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How-To Tuesday: A How-To-Knit Guide for Project Knitwell

October 20th, 2015

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How-To Tuesday: Project Knitwell
With our latest publication, Project Knitwell Presents: The Comfort of Knitting, we aimed to bring our craft to those who could benefit most from stress relief. We were inspired by Project Knitwell’s commitment to bring knitting to caregivers in hospitals, and developed the book as a how-to guide for first-time knitters. Whether you yourself are a caregiver, know a caregiver, or want to take up knitting, this book acts as both an introduction to the craft and a wellness guide. You’ll learn firsthand how therapeutic knitting can be!

In this How-To Tuesday, we’ve compiled tutorials tailored to beginner knitters. With these skills, anyone can start on one (or more!) of the seven new patterns found in The Comfort of Knitting. All projects included in the book are portable, so they can be worked on both at home, in a waiting room, or during breaks in your day.

Click on the links below to learn…

How to Make a Slip Knot

How to Start with a Knitted Cast-On

How to Knit the Knit Stitch

How to Knit the Purl Stitch

How to Bind Off

How to Seam Two Garter Stitch Pieces Together

How to Seam Two Stockinette Stitch Pieces Together


Head over to lionbrand.com to buy Project Knitwell Presents: The Comfort of Knitting; all proceeds from Lion Brand’s sale of this book go directly to Project Knitwell and the Alzheimer’s Association.

 


Knitting to Heal: Carol’s Project Knitwell Story

October 19th, 2015

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Knitting to Heal: Carol's Project Knitwell Story
Carol Caparosa is the founder and board member of Project Knitwell, an organization dedicated to bringing comfort and therapy to people facing stressful situations through the joy of knitting. In this piece, Carol shares the story of her first born, and how a difficult time led to her back to knitting.

After 19 hours of labor, my first child was born, a beautiful, healthy little girl we named Emily.  She was discharged in two days and life with a new baby began.  Sleepless nights, lots of staring in the crib, holding and soothing her, navigating the early days of nursing and figuring out what she needed – not an easy task.  At one week old, I noticed that Emily seemed to be breathing funny, a little labored and her coloring a little paler than the day before.  I called the pediatrician’s office and the nurse didn’t seemed to be alarmed but said I could bring Emily in.

My Mom and I drove to the doctor’s office and they took her to a room immediately.  Within a few minutes, several doctors rushed into the room with their stethoscopes and started asking me multiple questions about Emily and my pregnancy. The mood in the room was serious and hurried.  The senior pediatrician scooped Emily into his arms, ran out of the office, down the hallway, out the door, across the street, and into the emergency room.  My Mom followed him, while I went to an office to hysterically call my husband.

The Longest Wait

The ER doctors were uncertain what was going on but they knew that Emily was in kidney failure and shock.  One smart neonatologist had a hunch that it might be a certain heart defect and administered medication that provided some relief.  She was transferred to Georgetown University Hospital and rushed to the pediatric intensive care unit.  We waited as specialists examined our tiny daughter and tests were given.  We called our families and asked for prayers.  Finally, two cardiologists’ and an intensivist sat down with us and one of the cardiologists said “if she makes it through the night, her first surgery will be.”  That cardiologist made a drawing, which I still have, of a normal heart and a drawing of Emily’s heart.  He numbered 4 areas that were defective.  I asked for a priest who came and baptized Emily that night.

The surgery was the next morning and she survived it.  But within 2 weeks, she was losing weight and in cardiac failure due to one of the other defects.  At 3 weeks old, and 5 pounds, she had open-heart surgery.  They kept her in a coma for days after the surgery so she could begin to heal.  She did heal, but faced more surgeries during the next 5 years.

A Welcome Distraction

I lived at the hospital and only came home for very brief periods.  I couldn’t stand being away from her, even though in those days, parents could only be in the ICU’s at certain times.  I spent a lot of time in waiting rooms and slept on a cot with other random parents in a room down the hall.  I couldn’t read, watch television, or talk on phone, when I was at the hospital.  I could literally stare at the same sentence in a book for hours.  There was no internet, cell phones or caring bridge website to let concerned family members know how she was doing.  I could only worry and I did that well.  One day, my husband brought in the mail from home and there was a package with a hand-knit sweater that my sister-in-law’s mother knit for Emily.  I opened it and thought that it was the nicest gift anyone could give a baby.  I knew how to knit but hadn’t in a long time.  A light bulb went off and I thought that I would start knitting for the rest of the time Emily was hospitalized.  Not sure why, but somehow, I imagine this would help me.

The next time I went home, I found some yarn, and needles, because all knitters, even when we aren’t knitting, have a stash.  I knit my way through the rest of her hospitals stays.  At first, I just knit, without really making anything – it was the process, not the end product for me.  Eventually, I got patterns and started to make things for Emily.  Her surgeries were long – 7 plus hours and we didn’t get a lot of updates, but somehow I could manage waiting by knitting.   I knit when I couldn’t sleep and when she was sleeping.   I felt productive when I was knitting even though I never finished anything in the hospital. But once she was home, I continued to knit and completed many sweaters that I still have packed away.

