Have you seen this blanket?

posterA few weeks ago Jac and I popped* out to Seattle for the Child’s Play Dinner Auction. We’re down for just about any opportunity to get all gussied up, but this was extra special since it was our final goodbye to the 2014 Geek-A-Long Blanket.

(*In this case, “popped” means “spent 7 hours on a plane”.)

We had an incredible night, but it was hard to say goodbye. The Geek-A-Long has become a huge part of our lives over the last year, and even as I work on the 2015 blanket it’s hard not to miss the 2014 GAL. The blanket was sold as a part of the silent auction that preceded the live auction. As a result, I don’t know who bought it or exactly how much it went for. I’d like too though. So take to the tweetys, the instant grahams, and the tumblings and let the world know that we’d love to know who wound up with the blanket! Basically, we want to appreciate them for appreciating us. :)

In addition to saying goodbye to our wooly friend, we had a crazy night rubbing elbows with the creme de la nerds.

2014 Child's Play dinner and auction

Even the food was dressed up for the evening.

Mmmm, yes. Don't mind if I do. #childsplaydinner #foodporn #childsplaycharity

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

I bid on a great big print of the magic card designed and signed by Mike and Jerry of Penny Arcade but was outbid in the final moments of the silent auction. I sat at a table with someone from Wizards of the Coast and met someone from Bungie as well. I had a wonderful chat with the warehouse manager from Penny Arcade, and she was super cool. I also managed not to shame myself fangirling all over Mike Krahulik, even though I really wanted to. I’m told by Jac that I bumped into him, but was too distracted to enjoy the moment. ;)

Of course as fun as the food, crazy auction items, and bourgeois nerdery was, the point of the evening was to support Child’s Play. So I wanted to take this moment to remind you guys that there are still a few weeks to get in your donations and help us meet our 2014 goal. We aren’t quite there yet, and need your help! Click here and show them some love if you can. Every dollar helps.

On a separate note, last week I promised that if you came back today I would show you how to edge your blanket. Once you are finished joining your squares, you’ll probably want to just stop and enjoy it, but trust me, a nice edge makes all the difference! But speaking as someone who gets to that point in a project and just wants to be done, I chose a simple fast edging. I did my whole edging in one sitting. If you are familiar with my patterns, chances are you’ve seen this technique before, because I love to put i-cords on stuff.

:::Adding An Applied I-Cord:::

An applied i-cord is added to any edge by working an i-cord as usual and knitting the last stitch of each pick up row (these are noted in the pattern and are usually every row of work, or every other row of work) together with the last stitch of the i-cord. It looks really clean and polished, and is one of the fastest ways of edging things I know.

SUPPLIES
Needles: US 7 Double Pointed Needles (DPNs)

FIRST
Choose a place to start. Pick anywhere except a corner. I chose to start at the top of the bottom right hand square, worked up along the edge then across the top, down the other side, along the bottom, and finally up that last square to where I cast on. With the right side of the blanket facing you, join your yarn (for a nice polished look use the same yarn you knit the joins with). You don’t need to fret about ends here. They can be tucked into the blanket, so don’t worry about being fancy with this. Just knot the yarn right onto the blanket where you want to start.

Note that for the edge you will work through BOTH SIDES of the blanket when you pick up. So when I tell you to “pick up a stitch” I really mean to pick up the same stitch from both the front and the back. These 2 sts are treated as one stitch, and when I tell you to knit them together with the i-cord stitch, knit through them as if they are 1 stitch. You just stab your DPN through the blanket at the desired stitch to achieve this. Don’t over think it. ;)

NEXT
CO 3 sts. PU 1 st from the blanket edge (4 on dpn, and the picked up st is the last st in the row). Using 2nd dpn, K2, K2tog. DO NOT TURN.

THEN
* PU 1 st from the blanket edge and slide sts to right side of the dpn and bringing yarn around the back K2, K2tog. Repeat from * until you are 1 stitch away from a corner.

Note that on the vertical edges you will pick up EVERY OTHER stitch from the blanket and on the horizontal (top and bottom) edges you will pick up EVERY stitch from the blanket.

CORNER

  1. When you are one stitch away from the corner: Without picking up a stitch, *slide the stitches to the right side of the needle and K3. Repeat from * twice more.
  2. PU the corner stitch (skipping the stitch just before it) and slide sts to right side of the dpn, bringing yarn around the back K2, K2tog.
  3. Without picking up a stitch, *slide the stitches to the right side of the needle and K3. Repeat from * twice more.
  4. Skipping the stitch right after the corner, pick up the next stitch and slide sts to right side of the dpn, bringing yarn around the back K2, K2tog.

