Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A bunch of batts

ETA: The batts have landed! Apparently I jumped the gun by a few hours, but now that Yvette has received these, she's helped me out with the names. I've also remembered a few more blending details, which I've added below.

A while ago, I did a trade of sorts with Yvette. She wanted to make dresses for Daisy, so I offered some batts in return. The thing with me and trades is...well, it takes me a little while (and by this I mean a LONG while.) Anyway, once I started carding, these were very fun to do. Sparky and Max helped me out with the cranking, and it was cool to see these come together.

It took me until late last week to get these into the mail, but they should have gotten to France by now, so I am free to show them to you here! (I am a little shaky on the names [see above note in italics], as I didn't photograph the tags I made out for each batt, so Yvette, correct me if I'm wrong...)

"Girl's Night Out" Merino, Sari Silk, purple Firestar

"Tidepool Shimmer" Merino, pale blue Bamboo and turquoise Firestar

"Raspberry Coulis" Merino, gold Glitz. This was made by first blending medium pink with pale pink, and then separately medium pink with red. I then carded those two blended batts in stripes, so that, when spun, it'll be gentle, heathered, coordinating stripes.

"Woodland Brook" Merino and Angora

"Rose Colored Glasses" Wool blend, Merino, Mohair, Gold Glitz, Silk Noil. This bat is unique in this set in that it's sturdier than the others; a heartier blend. I wanted to play with the halo and shine of Mohair, and the strength of plain, honest wool, along with blending colors that might seem to not initially make sense together -- burgundy Wool blend, white Merino, orange Mohair (from A Little Quacky's [now defunct?] Etsy shop), a dash of dark pink Merino. On this batt's last trip through the carder, I threw in some eye-popping bright orangey-pink silk nepps (thanks, Alke!!) and a handful of shiny gold glitz for fun.

This was a total experiment, and I wasn't even sure if I'd like it enough to send it to Yvette, but upon completion, I feel like the result is more than the sum of it's parts. Even though it wasn't the softest blend, I found myself holding it in my hands, petting it again and again, relishing in the sturdy qualities, and the way the subtle heathering is shot through with pink...the silk neps reminding me of juicy pomegranate seeds, and the gold glitz catching the light, promising fun times...in the end, I had a hard time letting this one go.

I love soft squishyness just as much as the next person, but sometimes there's just nothing like a lovely, low-twist yarn in strong, lustrous honest-to-goodness plain wool. (Or at least that's how I'd spin it. In fact, I think I just might have to go card me up a similar one of these right now. Right. Now.)

Last but not least: "Best Friend Batts: Grape & Turquoise" Natural black Alpaca, cornflower blue Merino, Sari Silk, and either grape or turquoise Corriedale

Those last two were the most interesting of the blending experiments, colorwise. The only difference in the two batts was to change the color of Corriedale in the mix. Fun!

Here are the two dresses that Yvette sent for Daisy:

Daisy's favorite part of the two dresses are the pockets! They're adorable and simple with a vintage charm, and nice and breezy for the hot summer to come. Thank you Yvette!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Lush and Lacy

My Lush and Lacy Cardigan is complete!

The only modifications I made were to the button band (I included two buttonholes because I didn't want the buttons on both sides), and to knit the sleeves straight with no peplum. Also, I did not include the pockets in the front, because I don't need to attract any attention to my belly. I would much rather draw the eye up, which is what the lace does, gracefully.

As you may remember, I DID knit the peplum initially, but then after realizing how they did not complement my figure, I removed them and completed the sleeves in plain stockinette stitch.

I really like the sweater; the length hits me at the perfect spot, the shoulders fit nicely, and after my bustline returns to it's non-nursing size, it should fit me even better.

For all of the project details, visit the project page on Ravelry.

I've got another sweater on the needles now that will be perfect for the warmer weather we've been having. More to follow!

Friday, May 15, 2009

TOTM Socks

Thank you, everyone, for your outpouring of love and congratulations. As a family, we are so delighted to be back together again. Although Greg has been home less than two weeks, we have slipped comfortably back into normal life, almost as if he'd never left. The children are bigger, and I feel some small differences in myself -- an independence and ability to make decisions in a way I never did before -- but Greg is more relaxed than he ever was, and the transition is going smoothly. From what I've heard from many other families, this reintegration is supposed to be tough stuff, but...I truly have nothing juicy to spill. We are together, and we are happy. Good times.

Moving on.

I did finally pick up my Lush and Lacy Cardi again. I snipped one stitch at the beginning of the ruffle, then carefully picked out each stitch and put it back on my needles. I then knit down in stockinette to about elbow length, knit a little 1x1 rib border, and cast-off. As you can see, I knit them flat, so that my gauge would match the rest of the sweater, and also because there was already a seam coming from the underarm, and I thought it might look a little funny if it suddenly switched to seamless mid-sleeve.

(Color in this photo entirely off, so just imagine it in it's deep forest green)

Probably no one would have ever noticed or cared. Whatever. It's now all seemed, and I'll show it to you tomorrow (or whenever I blog next).

For now, here's some socks!

This is the Show-Off Stranded Sock pattern by Anne Campbell. The stitch pattern is actually made up of slipped stitches, not stranded, as the pattern suggests. I like the way the slipped stitches pick up color from other rows -- it makes it a nice choice for multi-colored yarn. The yarn I used is Spunky Eclectic Tough Sock (?) in Time Of The Month (TOTM) colorway: Rage, Chocolate and Tears (something of a joke, birthed in the fertile/sewer-minds of the Spunky message boards).

