2014 Geek-A-Long: DNA

Over the course this year’s Geek-A-Long, we are honoring math and science 5 times.  Caffeine, Pi, and the Periodic Table appeared earlier this year, and there is one more to come after this.  When we sat down to decide what the 2014 squares would be, there was actually some contention over how much space certain genre’s and fandoms ought to get.  But there were 2 areas we were in total agreement on: sci-fi/fantasy literature and science/math.  We would be failing you if we didn’t give adequate space to the 2 pools from which the original geeks sprung.  Of course the issue of which aspects of those to include was a much harder decision. ;)

week 29 DNA (3)

For my science squares, I tied to hit on some of the most important contributions to the scientific world.  There are too many to name, but I think the discovery of DNA is pretty high up there.  By understanding DNA we are able to begin to treat and even prevent genetic disorders.  Honestly, the applications are endless, and as a future doctor they are near and dear to my heart.

dopamine

I hope you guys love this square as much as I do. Getting that DNA to run diagonally across the square was a real headache to design, but totally worth the effort. As a fun bonus, there is an alternate square this week as well! :D  By popular demand we are including another molecule to complement the Caffeine molecule from week one.  Click here to download the alternate pattern, Dopamine, and get the DNA chart below.

week 29 DNA (1)

DNA

© Megan-Anne of Lattes & Llamas, 2014

Needles: Size US6

YarnCascade 220 in 2 sharply contrasting colors.

Gauge: 10 sts over 13 rows = 2″ x 2″ square. Final square is 45 sts by 57 rows.  Please note that in the written pattern I instruct you to knit the rows above and below the active color chart.  These rows are shown on the chart as solid color rows above and below the design.

Download PDF of the color chart DNA. Cast on 45 sts for each side of knitting (with two strands held together CO 45, for a total of 90 sts on needle).

Work 2 rows of double-sided knitting (knit the facing sts and purl the back sts across).  You may choose to work the opposite color for the first stitch of each row (I do this), which will keep the edges closed. Alternately, you may choose to knit them without doing this and seam the sides when putting the blanket together. There is no “right” way to do this. It is really just what you are more comfortable with.

Follow color chart over next 53 rows in double-sided knitting.

Work 2 rows of double-sided knitting. BO.

week 29 DNA (2)

Don’t forget to tweet or instagram them at me, @Doctor_Llama, with the hashtag geekalong, so we can all oooh and ah together. We even have a fancy new GAL Participation Button you can put on your blog or your Geek-A-Long posts. You can grab the html out of the side bar or find it here.

If you’re having trouble with double-sided knitting, we have a how-to video here and you can find moral support in the Geek-A-Long group on Ravelry here. We’re even raffling off some sweet prizes for our members at the end of the year! You can learn more about it in the group or on the GAL Benefactors page.

~ Megan-Anne
Hey girl, let’s coil like Watson and Crick. 

* * * * *

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.
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The Very Inspiring Leibster Blogger Award

Liebster Award banner

I don’t feel inspiring. This morning, as I fought with my cat over whether or not I was allowed to knit in his presence without sharing my yarn, I managed to spill coffee down the front of my shirt and burned my areola. Since that wasn’t even the lowest part of my morning, it came as a delightful shock when I saw that Lattes and Llamas had been nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award and the Leibster Award.

Granted LucyAnn & Luna Craft had awarded us the Leibster a couple of weeks ago (thanks, LucyAnn!), but Megan-Anne and I are still playing catch-up from our sudden and impromptu trip home to Indiana.

So, what’s the Leibster Award and the Very Inspiring Blogger Award anyway?

They’re both a great way to share your blog crushes and have a little fun while you’re at it. Since they both come with different, yet similar rules I’m going to combine them (I’m a rebel that way) and keep this party going:

  1. Thank and link back to the awesome person who nominated you. (Thanks LucyAnn and Dragonsashes!)
  2. List the rules and display the awards.
  3. Answer the ten questions given by the nominator.
  4. Nominate five other super cool blogs for the awards and notify them.
  5. Create ten questions for nominees to answer.

Answers to the Ten Questions We Were Asked

If you could go on holiday tomorrow where would you go?
Up to the Llama family cabin, no question about it! One of my goals in life is to have a house on the lake up in the Poconos just like them. Until then, Mr. Llama’s parents are wonderful about letting us use theirs.

