Learn how to crawl: the New York City Yarn Crawlย is on through Sunday, September 25.

Monteagle Postcard

Dear Kay,
Never, in our forty-year correspondence (OK, so it’s not forty years, but maybe if FEELS that way?), have we gone so long without communicating. Should the demolition of your apartment be such a trial? Should my evacuation from Nashville with children, a mere summer vacation, cause such a rift?
Apparently so. Imagine what would happen if, like, something actually significant ever happened to us. We must summon some Fortitude, woman!
My biggest problem (other than making sure Clif remembers not to slam on the brakes when he’s flying down the gravel-covered hills here) is bandwidth. To score some wi-fi, I have to go down to the library and sit on the porch. I’m sure, when the Monteagle Assembly was created 124 years ago, they built that porch so that their descendants could sit there, in a friendly little circle, with their computers in their laps, shopping for slipcovers and checking their email.
Sorry for not writing; I’ve been kind of distracted with the chores of daily life, and with the three-morning mosaic workshop that resulted in a gruesome blister from the tile clippers and a completed project that can only be called Homemade. I now see how crappy mosaic mirrors end up in people’s houses. I get it. I made one. It’s going to be hanging on the wall for the next fifty years, and NO I’m not going to show you a picture of it.
Our cottage here in Monteagle never fails to surprise me. The wildlife situation is a real peaks ‘n’ valleys deal. Peak: outside the kitchen window, a fambly of bluebirds has taken up residence in the bird house.
Bluebirds of Freaking Happiness, Kay. Feeding, I’m guessing, small baby bluebirds of happiness in there, with big fat green worms and papery moths. I sit and watch them like it’s a TV show, the world’s slowest Discovery Channel documentary.
Valley: This time, we arrive here, I set to making up beds, and I discover the slightest, merest hint that, possibly, a small Despereaux has been snoozing under my pillow at some point in during the winter. YEEEEEEEEEEEEEOWKS! JEEZUMS! At this point I have now laundered every iota of bedding in the house, and I may wash it all again. Hell, I’m getting a kettle and boiling it all. I’m throwing it away. I’m moving.
That Tweedy Blanket
I keep staying up late, after the fellas finally konk out, adding squares to the tweedy mitered blanket. I started this thing just to experiment with the tweedy stash, but at this point the experimenting needs to STOP and the order needs to appear. It’s true: too much choice is a bad thing. Willynilly will not carry the day when you’re working on a 64-square blanket.
To get a handle on this thing, I took inspiration from Cara’s fancypants layouts of her green log cabin square blanket, but I’m not exactly as high tech as she is:
This plan gives me hope that someday, I’ll have a blanket. Randomness is one thing, but if you get too much wabi in your sabi, it’s just a mess. I’m pretty sure that some squares are going to get voted off the island, but I’m going to crank a while longer to see which ones really stick out.
I do love these yarns, and it’s a great project for late-night knitting when you’re sitting and wondering if that scratchy sound is a branch against the window or VERMIN INHABITING YOUR HOUSE.
PS I’ll leave you with a photo I took at 50 miles an hour as we drove down highway 89A a few weeks ago, on the way from Flagstaff to Sedona. I just read about the forest fires that are threatening this beautiful Oak Creek Canyon, and it gives me a pang. Fires are a part of nature, but it’s rugged when you see it all go up in flames.




  1. yay! vermin!
    can i be so crass as to say that mitersquare blanket you’re working up is the s. it’s f’ing beautiful.
    gd. that’s just killer.
    foulmouthed knitter

  2. I’m with waasabi! That’s FUCKING excellent! I’M LOVING IT! And not to make you jealous or anything, but I’ve seen this Kay you speak of so fondly and she seems to have survived the move and is enjoying her new view. But she’s got nothing, nada, nil in terms of the Internets. She misses you though. L, C

  3. Bluebirds…cute!
    any other bs…

  4. Ha…bandwidth

  5. Mm. I love me that highway 89A. And I love how you kids make enormous-blanket-making look like anyone else’s scarf project. So effortless! So FAST! So beautiful.

  6. I’ve been MISSING you guys! Ann, your tweedy blankie is perfect — so you, and yet there’s a Kay influence there too. Kay, please come back soon.

  7. We heart tweediness and hate verminity. Please, Father, forgive us for hating any of your critters, but really? A purpose for these buggers? I don’t see it.
    As one who perched on dressers to capture bandwidth for a few torturous post-K months, I feel your pain.