A Happy Present

Emily’s surgeries continued for 5 years, we had another baby, a son, and our life eventually took on a normal pace.  After 15 years, I went back to Georgetown Hospital to volunteer.  I volunteered in the in-patient pediatric unit and told the Child Life Specialist that I would be happy to teach Moms to knit.  It took off, and so did the idea of Project Knitwell.  I wanted to build an organization that would provide knitting instruction and quality materials to people who were in stressful situations in healthcare settings in hopes that they would gain the benefits that I had gained.

Emily, at 21, had to have another heart procedure.  It was suppose to be out-patient, but it turned out to be more complicated and included a stay in the ICU for a few days.  The day of her procedure, I brought with me music to listen to, sudoko puzzles, a book I was reading, my knitting, and, of course, the waiting room had a television.  I tried it all, my book, sudoko, TV, but the only thing I could do was knit and listen to my iPod.  Hopefully Emily won’t need more surgeries but, if she does, I’m only going to pack my knitting and iPod.

One last thing… Emily is now a healthy 25 year old, recently engaged, and a pediatric intensive care nurse in the same unit at Georgetown Hospital where she was cared for as an infant.  I still volunteer at Georgetown and love seeing her in her new role  on the days we are there together.  She knows how to knit too!

carol_emily


Knitting to Heal: Carol's Project Knitwell Story
Project Knitwell Presents: The Comfort of Knitting, is a unique book that focuses on  how to alleviate stress and offer comfort to families and caregivers facing difficult situations. More on Project Knitwell’s mission, as well as 7 new patterns are included in this publication. All proceeds from Lion Brand’s sale of this book go directly to Project Knitwell and the Alzheimer’s Association.

 


Training with David Babcock, the Knitting Runner: Can He Crochet the World’s Largest Doily and Run a Marathon?

October 9th, 2015

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This week, David Babcock — aka The Knitting Runner — shares his crochet plans for the first of two marathons he’s running this fall. Read on to see what he’ll make!

David BabcockLion Brand® is sponsoring David in not one but TWO marathons this fall! David is running to raise money for Alzheimer’s research and he needs your support – last year, with your help, David raised $10k, will you help David beat that?

Please donate today: http://lby.co/1Kl24cG.

______

In 2013 I broke the Guinness World Record for the “Longest Scarf Knit Whilst Running a Marathon” which was originally set by Susie Hewer to help raise funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s. This year I am trying to establish my own record to continue to fight Alzheimer’s and support caregivers. I wanted to do something that would be very visible and funny. When I think of crochet doilies I think of my grandmother. As out-of-place as a scarf is in a marathon I think that seeing a man running a marathon while working on his giant lacy white doily would be even more engaging – I’m calling it the Doily Dash!

Doily Dash Plan:

  • Lion Brand®‘s Wool-Ease® Thick & Quick® super-bulky yarn
  • A 9mm crochet hook
  • Carry all of the yarn with me in waist packs
  • Run at an average 10 minute-mile pace, a 4:20 finish time.
  • Create a doily, a flat decorative and lacy crochet mat radiating out from a center.
  • Follow a repeating pattern with at least 25% yarn-filled.

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With that in mind my training began, first the running. I think that I am like most of you when you think about running: A) you can’t imagine deliberately engaging in the pain and discomfort and would rather stay in bed on a cold morning, and/or B) you both love and hate running for its health benefits and messing with your brain to convince you to keep doing it. I’ve worked up to running a half marathon at 8 minutes per mile (without knitting). You can see my progress on Strava as user David Donotstaple. Most record-breaking races only require that you finish in under 6 hours. The longer you take to run the race the more time that you have to work on your knitting. A student told me once that when they were talking to their friends about my record they were somewhat dismissive saying that it wasn’t a serious marathon effort (like they could do better). While I do see a marathon as a collaborative and friendly supportive event, I also like passing people obviously younger than me. So for this race I’m looking for a balance. While it will give me less time to work 4:20 is a respectable time that a lot of people aspire to and not too far from my personal record of 3:56. I’ll run with a pace group for control and the chance to make some new friends.