Continue working along the edges, working the corner instructions every time you reach 1 st before the corner. When you return to your cast on BO your i-cord sts leaving a long tail. Use a tapestry needle to whip stitch the bind off to the cast on.

~Megan-Anne
“You know some college kid is using that blanket for his special alone time right? He’ll say he was looking at Wonder Woman, but he was really looking at Batman.”-Mr. Cappuccino on the blanket’s new owner.

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The Lattes and Llamas Join

week 48 Game Over (1)

I’m not going to say that the GAL squares aren’t fabulous by themselves. They are. But let’s face it, how many massively oversized coasters does one girl need? You could make them into pillow cases by sewing 2 of them back to back I suppose, but really, what will you do with 24 throw pillows? I put a lot of time and energy into figuring out a way to not do work. I swear to you I did. But after days of consideration, I’m afraid there’s no recourse but to join them together into a blanket. On the upside, when you’re done, it’ll look like this:

Geek-A-Long blanket with an Iron

For our blanket I wanted to do a double sided join. I was unable to find such a technique, so I have invented one. I was going to call it

The Megan-Anne and Jac are super pretty and fashion forward double sided knitting join.

However, I was informed by the peanut gallery that it was maybe a bit long-winded. So we edited it down to the Lattes and Llamas Join (LLJ). You can say it in a single breath, so I figure we’re on the right track.

For this technique to work, you will need to knit backwards on every other row. I know this isn’t called for often, and many of you may not have had a reason to do it before, but if you have to flip this every other row, you will want to kill me by the end of the blanket. And I do not want scores of angry and tired crafters wielding pointy sticks showing up on my lawn. Plus, it’s a pretty handy tool to have in the notions bag of your mind. It can save you tons of time on projects that would otherwise require tons of turning your work.

To get this joining party started I put together a small project so that you can familiarize yourself with the LLJ. I’m going to edge and frame mine, but we will get to edging next week. For now, let’s get SAsSY!

SAsSY elements wall art

It’s SAsSY!

:::The Lattes and Llamas Join:::

FIRST

Download the PDF pattern for SAsSY wall art. Knit four of the squares and then come back for step two.

NEXT

SAsSY Tutorial Materials
Choose two squares to join and assemble your tools. I started in the middle, but there is no particular advantage to where you start. Also, you may choose to join your SAsSY squares as a square rather than in a straight line, which will allow you to practice joining the squares both vertically and horizontally. You will need the squares (obviously), scissors, a crochet hook, a tapestry needle (optional), two lengths of waste yarn that are at least 1.5 times as long as your squares, and yarn for your joins as well size 6 (0r the size used to obtain gauge on your GAL squares) and size 7 (or one size up from the needles used to obtain gauge) DPNs.

Note: 

The larger DPNs are for the horizontal join, which is not pictured here, but does have written instructions in the pattern and at the bottom of this post. The technique for the horizontal join is exactly the same as the vertical join, except with needles that are one size larger.

THEN

First, we will work joins on the right side of the squares. Afterwards, you will flip it and work them on the back. Once you have joined a strip of squares you will work the horizontal joins to connect the strips.

Beginning at the top right corner of the second square, use a crochet hook and the join yarn to pick up one stitch for each row of the square. You will slip these stitches onto a length of waste yarn to hold them until you are ready to work them. I generally pick up five to ten sts and then slip them onto the waste yarn with the crochet hook or tapestry needle.

how to join GAL squares 1

  1. Slip crochet hook through the first stitch and grab the yarn.
  2. Pull yarn through to create a stitch and leave it on the hook for now.
  3. Continue picking up stitches in this way until there are several on your hook.
  4. When the hook gets too full to work with comfortably, transfer sts to waste yarn.

Proceed until you have picked up one stitch for every row, then break yarn. Repeat on the next square (the one you will join this one to) by working up the left side of the square. Once you have picked up all the sts it should look like this:

Take care to pick up the same number of sts on each square.

Take care to pick up the same number of sts on each square.

Now that you have two squares with stitches picked up along the edge you will knit them together.

