2015 Geek-A-Long: Pinky and the Brain

week 18 Pinky and the Brain (3)

I’ve had the theme song to Pinky and the Brain stuck in my head all week. I pulled out the crochet squares Monday night to photograph them. (I meant to write this post then since I knew I’d be in Maryland for the Sheep and Wool Festival, but life happened and now I’m writing this Saturday night in my hotel room.) And the song has been playing on repeat in my head ever since. I’m not sure which is more impressive, the fact that I still remember all of the words nearly 10 years later or that it was still stuck in my head after watching Pitch Perfect with my husband the other night. (My husband, on the other hand, has been humming “Starships.”)

I hope all of you have that stuck in your head now.

Pinky and the Brain first made their appearance on Steven Spielberg’s Animaniacs. The cartoon contained a slew of slap stick comedy and pop culture references, but the highlight of the show, for me anyway, was Pinky and the Brain. It was really no surprise when they finally got their own spin-off show in 1995. Who wouldn’t want to watch to genetically altered lab rats try and fail to take over the world every night?

week 18 Pinky and the Brain (1)

I know I should probably talk about Brain, since he was the mastermind behind the world domination plots, but I always liked Pinky the best. I loved his non-sequiturs. Almost every episode, Brain would say, “Pinky, are you pondering what I’m pondering?” And Pinky would respond with, “I think so, Brain, but [insert awesome non-sequitur here].”

…where will we find a duck and a hose at this hour?

…if we didn’t have ears, we’d look like weasels.

…isn’t Regis Philbin already married?

…how are we gonna teach a goat to dance with flippers on?

…what if the chicken won’t wear the nylons?

Comedic gold, right? That’s why I felt as if Pinky belonged on the square with Brain. Originally, it was just Brain, but how can you have one without the other?

week 18 Pinky and the Brain (4)

Whether you’re knitting, crocheting, or cross stitching this square, you can download the Pinky and the Brain pattern here. Instructions for both knit and crochet are listed in the pattern. When you’re finished making it, don’t forget to tweet or instagram your squares at me @jac_attacking or Megan-Anne @Doctor_Llama with the hashtag #geekalong!

If you’re having trouble with double-sided knitting, we have a how-to video here and a tutorial on crochet here. Want to hang out with other people making the blanket? You can find moral support in the Geek-A-Long group on Ravelry here.

~ Jac
“The irony of it all, Pinky. Years of trying to take over the world, and all I had to do was say ‘moo’.”

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If you enjoyed this post, please consider making a donation to Child’s Play Charity. Here is a direct link to our donation page benefiting the charity. Please help us raise $1,000 this year! No contribution is too small.

2015 Prize Baskets: WEBS Yarn Store

webs promo photoI haven’t been shy about my feelings regarding Valley Yarns. I freaking LOVE their Huntington Sock Yarn. So when they agreed to join us as a Geek-A-Long benefactor I was beyond thrilled.

Before I tell you about the WEBS and what they donated, here is a quick reminder for those of you just joining the Geek-A-Long:

We’re raffling off four prizes again this year and in order to be eligible to win one of the three prizes, you must post a picture of your completed 2015 blanket to the Ravelry GAL group by January 31, 2016. The blanket must contain 24 of the 48 squares released in 2015, be joined and edged. Just like last year, the fourth prize will be raffled off for just being a member of the group. If you’re not a member, however, it isn’t too late to join and get in on the fun! You can find everything you’ll need to know about the Geek-A-Long on the FAQ page.

WEBS donations (1)

Huntington has been a go to yarn for me for a while. I made the Shersocks and the Cunning Socks out of it, and they’ve been some of our most popular patterns. WEBS generously donated the yarn to make a full set of Shersocks (you’ll be getting the full Kniterary pattern set in the basket) AND a $25 gift card for each basket!

Shersocks

Shersocks

WEBS (or yarn.com) is my go-to online LYS. I call it that because even though it’s an online store, I get the LYS treatment there. The selection’s amazing, the customer service is friendly and knowledgeable, and don’t even get me started on the sales.

About WEBS

WEBS – America’s Yarn Store is located in the picturesque Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts. A second-generation, family owned business, WEBS has been the destination for knitters, weavers and spinners for over 30 years.