Yes, I do crochet training. The first problem is that I had never made a doily before. I’ve made snowflakes with some success but I’ve found that making a large flat doily is difficult. I have a strange sort of crafter’s pride where I don’t like to follow other people’s patterns (but I hope you’ll follow mine). I’m an artist, a designer, a creative professional, I thought, “I can handle this”. I love experimenting and failing and learning something new. I needed something easy enough to deal with during the stress and frustration of a marathon while still being impressively doily-like. I’m not a math genius and it took a lot of failures to find an appropriate pattern and increase per row that would lay flat. I couldn’t go too long with a chain stitch because my other hand would always be holding the work. I wanted to maximize stitches going into spaces rather than hard to target previous stitches. I needed to keep the counting simple and repetitive, easy to see where I was without memorization or referring to a pattern.

doily_pattern_1sm
I’ve developed this pattern that seems to work and satisfy my needs. After the initial start it is always the same thing over and over again. It is a regular hexagon with spokes. The repeat is a single US double crochet into the space bellow followed by two chain stitches. The new row relates to the previous one like staggered bricks in a running bond. The increase happens at the beginning and end of each of 6 hexagon segments by adding one more double crochet and two chains into the staggered spaces of the row below. At each spoke or corner of the hexagon I replace the double crochet with a slightly taller US half treble crochet. Yes, it is not a typical stitch but it is very useful. A treble crochet is too long and a double crochet too short. I yarn over twice before diving into the back loop and pull through two loops and then three at once.

So what is it like to actually do this all while running? I’ve done some training on the treadmill and have found that I can use a whole skein of Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in 1:17, 2 1/2 hours and 17 1/2 miles later I have a nice doily 30 inches in diameter from two skeins. I should be able to use 3 skeins in under 4 hours to get to 36 inches in diameter. I’ll carry 4 skeins and try to make it over a meter. So, no, it isn’t a 15 minute scarf, but if you aren’t running you could make yourself a nice little rug in about 3 hours. While I’m running my hands get sweaty and just advancing the yarn can be a struggle requiring very aggressive and overstated crochet motions. And of course there is always the bouncing around of a moving target for my hook. Just breathe, relax the shoulders, two chains and a double, advance & repeat.

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I’m hoping that the visual effect of my Doily Dash will be wonderful, funny and inspiring. I get teary every time I think of any sincere human struggle and a marathon is a great place to witness that. It’s those runners that fight for their last steps to finish that make me want to cheer, “Go humanity!” Too many people are fighting the uphill battle with Alzheimer’s and their struggles are mostly unseen until you are affected personally. I’m trying to be crazy and visible to help lift them up and finish strong. Fundraising is all about getting people to stop and remember that they want to help. I hope that you’ll follow me in my Doily Dash on the 17th of October in Kansas City and in my Flower Run in NYC on November 1st. We are all in this race together to end ALZ.

— David Babcock, the Knitting Runner (and Running Hooker?)

:: Donate and support Alzheimer’s research — make a
donation to David Babcock’s Alzheimer’s Fundraiser today!
::

David Babcock

David Babcock ran the 2014 NYC Marathon in 3:56 (a PR) and raised just under $10k for Alzheimer’s research.


6 Prayer Shawls to Make for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October 4th, 2015

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6 Prayer Shawls to Make for Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and we’re turning our thoughts to sharing comfort and sympathy to those in our lives who need it most. Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer for women worldwide, and the second most common in the United States.

Whether you walk or run for the cure or donate to a chosen charity, support for breast cancer awareness is strengthened when we unite for a cause worth fighting for.

One of the best ways to support awareness of breast cancer is to support those around us who have been affected. Making a prayer or healing shawl is a thoughtful way of reminding someone that you have them in your thoughts.

Here are six of our favorite shawl patterns, all beautiful ways to show your support to whomever the receiver may be. Make one in pink, the color used to recognize breast cancer awareness, or use your favorite soft yarn in the color of your choice. No matter the look, the message and meaning of the shawl is what counts most.

 

teawrap amazing_grace_shawl_1_medium plushstripes
Crochet Tea Wrap made with Vanna’s Choice® Crochet Amazing Grace Prayer Shawl by Beatrice Ryan Designs* made with Pound of Love® Knit Plush Stripes Shawl made with Homespun® Thick & Quick®
modernlace splendedtri tranquil
Crochet Modern Lace Shawl made with Martha Stewart Crafts Extra Soft Wool Blend Knit Splendid Triangle Shawl made with Homespun® Crochet Tranquil Comfort Shawl made with Homespun®

*Please note, this is not a Lion Brand pattern.

Looking for more ways to support breast cancer research and raise awareness? Here are three products whose purchase also includes a donation to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

crochet_cause denise knit_life
Crochet for a Cause Kit – 20% of the purchase prices goes to the BCRF Denise Interchangeable Knitting Needle Kit – $5 donation to Breast Cancer Research Knit for Life Kit –  20% of the purchase prices goes to the BCRF

Lola Gets Some Good Advice from David Babcock, The Knitting Runner

October 2nd, 2015

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Here is the latest installment of Lola, from its creator Todd Clark.

LBKnitRun_10012015

Please donate $10 to the Alzheimer’s Association in support of David Babcock’s upcoming New York City Marathon race. If every Notebook reader gives just $10, we’ll reach our goal of $3500 before the race!

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