“The Analytical Engine weaves algebraic patterns, just as the Jacquard loom weaves flowers and leaves.”-Ada Lovelace
Can you guys believe it’s the last square of 2015?! This year has flown by, and I’m super excited to tell you about the twists and turns we have in store for next year. Stay tuned the next four Sundays because we’ll be releasing instructions for a brand new user-friendly join AND dropping some pretty exciting spoilers about 2016.
I hijacked Jac’s last GAL post of 2015 to tell you about Ada Lovelace. She is my #1 hero of science, and even though her square ended up on Jac’s blanket I wanted to be the one to tell you about her. Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace had an incredible capacity for math and science, and a flare for fashion.
Ada’s childhood was the stuff of a Victorian Romance Novel. Her father left her mother when she was just a month old and her mother was negligent at best. She lived with her grandmother, who appeared to love her very much, but was the talk of the town because of how much her dad (Lord Byron) got around. As a teen she had an illicit affair with her tutor and even ran away with him, but got caught and was sent home. She did what any girl would do under such melodramatic circumstances: She became an accomplished mathematician.
Ada is best known for her work on the Analytical/ Difference Engine with Charles Babbage. This is one of the world’s earliest computers, and even Babbage admitted that without Ada’s work it wouldn’t have come to be. Which was a BIG admission from a male scientist at a time when women couldn’t attend university, join scientific societies, vote, and were basically barely even considered people. In fact, to this day, most websites still refer to Ada as Babbage’s assistant. Sigh.
Ok, so at this point you may be wondering why I embedded a random video on Jacquard Looms. While I do love me a non-sequitur, this is actually on topic. Ada’s work on the Analyitical Engine was heavily inspired by the punch card Jaquard Looms that were the cornerstone of the high-end textile industry at the time. She applied the same concept of punch cards to her computer, and her punch cards were essentially the first computer programs ever written. I find that unbelievably cool. I like to tell people about it whether or not they’ve asked me. For this last square, I did my best to simulated a punch card that reads “Geek A Long 2015”. It’s like our own little nerdy in joke on the blanket and I really like that. For most of our squares we think about what would be recognizable, but for this one we really geeked out.
It’s been an amazing year. We loved putting this together for you, and we hope you’ve loved making it. Don’t forget to post pics of your finished project on the Ravelry group to get in the prize raffle and I hope to see you here again next year for another 48 weeks of unrestrained yarn based nerding. If you haven’t already, please consider donating to Child’s Play Charity. We will keep these patterns free forever and just ask that anyone with a few extra dollars send them CP’s way. Every little bit helps them improve the lives of kids in hospitals and domestic violence shelters.
Whether you’re knitting, crocheting, or cross stitching this square, you can download the Ada Lovelace 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 @Doctor_Llama or Jac @jac_attacking 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.
Don’t worry though guys, I’m not the only giving her her due. The Defense department named their computer system “Ada” in her honor. Cool!
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