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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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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Training with David Babcock, the Knitting Runner: “Yes, it is hard.”

September 18th, 2015

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This week David wants to know – what do you find hard? Keep reading …

David BabcockLion Brand is sponsoring David Babcock, aka the Running Knitter, in not one but TWO marathons this fall! David is running to raise money for Alzheimer’s research and he needs your support – please donate today: http://lby.co/1Kl24cG.

David is the Guinness World Record holder for knitting the longest scarf (over 12 feet!) while running a marathon, which he accomplished in 2013. In Kansas City on October 17th, he will attempt a second world record – the largest doily crocheted while running a marathon! Last year David ran the New York City Marathon in under four hours, setting a personal record while finger-knitting a scarf with the words, “I’ll remember for you.” Together, David and Lion Brand raised just under $10,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association, New York City Chapter and we’re going to do it again this year!

The Knitting Runner’s Training Diary Part #2

I’m training again for a marathon. Yes, it is hard. Like most people, I would rather be comfortable = not running. So why do something hard and uncomfortable? Short answer: because I can and it matters, plus it’s good to do hard things.

I like to find parallels between my running, learning more about yarn arts, and life. So while you may not be marathon training chances are that, as a visitor to this site, you are trying to improve your yarn skills. It is also safe to assume that most people are dealing with something hard in their life.

To keep myself motivated and moving I keep telling myself, “I can do hard things”. There are three key parts to this that I would like to share with you.

  1. Don’t Make Decisions Uphill

The worst time to decide to slow down, or quit, during a race is when it is toughest while you are running uphill. Make decisions when you are stable, cooling off, or at a rare resting point. Don’t decide when your knitting is knotted or your crochet is crooked. Frustration and despair are what we are training against.

  1. Do It For Someone Else

I’m running races while doing crochet this year to raise funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s and caregivers. If it was just me it would be easier to sleep in. I’m doing it for them and they are counting on me. Find a creative way to connect with a cause. Most hard things find you. If you are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease they might not thank you. Don’t confuse someone’s appreciation for service with the value of that service. For your yarn projects it helps to find a recipient with a good sense of humor. Pets tolerate less-than-perfect projects as well as they do successful ones.

  1. Smile, You’re Doing Good

It is hard to look good in a marathon race photo. Being positive and hopeful about your efforts is like a turbo boost. Smiling is not a way to hide your pain but a way to invite others to share the load. If your hard things are for someone you love let that love lift you up. Hard is important. It is how we get things done that matter. The things that do the most good are often the hardest. Does being better with your yarn really matter? Make it matter by connecting it with other people.

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The Alzheimer’s Association uses flowers as a symbol for remembering our relationships with those affected by Alzheimer’s Disease. For the NYC Marathon I’ll be making finger-crochet flowers while running. I’ll be making lots of flowers as I train. Everyone deserves a flower but I won’t be able to manage that but I can give away a few. Last year I shared training scarves with randomly selected readers who shared a story about their relationship to Alzheimer’s and yarn arts.

This year I’d like to hear about the hard things that you can do, leave your message in the comments below. It doesn’t have to be connected to yarn but we are all connected here through our yarn. I think you are awesome for working hard and working through it. You are becoming more talented, stronger, more able to serve, and more able to love. You deserve a flower and much more.

– David Babcock, the Knitting Runner

:: 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.

Share the hard things that you can do for a chance to receive a crochet flower.


Training with David Babcock, the Knitting Runner: Now Running With Crochet!

September 11th, 2015

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David BabcockWe’re happy to announce that Lion Brand will sponsor David Babcock, aka the Running Knitter, in not one but TWO marathons this fall!

David is the Guinness World Record holder for knitting the longest scarf (over 12 feet!) while running a marathon, which he accomplished in 2013. Last year David ran the New York City Marathon in under four hours, setting a personal record while finger-knitting a scarf with the words, “I’ll remember for you.” Together, David and Lion Brand raised just under $10,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association, New York City Chapter and we’re going to do it again this year!

A longtime fan of Hometown USA® for its bulky weight and quick workup, this year David will be crocheting during his marathons in Kansas City and New York City.

Read on to learn more about David’s plans for raising awareness for Alzheimer’s this fall.

The Knitting Runner’s Training Diary Part #1

Fall is nearly here and I am excited for the races that I have in the coming months. My first race will be another Guinness World Records attempt. This time I will be the Crochet Runner (does the news media know the difference?). I’ll be trying to make the largest crochet doily while running a marathon. I’m calling it the “Doily Dash”. I am hoping that the craziness of seeing a guy running a marathon while hard at work making a lacy doily will help us remember our grandmas and the continued need for supporting Alzheimer’s Disease research and caregivers. The Doily Dash will be in Kansas City on October 17th.

I’ll also be running the NYC Marathon on November 1st where I’ll be doing a “Flower Run”. There is a tradition in “Walk To End Alzheimer’s” events where all of the participants hold up a flower in remembrance of people lost to Alzheimer’s. For NYC, I’ll be finger-crocheting flowers while I run and giving the completed ones to race spectators as I finish them.

In these coming weeks I hope that you will join me as I train and prepare. Follow me as DoNotStaple on your favorite social media. Get the specifics on my website, KnittingRunner.com, and get everyone you know to donate to Athletes to End Alzheimer’s. Yarn-arts make a difference!


:: Support Alzheimer’s research — make a donation today! ::

Smaller Version with Scarf

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

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