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

Two Trips to Arnold’s, Many Squares, and Happy Endings

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Dear Kay,
The fellas talked me into going to Arnold’s Country Kitchen for the second day in a row to celebrate the end of school. When Clif reminded me that Friday is chicken and dumpling day, well, he didn’t have to ask twice.
Arnold’s is a meat-and-three on Eighth Avenue, and it is a crossroads for Nashville. You see all sorts of people, but at some point, everybody is united by the need to take a deep breath and groan. Cement block building, cafeteria style service, a line out the door most of the time. John Prine 8 x 10s next to many, many 8 x 10s of Chet Atkins. A framed medal, their James Beard Award for Excellence, hangs across from a poster of Tanya Tucker in her swamp woman bikini shot. (OK, I’ll go find it for you. Here you go.) I am so glad they don’t have a website, but some kind customer took a picture of the menu, so you can see what’s up before you go if you’re obsessive. Anybody coming to Nashville, please call and I will go to Arnold’s with you. I may have an 11 year old in tow, but his reverence only adds to the experience.
Knitting Progress Report
I overshot my Mitered Squares Blanket squares. I had it in my head that 12 make a blanket, but it’s only 10 plus 4 half squares. I didn’t even stop to count until I’d made 13, so I think I’m going to keep making squares until I run out of Silk Garden 269. (The crosses are Silk Garden 325.) The addicting nature of these squares surprises even me.
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Been meaning to get yourself on the Mitered Squares bandwagon? Why, here’s the place: five bucks for Kay’s downloadable pattern, with all proceeds going to Japan relief efforts:

The Happy Endings Movie Festival
I took a break from square-making to weave in ends. It’s best done while chain-watching Netflix movies. Here’s a knitter-tested batch of movies to get you through.
About a Boy: Hugh Grant is surprisingly good as a caddish do-nothing. Based on the Nicky Hornby novel. Toni Collette so convincingly plays an unhinged mother than you actually worry about her. Where did her eyebrows go?
Impromptu: Hugh Grant is surprisingly bad in this movie of crossdressy George Sand chasing after rheumy Frederic Chopin (Hugh Grant). Hugh needs to work on his consumption–he’s no Ben Whishaw as John Keats. Oh gah, forget I mentioned Impromptu. Bright Star is the one to watch. You won’t get any knitting done, what with the ravishing visuals. But it’s just so beautiful.
Becoming Jane: James McAvoy is Jane Austen’s (Anne Hathaway’s) boyfriend. So improbable, but who cares?
Pride and Prejudice (1980 BBC 5 parter): cotton/poly costumes? Toni perms? The Regency period was more wash-n-wear than I realized.
Network: Peter Finch as Howard Beale, TV anchor gone mad or gone sane? Faye Dunaway’s look in this 1976 CLASSIC SATIRE is 100% fantastic.
Hubbo took me on a wagon ride through the three greatest westerns of all time:
High Noon: 1952, Gary Cooper as the marshall trying to leave it all behind. Jack Palance as the creepiest gunslinger of all time.
Shane: 1953, Alan Ladd as the wanderer trying to do the right thing.
The Searchers: 1956, John Wayne as Alan Ladd, basically, only more unenlightened about Native American lifestyles.
I’m off to the NCAA Lacrosse Championships in Baltimore. I know. I can’t really believe I’m doing this either, but Clif talked me into it. Three days, five matches. I figure I can get some serious knitting done in Section 117 of the M&T Bank Stadium. I’m told we’re rooting for Maryland, since Hopkins tragically lost. Go Terrapins!
Love,
Ann
PS Dear everybody, if you’d like to be sure not to miss a moment of Mason-Dixon, there’s a thingy in the right column that says “Subscribe.” With this gizmo you can add MDK to your RSS feed, or even more thrillingly, receive an email/Tweet/Skype/IM/Facebook/actual smoke signal alerting you whenever we have a new post. (Given my appallingly erratic rate of posting which I’m hoping to improve, you won’t exactly be inundated with notices!) (This is when it is helpful to have a co-bloggette.)
Also: we’re on Twitter a lot. @AnnShayne and @KayGardiner.
PSS Thanks to those who have expressed concern about Nashville’s cicadas, now deep into their once-every-13-years visit to the area and grossing out everybody. This is what’s at my front door every day: click only if you dare.

