Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wed More Double Finger Knit Word

Today I just picked up where I left off and continued working on the double finger-knitting. The funny thing is that I stitched a typo at the end I did "FOU" instead of "FOR". This is actually a difficult task so I like that a mistake can help increase the suspense of, 'can he do it?'. Again I just ran a little over 6 miles at an 8 minute mile pace. This time tried draping the scarf around my neck as it got longer. It gets warm.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Still Running, Treadmill Double Knit

Post race now. I am still training, yet tapering down in distance and intensity. I decided to run at 8mph which was my half marathon average from Saturday. I ran for around 6 and a half miles. This time I did the double knitting and put in a new word, "I'LL REM..." is as far as I got. Double Knit means that it is reversed in colors on the back side and very thick yet stable. I worked with 14 loops on my fingers, more than most other training scarves that I have done, yet half as wide with the finished product.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Kansas City Half Marathon & Finger Knitting

David Babcock with the scarf he finger-knit while setting a new Personal Record time of 1:44:19 during the 2014 Kansas City Half Marathon on October 18th, 2014.
Today was the Kansas City Marathon. It was great.
I was up at 4:30am and out at 5:15 with my brother-in-law Stephen. We got to the Crown Center around 6:20 and I made my way quickly to meet with Carey Wickersham of Fox 4 KC news. We did a quick interview and they took some video of me finger knitting. The clip as I saw it online later was great. It was dark and I didn't remember that I had switched out the gold yarn for "Citron" but I did use a Royal looking blue. Also I am not selling the scarves, currently just trading for stories through the Lion Brand blog.

I found the 1:45 pace group and met a few people quickly before the start. I crossed the start line fairly close to the clock start around 7:05. It was still dark and I had my sunglasses on. Pretty quickly my sunglasses started fogging up. I fell behind the pace group but was still keeping up. I shed my extra hoodie by mile 1 and my knit hat a mile later. I was heating up pretty quickly. I was wearing tights and a long sleeve shirt the whole race. I had taken them off before this photo because they were wet and cold at the end. My glasses stayed foggy and I finally took them off just before the Plaza.

A lot of people that I was running with recognized me from the past news or commented on my knitting. Everyone was very supportive and generally amazed. I came up behind one runner that had the word "BLIND" on his back. I ran with him a ways to talk and confirmed that it was Jeff Benelli, whom I had read about before the race. He said he had heard of me too which was nice.

The finger knitting was keeping me very busy and the miles just flew by. It also helped that I couldn't see very far to be distracted by the crowds and spectators. I was able to yell back to a few groups of spectators that noticed me. Hopefully some looked me up and donated. At one point a ball of yarn popped out of my bag and I had to quickly retrieve it.

It was a nice relief to separate from the Full Marathoners and be closer to the finish without feeling quite as tired. This was my first half here where I had only run two fulls before. I thought that I was running ahead of the 1:45 pace group, but it ends up that I was between the pacers. I finally passed the front pacer with just 1.5 miles to go. On the last stretch I wasn't sure how I wanted to look crossing the line. I tried to put the knitting over my shoulder to make my bib number more visible but it didn't work very well. My bib was covered by my hands and scarf most of the race. Hopefully they will post pictures of me anyway. If anyone spectating has pictures please send them my way.

I was super excited to finish with a new personal record time of 1:44:19. I had my watch to confirm. My previous record for the half was 1:47 and that was without knitting. I had done a 1:44 in training on the road and a 1:36 on a treadmill, but a timed race with lots of people and variables is what really counts.

My family wasn't there to greet me. They were stuck in traffic somewhere. I went back up to the finish line to watch people coming in through about 2:15. It took only a short time to get really cold from being wet. Fortunately I had gear-checked some warm clothes and was able to change while I waited for family to show up.

I was able to see my brother-in-law cross at 3 hours and some change. I am proud of him for sticking with it, even though he didn't train this year. For the pictures I changed back into my shirt and shorts while we were still at the park.

Great race. Thank you Kansas City. Thank you pace runners. Thank you family. Thank you donors.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Easy Day

So, I am still tapering down. Treadmill inside 83 minutes - 9.8 miles while knitting a scarf with WoolEase Thick and Quick's Spice color. I am looking forward to the half marathon in Kansas City this Saturday. That will be my next run. So I have the next two days off to eat clean carbs and store up energy. My wife took some video. The original video had a lot of noise so I had to use a little bit of a filter.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Indigenous Peoples Day?

