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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.


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.


3 Beautiful Projects to Crochet for Fall From Moogly!

August 31st, 2015

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3 Beautiful patterns to crochetToday we’re sharing a few popular patterns from Tamara Kelly, the amazing crochet and knitwear designer behind the blog, Moogly! If you haven’t checked out Moogly yet, you must! There’s just so much inspiration to be found on her site, you can literally dig through the content for days.

With modest blogging beginnings as a “mommy blogger”, this crafty woman realized her wonderful potential in designing knit and crochet patterns, which eventually led her to change the focus of her blog to showcase more of her creative side, and we’re glad she did.

Our team recently traveled to the Knit and Crochet Show in San Diego, and the lovely Tamara was there and willing to be interviewed by our very own Brand Ambassador, Shira, for an episode of Tea with Shira. Watch below, as Tamara shares why her blog is names Moogly, and shows off some extremely popular patterns of hers, the Alpaca Your Wrap, and Moroccan Tote Bag (patterns below).

Tamara is also an instructor for the increasing popular tutorial website, Craftsy. She teaches a highly rated crochet course (4.75/5) “Quick & Easy Crochet Cowls“, in which she walks you through crocheting 3 different cowls in the round. No need to fear circular crochet with her easy-to-understand instructions. In this course, Tamara shows you how to crochet some of our most popular patterns: 45 Minute Cowl, Cardiff Cowl, and Brompton Abbey Cowl. We hope you start following the Moogly blog and enjoy her fabulous work just as we do!

:: Can’t see the video above? Click here to watch – https://youtu.be/EmReiKEYC-4 ::
 

Find Tamara’s patterns from the video!

Moroccan Tote
in LB Collection® Cotton Bamboo
Alpaca Your Wrap
in LB Collection® Baby Alpaca
Easy Log Cabin Afghan
in Textures®

 

 

 


A Fine Day at Stitch ‘N’ Pitch: Jack Throws Out the First Pitch!

August 30th, 2015

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first pitchThis summer I crossed off a major dream from my bucket list when I threw out the first pitch at a Major League Baseball game for the New York Mets at Citi Field.

For the last eight years I’ve been very involved with Stitch ‘N’ Pitch. The event is a wonderful opportunity for the knitting and crochet community to come together and share their passions — stitching and baseball. Each summer, crafters fill the stands and bring their current projects with them. It’s magnificent to look out onto the manicured lawns of the playing field and around the stadium at the knitting and crochet enthusiasts enjoying their labor of love.

The New York Stitch ‘N’ Pitch group has orchestrated some very special events. One year, we yarn bombed Citi Field, and another we were added to the Guinness World Records for the most people crocheting at one time. In 2015, crafters were challenged to make squares with Lion Brand® yarn for Warm-Up America, a charity that I’m involved with which distributes handmade afghans to those in need.

 

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At the end of the day, a good time was had by all; Lion Brand associates and their families, crafters who came from far and wide, our friends at AC Moore, and all the many designers and others from the knitting and crocheting community. I can’t wait till next year … but until then, LETS GO METS!

 

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Things We’re Doing Besides Knitting and Crocheting: Travel Edition!

August 9th, 2015

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Here in the marketing department at Lion Brand, we talk a lot about knitting and crocheting and yarn and magic loops and swatches and yarn weights (we know our DK from our super bulky) and and and … bottom line is that we’re all experts in one way or another when it comes yarn. We can talk about it all day — and we do! You may however be surprised to know that we’re also fairly well-rounded with an excess of interests, hobbies and obsessions that go beyond the hooks and needles.

We thought you might enjoy a peek into our inner worlds. Have fun and please share some of your own personal interests outside of knitting and crocheting in the comments below.


Cefalu - Sicily (1)Margaux – I went to back Bordeaux, France where I’m from to spend some time with friends and family. “Slow life” was my watchword. I even did some yoga and Pilates in front of the waves, on the beach for a fully relaxing vacation! I also had a quick escape to Sicily (pictured) reminding me that you can’t go wrong with Italy; every single village has good food, nice wine and gorgeous postal card landscapes.  It was really nice to be away from the Big Apple for a while but it also feels great to be back!