Tea or coffee
Pffft… What do you think?

What gadget could you not do with out?
Other than the usual smart phone and laptop answer, I’d have to say our ball winder. I freaking love that thing. There is something magical about being able to tell the LYS shop owner that no, I can totally wind my yarn at home.

What was the last book you read? ( fiction or non-fiction, that includes patterns!)
I just finished Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. I gave it four out of five stars. It started off super creepy and then halfway through it turned into this wild, fun ride. Megan is currently reading Jim Butcher’s latest Dresden Files novel, Skin Game. Mr. Llama got her a signed copy as an early birthday present. Everyone say it with me, Awwwwwwww!

What do you do to relax?
Crochet and knit, obviously. We also love to read or watch our stories to relax. (Yes, we refer to Supernatural, Teen Wolf, and So You Think You Can Dance as our “stories” like we’re old ladies watching soap operas at noon. Don’t judge us.)

Do you have any pets? Or what pet would you most like to own?
Megan-Anne has two cats, Gambit and Inara. They’re brother and sister from a farm in Indiana. I have one bad cat, Wesley the Rogue Demon Hunter.

Are you a maths person or a languages person?
Math.

Favourite colour?
Megan loves sunshine yellow and mine changes with my mood.

The person you would most like to meet?
Misha Collins, Misha Collins, or maybe Misha Collins.

Do you have a garden & what do you like to grow?
I tried gardening for the first time last year, but it was a rough summer for it. I’m embarrassed to say that my beds are all overgrown with weeds now. Next year, I’m totally going to take them back though and try something easier. Maybe herbs?

Our Nominations for the Very Inspiring Leibster Blogger Award

very-inspiring-award1
Nice and Knit, two awesome sisters who recently launched their own line of yarn.

Danielle from Flip Coast Creations, a nerd girl after my own heart.

The Twisted Yarn for a lot of reasons, but lately for her super sweet Knitted Mandala project. I’m loving watching this thing come to fruition.

Girl With A Duck Jumper has been around for a long time, but she’s new to me and I luves her. She crochets the cutest amigurumi.

Kirsten from Klever Knits, who I think is someone you should look out for as an up and coming designer.

Ten Questions for Our Blog Crushes

  1. What is your go-to caffeinated beverage?
  2. What is your favorite cult classic film?
  3. What yarn related thing have you always wanted to try but haven’t gotten around to it yet? IE spinning, tatting, dying, Tunisian crochet, etc.
  4. What color are you in love with right now?
  5. What is your favorite fiber to work with?
  6. If you could have any super power, what would it be?
  7. What was the last book you read?
  8. If you could own any mythical creature as a pet, what would it be?
  9. If your life was turned into a movie, what would it be titled?
  10.  What is your favorite season?

Want to get in on the fun? Answer one or two of our Blog Crush questions down in the comments section. Thanks again for nominating us, LucyAnn and Dragonsashes!

~Jac
My day just got a little brighter.

2014 Geek-A-Long: Studio Ghibli

Studio_Ghibli_logo.svg
When it comes to the weekly Geek-A-Long posts, usually Megan-Anne writes them and I take the pictures. But for week 28, we’re doing something a little different. I still took the pictures, but this week you get to listen to me squee about Studio Ghibli.

I love Studio Ghibli. I love it soooo much. Originally, we had planned to use Totoro to represent our love for the Japanese animation film studio just as they use it for their title cards, but that squishy ball off fluff refused to go onto the square. So, when Megan-Anne said I had to pick a different character, I was at somewhat of a loss.

Should I go with Jiji, the talking black cat from Kiki’s Delivery Service, or one of the Laputan robots from Castle in the Sky? Or maybe even Princess Mononoke’s mask? At a certain point, there were too many options. Studio Ghibli has released over twenty beautiful feature length films, several shorts, and even a video game called Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch.

Just so you know, I adored Ni No Kuni. They wrapped up the story line, so there isn’t room for a sequel without forcing it. But, I really hope Studio Ghibli enjoyed the experience enough to pair with Level-5 again to make me another RPG.

Honestly though, we could make an entire blanket out of beloved characters from Studio Ghibli: PonyoArrietty, Calcifer from one my absolute favorite books and movies of all time, Howl’s Moving Castle. But there could be only one square this year and I decided who better to use than someone who also loves knitting and spinning, No-Face from Spirited Away.