Also known as Columbus day. Hard to take a holiday seriously when no one gets it off for school or work. I ran at the gym because it was a rainy day. I did a scarf in the Woolease Thick and Quick "Fig" color. I finished it in 70 minutes 21 seconds and ran 8.2 miles. My wife was with me and kindly took some photos and videos as I ran.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Long 20

Actually it was 20.14 miles in 2 hours and 47 minutes. I got a late start around 4:40 because I was busy all day. I was almost out the door when I discovered a leak in my water bladder backpack. I did a quick patch with super glue and packing tape. I had to do a larger loop on my run which took me up along the highway. After my run I found out that my family drove by in the car on their way home from the city but they were afraid to honk at me for fear that I might get startled and wander into the road or the ditch. The highway actually has a good 6 foot shoulder as opposed to some of the other county roads with zero shoulder and speeding cars. The longer route helped me avoid the worst of the dog houses. It was around 55 degrees for the whole run. The sun went down at 6:43 and I still had another 40 minutes that I was running after that. It was pretty dark without many streetlights for my last two miles. I had a reflector belt on but I was also wearing sunglasses. I did it! now I am supposed to taper down in distance until the NYC Marathon. On the 18th I will run the KC Half Marathon, which still fits in with the taper schedule which puts that day as a 14 mile run.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Taking It Easy

I only ran 13.1 today. I ran outside on my big loop but once I hit 1 hour and 41 minutes for my half distance I walked the rest of the way home. I believe that is my new personal best for a half-marathon distance outside with hills, dogs, traffic, wind, and self pacing. I will have my longest training run coming up this weekend so I didn't want to push the last mile and a quarter. It was kind of nice to have a long walk at the end of the run to start cooling down as opposed to just crashing on the living room floor at home.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Treadmill Half

Today inside at the Rec. Center again due to an early Monday meeting. This time the Barley Woolease Thick and Quick. I finished the scarf at 9.6 miles and 72 minutes into the run. I kept running to do 13.1 in a time of 1 hour and 38 minutes. That is my fastest total time with knitting involved.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Not a run, but a test

Today, Sunday, I didn't run but I did do a finger-knit test word scarf in double knit. I tried a couple of different techniques including using 4 fingers to hold stitches, but that got too confusing. It is hard enough with the double-knitting to keep straight which color goes next. When they are all on one pair of fingers I can just do the next one and focus on whether it should be knit or purled. The end result is well constructed but not as wide a scarf for all of the work. This is probably the best technique for a small complex scarf and most likely what I will use on the NYC marathon. I will do the wider garter stitch scarf for KC half marathon.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Another 18

Rather than increasing my distance I did 18 miles again but tried to run faster. This time I did it in 2 hours and 25 minutes, 8 minutes off of my previous time. I was not knitting and it was a nice cool morning. I have been carrying a small spray bottle with apple cider vinegar to spray at the dogs, but it is usually windy and the spray dissipates too quickly. I have also been walking until I am past the dogs, but then I am with them barking and running around me longer. I will be glad when I don't have to run my big loop past the dogs anymore. I haven't been getting photos of myself after these big runs because I am too wiped out to care.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Another Word Test

Outside 14.25 route, total time 2 hours 10 minutes. I knit a Barley colored scarf that I finished just a minute before the half marathon distance at 1 hour and 58 minutes. This time I did the words "I remember" and added a heart. I only used one color of yarn and knit where the letters were and purled everywhere else. So the word is there, it is just really subtle and doesn't show up well.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Word on the Treadmill

Today's indoor treadmill was 10 miles in an hour and 25 minutes. This time I took 2 colors of yarn and tried knitting the word, "remember" into the scarf. I just carried the yarn on the back as I switched colors. I wasn't very careful with tension and spreading out the yarn when I carried the opposite color and so the whole scarf is really wonky. It worked, but not pretty. I won't be using that technique on the run again.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

18 Miler

I added one more mile and it only took 3 more minutes. No, I did not run a 3 minute mile. Last week I did 17 miles in 2 and a half hours. Today I ran 18 miles in 2 hours 33 minutes. I figured out some important information over the past week and I think it has paid off. I sweat a lot. I started adding a little salt to my post-run-recovery drink as an alternative to Gatorade electrolytes. I don't really like the sugar in Gatorade. It really helps. On today's run I ran with two bottles in my hands. One was with salted water, about 1/8th teaspoon with 16 ounces of water. The other bottle was Gatorade. I drank the salted water first and then, when it was all out, I started the Gatorade. It was weird, not in a good way. The citrus or the sugar or something made my mouth pucker right away and made me instantly feel very thirsty. This would be fine if I was stopped and could just sit there and drink the whole bottle, but I still had over 5 miles to go. Lesson learned. I will try to stick to salt and water and skip the expensive sugar water.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Outdoor Marble Gray Scarf

Before the run & After the run

Today was outside for 14.25 miles. I knit a scarf in Marble Gray. I finished the scarf at around an hour and 34 minutes into the run. Total time was 2 hours 3 minutes.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Indoor, Fastest Time for Half