Right now they are in the middle of their anniversary sale, which is not to be missed. Personally, I’ve been wrestling with whether or not to get myself a big ‘ol set of needles (you can’t have too many!), and now I’m thinking I had better go get them asap.

WEBS donations (2)

Thank you for your generous donation to the Geek-A-Long participants, WEBS! You can also find the WEBS on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Ravelry, and their website.  If you’d like to see the other Geek-A-Long benefactors, you can find them here.

~Megan-Anne
Pro tip: They hand out coupon codes on Twitter :D

If you enjoyed this post and want to stay current on all things Geek-A-Long, join our email list via the link in the sidebar or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

This Stash Has Come Between Us

Jac and I are pretty stoked about heading out to the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival this weekend. We don’t get out as much as we would like to, so festivals are one of the few opportunities we have to hang out with “our people.” (You know, the kind of folks with yarn stashed all over the house, and a “just in case” ball and needles in the car.) We try to be responsible yarn owners, but it’s hard.

Look, I need my yarn. You never know what you’re going to want for that next project, so really, having a massive dragon-like hoard of it is just me being practical. And economical! If I keep it on hand, then I won’t have to go buy new yarn for each new project. I can just get it when it’s on sale and save it for a rainy day. Apparently though, removing clothing from a bedroom drawer so that I could fill it with the “special yarn” (you guys know what I mean! The really good stuff.) was taking it a step further than Mr. Llama could handle:

Him: You have a box of yarn under the bed. Put it in there.

Me: No can do. That’s my zombie apocalypse back-up yarn. And this is my fancy yarn. They should be stored separately.

Him: Zombie apocalypse back-up?

Me: Well, the regular apocalypse yarn is in a bin in the office. That’s just the standard surviving-the-end-of-the-world-fibers. This is a carefully chosen selection of those yarns, in a convenient travel sized pack, in case we have to leave in a hurry.

So yeah, I think we can agree that’s a pretty normal thing to have.

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Just one more row baby.

Anyhow, Kev overheard me telling Jac we could get all the yarn at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, because they have a UPS table set up and I can just ship my new stash home to myself. (Genius!) And he seems to be under the very wrong impression that I don’t need more yarn. Silly, silly husband. You knew who I was when you married me.

It’s ok, our marriage survived my Christmas tree topper, and it’ll survive my stash. Let me know if you’ll be at the festival this weekend, I’d love to meet you! If you run into us there, we’ll hook you up with a free pattern of your choice from our Ravelry Store and enter you in a drawing for a free month of our S.O.C.K. Mini-Vacation Yarn Club, a yarn club for mini-skein lovers. To help us make sure everyone gets their stuff, just grab a pic with us when you see us and tag us in it on social media. That way we’ll be able to find you (digitally find you that is… I promise not to show up at your house) to get you your pattern and enter you in the raffle.

~Megan-Anne
I love that he thinks there’s only one box of yarn under the bed.

2015 Geek-A-Long: Dr. Doom

week 17 Dr. Doom (1)

I am more than amused by the prospect of a battle of wits. Though I fear that with you as an opponent, the struggle might well be brief.”-Victor von Doom

I love old school Fanastic 4 comics. When we put together our square list for this year, I lobbied for Reed Richards to make the cut. Jac wasn’t sold on him though, citing that “he is really a tool.” Don’t know what could make her think that…

http://blogs.houstonpress.com/artattack/assets_c/2012/04/reedrichards1-thumb-400×335.jpg

After some negotiation, we agreed that the best way to honor the franchise would be with the great Victor von Doom. (Hmmm… Is Dr. Doom a great villain, or the greatest villain?) He overcame an incredibly tragic background in Latvia where his mother was killed for being a witch and his father died of exposure on a mountain trying to protect Victor from the same fate. Victor was incredibly smart, even by evil genius standards, and was offered the opportunity to study in the United States. His first act as a US college student was to refuse to room with Reed Richards… Evil genius or not, I don’t blame him for that.

week 17 Dr. Doom (2)

Doom enjoyed a robust career as a super-villain, wielding a dangerous combination of science and magic. He was one of the most prolific Marvel villains, and has appeared more times than any other Marvel villain. Oh, and he was hooking up with Morgan Le Fay. Just saying.

week 17 Dr. Doom (3)

Whether you’re knitting, crocheting, or cross stitching this square, you can download the Dr. Doom pattern here. When you’re finished making it, don’t forget to tweet or instagram your squares at me @Doctor_Llama or Jac @jac_attacking with the hashtag #geekalong, so we can all oooh and ah at it together.