Knitting Backwards

This is done by inserting the left hand needle from left to right through left most stitch(es) on the working needle. Loop yarn over the inserted needle in a counter-clockwise motion and pull the yarn through. Essentially, you are purling along the back of your stitches from left to right. It may take a few tries before this feels natural, but it’s worth the effort and can save you a ton of time on turning heavy projects. It’s worth noting that if you try it out and just hate it there is no reason you can’t flip and purl, it will just mean a lot of flipping.

DSCN2922

LLJ STEP ONE

Using the smaller DPNs: Slip the bottom most stitch picked up on the right square onto DPN and cast on three more stitches.

LLJ STEP TWO

Slip the first stitch at the bottom of the left square onto the needle. Pick up the second stitch on the left square and knitting backwards knit these two stitches together. Knit backwards across three stitches (one stitch left on working needle). Pick up the next stitch from the holder on the right square and backwards knit this stitch together with the last stitch on the working needle. Five stitches on needle.

Need a little more help? Here are numbered directions corresponding with the picture tutorial below.

  1. One stitch from the holder, plus 3 cast on.
  2. First stitch picked up from left square.
  3. Second stitch picked up from left square.
  4. Needle inserted from left to right through the back loop of the first 2 sts to backwards knit two together.
  5. Working yarn wrapped counter-clockwise around the inserted needle.
  6. Stitch pulled though, 1 stitch on left needle, 4 on right needle.
  7. Continue knitting backwards across the row. At the last stitch pick up one from the right square and backwards knit it together with the last stitch on the working needle.

1) One stitch from the holder, plus 3 cast on. 2) First stitch picked up from left square. 3) 4) 5) 6) 7)

LLJ STEP THREE

Pick up the second stitch from the holder on the right square (six stitches on needle). Knit two stitches, slip two as if to knit together, knit the next stitch. Pass the two slipped stitches over the knit stitch and knit to end. Pick up the next stitch from the holder on the left square and knit it (five stitches on needle).

Repeat LLJ steps two and three up the square until there are no more stitches to pick up. At the top of the square bind off across the five join stitches. Turn the work over and repeat the process on the back side so that the join is double sided. Don’t worry about your yarn ends, just knot them to secure them and tuck them into the joins when you’re done.

Horizontal Joins

These are worked in the exact same way as the vertical joins done above. You will pick up one stitch for each stitch across two strips of joined squares. Depending on the bindoff method you used for your squares you will have the option to either pick up the last worked stitch at the top of a square, or to pick up the front of the bindoff on the front and the back of the bindoff on the back.

Using US7 DPNs and the same color used to do the vertical join, pick up the stitches along the front bottom of the joined strip of squares, working from right to left. (I will call this strip one.) Break yarn and put these stitches on a holder. Pick up the stitches along the top of the second strip working from left to right. Place stitches on a holder, but do not break yarn. Slip the bottom most stitch (the one attached to your working yarn) onto DPN and cast on three more stitches. Repeat LLJ Steps 2 and 3 all the way up the squares until there are no more stitches on the holders. Bind off across the join using the bind off method of your choice.

Whew! I know that was a lot of work, but it looks so pretty. The way I see it, why bother doing all the work for a double sided blanket that has a wrong side on the joins?

~Megan-Anne
“I don’t want dolphin’s peeping at my bod”-Jac

The Beatnik Beret

Beatnik Beret (3)

I know nearly three weeks have passed since I wrote about my inspiration for the Beatnik Beret, but it feels as if it was just yesterday. This project was like a whirlwind for me. It when from conception to physical item and then to my testers in less than three days. And now here I am, releasing it to the world. It helped that I had the perfect yarn on hand, Universal Yarn’s Uptown DK, but what really made the whole process go along so quickly was the simplicity. The pattern utilizes two stitches: sc and sc-blo. They give it this great texture and a mindless repeat, which makes it a nice Sunday afternoon project.

Beatnik Beret (1)

Beatniks unite! Whether you’re fighting convention, slinging syllables, or sipping espresso, you’ll be one cool cat in the Beatnik Beret. Made top down in continuous rows, this hat as two inches of give and works up quickly. One Size Fits Most: 20 inch circumference stretches up to 22 inches.

For a limited time only, use the coupon code GIVINGTHANKS to receive 10% off your purchase on any Lattes and Llamas pattern in our Ravelry or Etsy stores now through December 7th.

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

Beatnik Beret (4)

~Jac
Be cool, Daddy-O.

