2015 Geek-A-Long: Rosalind Franklin

week 8 Rosalind Franklin (3)

Rosalind Franklin is one cool chick.

Chances are, when you think about DNA, you think about Watson and Crick. Don’t get me wrong, they are a part of the story, but the real science hero here is Rosalind Franklin. Born and educated in England, Rosalind excelled at everything she did: Sports, school, throwing shade. There was nothing this girl couldn’t do. She earned her PhD at the tender age of 25 and in 1947 she jetted off to Paris to study X-Ray Crystalography. Rosalind Franklin independently hypothesized the structure of DNA and was instrumental in informing the work that other scientists took credit for. *cough* WatsonAndCrick *cough*

Franklin is a four letter word in our family. We get super fired when we talk about her, and that fact prompted a long discussion about whether we could write this post without breaking the “no negativity” rule. Because guys, seriously, it’s insane how much she was robbed at the end of her life. A male colleague of Franklin’s showed HER work to Crick, which helped them form theories she already had, but they published first and only kind of acknowledged that she had anything to do with it.

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Though Watson and Crick ultimately credited her contributions, they weren’t publicizing it at the time. And the kicker? She died to bring us this research. All of her work with early X-Rays exposed her to so much radiation that she contracted Ovarian Cancer and died at only 37-years-old.

Oh, and wanna know what the bitterness-icing on this unfair-cake is? Watson and Crick won a Nobel Prize for their work, which was heavily influenced and informed by Franklin’s. It would be fair to say that without her work, theirs wouldn’t have existed. Rosalind Franklin was not nominated. Megan-Anne and a good friend of mine have spent some time in the Scientific Community and from the stories I’ve heard them tell, it still isn’t the easiest place to be a lady. To be fair, I hear it’s really hard to get your research done while crawling with icky girl cooties.

Anyhow, if Megan-Anne and I can educate even a few people about some of the amazing contributions that women scientists have made, we’ll consider it a win.

The inspiration for this square was the DNA Crystalograph X-Rays, taken by Rosalind Franklin, that proved the double helix and changed the way we look at DNA. Not included on this square, but definitely worth mentioning were Franklin’s work on the molecular makeup of viruses, including Polio. So if you don’t have polio, pour one out tonight for Rosalind Franklin. She deserves it.

week 8 Rosalind Franklin (1)

week 8 Rosalind Franklin (4)

Whether you’re knitting, crocheting, or cross stitching this square, you can download the Rosalind Franklin 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
“If I could get hit points for loading gels, I would KILL this.” Megan-Anne regarding a certain D&D game.

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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.

Somepony Socks

Somepony Socks (2)

Somepony loves you! Hint: It’s me.

With the help of Megan-Anne’s math skills, I designed and knitted the Somepony Socks for a swap partner on Ravelry. (I’m mailing her package out tomorrow so let’s hope she misses this post!) With my recent obsession with knitting socks and my swap partner’s love of Fluttershy from My Little Pony, it was like a match made in knitter heaven. It took me FOREVER to get the color chart of Fluttershy just right, but I’m really happy with how it turned out.

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Of course, it’s easy to be pleased with how a product turned out when you knitted most of it on a sunny beach in Puerto Rico.

I love you #beachknitting. #knitting #sockaddict

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

My only regret about the socks is that the butterflies around the cuff don’t stand out. I picked the colors based on the character. In retrospect, I would’ve went with a lighter and brighter blue to make a better contrast with the grape, so that the butterflies from her cutie mark stood out better.

Somepony Socks (1)

I also learned that I need to get a large set of sock blockers! We only have a medium since Megan-Anne and I are both size US 8 1/2, but my swap partner was is more in the 9-10 range. So, not only are these socks unblocked, they’re also a little baggy on my foot model.

Luckily, a certain Rogue Demon Hunter noticed I was upset and comforted me. He was super helpful as you can see:

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Somepony Socks (5)

Cuddly “helpful” kittens aside, I had a blast knitting these socks and I hope you will too! As my belated happy Valentines Day gift to all of you, I’m giving away the pattern for free. Click on the link here to download the PDF: Somepony Socks.

It’s an intermediate knit, which has unisex sizing* given in both men and women’s US shoe sizes. The pattern calls for Valley Yarn Huntington Superwash Sock Yarn: 1(2, 2) balls Soft Grape (Color A); 1(2, 2) balls Mustard (Color B); 1 ball North Sea (Color C).

When you share pictures of your Somepony Socks on Instagram and Twitter, don’t forget to tag me @jac_attacking and use the hashtag SomeponySocks, so we can all admire your handiwork!

~ Jac
*I got your back, Bronies. 

