For the look of Relax in a worsted weight yarn, take a look at Worsted Boxy.

Pinched. Plus a New Little Movie

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Dear Kay,
Dude, I’m getting shaky. You may have heard that WE KIND OF RAN OUT OF GAS HERE IN NASHVILLE. It’s come to the point that the Tennessean has started posting maps showing which gas stations have gas. At one point they had a Gas Cam running a live feed of the Exxon station at 12th and Broadway.
Apparently this is some fluke of the space/time continuum. Memphis has gas; Knoxville has gas. Nashville falls between pipelines, apparently, or maybe it’s just JUSTICE being dispensed on our sorry little sidewalk-free, guzzlicious lifestyle. I’m down to a quarter of a tank, and I may not make it out tomorrow. How can I go cash in my Costco coupons for my pallet of printer paper if I can’t drive the eight miles to the nearest Costco? It’s giving me a colossal existential reckoning to imagine a carless life in this carcentric metropolitan area.
This temporary situation down here gives us all the opportunity to imagine, for a moment, what it would be like if THE GAS RAN OUT. Go ahead: think about it. Would you be able to live your normal life if you didn’t have rivers of fresh, delicious gasoline available? I certainly wouldn’t. We could walk the two miles to school every day, if we got all Abraham Lincoln about it. (Riding a bike here is totally life threatening unless all the cars vanish.) Hubbo’s office is about a mile from our house. The Harris Teeter grocery store is a rugged schlep through a mile and a half of sidewalkless neighborhood. And we’re considered “in-town” dwellers in Nashville. If you live in Franklin, or Brentwood, you’re miles from the things you need. It’s not what you’d call “sustainable.” It’s kind of a mess, you know?
Mason-Dixon Veil Stitch: A Documentary
I finished another of Ann Hahn Buechner‘s Monteagle Bags and may make a third one. Now that I’m home all the time with these bales of yarn lying around, I may knit up a regional light rail system.
Observations:
1. I did make two bags out of one skein of Euroflax yarn. This still does not make Euroflax the MOST economical choice for this bag. (In today’s ever-diminishing dollar, a skein runs at around $24 which shows how old I am because I bought this stuff at $16 a skein and thought THAT was pricey.) It is, however, cheaper than cashmere. Or qiviut. Or handspun qiviut. Or, like, yarn made from spinning $10 bills which may be an idea in our future at the rate things are going.
2. There are some Ravelers messing around with the bag now, to excellent and innovative effect. In particular, knitinsage is thinking about eliminating the need to sew up the bottom of the bag by using Judy’s Magic Cast On. (Judy Becker’s masterful method is found here–one of Knitty’s all-time great how-to pieces).
3. Now. Response has been so adequate to our first documentary, Twisted Cross Stitch, that we are following it up with a thrilling sequel, Mason-Dixon Veil Stitch.
Veil Stitch appears in Rounds 17 and 21 of the Monteagle Bag pattern. It’s kind of unintuitive, but as fun as a rodeo once you see it in action. Here you go:

This is the worrisome appearance of Veil Stitch soon after working it:
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When you stretch out the clumps of wraps–after you finish the bag, please!–they look like this:
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Please note that on this bag, I did not knit the three rows of knit stitches between the Veil Stitch rows; this one has only one row, which saved me a little yarn.
After you finish two Monteagle bags, you end up with this:
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If the gas continues to fail to show up, there will be more of this sort of thing.
Love,
Ann
PS Speaking of eco-friendly, don’t miss your chance for a free one-year subscription to eco-friendly Plenty magazine. Click here and click on the long-armed green monster.
PSS The photo at the top is what happens to an Addi Turbo when you slam it in the door by accident. I managed to finish my Monteagle Bag with it, which proves my true pioneer spirit at work right now. SO LAME DOWN HERE!

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38 Comments

38 Comments

  1. Yay – another tutorial on the bag. I have yarn and needles in hand now. As for the gas, hunker down and hang in there.

  2. Funny you should mention Addis and car doors. One of my sock knitting Addi Turbos is now an L-shaped needle, thanks to a car door incident!

  3. I thought of you when I saw the gas news. What a great excuse to stay home and knit!!

  4. Isn’t too bad we didn’t take care of our gas dependence when the last gas crisis hit in the 70s.. gas rationing, long lines, buying gas by license plate number. I think we Americans are slow learners. We could have been so ahead of the game by now.
    Hope you get gas soon. My parents in Houston still don’t have power. Over a week, poor things.

  5. Lots of communities or suburban areas in this country are arranged with driving in mind and not biking or walking. I am fortunate to live where things are biking/walking distance and we have beautiful bike paths. We also have buses. Do you have a bus system? We also sold our other vehicle over a year ago and now have a GEM all electric car for our around town errands. We have one real car, a fuel efficient one at that, and use it mainly to leave town in. Unfortunately I have to drive all over the place for my job, but I get paid for my gas. Often on my days off we don’t use gas at all. If I didn’t have to work, or had a different sort of job, we could get by with very little gas. I can even bike to the LYS!
    –Amy

  6. Well, if there’s no gas on Monday you can unwillingly participate in World Car Free Day. We should all do it when we can, so just stay home with those bales of yarn and enjoy!