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69 Comments

69 Comments

  1. 1. You have never taken me to Arnold’s Country Kitchen.
    2. Cicadas ew. We used to get those in Nebraska. We called them locusts. They’d leave their skins attached to trees. Ew. Do you hear them chewing, in their millions? Is there a worm stage? (Trying to compare & contrast with the gypsy moths of eastern Long Island.)
    3. I’m really happy about your Venti sized Mitered Crosses blanket.
    4. Go Terrapins.

  2. Re the PSS … omg I remember the 13 year cicadas in West Virginia some years back. Memories include the loud hum of them from across the Monongahela River before they reached our side of the river, the song “Living with These Damn Locusts” (to the tune of “Livin da Vida Loca”), the crunch of them under our car tires, our dogs snacking on them while on their evening walks. Glad I’m not in Nashville at this particular moment!

  3. I dont have ends to weave in! As I change colors, I set up a Russian join, only I split the short end and braid the two short ends and the end attached to the work (make sure all strands bend the same amount, for a string braid). Then I split the other short end, and braid them with the new working yarn. This controls and tames the otherwise thick section of Russian join. Love it! And, when I start picking up sts in another miter….I leave a tail, and when ingot to that tail in the next row, I braid it to the working yarn! Fast, fun, neat, and no weaving later!

  4. Just HAD to click on the cicada picture — Ewwwww!
    Go DU :o)

  5. I have a 13 year old who would kill to be in Baltimore this weekend! Only we live in San Francisco, so it would be kind of a big commitment. Hope Clif appreciates the effort! Beautiful squares.

  6. I think we need Colleen on video. This could be WORLD CHANGING. The steam engine! The assembly line! The iPhone! the braided Russian Join thing that Colleen does!

  7. I’m using Knit Picks Chroma for my crosses, and it is surprisingly generous, giving me 4.5 crosses/skein. I ordered as if it’s yardage was like Noro, so I am ending up with 20 squares for a blanket and 4 squares for two pillows. (Well, I just couldn’t leave all that yarn unknit, could I?)

  8. gosh, i’d never stop knitting crosses with that yarn! go you!

  9. Later you will get to collect all those cicada sloughed-off bits and take them to science class… or make cicada wing artworks!

  10. Whenever I do make it to Nashville, I’m treating you and the fambly to a Tuesday night at Arnold’s. Longing to taste that SC ham.

  11. Thanks for the info about Arnold’s. I’ll have to stop in the next time I’m through Nashville on my way to/from Berea and Paint Lick.
    About those cicadas, we’ve got ‘em too here in middle Alabama. My friend’s child had one on a string the other day and was trying to walk it. Didn’t work.
    Love the blanket squares. I’ve got to get busy on one of those myself. As soon as I finish Log Cabin the Third.

  12. Wish I were in Nashville right now and could accompany you to Arnold’s!
    Have a question for you after seeing your beautiful squares. Where do you pick up on the sides when you are knitting the “log cabin” strips on to the mitered square? I have experimented with using the “parallel” part of the stitch itself and also using the space between the stitches–and still I cannot get my pick-ups to look as smooth as yours. I am a faily tight knitter, and when I pick up from bound-off or cast-on stitches, my work looks fine, but on the sides, it looks looser than yours. What’s your secret, please, please,please?
    Thanks in advance.
    Nancy Lauber in Atlanta
    P.S. Did I say that I am a perfectionist–and a champion ripper?

  13. I remember the cicadas from my childhood in so. Indiana. They’re not walkable, Yolanda, they’re only interested in ONE THING. I did like their left-behind skins stuck to the trees, though.
    Beautiful squares. I’m shooting for twelve instead of ten and four halves. Nearly done with no. 4. I’m trying to save them for our 2-week drive out to explore the West but they keep getting cast on. Super duper pattern, Kay!
    I agree. Colleen, you need to YouTube your method so we can all play along.

  14. ‘Meat and three?’ ;-) sheepish (I am always asking food questions around here!) Whatever it is, it sounds like a place I’d go to celebrate the end of school, too. (18 days left in the cafeteria kitchen, woo!) And the Russian join sounds positively decorative.

  15. Indeed it is tragic that Hopkins lost. Even though I have lived in MD for a decade, I’m still not sure about the Terps when it comes to LAX.
    It’s no Arnolds but the Paper Moon diner up by Hopkins’ Homewood campus is beyond quirky and has delicious food.
    http://www.papermoondiner24.com

  16. I live in SoCal, so no cicadas here. However, I take my 5th graders to DC/Virgina every year, and one of those years coincided with the DC cicadas’ appearance. The minute we stepped out of the airport, we heard this huge roar of sound. Our guide explained that that was just the cicadas. That week we were all amazed at how much noice those lttle creatures made, and further amazed at how incredibly stupid those creatures were. No sense of survival at all! They flew into everything, including my students and parents. Some parents freaked, but my students were just fascinated by the cicadas. More than one of them wanted to take them home with them. (We didn’t allow that, of course, but we had to be super vigilant to find all of them before letting our kids get on the plane!)