No Face knitting

No-Face is super creepy. Every time I watch Spirited Away, I have to remind myself that at the end he discovers knitting and it makes him nice and lovable. He definitely won’t come eat my face, because in the end he’s like: “Wow, spinning! Who knew spinning was so cathartic and awesome? Let’s all be best friends!” He doesn’t actually say those words, but you can tell by the look on his creepy face that he’s happy and I totally won’t find him in my closet later tonight.

week 28 Studio Ghibli (3) No-Face

No-Face

© Megan-Anne of Lattes & Llamas, 2014

Needles: Size US6

YarnCascade 220 in 2 sharply contrasting colors.

Gauge: 10 sts over 13 rows = 2″ x 2″ square. Final square is 45 sts by 57 rows.  Please note that in the written pattern I instruct you to knit the rows above and below the active color chart.  These rows are shown on the chart as solid color rows above and below the design.

Download PDF of the color chart no face. Cast on 45 sts for each side of knitting (with two strands held together CO 45, for a total of 90 sts on needle).

Work 2 rows of double-sided knitting (knit the facing sts and purl the back sts across).  You may choose to work the opposite color for the first stitch of each row (I do this), which will keep the edges closed. Alternately, you may choose to knit them without doing this and seam the sides when putting the blanket together. There is no “right” way to do this. It is really just what you are more comfortable with.

Follow color chart over next 53 rows in double-sided knitting.

Work 2 rows of double-sided knitting. BO.

week 28 Studio Ghibli (1)

Don’t forget to share pictures of your completed squares on twitter or instagram using the hashtag “geekalong”, so we can all oooh and ah together. We even have a fancy new GAL Participation Button you can put on your blog or your Geek-A-Long posts. You can grab the html out of the side bar or find it here.

If you’re new to the Geek-A-Long, you can find more information about it here. If having trouble with double-sided knitting, we have a how-to video here and you can find moral support in the Geek-A-Long group on Ravelry here. We’re even raffling off some sweet prizes for our members at the end of the year! You can learn more about it in the group or on the GAL Benefactors page.

~ Jac
Although, I do respect No-Face’s policy of eat whatever you want and if someone tries to lecture you about your weight, eat them too.

* * * * *

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.

Single Crochet

Summer of Crochet banner

Last week, we talked about how to crochet a chain. This week we’re going to build upon that and make a bookmark using the single crochet (sc) stitch. Before I show you how to do it though, let’s find out how you say tomato.

Since learning a new skill isn’t daunting enough, the American names for crochet stitches are different from the British ones. They’re also just close enough in name to make things super confusing. So, if you live in the United Kingdom, please note that I use the AMERICAN definitions. Moving forward, here is a handy-dandy conversion chart for you reference:

crochet definitions US vs UK infographic

Before we start making Single Crochet stitches (sc), you have to create a chain first. Attach your yarn to your hook using a slip knot and chain 6.

You can see in the photos below that one side of the chain is a row of clean Vs and the other has a bunch of nubs. We’re going to work into those nubs, which are also called the “butt” of the chain. (I swear, I didn’t make this up. Your chain actually has a butt. Seriously.) This method will leave a nice edge at the bottom of your work. It also leaves the Vs free to work into later if you want to attach a super sweet edging or whatever. Plus, I think it’s easier overall.

anatomy of a crochet chain

To make your first sc, you’re going to insert your hook in the second chain from the hook, as pictured below. The skipped chain is considered your “turn chain”. You will never work into it. It’s there to keep your row from looking all squished at the end. Think of it as a ladder taking you up to the next level.

how to single crochet step 1

Next, yarn over by wrapping the yarn across the throat of the hook and pull the loop through. You should have two loops on your hook.

how to single crochet step 2

Yarn over again and pull the yarn through BOTH of the loops on the hook. Congratulations, you just made your first single crochet!

how to single crochet step 3

Now, continue down the line, inserting your hook into the butt of the chain, pulling the working strand through to create two loops on the hook, and then pulling the yarn through those two loops to create a single crochet. By the time you get to the end of the row, you should have five single crochets, which will look like this.

single crochet row 1

To create the second row and every row hereafter, turn your work and chain one. Some patterns will ask you to create your turn chain (the ch 1) before flipping your work, but it doesn’t really matter in this situation. It’s more of a personal preference and, for the most part, will not effect the overall look of your piece.