  8. Assimilated to the mitres! Looks lovely. Tweedy mitredness.
    On an rodent note, when my friend was backpacking around Australia (I shall not name her for fear of recognition and the pointing of fingers) during a short stop in a caravan in the Northern Territory a rat of some description took up residence in her (for the moment) discarded rucksack. Into which she put her dirty washing. Said rat was found, expired, curled into a pair of knickers several days later. Which says something about either the state of the rat or the state of the knickers, depending on your thinking…. I say this to try and ease your mind re: any houseguest you may have. Can it get any worse?

  9. I love everything about this post: the ups, the downs, the mitered squares(!), the fact that I can come here for late breaking news about one of the more beautiful places I’ve been on this planet. Yup. It sucks to see a place like that in flames, but it’s supposed to happen, and remember, they always make it look worse in the news.

  10. I feel the same way about Oak Creek Canyon (and I haven’t been there in over 20 years).
    Interesting blanket…I’ve been enjoying seeing how you and others are putting colors together (and sure that I will succumb eventually).

  11. So what’s with the UFO at top dead center of that last picture?
    (Loving the book, by the way. It’s just full of great summertime projects: compact, useful, and most of them don’t need to be sized to the recipient. I’ve never knit so many projects from one source.)

  12. Monteagle! I’m jealous!
    Well, ok, I can’t ever remember actually going to Monteagle, but since I was born in Chattanooga, I remember the drives on/around the treacherous Monteagle…
    Ah, I miss Tennesee…and Georgia…and Florida…the whole freakin’ South!

  13. Oh dear Ann! I feel your pain. I Chautauqua’ed it last summer for a month with a 2 and a 4 year old small hollerin’ boy. Worse, it was a rental with no air con and zilcho internet. I will spare you the totally gory details of our abode- it has since been demolished. But I will say that when Duncan pitched a 15 pound over ripe watermelon off the kitchen table all the juice ran to one side of the kitchen. The house was lopsided. I am sure your fambly establishment is a far cry nicer from that but vermin an no internets a grumpy girl does make. The blanket is unbelievably gorgeous and great. Need more tweed.

  14. Blanket, looking good.
    Cottages, so fun. Especially with vermin.
    Fires. They make such a nasty mess for a few years, then suddenly two summers later, the ground is all silvery green and growing thicker than before. Five years after the fire, it’s blueberry heaven, then the raspberries move in and finally the underbrush takes over and the forest has returned.
    Nature in her finest hour.

  15. I love the blanket, please don’t toss the squares with the thinner pink line going through. Have a great, varmint free vacation.

  16. I wish I could knit like that. I can do socks, but I don’t feel like that is as cool as that blanket. Say hi to Despereaux. Why are they so cute in stories when we all know what real life is like?

  17. Ann, the blanket really looks good! I think a tweedy log cabin is somewhere in my future plans.

  18. Isn’t driving south into Oak Creek Canyon one of the most beautiful things in the world? We once drove from Las Vegas to Sedona (and in case you’re wondering, these are indeed cultural polar opposites.) There isn’t much to see on that drive besides dirt, though we did detour onto Route 66 and visit a near ghost town (with honest-to-God tumbleweeds blowing down the main street) that contained a man with no nose and a Twin Peaks-esque diner with one customer and every blessed pie known to man. But I digress.
    After many hours of…um…brown, you come down that switchback road (woe to the driver who misses the view in an attempt to keep everyone in the car alive) and all of a sudden there’s lush green everywhere. It’s a true oasis. I adored my week in that area, and I’m so sad to see it threatened.

  19. Hey there Ann,
    I’ll reply since my gosh-darn sister won’t, and hey…i’d like to think i’m the next best thing to her. Well… maybe not.
    I love the drive from Flagstaff to Sedona. Next time you go call me and I’ll bring the D-CON varmin killer.
    I love the tweedy blanket. If you decide you don’t like it, or get the irresitable urge to knit up another one please send it my WAY!!

  20. striking blanket, ann! will you be 3-needle binding the edges not already connected? powerful images! please don’t toss out even one itsy bitsy squareness.

  21. EEEE Ann, I am so jealous? You’re at the Monteagle Assembly? As in the old church camp ground-y place? I LOVE that place. Went there as a kid. Love it. Sorry to hear about the unwelcome critters though. Gorgeous blanket.
    I am about to attempt a baby kimono for a friend’s shower in a couple of weeks…pray for me y’all, since the directions look harder than I thought.

  22. Ann, Gosh I haven’t been down to Grundy County in ages and I sure miss it! If you run into any Conrys, Coppingers, Merrills,Sherrills,or Paynes tell them Howdy for me as odds are they’re my kinfolk!
    Love the blanket!

