Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hoover, West Branch, and trains

There is fiber in this story, but most of it isn't mine. On the way to Niagara Falls (slowly I, stop), we stopped at one of the Presidential Libraries/birthplace. Can't say why, but we find these irresistible. It was a totally gorgeous day, so walking around the small town of West Branch, Iowa, seeing the tiny cottage Herbert Hoover lived in for the first few years of his life, was a pleasant break from our long drive.

The peony bushes were stunning. The blacksmith in the neighboring blacksmith shop was entertaining. Walking through the Quaker Meeting House and looking at the woven blanket

and the quilts, not to mention the wall-to-wall rag rugs, in the cottage

was a treat. A treat for me, at least. K was more impressed with the huge Bailey train yard in North Platte, Ne.

Here, trains are taken apart and put back together like a kid playing with tinkertoys, for the sake of sorting out the cars with a common destination and creating new trains to get them there. All this fun is viewed from a new observation tower. Don't miss it if you love watching trains.

If you, however, love knitting socks instead, do knit the Nutkin pattern.

After the slowness of Blackrose, which my brain could not memorize, knitting Nutkin was a joy. I had the pattern after the first repeat. It produces a pretty design that looks great with variegated yarn without the stress of a complex pattern. No cables, just a yarn over and a ssk, a few purls and bam! Impact galore.

I can't wait to knit it again, maybe in Smooshy, Koigu, or some such yarn with lots of elasticity. Wait, I have to knit another one in this yarn first. It does bias a little (all those ssk's with no k2togs), but that may go away when I block it. If not, I might try a modification, reversing the pattern every other repeat.

Details: Trekking Pro Natura yarn (once again), size 2 needles on a turned hem cuff to start, then size 1s for the short-row boomerang heel. The pattern provides great short-row heel instructions, I just boomeranged it by knitting around between the two halves of the heel. I was tempted by the pattern's short-row toe with the cute three-needle bind-off at the top of it, but I remembered other short-row toes that were less than smooth at the join of the rows. I fear that cute bind-off--it looks like a seam and might feel like one! Probably not, but I chickened out and knit a standard decreased toe, grafting the end closed.

The result is a soft, comfy sock (great yarn) that fits well (short-row heel over 60 percent of the stitches.)

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