Alright, so you’ve turned your work over and made one chain. What’s next? See the Vs at the top of your first row? You’re going to insert your hook under the top two strands of that first V. Then, create the single crochet like normal by yarning over and pulling it through the V, which will put two loops on your hook. Yarn over one more time, pull it through those two loops, and you just created the first single crochet on row two.

anatomy of sc row 2

Continue working across the row, making a single crochet in each V. When you reach the end of the row, you should still have only five single crochet stitches.

how to sc

If you find that you’re ending up with more than five, you’re probably working into the turn chain by accident. If it keeps happening, try using removable stitch markers to identify the first and last sc in your row.

how to sc 2

Congratulations, you now have all of the skill required to make a bookmark, dishcloth, or scarf! You can continue adding rows from here in order to make a simple bookmark. The pattern below is representative of the directions we covered earlier, but in the traditional format:

BOOKMARK
ch 6

Row 1: sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in each ch across, turn – 5 sc

Row 2: ch 1, sc in each sc across, turn – 5 sc

Repeat row 2 thirteen times or until desired length is reached. Finish off and weave in ends.

Last week, we covered how to “finish off” and the same idea applies here. Snip the yarn and pull it through as if you’re making a chain, except you’ll pull the whole length of the yarn through the loop. It will create a small knot.

pull it tight: how to crochet

I’m going to be honest here, I hate weaving in ends. I hate it so much. One day, I hope to be rich enough to have a personal assistant whose only job is to fetch me lattes and weave in my ends. It isn’t difficult by any means, just tedious. There are many ways to do it. Some people use a tapestry needle to thread their loose tails of yarn through the stitches and other people just use their crochet hook. Since I can never find my tapestry needle when I need it, I end up using my crochet hook 90% of the time.

how to crochet a bookmark

As you’re practicing making bookmarks, remember that learning a new skill takes time. But if you feel as if you need a more hands on experience and don’t know someone who crochets, I recommend going to your nearest independent yarn store. Many local yarn stores offer classes and one-on-one sessions. See you next week for more crochet walkthroughs and free patterns!

~Jac
The first person to bring me a double grande chai latte with no water gets a Misha Collins amigurumi made by me.

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If you enjoyed this tutorial and don’t want to miss our other walkthroughs, join our email list or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

Simply Socks Yarn Company

sock yarn happiness
Hi. My name is Megan-Anne Llama, and I am a sock yarnaholic. The bright colors, generous yardage, and versatility of sock yarn makes it really hard to say no. I think the first time I socked was in high school. I know you shouldn’t take yarn from strangers, but the first skien was free! ;)

Anyways, when I found out that the incomparable Simply Socks Yarn Company was based mere blocks from my childhood home in Indiana, I HAD to check it out. Jac and I went home recently and had the opportunity to pay Allison and the other lovely ladies of SSC a visit. The store did not disappoint!

Simply Socks Yarn Co store front

They have a really unique business model. The store front is open to the public only one day per week, but the robust online shop ships six days a week. They sell exclusively sock yarn, and at very competitive prices. I asked Allison why the shop itself only opens one day per week and she told me that the real market for yarn is online. Determined not to be one of the many LYS’s that have to close their doors due to lack of business, she took her business online where she could sell to the whole world. Not only that, she committed to run her online shop like a brick and mortar LYS.

If you can see a picture of it on her website, it is in stock and ready to ship! Gone are the days that you place an order and wait weeks for the distributor to actually get it in stock. Never again will you pick a yarn and place the order just to find out that color is sold out! In this brave new world of yarn sales, our toes never need to be cold again.

simply socks yarn co interior

simply socks yarn co interior front

Of course, what’s the point of revolutionizing yarn sales if you can’t have fun doing it? Simply Socks is open to the public each week on either Tuesday or Saturday from 10AM to 4PM. Their staff is as fun, funky, and hip as the yarn. Plus, the store itself is really cool. Converted from an old post office, it seems much bigger on the inside than it appears from the outside. Which is appropriate considering how many TARDIS’s I saw scattered about the store.

bird leg bags tardis

One of the other really cool things about SSC is that in addition to being a yarn store, they also have their own line of gorgeous sock yarn! The Patina was my favorite, and Jac loved the big fat stripes on their self-striping Poste Stripe yarn. They dye the yarn in house, and Allison told me that to get those great big stripes they have to dye the yarn in giant loops, which could go the perimeter of the building!