  7. Delurking to say – got the book yesterday! I love it! You will cause me to get over my fear of steeks as well as 2 handed knitting. Thanks for the work!

  8. Your poor Addi!
    It never really occured to me–I guess that gasoline is one of the few things that Amazon.com does NOT sell, huh?
    I’m just finishing up a string bag right now and plan on trying yours next, and am definitely planning on coming up with an alternative to sewing the bag shut. I’m using Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy for mine and while it’s strong and sturdy, don’t trust the ends to NOT come undone for something as vital as the seam holding the bottom of the bag together. Because, of course, without a bottom seam, it’s not a bag at all!

  9. It is ironic that while you are doing your part to reduce our dependency on petroleum via the resuable Monteagle bag, you are getting a taste of what it would/will be like if/when we run out.

  10. you’re funny

  11. My husband, a city boy all his life, has dreams of retiring to 20 acres somewhere in the hinterlands. I tell him I’ll miss him. I remember living in the country — it’s the place where you have to get in your car for EVERYTHING. We now live in a bike-friendly city (Tucson), within 3 miles of everything we need to get to on a regular basis. There are days when I find my neighborhood aesthetically disappointing (!), but we could definitely get around without cars if we had to. A situation like yours really makes you wonder why it’s called “city planning,” doesn’t it?
    Thanks for the videos. They are SO helpful.

  12. ann … though the addi accident happened … you know addis have a lifetime guarantee and you may exchange it via your local yarnstore … with the needle case in hand … for a brand new one … it’s the thing addi/skacel people do!!! long live addi turbo knitting needles!!! … mille baci …

  13. I wouldn’t mind the world without petrol so much, if only I could walk and knit at the same time.

  14. Ahh … so, my idea of using the Magic Cast on instead of sewing up the bottom is viable? Pays to read on….
    I, too, live out in the country, even though the address is NJ. Contemplating cleaning out my cupboards instead of grocery shopping, and hitting BJ’s for vast quantities of everything next time I shop. The mice and the meal moths, however, cut into the cost effectiveness of this strategy. But as long as they say out of my yarn stash, I’ll be warm and busy all winter long, no matter the price of gas.

  15. Is your eco-friendly magazine a real, paper magazine? I hate recycling eco-friendly stuff… I’d rather sap the power grid and read online!
    Move downtown, that’s all I can say. I walk/ bike/ transit everywhere, which means I don’t get outta town much, unless I take a cab to the airport!
    Car-free Mary in Toronto…

  16. thanks for the video, i love watching these! my monty bag is in progess, fun so far!
    while i was watching the video i heard the mail ‘ding’ and totally went to check my mail! then realized my mail wasn’t open and was baffled. :) took me a second to realize, it was in the video! rewatched the video just to make sure i wasn’t crazy. he he!

  17. Amazon just told me that you have shipped and I have Euroflax in the stash with no purpose…Yes.

  18. The point is to have a big enough stash to knit your way through the coming twenty year Great(er) Depression, just in case you can’t leave the house, have to burn your furniture in the fireplace, have to eat the tornado food in the back of your cupboard, and are forced to sell your string bags in order to afford internet.

  19. I just came across a receipt from 2003 when I bought my only EF at $13.95 because I was on vacation and it was a splurge. I still haven’t used it. Its time may have come. I hope the gasoline situation is remedied soon. We seem to be recovering from similar troubles down here.

  20. I see how you couldn’t consider bike riding now–saving the earth shouldn’t include risking your life. But if the gas ran out, then all the cars would disappear. Because everyone would be out of gas. And the roads would be huge bike lanes.
    Shopping would still be impractical and if there’s no gas at all, then how are they going to ship products anyway? But there wouldn’t be a danger of getting hit by a car anymore.
    A pointless point, but I felt the need to make it.

  21. My sentiments, exactly, Willow Caroline…
    Well, my dial up still keeps me from enjoying to the max your thoughtful videos, Ann. I’m still getting 20 seconds of (a “frozen”) picture, then 4 seconds of “movement” with voice. Still, it’s thrilling to see a bit of the demo, and to hear a little bit of your voice.
    LoveDiane

  22. But Ann, if the gas runs out, there won’t be any cars, so biking will be just fine!
    I was making market bags for Xmas presents, but perhaps my daughters deserve a Monteagle.
    Janet

  23. WOW! Thanks for the mention! In the interest of honest disclosure and giving credit where it is really due, however, I have to say that Raveler ladysmithknitter is the one using Judy’s Magic Cast-on. I used the Eliz Zimmerman double knit method because I like how macrame-ish it looks. But you made my day, anyway!