Happy caturday from #thegreatgamby and #drdoom! #geekalong #cats #catsofinstagram #knitting

A photo posted by Jacquline "Cappuccino" Rivera (@jac_attacking) on

If you’re having trouble with double-sided knitting, we have a how-to video here, and if you would like to learn to crochet, Jac has a fabulous tutorial here.  You can find moral support in the Geek-A-Long group on Ravelry here.

~ Megan-Anne
“If you think about it, wanting to rule the world is not a crime.”-Stan Lee

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If you enjoyed this post, please consider making a donation to Child’s Play Charity. Here is a direct link to our donation page benefiting the charity. Please help us raise $1,000 this year! No contribution is too small.

April Capelet

April Capelet cover photo
The April Capelet is perfect for the lady, who is ready for spring. It can be placed over a sweater for added warmth during those brisk mornings or can be fashionably worn over a dress or tank. The capelet is crocheted top down with the collar added afterwards. Use your favorite brooch or shawl pin as a closure.

$3.99

A PDF will be emailed to you by Ravelry. You don’t need to be a Ravelry member to order, but if you are, the PDF will show up in your library. If you are a member of Ravelry, you can view the April Capelet pattern here. Or you can go the old-fashioned route and purchase the crochet pattern from our Etsy Store HERE. Receive 25% off your purchase of $10 or more in our Etsy Store now through May 30, 2015 with the coupon code: SPRING2015

I created this pattern as the birds started to return and the days became warmer. I love tank tops the way people love sweaters in the fall. I itched to break them out, but it was still a bit too cold most mornings. Enter the April Capelet. Now, I’m ready for spring no matter the temperature, and you can be too! :D

~Jac
Now, if I can just get Hank the Squirrel to stop eating all my birdseed, everything would be perfect.

Pardon Our Dust

There won’t actually be any dust. Or if there is, it’s on your end, and I can’t really help you with that. This dust is metaphorical. I could go so far as to say metaphysical dust. In any event, we can agree that it’s meta.

It’s my natural tendency to bury the lead, but since I love y’all I’m getting straight to the point: L&L is going to go though some changes over the next few weeks. It’s OK, this is normal. All young blogs get to a very special point in their lives and have… well, let’s call it a blossoming. I’m pretty stoked that we don’t have to relocate off planet or anything, but I’m hoping that you can forgive any slight technical issues that Lattes & Llamas has as it becomes a woman. We’re doing everything we can to make sure that this is as seamless a transition as possible, it won’t affect how you’ll get here and what you are used to seeing when you arrive, but due to the updates you might see some of the tweaks as they happen.

You guys see that yarn? I know right?! I like it too. ;) You are looking Vacation Yarn by Lattes & Llamas. A huge portion of those changes I mentioned will facilitate us getting that gorgeous sock yarn from us to you. On June 1st, 2015 we’re launching our first yarn line and I am beyond excited about it! You’ll be able to buy it right here (and by right here I mean from a tab at the top of the page that doesn’t exist yet), and at select local yarn stores. Each and every hank is hand dyed by Jac and I, and we are starting this party off with a palette of 20 tonal colors.

Continue reading

Diary of a Fat Knitter

budding trees
As it turns out, when your business is knitting and your hobby is writing, you spend a lot of time either on the couch or in front of a computer screen. And when you have to crochet 24 geek-a-long squares within a three-month period, you end up going from a size 16 to an 18, because who has time to exercise?

I’m sure there are tons of people out there (especially parents) who can relate to the “not enough hours in the day” plight. Sometimes it comes down between something like laundry or exercise. And you know you have to do the laundry or else you’ll have to wear your house-yoga-pants (you know, your favorite ones with the hole in the leg seam you haven’t gotten around to seeming) to the grocery store tomorrow. Then, of course, you have to stop crocheting long enough to cook healthy meals, because you know that if you start turning towards take-out you’ll balloon to a size 20 and won’t fit in your house-yoga-pants anymore. So exercise keeps becoming the thing you’ll do “tomorrow.”