  17. O.M.G. – the cicadas? Remind me the next time I move that I cannot go anywhere those are!

  18. we’re watching the lacrosse finals with friends this afternoon – then dinner on the patio! Your writing about Arnold’s made me think of Hap Towns’ Restaurant. I read about it in Gourmet many years ago and stopped there several times on our southern travels. Is it still in business?
    Beautiful squares. I am now inspired!

  19. we’re watching the lacrosse finals with friends this afternoon – then dinner on the patio! Your writing about Arnold’s made me think of Hap Towns’ Restaurant. I read about it in Gourmet many years ago and stopped there several times on our southern travels. Is it still in business?
    Beautiful squares. I am now inspired!

  20. If you’ve got time, Cloverhill Yarn Shop (where I work and am currently reading your blog!) is nearby in Catonsville MD. Come see us!
    ~Libby

  21. Dear Ann & Kay,
    How about a wonderful Mason Dixon pattern for the tornado victims?? I’d be the first in line. Please think about it.

  22. Ann, Cicadas-bad. Your knitting, good. The Searchers-much the best western EVER…and who was it who introduced JAS to it in NYC in 1986 or so? Does he even remember being shanghaid on a cold winter’s evening, taken to an apartment-sit on the Upper East Side and forced to view it with my tedious running commentary while eating a Chinese takeaway? I doubt it. But something must have taken root in his noggin and for that I am grateful.

  23. Me three on Colleen’s braided russian end-eliminating thingy. It would be a public service.

  24. I don’t dare. But I did get lost in the Bright Star sight. Sigh.

  25. The thing that impressed me most about About a Boy was the director’s use of knitting as a symbol of Toni Collete’s character’s unhinged-ness. Really?

  26. Cicadas in Florida mean summer is really here but we don’t have them quite like you do. Had a cat who would hold a live one in his mouth while it buzzed. Didn’t eat them, just liked the vibes… Anybody have any of the silk garden 269 they want to part with? I have 9 skeins of lot B, will take (buy) any lot though. Kay, you could send me yours and then you would have to stop making blocks…

  27. Omg those locust are scary! I loved ABout a boy and think it might be Hugh’s best movie. Also loved Becoming Jane, especially John McAvoy! Wonder what Kay would think about this line, said after getting beaten bloody in a fight, that “the law has nothing to do with Justice.” I love McAvoy in everything and can’t wait for X-men movie! Supersized the blanket! it looks lovely!
    Ciao
    Michele

  28. Omg those locust are scary! I loved ABout a boy and think it might be Hugh’s best movie. Also loved Becoming Jane, especially John McAvoy! Wonder what Kay would think about this line, said after getting beaten bloody in a fight, that “the law has nothing to do with Justice.” I love McAvoy in everything and can’t wait for X-men movie! Supersized the blanket! it looks lovely!
    Ciao
    Michele

  29. Most of VT seems to be cicada-free, but I have vivid memories of cicadas and gypsy moths from my many years in NJ.
    I dared. I clicked. I regret that decicion.

  30. Used to live in So. Cal. moved to Northern VA about 10 years ago so lived cicada free then experienced the cicada invasion Christine mentioned. All bugs are bad! But knitting is good!

  31. The view out my front door this morning – just replace the cicadas with moths – ick, ick, ick!! I actually like the sound of cicadas – brings back happy memories from my childhood.

  32. Oh, Bright Star – with wonderful costumes (lots of needlework). The earlier P and P is good — the Lizzy was good, and it was a favorite until the Firth/Ehle version. Hugh Grant is good in Emma Thompson’s Sense and Sensibility … wasn’t Many Patimkin in Impromptu? Must take Netflix device away from Doctor Who-watching 13 year old. But BBC dramas wonderful to knit to … ever see Wives and Daughters? Downton Abbey? I once spent 6 weeks with a broken ankle watching dvd’s and knitting and not trying to think of the state of my kitchen and other things ….

  33. While in college in the 80’s the cicadas hit town. I remember having to constantly drive with the wipers on to wash the “remains” off the window. One brilliant student took to walking about campus with a tennis racket in order to smack the cicadas out of his way!