Inside today at the gym today because I had a Monday morning meeting and didn't have time to do the outside run. This way I can shower at the Rec. Center and go straight to class. So I was on the treadmill, and I did my fastest time yet. 13.1 miles in 1 hour 36 minutes. That is an average time of 7 minutes 20 seconds per mile. I know treadmills are laboriously boring, but I like the steady pace.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

17 Miles!

Again I am trying to keep up with the Athletes to End Alzheimer's training schedule. So today I ran 17 miles! It was outside on my big loop which I modified a little to connect with my typical shorter 7 mile route. I was wiped out at the end and lounged around the house a good 2 hours recovering. My time was 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Beige Scarf

Inside today on the treadmill. I did 9 miles in a time of 71.5 minutes while knitting a scarf with Lion Brand's Woolease Thick and Quick in a beige color, "Oatmeal". I really like the color but the loose fibers that make the nice variations get stuck on my sweaty hands.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Slower Again

It is really frustrating to go slower. Today I think it was because it was warmer when I ran. Today was outside on the same 14.25 mile course but with a time of almost exactly 2 hours.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Getting Faster, Slightly

Today I knocked 5 minutes off my time for the 14.25 mile country road loop. I did it in 1 hour and 53 minutes. That averages out to just under 8 minute miles. I have found that there are a few other spots on the loop with dog issues. Today there was a white, with black markings, dog that looked pit bullish in its head and another white dog. These dogs come right out onto the road and are very aggressive. On the road near the golden retriever and collie is a crude spray paint marking of what looks more like a cat and an arrow pointing towards the property. I am thinking that other runners and road race organizers are aware of the dog issue at this house. I am considering getting some sort of spray for protection. Websites all suggest walking through the confrontation and telling the dogs to go home. That kind of stalls my time though.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Treadmill Scarf 3

Today was inside at the gym again. This time I set the treadmill the same as before at 7 and 1/2 miles per hour resulting in 8 minute miles. Again with Woolease Thick and Quick, 10 miles in an hour and 20 minutes to finish a complete scarf. This time it is a deep dark purple.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Modified Big Loop

Today I ran a slightly modified version of the same big loop. Google Maps suggests a slight difference which ends up being 14.25 miles instead of the 14.5 that I ran Friday. Partly because it is shorter and it was I think cooler, I ran faster. I did it in 1 hour 58 minutes. It felt good to get in under the 2 hour time. That makes an average of 8 1/4 minute miles.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Catching Up With Training Schedule

The Athletes To End Alzheimer's NYC team has a training schedule, which I had neglected to look at. I realized that I was behind and needed to catch up with some longer runs. The schedule has for Saturday a run of 15 to 17 miles. So for today I plotted out a big loop from my house that is 14.5 miles. This involved country roads and one section where cars were going 50+ mph and no shoulder. Most drivers were cool and moved over in the lane to give me more room. Some were not so helpful. But I didn't get hit, yea! There is one spot on the run where I run past a rural property where 2 dogs came running out and harassed me. It was a large golden retriever and a collie. I just kept running and they didn't get too close. The whole run took me 2 hours and 6 minutes. That is an average of 8 3/4 minute miles.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Wednesday at the Gym

Today was indoors at the gym on a treadmill, but I didn't do knitting. Today I just focused on running a little faster. I did 8 miles in one hour which is around 7 1/2 minute miles.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day Run

Today I ran with my wife outside and did 6 1/2 miles. I think we were somewhere over an hour in time. It was a nice day outside.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Treadmill Scarf

Today I did the treadmill inside again at the gym. This time I used the Lion Brand Woolease Thick and Quick. I was able to finish a scarf at a nice round time of 1 hour 20 minutes (80 minutes) and cover 10 miles. So yes, knitting at 8 minutes miles. Again this was 12 stitches across and finger-needle knitting. The Woolease officially has 106 yards, so it is longer than the Hometown USA yarn and therefore took longer to knit out the whole skein of yarn. Again I attached a waist pack to the treadmill and looped the scarf around the handrails when it got long enough to drag down close to the treadmill's belt. It was difficult to pull the scarf through the feed yarn every other pass.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Running and Knitting Progress

This photo is from today. This morning I did one hour on the treadmill while finger knitting. I went through one whole skein of Lion Brand Hometown USA. The scarf is 12 stitches across. I did 7 miles, which is 8 1/2 minute miles. I am in school again and things are busy but I can get to the gym 3 mornings a week. The last two weeks I have done 8 miles in an hour without knitting. Just before school started I was able to do a 14 mile run and a couple of 10 mile runs.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Finger Knitting Vine

I did this vine to show how finger knitting works. It is short, but kind of gives you the idea. Here is a link to my Youtube tutorials:

Monday, May 26, 2014

Teaching Finger Knitting

My wife and I were driving through the east coast this spring and stopped in to visit some family. I was able to teach my nephew and my sister my version of finger knitting. Sam picked it up really well.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