Poste Yarn

Poste Stripe Yarn

We had a blast at SSC, thanks for having us Allison! Go check them out and get yourself some sock yarn. You can find them on their website, Instagram, Facebook, and Ravelry.

~ Megan-Anne
All the cool kids are making socks. Socks, socks-socks, socks-socks-socks-socks!

 

2014 Geek-A-Long: Cthulhu

cute cthulhu

Welcome to week 27 of the 2014 Geek-A-Long, a mystery blanket knit-along (or crochet-along for you rebels out there)! If you’re new to the GAL craziness, check out the Geek-A-Long FAQ page for more details and information. Then, meet us back here when you’re ready. For the seasoned pros, let’s talk about Cthulhu.

I like to knit things into a likeness of Cthulu.  There’s something about making Cthulhu adorable that makes me feel tingly all over.    I think it’s probably just a coping mechanism.  I read “Call of Cthulhu” when I was too young for such things and it scared me.  A lot.  So now I make him super cute, because it isn’t as bad if fat little heart-eyed monsters hide under the bed.

week 27 Cthulu

Cthulhu joins Harry Potter and Sherlock as literary references on the blanket.  There are a few more books to cover this year, and let me tell you, it was SUPER HARD to decide which ones to include.  There’s just so much there.  Robert Jordan’s books deeply influenced our high school years, but they aren’t on the blanket.  Similarly, I wait for each new Dresden Files book like a starving animal eyeing its next meal, but Harry isn’t on the blanket either.  Cthulhu made the cut because he’s so iconic.  I wonder if H.P. Lovecraft knew that what he was creating would become so well-known. There are table top games, video games, card games, and even a robust selection of fanfic available. The list goes on, really.

There was a decent amount of hemming and hawing when I showed the design for this square to my friends and family.  Mr. Llama, in particular, questioned whether I had made him “too cute”.

Well, eat your heart out, honey, ’cause he’s just cute enough!  ;)

After seeing the finished square, Mr. Llama recanted and agreed that anyone would be lucky to snuggle up with this little guy.  I’m thrilled with how he turned out, and I hope you guys love him too.

week 27 Cthulu (2)

Cthulhu

© Megan-Anne of Lattes & Llamas, 2014

Needles: Size US6

YarnCascade 220 in 2 sharply contrasting colors.

Gauge: 10 sts over 13 rows = 2″ x 2″ square. Final square is 45 sts by 57 rows.  Please note that in the written pattern I instruct you to knit the rows above and below the active color chart.  These rows are shown on the chart as solid color rows above and below the design.

Download PDF of the color chart cthulu. Cast on 45 sts for each side of knitting (with two strands held together CO 45, for a total of 90 sts on needle).

Work 2 rows of double-sided knitting (knit the facing sts and purl the back sts across).  You may choose to work the opposite color for the first stitch of each row (I do this), which will keep the edges closed. Alternately, you may choose to knit them without doing this and seam the sides when putting the blanket together. There is no “right” way to do this. It is really just what you are more comfortable with.

Follow color chart over next 53 rows in double-sided knitting.

Work 2 rows of double-sided knitting. BO.

week 27 Cthulu (4)

Don’t forget to tweet or instagram them at me, @Doctor_Llama, with the hashtag geekalong, so we can all oooh and ah together. We even have a fancy new GAL Participation Button you can put on your blog or your Geek-A-Long posts. You can grab the html out of the side bar or find it here.

If you’re having trouble with double-sided knitting, we have a how-to video here and you can find moral support in the Geek-A-Long group on Ravelry here. We’re even raffling off some sweet prizes for our members at the end of the year! You can learn more about it in the group or on the GAL Benefactors page.

~ Megan-Anne
“In his house at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu waits knitting.”

* * * * *

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.

