those posts that touched on my own personal challenges and included details about my family life and my love of knitting.

Over the next week or so, as I take a break from work and blogging to spend time with family, I’ll be directing you to some of my favorite posts of 2011. (Of course, if the children start to drive me nuts, I’ll most surely drop by to tell you about it!)

I’ll start with these three;

  • thoughts about finding time to exercise (very appropriate for this time of the year); January 15, 2011
  • ideas about time management for fitness professionals (and other self-employed types); April 9, 2011
  • finding the balance between physical activity and creativity; July 15, 2011

Whether you’re reading them for the first time or revisiting a favorite of your own, enjoy! (And to be automatically notified when a new post is up, please subscribe to my blog; see sidebar, bottom right, ‘Email Subscriptions’).

Have a fit and fabulous holiday, from my family to yours!

When worlds collide; handknit fitness gear

I love to exercise and I love to knit. But never at the same time. Picture yarn caught up in the gears of the elliptical. Needles piercing a stability ball or Bosu. Not a pretty sight.

Other than the parallels I’ve drawn between them in this post, in my life, exercise and knitting rarely meet.

Until now. The perfect marriage of form and function. Fiber meets fitness. May I present my version of the yoga sock, knit in a soft, warm alpaca/merino/silk blend;

Sans heels and toes for better mat grippage

Laced at the top to prevent drooping

And a pretty little faux seam up the back, just because

The pattern is my own and inspired by (1) the legwarmers worn by my yoga instructor, (2) a pair of machine knit yoga socks on the Lululelmon website and (3) my trusty stitch dictionary.

Want to knit a pair of your own (or get your crafty friend to do it for you)? See my Ravelry page for pattern details!

Namaste!