First Finger-Knitting Run in NYC

I took the opportunity to try finger-knitting while running for the first time while I was in NYC in Central Park. I ran the same loop that I did Wednesday with the ATEA group, running it just once so it would have been 5 miles. I ran about a mile without knitting first to get warmed up and then pulled up the yarn from my waist pack in front. I decided to try a garter stitch which means that without turning the work I had to both knit and purl. It worked wonderfully. I really got into it and enjoyed the run. On the run I saw Amanda, the little mermaid, from the Wednesday running group. I called out to her and we ran a little together. She said she should have known it was me, but at the time my knitting was still small enough that she couldn't see it from behind as she passed me. I stopped my run when I finished the scarf just past the crossover below the angel fountain. That's when I realized that I was late for my check-out at the hostel. If people didn't notice me knitting I am sure that they wondered why I was running with a scarf in my hands on a warm morning.

Friday, May 16, 2014

My First Walking Finger-Knit in NYC

I went to NYC on a tour with my students. On our walk across town to visit an alumna graphic designer at Martha Stewart I pulled out some yarn to try my first finger-knitting-while-walking. It worked! Despite the busy metropolis streets I managed a good little scarf without incident. It is actually easier with fingers than needles because I can feel where I am on the stitch instead of looking and can keep my eyes on the action and traffic around me.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Running With Athletes To End Alzheimer's

I took advantage of my being in NYC with students to go on a training run with the NYC Athletes To End Alzheimer's group on Wednesday night in Central Park. We met at the running store at Columbus Circle. I brought one of my students with me because running in Central Park is an awesome touristy thing to do. I got to meet Elizabeth Hodges of ATEA NYC for the first time. She has been very helpful in negotiating and communicating with the NYRR to ensure that I can do knitting while running the NYC Marathon this November. I don't live in NYC, or even close, so I won't be able to take advantage of the awesome training program and support that is available there in the city. It was great to meet a few of the people who are on the team. I did not knit on this run, this was all about my first introduction. We did a 6 mile run in good time. I didn't remember everyone's name, but I ran with Amanda, who plays the Mermaid, and some twin women. It was a nice cool evening. I love running in New York and am super excited for the Marathon. Be sure to make a donation for Alzheimer's!
Here is a link to my fundraising page:

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Changing Weights

I did a little experiment using a #4 weight worsted wool. The gauge is pretty large and open using my fingers. I think it works well enough if you just let the stockinette stitch curl up like a tube for a loose scarf. I think I will stick with the heavier weight yarn.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Finger Knitting Deluxe

I have done many more experiments with finger knitting using my new methods where I use my fingers like needles by putting loops directly onto my index fingers and transferring them to the finger on my other hand. I have figured out how to not do a twisted stitch. I can do purl stitches, knit stitches, stockinette, garter stitch all with my fingers. I am using Lion Brand WoolEase Thick and Quick super bulky 6 weight. I made a youtube video to show the process as proof of concept.
I am trying to see if it is practical to knit words into a scarf. I think that it would show really well for the run. I am still wondering if it makes sense to do stockinette because it curls up and you don't get a sense of the width of the scarf involved. This method of finger knitting is only really impressive when you see how many more stitches you can get than the traditional four.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Finger Knit First - Twisted

So, with a lot of emails and waiting I finally have confirmation that the NYRR (New York Road Runners - who run the NYC Marathon) will allow me to do something with my hands involving yarn, but with the restrictions that everyone is held to by the NYPD because of security protocol.
NO needles.
OK, I am willing to try anything. I had recently learned the arm-knitting trick, but had decided that it would be too awkward on a run. Yes, I know, knitting while running at all is kind of an extreme in awkwardness according to most people. I am always excited to learn something new. If arm knitting works, why not finger-knitting?
Yes, I know, finger-knitting is already out there, but what I see everyone doing is a four stitch finger-loom knit thing. I don't think that will make anything of substance, just a cord thingy. So with a few experiments I have been coming up with my own method where I use my fingers - as if they were - needles. Here is my first attempt.
Yes, it is messed up. But I like it. My natural tendency was to flip the loops from finger to finger thus making a sort of twisted stockinette fabric. This is 12 stitches across. 12 loops that I was able to hold on my finger and work with. I used Lion Brand Hometown USA super bulky 6 size. I like how the twists help close up the gauge a little.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Arm Knitting

Danielle at Lion Brand suggested that I give arm-knitting a try to see if it might work while running. There are several videos out there. I think that I liked the one from the Michaels website the best. This is what I came up with. I used two skeins of Lion Brand Hometown USA super bulky. I joined the two ends to make an infinity scarf. It does make a quick scarf. Even with the double yarn the weave is still too open for me. It was fun but I have decided that I will not attempt it while running, unless double-dog dared.