Thursday, December 23, 2010

Spinning and Knitting

When you spend a lot of time sitting, some things are inevitable. The one big drawback to having become such an avid knitter is the enhancement of my, er – bum. And not in a good way. But I've recently found that it may not always be necessary to forgo excercise in order to get some knitting time in.

With the change in season and snow on the ground, I brought my road bike inside and set it up on a bike trainer in the guest room. I was sitting in there working on a pair of Anne Hanson's lovely Curling mitts, trying hard to avoid the reproachful glare of the unused bike in the corner when it struck me. Why not work on them on the bike?

I rigged a little bag to hold my yarn, set up my laptop so that I could see the pattern, clicked in and started pedaling.

Now I'm not going to pretend that I got as good a workout as doing a Chris Carmichael training DVD, but it was not bad either. I quickly got into a rhythm of knitting a couple rounds while spinning at as quick a pace as I could maintain, then setting the work aside and pedaling hard for a few minutes between rounds. There is an unexpected harmony between purring along in stockinette stitch, and spinning the pedals, concentrating on making nice round strokes.

Obviously, this knitting/riding thing works best with small projects like mittens, socks, hats or cowls. I don't see myself working on large sweater – unless I invent a gizmo to hold the work off my lap. (A bib?) Yarn management is key – I have to focus a bit to keep from having a loop so long it could tangle in the pedals. And it helps to open a window to keep the room cool enough so that I don't get the work all sweaty.

While I intially thought that this would be a way to at least get a little exercise, one happy consequence of the knit-cycling is that the more time I spend on the bike, the more time I want to spend there – so I've been getting in some full-fledged, non-knitting workouts, too.

Finally, although it goes without saying, I'll say it anyway: You won't be seeing this act on the open road, no matter how ace I am at no-handed riding.