  34. I am a nanny in St. Louis. The 4 year old lives in a small neighborhood without the cicadas. Where ever we go she collects them and then lovingly releases them into her back yard. Did I mention she is bug obsessed? At the preschool she had 8 kids running around picking them up for her to bag and take home. And some of them in tears THERE moms wouldn’t let them take them home too.
    She carefully teaches the kids how to pick them up so they will buzz in there hands. A wonder to watch! And the newly hatched ones do gleam like jewelry! Annoying and beautiful bugs!

  35. Have recently begun volunteering as a Big Sister through Big Brothers Big Sisters. Took my 7 year old Little Sister and her 7 yo half sister to the fountain in the park. They ran happily through the water for 2 hours. Good thing I brought a one-skein project (one-square granny square blanket, Knitpicks sock yarn).
    Now I know how you two manage to crank out so many projects. Will be looking to enroll my Little Sister into a team sport soon :)
    Have bought the Mitered Crosses pattern. Love seeing so many projects on Ravelry. Thanks for the pattern and the donations for Japan.

  36. remember cicadas. the noise, the swarms, the
    incredibly fascinating shells they left behind
    when they molted – absolutely perfect replica
    of the bug, in minute detail, only hollow –
    and my next younger sister and myself hooking
    these shells all over our play shirts and
    terrifying our baby sister when we came in
    to show them to her….

  37. We have those cicadas here north of Reno every once in a while. Try feeding them to your dog/mouse/bird. They must be sweet because all the above just love them. The neighborhood dogs would follow me on my walks around the valley and eat all I could catch for them. I put one in a cage with a field mouse and after a lot of activity, the mouse caught and ate it. The darn bug was as big as the mouse.

  38. This morning leaving church the cicadas were out-buzzing the sounds of the car, the radio, and the discussion of this morning’s benediction choice.
    But according to the Tennessean, they taste like lobster!

  39. Oh, and after living in Nashvegas for 40 of my 53 years, I just recently discovered Hermitage Diner. Yum.

  40. Oh, the 13-year cicada..We had ours not long ago…but was sorrily rather anemic to my GREAT disappointment. Those cicadas are all talk, little action and reproduction. As for Nashville, you know I wanna. I especially want some of the legendary cocktails there…anything with smoked tequila will do…of course, some meat too. Do bbq and drinks mix?

  41. May I please, pretty please, mail one of you five dollars in an envelope for this pattern? I don’t do Paypal. It has robbed me in the past and compromised a friend’s financial information, so I won’t sign up for it. I would really like to make this pattern and donate the money.
    And I (insert appropriate number here) the nomination to have that braided Russian join videoed.
    And I second the nomination to create another pattern for the tornado victims.
    Meeting adjourned.

  42. Ann-
    You get Mother-of-the-year for taking clif to watch the playoffs. That’s a whole lot of lacrosse!
    LOVE the mitre crosses – I need to get working on one. You all are just inspiration!

  43. Love the mitered crosses.
    Have a great time at the lacrosse tournament. By the end, I hope you’ll be saying “Go, Terps!” A LOT!! (Don’t know too many folks who say “Go, Terrapins!” much in ACC country.)

  44. oh my i can remember the constant sound
    on a hot summer night in new jersey and in
    june bugs hitting the screen doors picking
    beatles off the flowers fireflys in a jar
    here in florida love bugs and gators
    i agree about jack palance
    joplin just breaks your heart

  45. Fried green tomatoes…..sigh….will meet you there!!!!

  46. I remember the last cicada attack – I was at my 20-year reunion at Vanderbilt. Outdoor class dinner on the deck at Sarratt Center was a hoot with the critters dive-bombing us. The next day, at the all-class outdoor luncheon under the tent on Alumni Lawn, each diner received a flyswatter inscribed with the words, “Don’t Bug Me at Reunion!” First I learned why ants like peonies, and now I get to relive cicadas – not only does MDK keep me inspired as a knitter, you meet all my insect memory needs!

  47. Oooooh, love your colors and all those finished blocks!
    Question: do you recommend blocking the individual blocks before assembling the blanket? I have my blocks ready to assemble and wonder if I should do some blocking first?
    Also, I made half-square crosses blocks instead of plain background for the half blocks — to add a little more color, and to make the background color go a little further. I have a limited amount of Color 269 and don’t want to run out. I think I am going to like this adjustment to the pattern, as I like all your full blocks — wish I had thought of that first!
    I am enjoying this project so much — thanks for the inspiration!
    P.S. Please post more cicada pictures! My husband is an entomologist and those cicadas are music to his ears! Kay, he worked on a gypsy moth research project when we lived in Massachusetts, many years ago too! Ah, the memories…

  48. We saw a poor woman at Walgreens in Donelson Saturday who I thought was having a medical emergency. Turns out a cicada flew into her car and she was outside screeming for her life.
    I love Arnolds. I love Bar B Cutie too. And then there’s Browns, Rotiers, Sylvan Park and the newest of them all Southern Bred. Nothing like a meat and three in Nashville for good food.