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Did you enjoy this free pattern? Want to know when we release a new free pattern? Then join our email list via the link in the sidebar or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

2015 Geek-A-Long: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

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Many of my favorite squares from the 2014 Geek-A-Long were inspired by the books that influenced my childhood. We’re keeping that tradition strong this year. Although, one could argue that most of the 2015 literature squares are inspired by the books that terrified me as a kid.

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I am not too proud to say that The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde scared the pants off 10-year-old me. There’s something about classic villains like Hyde that is just so much scarier than a lot of the horror genre I’ve seen as an adult. I realize, of course, that this is due in large part to how kid-me reacted vs. adult me, but still… I feel confident that if I read it for the first time today, it would still be scary. I think part of the reason for that is the eloquence of the language in classic lit. The authors didn’t fall back on graphically gruesome death scenes, and instead were content to remind us how much darkness lurks within ourselves at any given moment:

The most racking pangs succeeded: a grinding in the bones, deadly nausea, and a horror of the spirit that cannot be exceeded at the hour of birth or death. Then these agonies began swiftly to subside, and I came to myself as if out of a great sickness. There was something strange in my sensations, something indescribably sweet. I felt younger, lighter, happier in body; within I was conscious of a heady recklessness, a current of disordered sensual images running like a millrace in my fancy, a solution of the bonds of obligation, an unknown but innocent freedom of the soul. I knew myself, at the first breath of this new life, to be more wicked, tenfold more wicked, sold a slave to my original evil and the thought, in that moment, braced and delighted me like wine. -Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

raidersofthelostarkFor this square I toyed with several designs, but wound up loving the side by side imagery of the two personalities. When I did the sketches I thought my Jekyll looked like my husband. Now that it’s knitted up, I think he looks like the Nazi from Raiders of the Lost Ark. I watch A LOT of Netflix, so I think I was subconsciously influenced on this one.

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Whether you’re knitting, crocheting, or cross stitching this square, you can download the Dr Jekyll 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
“If he be Mr. Hyde” he had thought, “I shall be Mr. Seek.”

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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.

2014 Geek-A-Long Winners

2014 GAL Lottery Winners

You’ve waited patiently to discover if you’re one of four lucky winners who will win the mother-load of knitting prize baskets, and now your time has come! Put on your pajamas and click play below to find out if you’re about to have a fantastic week.

Congratulations, winners! And a huge thank you to all of our 2014 Geek-A-Long benefactors, who donated all of this awesome stuff:

2014 GAL Winner

Bummed you didn’t win? Don’t worry. The 2015 Geek-A-Long is already underway and one of the prizes has already been announced. If you want the chance to win the 2015 GAL lottery, head over to our Ravelry group and knit or crochet your way into winning!

~Jac
A-bang, bang, a-bangity bang!

2015 Geek-A-Long: Sam Carter

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It’s been over a decade since I watched Stargate SG-1. I remember sitting down to watch it when it aired and being so excited to get more of my first nerd crush, Daniel Jackson. He was magnificently nerdy and adorable in the movie. But, then Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter exploded onto the screen and I wasn’t there to watch Daniel anymore. I wanted to be Sam Carter instead, a theoretical astrophysicist, Air Force Officer, and queen of snappy comebacks:
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Sam Carter: I’m an Air Force officer just like you are, Colonel. And just because my reproductive organs are on the inside instead of the outside, doesn’t mean I can’t handle whatever you can handle.

Jack O’Neill: Oh, this has nothing to do with you being a woman. I like women. I’ve just got a little problem with scientists.

Sam Carter: Colonel, I logged over 100 hours in enemy airspace during the Gulf War. Is that tough enough for you… Or are we gonna have to arm wrestle?

I can’t tell you how many people asked us for a Stargate square last year. I lost count somewhere around July. So when we decided on the theme for this year, Stargate SG-1 and Sam Carter were put on the short list of people who had to make it onto the 2015 blanket no matter what. And I’m okay with that. It gave me an excuse to curl up with my crochet and binge watch the show.

I wanted this square to be the Earth Symbol, but Megan-Anne convinced me it wasn’t enough. “The only thing Carter is more proud of than her work with the Stargate is her achievements in the Air Force.” So, she put a stylized version of the Senior Space Operations Badge over the Earth glyph. The badge itself (pictured right) is pretty hardcore, and I think the resulting design is pretty cool.

week 6 Sam Carter (1)

Whether you’re knitting, crocheting, or cross stitching this square, you can download the Sam Carter 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
“I don’t know. I guess I’ve always had a soft spot for the lunatic fringe.” 

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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.

White Rabbit Tote

white rabbit tote

“There was not a moment to be lost: away went Alice like the wind, and was just in time to hear it say, as it turned a corner, ‘Oh, my ears and whiskers, how late it’s getting!’