Free Stuff: Blue Moon Fiber Arts

When Megan-Anne told me Blue Moon Fiber Arts was going to be the Geek-A-Long benefactor for November, I said: “Blue Moon, who?” To which she replied, “You know, the Socks That Rock.” And then I squeed like a 1990’s tween girl at a New Kids on the Block concert.

Over the past year, we’ve received many packages from companies willing to donate their products in the name of awesomeness. That awesomeness being the Geek-A-Long participants and their efforts to raise money and awareness for Child’s Play Charity. Every time we receive a box from our benefactors, I’m always surprised. It’s not that it shows up unannounced, we have email confirmations and such, but I’m overcome by their generosity. Then, of course, that surreal feeling morphs into jealousy since one day soon four lucky winners will get to be the proud owners of this sweet sock yarn and not me.

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.

My twinges of jealousy were especially twingey this time when that box came in the mail. I adore Blue Moon’s Socks That Rock. From the bold and gorgeous colorways to the super soft merino, it makes me want to knit all the socks ever. And that’s coming from a bonafide crochet girl. One of these days, I’m going to join their Rockin’ Sock Club and enjoy receiving their yarn in the mail just for me once a month for a whole year.

socks that rock

Blue Moon Fiber Arts was kind enough to send us four skeins of their hand dyed Socks That Rock yarn for the prize baskets. Each one contains 405 yard of 100% Superwash Merino. I love the names of the yarn. From left to right: Twitterpated, Blue Box Fever, Froggin’, and FrankenHen.

Blue Moon's Socks that Rock

About Tina Newton & Blue Moon Fiber Arts

More than just a color genius, Tina brings to the yarn world a wealth of fiber knowledge and experience and an extraordinary artistic flair. The love affair started with spinning. Soon after, she began dyeing her own roving and discovered not only a talent but a passion. She then began translating her color theory from her own handspun onto millspun yarns and Blue Moon was born. Tina has a fertile imagination and the practical creativity to support it. This energy is contagious and inspiring. She loves sharing her vision and working with others. This is the spirit of Blue Moon.

Thank you for your generous donation to the Geek-A-Long participants, Blue Moon Fiber Arts! You can find Blue Moon on their website, Twitter, and Facebook. If you’d like to view the other Geek-A-Long benefactors and prizes, you can find them here.

~ Jac
Don’t worry, New Kids on the Block. I’ll always be your girl.

* * * * *
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2014 Geek-A-Long: Game Over

week 48 Game Over (1)

I thought a lot about what to write here. I have been downright angsty about it. It’s week 48 of the first annual Geek-A-Long, and I wanted to be pithy. I’m not often rendered speechless*, but I am unable to put into words how much this project has meant to me. Interpretive dance might get the job done, but that doesn’t translate super well to blogging. In lieu of that, let’s take a walk down the we’re-so-cool-lane.

week 48 Game Over (2)

I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve done here and I want you to be proud too. So warm up your bragging voice guys, because you have a whole lot to gloat about.

  • As of posting this, GAL participants have donated nearly $700 to Child’s Play Charity. This doesn’t account for any donations that did not go through our widget, anything that will be donated during December, or the money that the L&L blanket will make at the Child’s Play Dinner Auction. That buys sick kids a pretty sweet pile of video games. In addition to cash monies, we have raised mad awareness. I hear on a daily basis about someone who found out about Child’s Play for the first time through someone knitting a square.
  • I can’t measure exactly how many squares have been made. However, I know how many have shown up on Ravelry, and how many GAL patterns have been downloaded. Based on those 2 factors it’s a safe guess to say that the number is in the ballpark of 10,000-15,000. That means there are over 100,000 square inches of GAL out in the world. If we lined them all up, they would span more than two miles.
  • There are over 1,000 members in the GAL Ravelry group. I think we can comfortably describe ourselves as a “community”.
  • The first 2015 GAL square, which I am insanely excited about, will debut on January 4th. At that time you will be able to say that you were in the founding members group.

week 48 Game Over (4)

I’ll see you back here in a week to talk about how to put this crazy blanket together.

week 48 Game Over (3)

Child’s Play Charity

© 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 Game Over. 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). Note that the first row is a right side row.  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 48 Game Over (5)

Don’t forget to tweet or instagram them at me @Doctor_Llama or Jac @jac_attacking 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
*My version of speechless is actually still full of words, but I ramble to stall for time while I frantically search for something smart to say.

* * * * *

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.