  49. One of the nice things about living in Michigan is we’re too cold for giant bug problems. Also those lakes we got are pretty sweet too.

  50. 1980 P&P- ew. It’s Colin Firth or nothing.
    cicadas-eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.(cicada song) I’m with Kay, the tent worms are our version of disgusting bug. They make such a mess of the trees and drop down on you {{shudder}}. Good luck with your cicadas.

  51. In Arizona we had cicadas every summer. I never saw them hanging out on a doorstop like that though. They stuck to the trees and buzzed like crazy. And like Fran, my kitties absolutely loved playing with them too. The worst part was that they liked to go outside to get them and then bring them inside, let them go and chase them around the house. Good fun.

  52. No need to block the squares before joining. Just block the whole thing when you’re done.
    If I had a pattern for tornado relief, I would surely be putting it out there. But alas, the patterns come more slowly than the natural disasters, lately anyway.
    American Red Cross and The Samaritan’s Purse are two good places to send tornado relief donations.

  53. Bright Star. Sigh.

  54. I’ve got this square thing down pat! I’m down to 1, maybe 2 ends to weave in when all is said and done. Thank you spit splicing – for making those mitered tips a seamless breeze. And thank you – holding yarn doubled – for eliminating all the tales from each new miter, and the ends of each. Weave in ends. Bah!

  55. I had to ask my Tennessee-born-and-raised sweetie what “SC ham” was. And, since we lack Arnold’s, we had a sweetie-cooked “meat and three” dinner last night. Pork chops with 1)sauteed apples, 2)asparagus, and 3)potato salad. Dessert was a less-traditional-than-pie-but-still-delcious cardamom-ginger bar.

  56. Gotta agree with Miss Sandra – its Colin Firth or nothin’.
    Thank you for the pattern. Can’t wait to cast on and play!

  57. I remember a time when I was about 8 or 9 that we were visiting my grandmother in Springfield, MO. My sisters and I spent hours collecting the cicada shells from the big tree in her front yard. : )

  58. Ah, Pride and Prejudice… Husband is reading the prequel (many are not aware there IS a prequel) to
    Pride and Prejudice and Zombies! It is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls. Evidently we find out how Elizabeth and her sisters became such efficient zombie slayers… h
    Our library has the books available as E-Books. Libraries rock!

  59. I love Arnold’s! Their fried green tomatoes are almost as good as mine.

  60. Thanks Tisha, I need to look for the prequel. I just read Sense and Sensability and sea monsters, it was a hoot!

  61. One of the best westerns of all time, the Big Country, with Burl Ives, Charlton Heston, Gregory Peck, and Jean Simmons. It is long, but it is one of the best.

  62. I have to say after looking at the menu, I love that mac & cheese is considered a vegetable. Yum!

  63. You oughta see the fish flies off Lake St. Clair in Michigan every June! EVERY June…not just every 13 years!

  64. Re westerns, I can’t believe Stagecoach wasn’t at the top of your list. It’s even better than High Noon.

  65. NOT TO CHANGE THE SUBJECT: BUT DOES ANY ONE KNOW WHERE WHITE-CREAM SHADED NORO KUREYON OR SILK GARDEN YARN CAN BE OBTAINED? I really want to knit the Mitered Cross Squares afghan. Now that I have seen it with the white-cream shaded yarn, I can’t imagine doing it with anyother yarn. I don’t think Nuro makes the white-cream shaded yarn in any of their lines right now.
    Thank you – Hester

  66. Having recently visited MO and the cicada swarm there, I understand your sudden agreement to go to MD for lacrosse. Had I known about Arnold’s we might have continued on down to your fair city, but not on liver and onion day.

  67. Cicadas are in Illinois, too. Another good reason to stay inside and knit…

  68. The bugs are pretty gross. I’d leave the house, but I would be unhappy about crossing the bug picket line.
    My Mitred Crosses blanket is also proceeding apace. I’m on square 22 of 35 (using sock yarn). I am surprised I’ve gotten this far given I’ve only been working on it for about 2 months.

  69. What is improbably about John McAvoy and Anne Hathaway? Except that he may be too smokin’ hot for her???