Free Stuff: Bijou Basin Ranch

Bijou Basin Yarn (4)

Lattes and Llamas is proud to announce Bijou Basin Ranch as the Geek-A-Long benefactor for June! They kindly sent us a selection of yarn to go into the prize baskets for the participants in the Geek-A-Long Ravelry group.  All you have to do to qualify to win this spectacular yarn is join the Geek-A-Long Ravelry group before midnight on December 31st, 2014. It’s never too late to join!

Well, OK, that’s a lie.  At 12:01 AM EST on January 1st, 2015 it will be too late to join, so don’t dawdle.

When you post a picture of your finished Geek-A-Long blanket to the Ravelry GAL group in any of the three sizes (baby blanket, afghan, or full-sized), you will be entered into the raffle for that sized blanket. However, everyone in the group is eligible to enter the drawing for the fourth prize basket as our thank you for just being a member. 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.

Every single prize is a product that we personally recommend.  I’ve been using the Bijou Basin Ranch (BBR)  Himalayan Trail for my Scarlet Letterman’s Jacket (pattern coming soon!) and I am so in love with it that it concerns my husband.  Seriously guys, I would write a whole book of patterns using nothing but this yarn.  If I had to sum up my feelings towards it into one phrase it would be “raging yarn-on.”

The yak yarn is amazing all on it’s own, and then they went and made Outlandish colors.  They are super vibrant and haven’t bled at all, even though I’ve been working with a dark red!  The color line was inspired by the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, and were designed to reflect the colors seen in Tartan plaids.  BBR hit the nail on the head with this line and currently has 27 beautiful colors available in both Himalayan Trail (yak and merino) and Lhasa Wilderness (yak and bamboo).

Bijou Basin Yarn (3)

And OMG, Yaks!  They make it out of Yaks, and frankly, I prefer this yarn to cashmere.  After the yarn arrived in the mail I spent about an hour just rubbing it on my face  quietly admiring it in a really professional manner.

Bijou Basin Yarn (2)

Bijou Basin Ranch kindly donated 4 gorgeous skeins of Lhasa Wilderness in the Claret (37), Carribean (48), Gloaming (40), and Watercress (43) for our baskets.  The yardage is great, especially for a luxury yarn.  At 180 yards per skein you can easily complete a project like socks or hand-warmers with just one skein.

Bijou Basin Yarn (1)

About Bijou Basin Ranch 

Established in 2005, Bijou Basin Ranch is a small family owned and operated yak ranch situated on the open plains of the Colorado outback. We are located about 65 miles southeast of Denver, Colorado, just outside of the small town of Elbert.

Our primary goal is to produce and sell high-quality fibers and yarns made with premium yak fibers and other luxury fibers. We raise registered, full-blooded Tibetan yaks that have superior glossy coats which are harvested annually. We also supplement the fiber we harvest from our yaks by purchasing quality yak fiber from other yak ranchers across the country and abroad.

Thank you for your generous donation to the Geek-A-Long participants, Bijou Basin Ranch!

You can find Bijou Basin Ranch on their website, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.  If you’d like to view the other Geek-A-Long benefactors and prizes, you can find them here.

~ Megan-Anne
I wish I had a Tibetan Yak of my own.

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2014 Geek-A-Long: Batman

GAL week 26 Batman

Welcome to week 26 of the 2014 Geek-A-Long, a mystery blanket knit-along (or crochet-along for you rebels out there)! If you’re new to the GAL craziness, check out the Geek-A-Long FAQ page for more details and information. Then, meet us back here when you’re ready. For the seasoned pros, let’s talk about Batman.

The Dark Knit Rises by Rachel and Josh Anderson.

The Dark Knit Rises by Rachel and Josh Anderson

Batman is one of the most prolific superhero’s out there.  Let’s be real, we all say “I’m Batman!” about once a week.  His tragic my-parents-are-dead-angst is both relatable and super fun to parody.  See also The LEGO Movie and the delightfully hilarious metal song he sings.  He’s also Jac’s favorite superhero, and I think it would have been fair to say that teenage-Jac was downright obsessed with him.

classic batmanI’m totally in love with this square. It’s actually based upon the original Golden Age skyline of Gotham. But like so many others, it’s not the original concept for the design.  So this week you get double the pattern!  In addition to the badass bat-signal square, I’m excited to drop an alternate as well, based on the classic Batman TV show.  Click here to download the alternate pattern, classic batman, and get the official square below.