Ritual Sacrifice

"To commemorate a past event, you kill and eat an animal. It's a ritual sacrifice. With pie."

“To commemorate a past event, you kill and eat an animal. It’s a ritual sacrifice. With pie.” ~Anya

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m spending my day at my inlaw’s house eating myself into oblivion. Fun Fact: marrying into an Italian family really pays off at holiday meal time. I’m a little bummed this year that I won’t get to enjoy Black Friday shopping in all its glory, which is something I usually look forward to all year long. But Black Friday begins at 12:01AM on actual Friday and I refuse to shop at 6PM on Thanksgiving. I imagine I’ll still get all the stuff that I want, but I probably won’t get to elbow anyone for it, so it just won’t have the same magic.

I have a lot to be thankful for this year, and my gratitude-list just wouldn’t be complete without Misha Collins as Castiel. I had forgotten about this until we got our holiday decorations out, but last year I made this abomination to punk Jac:

photo 4

We put up our tree last week and I stuck this guy on top of it. Then I was quickly informed that no, we won’t be displaying him in our home this year. I think that was just her way of telling me to make a better one though. So when she returns from Indiana, she will be greeted by a new and somewhat less creepy Cas!

I am Castiel, Angel of the Lord. I am the one who gripped you tight and pulled you from Perdition. And I like warm hugs.

I am Castiel, Angel of the Lord. I am the one who gripped you tight and pulled you from Perdition. And I like warm hugs.

You can cross “tree-topper” off your Black Friday list and make your very own Cas! Download the PDF Castiel Tree Topper and gather your scraps, because this is a great stash buster. I used leftover bits of yarn from other projects and you won’t need more than 50 yards of any of the colors. Special materials include floral wire to make the wings stand up and a printable iron on transfer paper for his face. You can get both at most craft stores. The hat is placed on top, not stitched on, (I did use a T-Pin though, to keep my Cas’ hat on since my cats like to climb the tree) and you could dress him up seasonally like a concrete goose.

So happy Thanksgiving guys, I hope you have a great one. Oh, and if you make your own Cas, make sure and tweet pics of him to Jac at @jac_attacking. She’ll LOVE it.

~Megan-Anne
Our national bird was almost the turkey. True story.

2014 Geek-A-Long: Child’s Play Charity

week 47 Child's Play Charity (3)

Okay, so Child’s Play is not a fandom, but I’m hoping you’ll bear with me on this one. It’s week 47 and as the 2014 Geek-A-Long comes to a close, we wanted to take some time to talk about what brought us all together in the first place. Child’s Play Charity has been close to my heart since its conception, and I’m incredibly humbled by how many of you joined up with us this year in supporting them. Nerds as a species are not usually known for being socially proactive, but Child’s Play proves just how wrong that assumption is. I’ve talked about Child’s Play several times in this space. I considered rehashing all of that today, but this week just isn’t about me. If you want to read about why Child’s Play means so much to me, you can check that out here and here.

This week I want to let the fabulous people behind Child’s Play do the talking:

As a part of their ongoing mission to atone for the crime of being gamers, Jerry “Tycho” Holkins and Mike “Gabe” Krahulik founded Child’s Play in 2003. Since then they have raised over 25 million dollars to improve the lives of children in hospitals and domestic violence shelters.

The truth is that this post could go on indefinitely. I could embed hours of videos and testimonials about the impact Child’s Play has had. And that’s before I even start fangirling about Mike and Jerry, which comes pretty naturally for me. I’ll spare you this once though, since it’s for charity. As always, please consider showing Child’s Play some monetary love via our widget if you can, and knit on!

week 47 Child's Play Charity (1)

Child’s Play Charity

© 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 Child’s Play. 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). Note that the first row is a right side row.  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 row of double-sided knitting. BO.

week 47 Child's Play Charity (2)

Don’t forget to tweet or instagram them at me @Doctor_Llama or Jac @jac_attacking 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
You guys are the best.