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Don’t tell my mom or my doctor, but I was 100% willing to put off finding time for exercise until after we launched our line of sock yarn on June 1st. I’m comfortable in my body. But then my doctor informed me that I have a serious Vitamin D deficiency, which I’ve probably had my whole life. Couple that with my current lifestyle and I’m at a high risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes.

I can’t live in a world without cappuccinos and fancy cheeses.

It’s times like these that I wish I was as coordinated as the Knitting Runner, David Babcock. But if I tried to crochet and walk at the same time, I’d probably get hit by a bus or trip over the sidewalk and face plant. I mean, I might look like the super graceful type (see also the photo below), but half the time I can barely walk from the coffee pot to my desk without tripping over the rug.

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I know this probably shouldn’t be one of my favorite pictures Gina Myers took at our wedding, but it is. We look terrible, but it really captured our goofy side.

sock in progress

Enter my baby sister, Alena. Some of you might remember her from that time Megan-Anne and I made her model a hat made from Blue Sky Alpacas Extra Yarn. She’s working for us now, and somehow she convinced me it would be “super fun” to walk to the park. The plan was to discuss business on the way there and then knit socks in the park. We totally did that and it was a great time, except she forgot to mention how far away the park was… I don’t care what you say Alena, a 1.6 mile walk in that hilly neighborhood was neither quick nor easy.

Of course, it isn’t always plausible to take an hour or two out of my day to walk to the park. So I compiled a list of things I think I might be able to do while knitting:

  1. Attach weights to the bottom of my knitting needles so that each stitch is like doing a curl.
  2. Put the yarn on the floor next to me, so that the cat will steal it and I’ll be forced to give chase.
  3. Butt clenches?
  4. One of those electric ab shocker things as seen in Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. Don’t worry, I’ll be safe and use wooden needles.
  5. Unplug the PS3 from the wall and attach it to a pedal powered generator, forcing me to peddle while knitting or risk losing Netflix.
  6. Finally let Megan-Anne have her way and approach TV Executives about a yarn based reality show, resulting in motivation born from the potential shame of having everyone I went to high school with see me on TV and know just how fat I got.

Other than the methods listed above, which we can all agree are super plausible, how do you guys find a balance between staying healthy and a hobby that puts you on the couch?

~Jac
Tonight on Bravo, “Hooked on the Needle: Hoarders Yarn Edition.” Will the girls agree on the fiber content of that mystery skein? Will their family continue to be crazy? Will they find #roguedemonhunterkitty’s stash of stitch markers? Find out tonight at 8/9 Central. 

2015 Geek-A-Long: Buckaroo Banzai

Week 16 Buckaroo Banzai (1)

“If he’s not one thing, he’s another.” – Rawhide

It’s difficult for me to put The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension into words. Maybe it’s because the title is so long or maybe because the 1984 cult classic is completely ridiculous. Nothing is ever quite clear, especially the opening sequence that assumes you’re intimately familiar with Buckaroo Banzai, a neurosurgeon/particle physicist/race car driver/martial artist/rock star. But the movie is deadpan funny with quotable one-liners and a so-bad-it’s-good vibe.

Week 16 Buckaroo Banzai (3)

It’s been years since I watched The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai, but I’ll never forget the time my brother-in-law sat me down to watch it. Apparently, I wasn’t a true child of the 80’s until I viewed it. Anyway, for weeks afterwards, I called everyone “monkey-boy,”  had this urge to form a band and fight inter-dimensional aliens, and wished the movie studios would get their shit together and finally release Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League. If you’ve never had the chance to watch the movie, I highly recommend it. It’s best viewed with friends, pizza, and beer.

Buckaroo Banzai has so many logos, it was difficult for us to pick which one to immortalize in yarn. I wanted to do the Buckaroo Banzai Winged logo, but we couldn’t fit it nicely onto the square. So, Megan got her way and we used the symbol on the vehicle that started it all, the Rocket 88.

Week 16 Buckaroo Banzai (2)

Whether you’re knitting, crocheting, or cross stitching this square, you can download the buckaroo banzai pattern here. Instructions for both knit and crochet are listed in the pattern. When you’re finished making it, don’t forget to tweet or instagram your squares at me @jac_attacking or Megan-Anne @Doctor_Llama with the hashtag #geekalong!