GAL week 26 batman dual

Batman

© Megan-Anne of Lattes & Llamas, 2014

Needles: Size US6

YarnCascade 220 in 2 sharply contrasting colors.

GAL week 26 full sized batmanGauge: 10 sts over 13 rows = 2″ x 2″ square. Final square is 45 sts by 57 rows.  Please note that in the written pattern I instruct you to knit the rows above and below the active color chart.  These rows are shown on the chart as solid color rows above and below the design.

Download PDF of the color chart Batman. Cast on 45 sts for each side of knitting (with two strands held together CO 45, for a total of 90 sts on needle).

Work 2 rows of double-sided knitting (knit the facing sts and purl the back sts across).  You may choose to work the opposite color for the first stitch of each row (I do this), which will keep the edges closed. Alternately, you may choose to knit them without doing this and seam the sides when putting the blanket together. There is no “right” way to do this. It is really just what you are more comfortable with.

Follow color chart over next 53 rows in double-sided knitting.

Work 2 rows of double-sided knitting. BO.

DSCN2231

Don’t forget to tweet or instagram them at me, @Doctor_Llama, with the hashtag geekalong, so we can all oooh and ah together. We even have a fancy new GAL Participation Button you can put on your blog or your Geek-A-Long posts. You can grab the html out of the side bar or find it here.

If you’re having trouble with double-sided knitting, we have a how-to video here and you can find moral support in the Geek-A-Long group on Ravelry here. We’re even raffling off some sweet prizes for our members at the end of the year! You can learn more about it in the group or on the GAL Benefactors page.

~ Megan-Anne
I’m Batman!

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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.

How to Crochet a Chain

We’re not just about knitting here at Lattes and Llamas. Along with our intense adoration of caffeine, we love crochet too. Last week, I introduced our new how-to series called the Summer of Crochet. We talked about yarn weights and how to create a slip knot. Building upon that today, I’m going to show you how to crochet a chain and the fun things you can use with them.

Summer of Crochet banner

The chain stitch, which is abbreviated as “ch” in most patterns, is the foundation to which all other stitches are built upon… Unless you’re starting with something crazy like the Foundation Single Crochet (fsc) or a magic loop, but we’ll get into that another day. Anyway, the beginning of each pattern will require you to make a certain number of chain stitches. For instance, in the potholder pattern I’ll be sharing with you next week, it says “ch 36,” which means that you need to make 36 ch stitches.

How to crochet a chain

The idea is to make the chain stitches uniform, but don’t worry if they’re not now. It will come with practice. You need to get used to holding the yarn and hook in your hands, and getting a feel for the movements.

If you want something to do a few of your chains you could make a wrap bracelet, use it as gift wrapping ribbon, or a hair tie. In order to try out some of those things, you’ll need to “finish off” your chain. You do this simply by snipping the yarn and pulling it through.

crochet chain finish infographic

Everyone learns differently. If you need a more hands on experience and don’t know someone who crochets, I recommend going to your nearest independent yarn store. Many local yarn stores offer classes and one-on-one sessions. See you next Friday and I’ll show you how to make the singles crochet (sc) stitch.

~Jac
I’m eating apple pie right now. It’s delightful.

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Up, Down, All-Around Winner

Huzzah, we have a winner!

Just over two weeks ago, I told you about the revolutionary new stitch dictionary by Wendy Bernard. The Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary provides directions on how to knit more than 150 stitch patterns top down, bottom up, back and forth, and in the round.  Along with a signed copy of this fabulous book, one lucky winner will also receive an adorable Pretty Cheep Project Bag and three gorgeous skeins of Blue Sky Alpacas yarn.

Without further ado, the winner chosen by a random number generator, comment number 36:

Congratulations, Angie! You won the giveaway with one of your bonus entries.

giveaway swag

If you’re sad you didn’t win, you can purchase a copy of this super boss stitch dictionary HERE and have one of your very own. A huge thank you again to Blue Sky Alpacas and STC Craft for inviting us to be a part of the Up, Down, All-Around Dictionary Blog Tour!

~Jac
It hurts me to mail this yarn. I need this yarn.

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If you enjoyed this post and don’t want to miss out on our other giveaways and reviews, join our email list in the sidebar, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter or Instagram.