I substituted a eye-of-the-partridge heel-flap, which is my all-time favorite way for multi yarn.

I was happy with my first sock. The leg of it was striping along evenly, but it seems that once I hit the second sock, my tension was completely different. The flashing and pooling was almost enough to make me want to rip and knit again, but really: these will be worn under pants.

And they are terribly comfortable (that slipped-stitch pattern is very elastic and cozy feeling). So really -- what's a little flashing and pooling among friends? Or something. These are going in the "gift" pile. Someone will love them, I'm sure. Just not me. (Although I'm rather crazy about the kooky colorway!)

On a different (but still completely Spunky) note, just this week, I received a "straggler" birthday gift, from my sister Hannah. She and I have birthdays only 2 weeks apart, and traditionally never get each-other gifts on time. Hannah called me a few days after my birthday this year, wondering what I wanted. I, of course, pointed her to my Amazon wishlist, and also mentioned gift certificates at The Loopy Ewe or Spunky Eclectic. Apparently, those are all boring suggestions. Then I mentioned that perhaps she could contact either Amy (Spunky) or David (Southern Cross Fibre), and, since they "know" me, could have one of them put something together for me. She liked this idea, because it could still be a surprise, of sorts.

So, a few days ago: SURPRISE!

The funniest thing was reading Hannah's (mildly sarcastic) greeting in Amy's handwriting.

Thank you THANK YOU to both Hannah and Amy for putting together such a great birthday package for me. Batt-blending fun is in my future!!

(Oh, and Hannah, I promise I'll send your birthday gift soon. As soon as I decide what it is.)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Welcome home, my love

Yesterday morning I got a call that my husband had landed safely at a nearby Airforce base, and was on a bus headed for our post here in Southern Germany. (We had expected him later on in the month, but he managed to make it back with the ADVON/advanced party.) The Welcome Home Ceremony was scheduled for 11:15 in the morning, so I packed the children up (along with backpacks full of little toys and sandwiches in case things ran long). The children were more fussy and wild than usual -- excited and emotional all at once. I felt the same. We arrived at the location just early enough to get seats, and then waited.

And waited.

And waited.

A little after the supposed start time (these things never actually start on time, so this was expected), a woman went to the front, grabbed an echo-ey mic, and began to rev up the crowd. Max was none-too-pleased; after every group chant of "OPEN THE DOORS!!!", he would turn to me and say "OK, so where's Daddy?"

The waiting was hard on me too. After all of this time, all of the waiting, the struggles, the constant effort to keep our family connected across the miles, and the life we'd lived alone, we were now seated with a huge crowd, waiting together for our men and women to be returned to us.

I felt, to an extent, resentful that I had to share the moment with so many. I feared that the raucous chanting, the waving hand-made signs, the hundreds of other people waiting would cheapen or detract from the tender, joyful celebration of our family becoming whole again.

I needn't have worried. When the doors finally swung open, and we saw one single fist pumping in the air -- that of the first soldier through the entryway -- the entire crowd erupted in wild, deafening applause. It was a roar of voices and a thunder of pounding feet; unbridled joy, completely unmasked, like that of a child's, unrestrained.

In that moment, there was no thought to the people around us, the 13 months we've been apart, the 45 minutes we'd sat in the gym waiting. There were only tears, and screams, and a release of overflowing thankfulness.

I couldn't hold back my tears as I scanned each face of the returned soldiers, searching for the one most precious to me, to us.

After a remarkably brief prayer by the chaplain, they released our soldiers from formation, and the crowd exploded again -- the two groups of people rushing at each other, loved ones falling into each others arms.

I stood high in the bleachers, waiting for Greg to find us, and at last, through the scattered crowds, saw him making his way towards us.

I cannot describe our first kiss, and I won't try. Even now, the memory of holding his face in my hands in that moment makes my heart feel full to bursting, and my face once again salty with tears.

Sparky, upon seeing Greg at last, began to cry as well. He was so overwhelmed with emotion, that it took about an hour before he could really talk with Greg without breaking all to pieces.

Daisy immediately climbed into Greg's arms, and we gathered close together; our family, whole again.

To each dear family member and friend who have stood by our family from near or far: for your thoughts and prayers, for your emails and phone calls, your online companionship. Your support has meant so much to me. Thank you for all of the love you've shared with us, and for just being there though times both peaceful and full of hope, as well as the darker times of loneliness we've lived through in this past year. With your help and God's strength, we not only survived it, but we've thrived.

Together again, we now face the new challenge of reintegrating as a family; I am confidant, hopeful, excited.

The woman who took this picture for us handed me back my camera and said "It's over. It's really over. You did it. You made it through this entire deployment, and it's all over." As her words sunk in, I could hardly compose myself. Even now, it seems impossible that it really is over. That I only have to play the part of "Mommy" now, and I no longer have to make things work on my own. After more than a year of being strong, of managing my world, of trying to guard my heart against the pain of separation and trying not to feel too much, of staying on top of things and trying not to dream of the end or count the days, it is now All Over. I can let go. He's back. I can breathe now. Thank God, he's home.

Welcome home, my love.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...