2018 Geek-A-Long: Caffeinated

This year, in bold defiance of expectations, we threw out the Geek-A-Long rule book and are including some non-square designs in place of the usual GAL posts. Every fourth week, we will release a premium pattern that was inspired by one of our favorite squares from years past. Check out the Squares page for the complete schedule. The premium patterns will be released on Ravelry for $6.00 each with $1.00 from every sale getting donated to Child’s Play Charity. But for you, because you deserve it, they will be free! The Geek-A-Long post on premium pattern day will contain a coupon code to get the pattern free on Ravelry. Just come here, grab your code, and you’ll be all set to download the pattern. So, with no further ado, I present the first pattern in our Geek-A-Long line: Caffeinated.

You can get your Caffeinated shawl pattern for free by clicking the link below and entering the code COFFEEISLIFE at check out.

Get your pattern HERE

Inspired by the very first Geek-A-Long square, the Caffeinated Shawl is made of squishy, luxurious brioche and strips of double knitting featuring Caffeine and Dopamine molecules. The original square, and first ever Geek-A-Long post can be found here. I’ll be honest, looking at that post from 2014, all I can think is:

Wow. That was a million years ago.

Maybe it’s something about the transition from my 20s to my 30s that makes it seem like so much longer than four years ago. I was 29 when the first Geek-A-Long* square came out, and I think that I’ve changed a lot in that time. When I made that first square, the caffeine molecule summed up all my hopes and dreams for my career. I was going to be a Doctor, probably some kind of pioneering Rocket Surgeon. I was in my last year at the Drexel College of Medicine Post Bac program and gearing up to take my MCATs and apply to med school.

I realized the other day, when I was thinking about the shawl and how we got from that first square to here, that I never really explained how things ended up for me. I didn’t wind up in medical school, but there is more to the story than just that. Drexel was a miserable experience. I’m not one to get all regretful, but I wouldn’t wish that experience on anybody. I made a couple of really great friends, but that’s all I can say for that program. Drexel left me in a bad mind-space, and I didn’t bring my A-game to the MCATs. I did okay. If I’d have applied broadly enough, I would have gotten in somewhere. But I didn’t do well enough to get into any of the schools I really wanted to be at. After dealing with the ego-smashing rejection from all my top choice schools, I took a swim in lake me and decided to look at other doctoral options.

At that point, it was well into 2015 and things at L&L were going well. In June of 2015, we launched our yarn line with Vacation Yarn. The current Vacation Yarn evolved a lot from those first colors. We quickly switched to a higher quality wool, and the yarn is a little finer than the original twist, which was more of a heavy sock weight. But I digress. Anyhow, we launched our yarn line and literally just a week or two later, I found out I was pregnant. I was waist deep in PhD program applications, juggling an infant yarn company, working full time, and now growing a tiny human too. I’ve joked before about how I operate on the Men-In-Black 36-hour day, but something had to take a cut. Even if I had 36 hour days, I couldn’t have kept up with everything.

The pregnancy was a surprise. Due to some preexisting conditions on my part, we were told we couldn’t conceive. We had planned on having a family through adoption after I was done with school, so Mabel was a welcome surprise, but still a surprise. I decided to put off my applications for a year to focus on Lattes & Llamas and creating life. But when Mabel arrived, I had a hard time dealing with things. I haven’t talked about my postpartum depression here before, but I struggled a lot her first year. I put on a good Facebook front, but the truth was that I cried everyday and felt horrible. I got help, had Jac and Kevin here supporting me, and am now in a WAY better place. Mabel the Merciless turned two last week, and now that I’ve dealt with my shit I’m loving motherhood.

So that’s how four years just completely got away from me and why grad school has been the last thing on my mind for a long time. My friends that went to med school right after Drexel are finishing their programs. I never did that, but I feel really good about it. I have a Mabel. I have Lattes & Llamas. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I might still get a PhD eventually, but I don’t feel like I missed out on anything. It’s been a weird twisty path, but I got where I was going. Which is here. I think that this shawl is such a good representation of what I became, instead of all the stuff I thought I’d be. For the last two years, I haven’t designed much outside of Geek-A-Long squares. This year, I’m giving myself the time and room to do it again. I’ve got a new collection in the works (based on D&D classes! more to come at a later date), and I’m in love with doing Geek-A-Long inspired designs.

Sorry for the weird, long, rambly life story I put in here. I guess you can probably expect a little of that on all the premium Geek-A-Long pattern posts. They make us nostalgic.

~ Megan-Anne
*Fun Geek-A-Long historical fact: we wanted to call it the Geek-A-Week, but then found out that was taken.

P.S. I knitted the Caffeinated shawl with Vacation Yarn. It seemed only right.

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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 official donation widget benefiting the charity. Please help us raise $1,000 this year. No contribution is too small! Wanna make your donation go even further? Lattes & Llamas will donate $1 for every skein of Geek-A-Long Yarn purchased. Ask your local yarn store to carry GAL Yarn or get it through our website.