Ilana – I love to read in the summer, especially when I’ve got a long flight for vacation or business. You never have to worry about a paperback book’s battery running out, unlike reading you do with an e-reader, and it is a pleasure to hold a real book in my hands.  I just picked up another book by the author I wrote about last month, Haruki Murakami, called The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, which I’m really enjoying. I bought the book when  I was on my way to a meeting in San Francisco, where I got to tour the YouTube offices.  It was very exciting to be there.  What most of the people do in the office is sit at a desk, just like us, though and the main difference is that they have a two-story sliding board in the middle of one of their hallways.  I also caught a movie about Brian Wilson, the lead singer of the Beach Boys, called Love and Mercy.  Growing up when they were popular, I always thought of them as the lightweight, sort of frivolous band at a time when the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were making more “waves.”  But when you see the story of the brilliant and troubled lead singer, you can really appreciate their music and see that their contribution to the early days of rock & roll was no accident.

la_jolla (1)Brandyce –  I’ve been doing a little bit of traveling within the U.S lately, which has been very enjoyable. I recently went to Dallas, Texas and explored many historical sites including the JFK memorial and Pioneer Plaza. I also had a lot of fun at the Dallas Aquarium and Zoo. It’s a small city that gets extremely hot in the summer, but it’s easy to navigate and walk. For a recent work trip to the Knit & Crochet Show in San Diego, I extended my stay a little longer to see more of the city. San Diego was so pleasant, clean, and sunny – quite the difference from gritty NYC. I absolutely loved La Jolla Cove and the sea lions (pictured), and also going to Coronado Island and watching the sun set over the Pacific, it was magical!

Lorena – I finally got to visit Nashville after years of talking about it. I grew up in Atlanta, a mere four hours away, but had never visited Music City. It lived up to every expectation I had and more — music poured out of every honky tonk on Broadway, there was fantastic food, and a rich history. My favorite stop on the trip was the Johnny Cash Museum. Not only did it feature the incredible story of the Man in Black, there was also an exhibit on the artists of legendary recording label Sun Records: Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash, of course. On the way to and from Tennessee, I read Modern Romance, a new book on relationships in the digital/millenial age by Aziz Ansari (fans of the show Parks & Recreation will recognize him as Tom Haverford.) The book had me cracking up everywhere I read it, with many passersby asking what was so funny. His honest advice and zany humor will keep you reading for hours!

shira_sanfran (1)Shira – Where has the summer gone?!  I feel like I have had to pack and unpack my suitcase so much lately and let me tell you, my cats…not into it!   On one of my recent trips was a trip to San Francisco!  I had never been and I went to go catch up with some friends.  I only had a weekend there but I think I got a real taste of city.  With walking hills ( and those hills are real!) I went to Sausalito, Presidio Park, and of course the look out and took the classic photo! I love traveling but let me tell you there is nothing better than sleeping in your own bed!  As much as I love summer I cannot wait for fall so I don’t feel crazy knitting a wool hat in 100 degree weather!

IMG_7416 (1)Sarah – I also went to San Diego for the Knit and Crochet Show. I had a lot of fun exploring the city! Balboa Park was amazing. It makes Central Park look like a patch of grass! You could spend an entire vacation there since there are so many museums, gardens, and public events going on. The San Diego Zoo was so impressive especially the pandas and, of course, lions. After the zoo, I relaxed in the shade at the Spreckles Organ Pavilion and took in a free concert on the world’s second-largest outdoor organ. And to top things off, Shira and I ran into a couple of princesses!

wire_heartDanielle – My family and I recently explored Dead Horse Bay at the bottom of Brooklyn. Known as the weirdest beach in New York City, it’s not the easiest place to get to without a car. We took the opportunity to zip down there one Saturday morning when we found ourselves with a few hours left to kill on a rental. Here’s why it’s weird: one of Dead Horse Bay’s past incarnations includes a stint as a landfill for NYC trash and that landfill is now leaking! It sounds gross and it is, but in a complicated and fascinating way. Some of the stuff that’s washing up on the beach is really beautiful – I saw tiny antique perfume bottles (intact too, I was lucky), old ceramics, oddities like shoe soles, and …  lots and lots of broken glass. You really can’t understand how much broken glass is there until you experience the place – even the ocean waves tinkle. It’s the perfect spot to find beauty in the broken, like this clump of wires I spotted, which had self-formed into a heart shape. Pro tip: sturdy boots and gloves are a must!

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