Week 16 Buckaroo Banzai (4)

If you’re having trouble with double-sided knitting, we have a how-to video here and a tutorial on crochet here. Want to hang out with other people making the blanket? You can find moral support in the Geek-A-Long group on Ravelry here.

~ Jac
“Mystery is the source of all true art and science.”

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If you enjoyed this post, please consider making a donation to Child’s Play Charity. Here is a direct link to our donation page benefiting the charity. Please help us raise $1,000 this year! No contribution is too small.

Lennox Tam

Lennox Tam (1)

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.”
― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

As a budding tween girl in the early 1990s, I was obsessed with the 1993 film The Secret Garden. I wanted nothing more than to don a pompom hat like Mary Lennox and slip through a hidden door to magical place all my own. Of course, I didn’t have a tam and the closest thing I had to a secret garden was the boring backyard I shared with my siblings. But now, armed with a crochet hook and a ball of yarn, I made my own Lennox Tam and you can too! This piece works up quickly in joined rounds and will keep your head warm during your adventures.

$3.99

A PDF will be emailed to you by Ravelry. You don’t need to be a Ravelry member to order, but if you are, the PDF will show up in your library. If you are a member of Ravelry, you can view the Lennox Tam pattern here.

Lennox Tam (3)

Or you can go the old-fashioned route and purchase the crochet pattern from our Etsy Store HERE. Receive 25% off your purchase of $10 or more in our Etsy Store now through May 30, 2015 with the coupon code: SPRING2015

~Jac
“She made herself stronger by fighting with the wind.”

2015 Geek-A-Long: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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“Detection is, or ought to be, an exact science, and should be treated in the same cold and unemotional manner.” -Sherlock Holmes, The Sign of Four

This week the Geek-A-Long honors the impact Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had on modern forensic science. Doyle was a medical doctor, though he rarely practiced. However, his short stories featuring the infamous Sherlock Holmes allowed him to explore his passion for forensics. Holmes’ techniques are decades before their time. I think that I take modern CSI for granted. It’s hard to really imagine a time where police would take a witness statement, look around the (generally contaminated) crime scene for a few minutes, and then successfully prosecute suspects based on that. Men were sent to their deaths because old Mrs. So-And-So down the street is pretty sure she saw them leaving the scene of the crime.

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Doyle personally cleared three men of crimes they did not commit using the methods and investigation style that he had imagined in Sherlock Holmes. If you have the time to check it out, this article about the evidence he used to clear one of those men is super interesting. In addition to clearing the wrongfully accused, Doyle used Sherlock Holmes to educate both the public and Scotland Yard about forensic techniques. Fingerprinting, poison analysis, and ballistics were routinely employed by Holmes, and almost never by actual law enforcement. In fact, Holmes is the first known investigator to employ ballistics in a police investigation at all and  he created a forensic lab in his home 23 years before one existed in the real world! It’s fair to say that without Sir Conan Arthur Doyle’s descriptions of fictional CSI procedures many of the ones we take for granted may not exist today.

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For Doyle’s square we decided to use fingerprinting as a representation of forensic science. I LOVE how it turned out. I know I tell you most weeks that “this is one of my favorite squares…”, and that is always true. I love most of them, and at least like all of them. But this is my actual favorite square on the 2015 blanket and it was one of the first ones we designed for it.

Fun fact: we designed all eight of the “IRL scientist” squares in a single (very long and caffeine fueled) design session before doing any of the other 2015 squares. We felt like they were a good way to set the tone for ourselves as we went on to the rest of the squares.

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Whether you’re knitting, crocheting, or cross stitching this square, you can download the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle pattern here. When you’re finished making it, don’t forget to tweet or instagram your squares at me @Doctor_Llama or Jac @jac_attacking with the hashtag #geekalong, so we can all oooh and ah at it together.

If you’re having trouble with double-sided knitting, we have a how-to video here, and if you would like to learn to crochet, Jac has a fabulous tutorial here.  You can find moral support in the Geek-A-Long group on Ravelry here.

~ Megan-Anne
This square was very nearly Dr. Henry Lee, who is basically a real life Sherlock Holmes. I couldn’t fit him on the blanket this year, but we love him all the same. :)

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If you enjoyed this post, please consider making a donation to Child’s Play Charity. Here is a direct link to our donation page benefiting the charity. Please help us raise $1,000 this year! No contribution is too small.