  23. Despereaux, hee hee! Maybe the tiger from Kate DiCamillo’s other book will show up and eat it. Love the blankie and the birdies.

  24. Few! Kay has been sighted.
    And you know Ann, I rarely step on the soap box and I’m probably preaching to the choir here (as well as unashamedly mixing metaphors), but wasn’t that fire started by someone who threw a cigarette end out their car window? There’s a circle in hell for people who litter.

  25. I love the Despereaux reference….would it make you feel better about your mouse if he was in love with the princess and trying to get to her, against all odds, like Despereaux was?

  26. love the blanket – my MD knitting has gone by the wayside for a bit while I learn socks.
    We once lived in a small house that attraced every field mouse in the area. UGH Do you even want to know how much they can squish themselves to get into tiny places —
    Funny Oak Creek Canyon story — driving my MIL down from the Grand Canyon we went that way and she was very quiet during the switchback — at the end she tells me that all she could think of was Grace Kelly going off the road to her death and she prayed the whole way down LOL

  27. I went to college in Flagstaff at NAU. I knew exactly where that photo was taken! I love that area and am so sad to see it burning. In Phoenix we are under an ozone alert too. You should see the sky. It is white. Ew!

  28. Ann I love the blanket so much – i’m putting it on my list of blankets to make.

  29. I wonder if your cottage is where my parents daydream about retiring right by Sewanee (where they had four years to explore every time they visited my sister, who also married in the “chapel” there). There’s a broken (don’t tell sis) Hallelujah Pottery square baking dish on my kitchen counter right now.
    I love the tweedyness of your blanket so far–don’t go changin’ it just yet.

  30. Aaaaaannnnnnn!!!!!!!
    Where are you?
    No, really….where did you go when you had to move out of your apartment? I want to see the last of that quilt you’re working on.
    Miss you, Noodle in NC

  31. As a mighty miter enthusiast I had a moment of silence in appreciation of your tweed-in-progress. I agree , do not to lose the thin pink stripe ones. My attitude is no plan but do more than 64, then use extras for gift pillows. Keep it away from the critters though!

  32. I love the blanket. I love the colors.
    And that highway – just a few miles from my parents house. You should have probably stopped by and got a dinner out of it ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Happy travelling.

  33. Love the tweedy blanket… and surely nothing will be SO strange as to get voted “off the island.” It is looking lovely. Mattress stitch all around?
    And thank you for the photo fo the road WITH TREES.
    Nashville has trees and hills. Manhattan has concrete canyons (not to mention the Hamptons, beaches, and upstate relatively near by.) There is NOTHING GREEN AND LUMPY WITHIN HUNDREDS OF MILES of North Central Texas. ;-( boo hoo

  34. I love the photos one and all.
    I wish you could have a good mouser in the place. My little deaf cat Radar would take care of ANY of your vermin. Nothing like a good mouser. I’ll send you his photo.

  35. That couch has the same slipcover as mine does!

  36. (wait, I wasn’t finished) Glad to see you’re going the semi-no-sew route, Ann. I’ve got 10 blocks in three pieces so far myself, but in the old juicies/blahs range of Saucy cotton, and regular stripes. You may have motivated me to bust out in at least one square though!

  37. That road looks so lovely! I’m loving that blanket, but yes Kay come back!

  38. What a lovely blanket! I love all the squares!

  39. I love the tweedy blanket! Where does all that creativity come from? You are surely gifted.
    I love your book! It finally got to my local yarn shop last week. It’s inspiring me on so many levels, I’ve already placed a call to Peaches and Cream headquarters.
    I witnessed your booksigning at TNNA, I could have been the 10th person in line, I was standing right there for Pete’s sake… but for some reason didn’t. (I blame the miles and miles of yarn for putting me in a walking coma) Anyway, I’m kicking myself for it now.

  40. Ann, wow.. you were so close to me .. i’m moving to phoenix arizona.. and was thinking about sedona before the fires hit.. and i’ll be heading back to arizona on the 20th of july.. i’m in hilton head sc right now till july 5th and then i’ll drive back up north with kori to pack up the apartment.. eeek.. can’t believe i’m doing this.. but anyway the next time you head that way you have a place to stay.. hugs karola

  41. As someone who has only missed one 4th of July picnic on the Assembly mall in her 36 years, I was so delighted to discover this blog, and, more specifically, your Monteagle post, via a link on a friend’s knitting blog. And I don’t even knit!
    I smiled at your reference to the Winfield House porch. I was just there last week borrowing books for my little ones. Perhaps you were sitting on the porch blogging at the same time?


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