  24. Just so you know–the current Euroflax had FEWER yards/metres than the stuff spun about four years ago. Check your labels.
    And Ann, we were down to 1/4 tank and I was so happy. No reason to leave except to walk to Harris-Teeter. Poor husband, his hunting and gathering instinct was on overdrive until he, using some of our valuable gas to go to CVS to pick up prescriptions (time to switch to the H-T pharmacy, I say), found the 76 across from Belmont open. He was so very happy and I felt sad. I am such a homebody that the gas excuse was going to get me far.
    Now I will have to Drive Places again.
    I love the videos.
    Thanks.
    R

  25. Just wanted to say that I found a copy of the new book at a local bookstore this weekend (yesssss) and am feeling a strong urge to make many many things for my kitchen and buy more cotton yarn. I love how both of your books have inspired me to invest some time in making things a little more home-y! Time to cast on for a hanging towel…

  26. Thanks for the video, it came at just the right time. I started the veil stitch row last night and decided it just didn’t look right and came looking for some help this morning! turns out it was right though!!

  27. If all/most/even half of the cars were gone, you could totally do your days on bike. And, like, maybe they’d get some good public transportation going? Where you could knit while you made your way places.
    We live someplace where you can actually walk to school on sidewalks; bigger kids (3rd/4th grade and up) walk or ride bikes with friends. I can walk or ride to groceries, drugstore, library, post office, plenty of restaurants, and, probably most importantly, coffee shops and the yarn store. I do drive places (mainly to the girls’ gym and errands) three afternoons a week. I went for an oil change because it seemed like it was time and I had driven about 1000 miles in 6 months! My husband drives to work, though he bikes one day a week. He gets 47 miles to the gallon though! So maybe 2.5 gallons of gas a week for all his driving?
    good luck with your forced house arrest!

  28. if someone invented a car that ran on wool, you’d be zooming around no problem!

  29. As a fellow Nashvillian (well, Hendersonville, technically), I totally feel your pain! I was lucky enough to find some gas yesterday at a station that was a bit off the beaten path. My LYS owner tipped me off to it! :) I hope you’re able to find some!

  30. I am on day 10 with no electricity here in Houston and the house never cooled down below 86 degrees last night. But, after six days, the gas situation is much better than it was. I started a Monteagle bag on Saturday, but have already gotten bogged down in the “left twist” section. The heat and humidity just don’t seem to want to work with my hands and needles (and this hemp yarn) to perform this maneuver.

  31. Thanks for the shoutout! I’m blushing, but secretly pleased because I think Judy’s Magic Cast-On can be used darn near everywhere, and I love hearing that knitters are trying it out. I’m planning on someday taking over the world via perfectly invisible seams.
    Your new book came yesterday and I love it! I plan on knitting my way through it.

  32. Well, luckily I have four orphaned (two different colors) skeins of Euroflax that I bought at 50% off two years ago ($10 per at most) and have had no plans for them. I love your dishtowels from the first book, but they just seemed like they would take so long I would never finish. I’m a process knitter but I would want to USE them, you know? But these bags, now, they are PERFECT!

  33. You forgot to mention that the cause of the gas “shortage” was a huge increase in supply due to everyone’s panicking that there was no gas.
    And we did without gas for a while down here after Katrina and it really was terrible.* Imagine a Wal-Mart with no food in it. I was expecting Kurt Russell to come around the corner and point me to the nearest escape route.
    * When I say “did without” i mean we used it but we hoarded it like everyone else and got it free from the power company who gave it out to employees. So we just avoided long lines and clicked our tongues at the “crazies” who had to wait in six hour lines to be allowed to purchase $10 worth. Not really the same, is it?

  34. If you run out of gas, it’ll be totally ok to bike places because there won’t be any cars on the road! Sounds awesome, actually (I’m a carless cyclist…)

  35. Thanks for the videos. I’m done with my first bag, and would never have got those stitches without the video.

  36. What’s weird, is up here in Clarksville, a mere 45 miles NW of Nashville, we have some stations that are out of gas, and a block away, stations that have gas. Even better, if you live close to the Kentucky border (like moi), you can hope over the border, pay 40 cents less a gallon and not only get gas but not have a line. And a mile away, and they’re out – Kentucky, apparently, gets her gas from Up North.

  37. When my book arrived I immediately pulled out the circ. needle and a skein of cotton yarn to make the bag. Spent most of yesterday working on it, but got into a jam on the veil stitch. I faithfully followed the video and cannot imagine what I am doing wrong, but the stitches knotted and tangled up and would not relax into a long stitch. Any ideas what I need to do? I pulled it all off the needle and want to try it again.
    Diane

  38. I think I am the stupidest knitter alive. I am trying SO hard to do a Monteagle Bag, but I screw up row 6 every time. No, not every time….I got row 6 to hold at row 6, but not when I had to do it when the stiches slanted the other way (row 8). I end up with stitch that drops and unravels everything!!! Reckon someone can make another video!! PLEASE!!! I have cast on for this bag three times now!!!
    Yours are so pretty that I am having terrible bag envy….and I want to make a few for nice ladylike gifts too but I feel like a total dunce!