I designed and crocheted the White Rabbit Tote for a swap partner on Ravelry almost a year ago, so the pattern has been around for a while. But what most people don’t know is that it was the inspiration for Kniterary, our line of literature inspired knitting and crochet patterns. It’s fair to say that 2015 will be the year of the socks for Megan-Ann and I, and I wanted to pay homage to the design that started us on this journey. In light of that, you can receive 25% off your purchase of $10 or more in our Etsy Store now through May 30, 2015 with the coupon code: SPRING2015

This tote was inspired by Sir John Tenniel’s illustrations of the White Rabbit. He illustrated the first edition of Alice and I’ve always loved them the most. This bag is worked in rows and then seamed up the sides later, including both color charts and written instructions. The White Rabbit panel is done with intarsia and the Red Heart panel is crocheted using stranded color work.

$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 White Rabbit Tote pattern here. Or you can go the old-fashioned route and purchase the crochet pattern from our Etsy Store.

red heart tote

I used Cascade Yarns Cascade 220 for this project. It’s a great all-purpose wool with a wide color palate and lots of durability, which is perfect for totes. I’d love to release a line of bags like this one, and if I get the time this year, I’ll probably end up using this yarn again and again for it.

~Jac
Alice: “How long is forever?” White Rabbit: “Sometimes, just one second.”

2015 Prize Baskets: Knitters Pride

Somewhere out there, four lucky people are about to win the #knitting lottery from the #geekalong 2014 raffle on #ravelry

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

I know what you’re thinking. How can we start talking about the prize baskets for the 2015 Geek-A-Long when we don’t know who won the 2014 prizes? Fear not, gentle readers. The winners will be revealed next week. For now, lets talk about the 2015 raffle and Knitters Pride.

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.

I’m proud to announce that Knitter’s Pride is returning as a Geek-A-Long benefactor this year! In 2014, they donated a selection of circular needles, which you can read about here. Not to be outdone, they sent over four needle sets for the 2015 raffle!free knitters pride needle sets

Clockwise starting from the top, we have the Nova Platina Interchangeable Chunky Set, Bamboo Special Interchangeable Needle Set, Nova Cubics Platina Double Pointed Needle Set, and the Karbonz Double Pointed Needle Set.

Megan-Anne and I have our own set of Nova Cubics sock needles and they are magical. The long, pointy tips make knitting faster, and color work feels like a breeze. I haven’t had the chance to use their bamboo needles, but these things have GOLD PLATED connectors! Talk about decadence. There’s nothing like 24 karat gold to make everything feel 100% fancier.

The Karbonz, on the other hand, have the benefits of wooded needles with the warm wood feeling and the vitality of metal needles without the tin smell that sometimes accompany them. If you’re a needle breaker like me, Karbonz are for you. They have give and hold up to people who don’t understand the phrase “firm but gentle.”

Thank you for your generous donation to the Geek-A-Long participants, Knitter’s Pride! You can find Knitter’s Pride on their website, twitter, and instagram.  If you’d like to see the other Geek-A-Long benefactors, you can find them here.

~ Jac
It also makes everything 20% cooler.

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2015 Geek-A-Long: Dr Venture

week 5 Dr. Venture (2)

week 5 Dr. Venture (1)

We’re always up for action… and adventure!

I am SUPER excited to be adding Dr. Thaddeus “Rusty” Venture to the 2015 Geek-A-Long blanket. The Venture Brothers were on our original list for 2014, but we held him back once the Mad Science theme for this year was decided.

Son of the famous scientist, Dr. Jonas Venture Sr., and father of Hank and Dean Venture, Rusty is the poster child for underdog nerds. He spent his life trying to get out of his father’s shadow, and though he is arguably one of the greatest (if not most ethical) scientific minds of his era, conventional scientific communities shun him. Say what you will about his inventions, anyone that can clone his sons that many times has got to be a genius. And let’s not forget about his work as a philanthropist! His work with the Scrotal Safety Commission is saving lives, one testical at a time.

I’ll admit, his record isn’t spotless. I’m not sure how many times his sons have died at this point, and I doubt he is either. But his contributions to science cannot be ignored!

Designing this one was really personal for me. I met Mr. Llama at a Halloween party. He was there as Rusty Venture, speed suit and all, and I was Cruella DeVille. I don’t have a pic of him in his speedsuite from that night, but I really wish I did. This could be the copious amount of Midori Sours I had earlier in the night talking, but my memory says he was downright resplendent. A few short weeks later we were on our first date (the Franklin Institute followed by Dave & Busters for those of you keeping score at home).

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Whether you’re knitting, crocheting, or cross stitching this square, you can download the Dr. Venture 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
He gave me a custom made Venture Labs business card with his number on it. Nerd Love.

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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.

