Blankets · Craft Central · Geek-A-Long

WIP Wednesday ~ the Geek-A-Long edition

I was reminded earlier this month that some of you are new enough to the blog that you haven’t seen me talk about the Geek-A-Long blanket(s) yet. So, here’s an update!

First of all, what is the Geek-A-Long?

The Geek-A-Long (AKA the GAL) was started by Lattes and Llamas in 2014 to “improve our double sided knitting skills, raise awareness for Child’s Play Charity, and donate our Geek-A-Long blanket to their cause”. It’s a “year long mystery knit along” where participants knit geeky squares and then join them together into a blanket. Since the GAL started in 2014, L&L has raised over $6,000 for the Child’s Play charity — from donations (you can donate here, if you’re so moved) and sales of their special Geek-A-Long Yarn.

Child’s Play Charity provides games and toys to kids in hospitals and they recently expanded to include families in domestic violence shelters. Through the use of video games, these hospitals and domestic violence shelters are able to entertain, distract, and interact with children through the power of play. To learn more about the charity and ways to help the cause, please visit their website for more information.

Every year, L&L has knit up the squares they’ve designed, joined them into a blanket, and sent the finished blanket off to Child’s Play for their annual fundraising auction. (All of the links in that sentence are to the completed blankets from 2014 – 2018.)

Okay, that’s the basics. But what about the details?

First of all, if you are a knitter or crocheter (or you do cross-stitch, embroidery, or some other craft and want to join in and get creative with it) there’s a big, pretty active group on Ravelry where you can chat with others who are making these blankets. (Note: You will have to be logged in to Ravelry for that link to work.) If you’re just interested in seeing what squares they’ve designed, they are shown here. (You will note that they do get more complex as the years go on.)

If you want to start but are new to double-knitting, that’s just fine. I hadn’t done any double knitting before I started my first GAL blanket, either. As long as you start with a simpler square (and maybe a sampler swatch) you should be okay. There are lots of people in the Ravelry group who are happy to help out, too.

That’s all fine, but we came here for pictures!

Okay, okay. You shall have pictures.

(That square with the sparkly orange dragon? That’s the finished Skyrim square.)

When I started the GAL in 2016 to make myself a geeky blanket, I decided I was going to use it as a way to use up sock yarn scraps. I’m using black as one of the two colors for each square to keep it consistent, but many of the colorful yarns are scraps. The other contrast yarns are often a specific color yarn I bought to go with the individual square. (As an example, the Portal square called for very specific colors which I didn’t have in the stash.)

Because I am knitting the squares at a smaller scale than the pattern is written for (I’m using thinner yarn) it will take me more squares to make a full blanket. I’ve been combining squares from all of the years (except 2015 because the dimensions were different) to make my blanket.

And then L&L decided on a Marvel vs. DC theme for 2017. And I got this crazy idea in my head to knit a gift blanket for some loved ones who love the comics. But… maybe not. I mean, I hadn’t finished my own GAL blanket yet. I would be crazy to knit two at once.

So of course I cast on a gift blanket, too.

I mean, I gave it a lot of thought first. I started thinking about it in 2017 but didn’t actually cast on until sometime in 2018, that’s how long I was considering it. And I used worsted weight this time, so that the squares would be larger and I wouldn’t need to knit as many of them.

(Thank you for requesting this blog post — while I knew intellectually that there was a significant size difference between the two blankets, I’d never done a comparison pic before! This is a huge size difference!)

But the end result was that I had two GAL blankets on the needles at the same time. For a while I tried knitting on both at once, but it was too much for my brain. Instead I’ve been focusing on the gift version, and will start working on the one for myself again once this one is finished. I don’t know when that will be. I tend to make ambitious plans which are as often derailed by other ambitious plans to do something else entirely. But I will finish this eventually. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

And when it’s done — when they’re both done — they will be awesome.

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28 thoughts on “WIP Wednesday ~ the Geek-A-Long edition

  1. They are awesome! I always love seeing your newest GAL squares. Also, wow, there is a bigger size difference than I would have guessed between your sock and worsted squares!

  2. How long does it take you to knit a square? These are super awesome! It makes me want to learn how to knit to make one, but I already have too many half finished sewing, and crafting projects 😂 😂 I can’t wait to see your finished products!!

    1. Thank you! Honestly, each square takes a different amount of time to make. The simpler ones obviously take less time, and I can knit them in a week or so if I’m not working on anything else. (Which is very rare.) The ones with the more complex patterns take longer. The ones with text take the longest, since I have been knitting them to be legible on both sides, and so the chart gets hard to read for those. 🙂

  3. Oh my gosh, I absolutely LOVE this idea! It’s so neat! I crochet, but I’ve never done anything that ambitious. That Oregon Trail square, though. I feel personally attacked. xD I loved that game so much as a kid, but that dysentery, yo. Yikes. I love the Groot square! ❤ It's so cute.

    1. Thank you! We loved Oregon Trail too, but after the dysentery got us too frequently, we ended up turning it into a hunting simulation game. 😀 Groot ended up being one of my favorites so far! Also, I don’t think I took recent pictures of both sides, but I love that his expression changes depending on which side of the square you’re looking at. The front side looks snarkier while the back looks nicer.

      These may be easier to crochet than to knit! Though if you crochet the squares, they are only readable from one side because of the way the fabric is made.

      1. Hunting was always my favorite part of Oregon Trail. And if dysentery didn’t get me, I feel like something weird happened like I’d get bit by a mosquito or break my leg and die of an infection or something like that. I don’t remember specifics at this point, it’s been so long, but I’d be like … haha, not this time dysentery! … oh. I’m dead? Huh.

        1. It was amazingly easy to die in that game! I think between all of us, we maybe finished it twice? I remember I started off naming the characters after family members, but after they kept DYING I started naming them after my least favorite classmates. 😀

  4. These are really cool!

    But while I know that “You have died of dysentery” has got to be a game reference, I can only imagine that visiting family members and the like might be slightly perturbed when seeing your blanket xD

    1. LOL! The “you have died of dysentery” is a reference to Oregon Trail, one of the earliest video games my family played together. So while some friends might look at me weird, at least my family will understand. 😀

      1. That’s good to know!
        My family doesn’t understand most of the geeky things in my home, but at least my mom has stopped asking why I have things like dragon skull helmets in my living room and just accepted that its name is Hector and Hector isn’t going anywhere.

  5. Thank you for the update- I am in love with this blanket!! Just seeing all the different little squares that remind me of some of my favorite games- Mario, Skyrim, Pac Man, and even Portal! I don’t knit really, but now I’m tempted to learn.

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