I was not a happy woman in August of 2005, as I drove from Pennsylvania (where I’d been staying temporarily with my parents) to south Texas, a fussy 4-month-old alternating between sleep and tears in the back seat. I resented every single one of those 1,658 miles.
Texas was not our first choice of duty station when Steve put in for new orders. Nor was it our second, or third…or anywhere on the list, to be honest. We had just been transferred to Virginia less than a year earlier. We’d bought a house, because we were told we’d be able to stay in one place longer, and we expected to be there several years. We’d carefully chosen the home based on neighborhood and school district because we wanted to start having children–and, in fact, we’d just learned I was pregnant and was due just a week before Steve was supposed to go to Texas. I had recently started a great job with a great company. And we were close to my family. I was, truth be told, a little bitter about the new assignment.
When we leave here next month–headed for Washington, DC–we will have been in Texas for almost 4 full years; it was supposed to be an 18-month tour. However, Steve got the opportunity to command a ship here (a ship that has just left for its new duty station), and that’s not an opportunity we could say no to. So Texas has been home for a lot longer than we expected…but in that time it has become home, not just the place we were assigned to.
There are things I won’t miss, certainly. I like being in a livelier place; I don’t like living in a big city, but I like to be near one. The heat and humidity wears me down every day, and can exacerbate my MS. We haven’t seen much of our families the last 4 years (but not as infrequently as I feared). And the Texas Air Force (our “fond” nickname for the mosquito swarms) has already been active for months. I am ready to move on.
At the same time, this place will hold a special place in my heart. I’ve made good friends here whom I’ll miss. Our youngest child, Lexie, was born here…and it was here that I learned to knit and became part of a whole new community.
I wanted some way to commemorate our lives here, especially since we’re not likely to return–the base is closing, and it’s a bit out of the way for a visit wherever else we might live. But I hadn’t done anything more than think about it, when someone posted a picture of some yarn she’d just gotten from Three Irish Girls. It was a custom colorway, where she’d sent Sharon a picture, and Sharon had dyed yarn using those colors. It was one of the coolest things I’d ever seen, and I knew what I wanted–Corpus Christi yarn.
So, now I needed a picture to represent Corpus Christi. I thought about it for a while, but my mind kept coming back to the same images:
I love the beach. I don’t actually go to it–with my fair skin, I get fried to a crisp so easily–but I could stare at it for hours. I got to see it almost every day. I loved the colors of the beach on a sunny day–the beiges of the sand, the turquoises of the water, and the blues of the sky. There was such depth to the colors. Sometimes, I felt like I was looking at a beautiful painting, and I wished I could keep it with me forever. But pictures get hung on walls and tucked away in photo albums. Yarn, though…yarn I could make into something beautiful to wear, so that whenever I wanted I could wrap the things I loved about Corpus Christi around myself and my children.
So I sent Sharon my pictures and asked her to please turn them into yarn for me. I really had no idea how the process worked–honestly, I thought I’d send the pictures, she’d do her magic, and then the yarn would show up at my door several weeks later. I had no idea that I would remain such an integral part of the process.
First, Sharon put together some color boards. They didn’t show the exact colors, but they represented the mix and proportion she was thinking of: a fairly literal translation of the picture, and then 2 more abstract ones.
After some thought, I chose the first option; I wanted as literal a translation of my picture as possible. So Sharon went to work with her magical dye pots. The next email I got showed me her first attempt at the yarn:
Who could say no to such a heartfelt plea? I told Sharon it was perfect…although as we chatted, Sharon drew out of me that I’d like the colors punched up a bit. I’d chosen the Galenas Merino I love so much, and because it’s not superwash, the colors are more muted. But Sharon said she thought she could brighten it up some, and went back to work.
Then came the hard part–waiting.
Today, a box showed up at my front door.
Eighteen skeins of yarn I’m calling Corpus Christi Beach, and two bonus skeins of a blue that could only be Texas Sky. The blue coordinates with the deepest blue in the variegated yarn, and will be beautiful for trim.
Of course, Corpus Christi Beach is beautiful all by itself.
The color in these photos is not completely true; there’s the slightest of red casts. The greens are less gray, and the beiges more subdued. The yarn is, in a word, perfect. Whenever I hold this yarn in my hand, or knit it, or wrap the sweaters around myself or my children, I’ll remember our home in south Texas.
Thank you, Sharon.
Note: Sharon’s pictures posted with her permission.