Amelia Stole

Jac's Fav Pics (2)

“It was a very fine and beautiful web, and the merchant made a very good bargain when he gave her twenty guineas for her shawl.”

~ Vanity Fairy by William Makepeace Thackeray

I am thrilled to announce that the Amelia Stole has joined the Kniterary collection and is available as a Ravelry Download.

$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 Amelia Stole here. Or you can purchase the pattern from the Lattes & Llamas Etsy store.

Jac's Fav Pics (1)

A knit lace shawl was high on the list of expensive presents that Amelia Sedley received from the Major before her family fell from society’s grace. Vanity Fair is one of my favorite books, and I regularly stare sadly at my closet wishing that it were socially acceptable to dress like a 19th century socialite. While a corset and crinoline might be a little much for my daily trip to the coffee house, the good news is a shawl is timeless. Amelia’s Stole is decadent enough for Becky Sharp to wear to a ball and versatile enough for you to wear it to Starbucks. Worked in a traditional fringed rectangle, and accented with crystal beads, this will quickly become a staple in your wardrobe.

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Worked in stunning Manos del Uruguay Fino Yarn and accented with Swarovski beads, this project has been a treat for me from swatch to cast off.

I like to take this moment in a pattern release to talk about the yarn I used. It’s honestly difficult to do justice to Fino with words. I wish that technology had gotten to the point that I could just upload “swatch” the way I upload a picture and you could rub it on your face, because this is face worthy yarn. The colors are amazing, and I’m pretty biased to the amethyst earring colorway. If I were a mythical creature, this is the color my skin would be. As much as I love the Fino colors though, what makes this yarn is the feel. It’s decadent. It’s like knitting with light, lofty butter. I want to make sheets out of it and roll around on them naked*.

~Megan-Anne
*Please note that Fino is handwash only. Roll around naked on it at your own risk.

*****
Wish you could get your hands on even more Kniterary goodness?  The Amelia Stole joins Shersocks, the Scarlet Letterman JacketH.P. LoveVestDaisy Buchanan Gloves, and Seven Rings Cowl in the Kniterary collection. Stay tuned because there’s much more to come!

Yarn Review: Cleckheaton

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Photo from Cleckheaton Yarn

Australian Superfine Merino

Photo from Cleckheaton Yarn

One of my favorite things about my job is getting to try out new fibers. I am happy to say that rubbing new yarn on my face can be considered “work time.” It’s not a secret that I have lust in my heart for Merino, and I’ll knit up a swatch out of just about anything with at least a 20% Merino content. So, I was pretty stoked when Cleckheaton reached out to ask if I’d like to check out their new yarn and let y’all know what I thought about it. I got my grabby hands on a couple balls of their new 8 ply Merino and commenced with the face rubbing. The timing was good because I was sipping on some Haterade the night it arrived, and it was just the thing to improve my mood.

Let’s start with the amazing. I LOVE the way this yarn feels. Normally, a yarn like this would be a 3 or a 4 ply, but the 8 plys make it just run through your hands like silk. The colors are great too, and although I opted to just try out one of their free patterns, I think it would make a great choice for color work. I made one of the beanies in True Blue and Dark Grey:

Hats and Psych…the perfect Thursday #knitting #knitstagram #psych #IveHeardItBothWays

A photo posted by Dr. Megan-Anne Llama (@doctor_llama) on

I’m a sucker for yarn with a good story, and I love hearing about the people behind the fibers I love so much. I think, as a knitter, it’s easy to forget how many real people are behind the yarn we depend on. Cleckheaton Superfine comes to us all the way from sunny Australia, and only comes from the very few sheep that can be classified as Superfine Merino Wool.

Fun Fact: Just like Champagne can only come from a specific part of France, Superfine Merino Wool can only come from a very special sheep!

sheep say whatIn the past, this wool was reserved for fine men’s suits. I get a certain amount of twisted pleasure knowing that, originally, this wool was not meant for me. I don’t know if a sheep could really be considered a feminist, but I like to imagine that they were. I like to picture them going on strike and demanding to be made available to everyone, regardless of gender or socioeconomic class.

Anyhow, the good folks over at the Australian Superfine Wool Growers Association (ASWGA) decided they were not going to stand for the oppression of not having Superfine Merino available to the masses. Your beanies deserve a little luxury! So they paired up with the ladies and gentlemen over at Cleckheaton to create a line of yarn that would feature this extra special fiber in a yarn that could be used for everything from basic beanies to fine sweaters and dresses. Honestly, the only thing I wasn’t over the moon for was the ball. I prefer yarn to come skeined or wound into a cake, because when it’s in a ball I tangle it. The yarn was a real treat though, and I like to imagine I’m doing my part to help these Superfine Merino Sheep get their due.

~ Megan-Anne
Never let the woolen patriarchy get you down.

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