* * * * *

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: The Neverending Story

week 46 The Neverending Story (2)

The Neverending  Story was my favorite movie when I was a kid, but I didn’t read the book until after college. In some ways, I feel like I missed out. The book is amazing, and I can only imagine how much child-me would have loved it. It’s escapism at its best, and just meta enough to make it easy to believe the premise, which ought to be ridiculous. Even the name of the world, Fantastica, is pretty silly. But Michael Ende knew what he was doing, and at the beginning of the book he presents the fantasy elements as imaginary.  As the book within the book gets more and more real for Bastian, it started to feel more real for me too.

week 46 The Neverending Story (4)

This is the last literary reference of the year and I wanted to bring out something really special. I don’t know if I would have had the same reaction to the AURYN as a kid that I had to it as an adult, but grown-up me was fascinated by it when I read the book. I think the idea of a magical item that grants unlimited wishes, with the stipulation that the wearer loses one of the memories that makes them human, is brilliant. A friend recently showed me the movie The Brass Teapot and it reminded me of the AURYN in a huge way (you should watch it, it’s on Netflix!). No one in these situations really understands what they are giving up until the ante has been upped so much that it feels like there’s no way out. Bastian lost every memory except his mother, father, and his own name before he realized the power that the AURYN had over him. It is both the most delightful, and terrifying plot device I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.

This square almost didn’t make the final cut for the blanket. We had cut it from our original list of square ideas to make room for other fandoms, but when I drew up this pattern we knew it had to go back on.

week 46 The Neverending Story (1)

The Neverending Story

© 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 Neverending Story. 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). Note that the first row is a right side row.  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 46 The Neverending Story (3)

Don’t forget to tweet or instagram them at me @Doctor_Llama or Jac @jac_attacking 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
DO WHAT YOU WISH

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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.

A Shape in a Drape

Beatnik Beret (2)

This afternoon, as I transcribed my scribbled notes into readable instructions for the Beatnik Beret, it came to my attention that I hate writing blurbs. How can I possibly turn my inspiration for the beret into a few pithy sentences meant to make people smile and also convince them to crochet it for themselves? Answer: I have no idea.

Instead of just sitting down and writing the blurb like a normal person, I re-watched my original inspiration, Audrey Hepburn as Jo Stockton in Funny Face. Paired with a new skein of yarn and my crochet hook, it seemed like a better way to spend the afternoon. The movie reminded me that the greatest travesty isn’t that models like to trespass and ignore bookshop clerks, but that those pink monsters misshelve books after tossing them about for their photo shoots. Disgusting. Then, of course, I was reminded why I wanted to make a beret in the first place. This iconic scene:

Awesome, right? It makes me want to put on my Beatnik Beret and flounce about the living room, dancing out my feelings.

If you’d like a Beatnik Beret of your very own, I am currently calling for testers. If you’re interested, check out this thread on Ravelry. Besides receiving a free crochet pattern, all of my testers will get a copy of Kniterary Crochet when it releases in December.

~ Jac
“A shape in a drape” is beatnik slang for “a well dressed person”.

2014 Geek-A-Long: Lego

week 45 lego (1)

Everything isn’t awesome. Everything isn’t cool when you’re a part of Megan-Anne’s team. Everything isn’t awesome when she releases squares out of order.

I hope all of you have seen The Lego Movie or else the above paragraph isn’t very funny, but it’s still true. Last week, Megan-Anne released The Princess Bride square out of order, which sent off a chain reaction resulting in another week with minimal pictures. Sorry. Although, no one is more upset about it than me. I meticulously took pictures before she began the joins, using our preset schedule as a guide. I even took some great photographs of my cat being a jerk to post to Instagram on the appropriate Caturdays. But, no. They all had spoilers in them.

Anyway, Legos are awesome. They’re the perfect toy for children (and adults) to build motor skills, creativity, problem-solving skills, and also the ultimate home security system. All you have to do is sprinkle some of those bad boys on the carpet before leaving the house, and intruders will cry all the way to the ER. From personal experience, I also know that you can carefully craft swords and have the most epic battle known to man with your siblings.

"Everything is awesome! Everything is cool when you're part of a team!" #lego #geekalong #knitting #thelegomovie

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

The design for this square came together pretty quick. We knew we wanted to feature the traditional bricks. The biggest question was which colors we would use.

week 45 lego (3)

Lego

© 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 LEGO. 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 1 row of double-sided knitting (knit the facing sts and purl the back sts across). Note that the first row is a wrong side row.  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 55 rows in double-sided knitting.

Work 1 row of double-sided knitting. BO.

week 45 lego (2)

Don’t forget to tweet or instagram them at me @Doctor_Llama or Jac @jac_attacking 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.

~ Jac
On a scale from 1 to ‘Stepping on a Lego at 3 a.m. in the dark on the way to the bathroom’, how much pain are you in?

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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.