The pitter-patter of little feet

There are six new feet at Villa Incognito this week! Though one might be led to believe that this means I have adopted triplets, think again. Here’s one pair:

My favorite colors

The long-delayed socks that I started in March are finally a reality! My knitting process seems to be very much a start and start-over methodology. I cast on, get a few rows done, realize I’ve goofed something up, and frog it all and begin again. In the case of these particular items of footwear, I started (several times) and managed to get to the heel after a number of false starts that caused me to frog back to the toe at least twice. We last saw these at the heel, where my first idea was to do an afterthought heel; the color changes in the yarn meant that, had I decided to continue with the main yarn, the front of the sock would have had a noticeable jump in the progression of the colors.

I slipped in two rows in a contrast yarn to hold my place and continued with the leg, putting the heel on hold until I could get to the store for a nice yarn for the heel, which took me about a week. I found a nice solid green for the heel at Creative Hands, and wanted to start that heel right away. Unfortunately, the sock wasn’t all that cooperative and the heel I managed to fashion on the first sock was a total disaster. That little venture taught me not to try to turn a heel in company, with wine. I wasn’t happy with the comparative weights of the sock and heel yarns, and the heel felt “floppy” to me, so again I frogged back to the end of the foot.

I was also worried about having these socks fall apart on me in a few months, which is what happened with my first pair. I wore them to death because they were the most comfortable thing I had ever had, but I would like my future socks to be just a wee bit more durable. Off to the fabric store to look for elastic thread, but the local JoAnn’s is rather understocked on anything that a serious crafter would want (though quilters probably find it heaven, their fiber selection, as well as implements for working with same, is not of very good quality, being limited to LB and a wee bit of Sugar & Cream in a selection of colors that would be wonderful if you were colorblind and still living in the 70s.)

I finally decided on a serger nylon thread that I could carry with the solid green to reinforce it a bit, and completed the heel using Misocrafty’s superb short-row tutorial with the double wraps. My interpretation wasn’t perfect (I never am!) and I did have a hole at the join, as you can see below, but the rest of the heel turned out so far superior to my prior heel experiences (all two of them) that I am a confirmed double-wrapper now.

One thing I tried in this sock was to put rows of ribbing at the instep. It’s only about 20 rows of 1×1 rib, but it was a success. As is evident in the photo, I have a very high arch (probably because I started dance training at the age of 3) and I guessed that this might give the sock a bit more hug. I was delighted to discover that I guessed correctly on this one! The main fit issue with these socks is the cast-off; I used US1′s for the sock, but used a US2 for the bind-off and was very careful to bind off so loosely I thought that it would never hold. Still, I do have to carefully draw them on over the heel, so I guess next time I will try using a needle size two-up from the project size in hopes that doesn’t recur. I didn’t have that problem with my first pair, so I’ll just keep working on figuring out that bit of magic.

What I enjoyed about these socks was watching the color changes through shades of blue, fuschia and purple mixed with green. I’m a wee bit disappointed that the two balls I had of this yarn (Jojoland’s Melody superwash, color MS08 – but the MS colors are not available and I’ve linked to a close relative) would have required some significant splicing to get identical socks, so I settled for a fraternal pair instead. In fact, I’m not sure that I would have been able to get matching color order at all – Sock A’s toe color didn’t show up in Sock B until partway up the leg! As a new sock knitter, I haven’t yet developed the patience for managing all the details, and as someone that’s rather wonky anyway, it just makes sense that my socks shouldn’t match any more than my attitude!

So that’s two feet taken care of; where are the other four? You can bet I haven’t knit an additional two pair of socks since my last post! My regular reader (you know who you are!) knows that my beloved Zinah, companion of the last 18 years, went to the catnip fields in mid-March. I miss her terribly still; I sense her in the house, I talk to her, she is still very present in my heart and mind. Still, my house is very empty without a fur person in it, even though I’m not ready to give my heart again yet.

I have volunteered for Maine Coon Adoptions, working as a case manager to screen potential adoptees and match them with the perfect cat. In a recent chat with the director, she suggested that I might be willing to foster a cat who is waiting for a “forever” home, and I agreed it would be OK.

On Tuesday, this young lady came to hang out at VI* with me. * VI is Villa Incognito, my humble abode. Because of the layout of this particular bit of suburbia, I am one of three units on a small piece of land. My house is built off the main house, and runs along one side of the property line; it’s also behind a fence when viewed from the street, so the house itself is invisible unless you know it’s there.

Yes, I\'m settling in now.

Meet “Colleen”, a Maine Coon mix who is about 7 years old. Long silky fur, calico/tabby markings, huge paws, and a tiny little pink nose. She’s personable but shy and skittish at this point. I wonder if she wasn’t hurt at some point (we don’t always have the cat’s full history when we rescue them) as she reacts with fear to noises and has been a bit upset by the heavy winds we’ve been having, which have been shaking the trees and banging the gates. She does a lovely purr, though – enjoys being held like a baby, likes to have her ears rubbed, and as you can see from the specks on her face, is really enjoying the catnip! I’d like to see her put on a couple of pounds, as right now her bones are far too evident, though that’s not visible in photos.

Cleaning up after rolling in the catnip.

She’s been adjusting slowly – hey, she’s only been here three days! – but last night decided that sleeping under the covers was a good thing. So I guess you can say that we are coming to some understanding, though we are still having “discussions” about what furniture is OK (soft is good, hard is not – no tables or counters allowed) and my personal use as a pincushion, also not OK.

I realize that saving a cat, or several cats, from a miserable life isn’t on a par with world-changing events, but it still is a small way to heal a bit of the harm and is something I am capable of. I know I won’t cure cancer, bring about world peace, or settle the Democratic primary race, but I believe that each action we take with good intent adds to the balance of good in the world. If each of us took one action each day, no matter how small, that was evidence of mindfulness, of caring, of joy, we could move the balance point further to the good. Whether it’s a donation of time, money, or service, if it’s done with a good heart, you are making a difference.

By the way, if you want to help out our feline friends, you can adopt a wonderful MC mix from us, or you can donate to help us care for the many cats we are fostering around the SF Bay Area. You can even volunteer to be a “Kitty Cuddler” – we keep a variety of cats at a PetSmart store in San Jose who need regular care, brushing, feeding and play time while they are on display. Cats rotate in and out of the store, but there’s always a need for tender loving care. Volunteer here

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3 Comments to “The pitter-patter of little feet”

  1. The socks are gorgeous – I love the colors! I finally gave up on expecting identical socks and now settle for fraternals, which are actually more interesting ;)

    So sorry about your Zinah. Your visitor is lovely – we had a cat who looked very much like her some years ago, and the current white cat, Amber, is similar, but without the markings.

  2. Thanks, Joy – the socks were certainly a much longer project than I’d planned, but I do love the way they feel and look. This is a pretty kitty that’s staying with me, but she’s needier than I like for myself. Maybe as she gets more comfortable she’ll mellow a bit!

  3. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation :) Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Gaul

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