Archive for the ‘New Mexico’ Category

Quick, before I have to run off to a church meeting:

Here’s a picture of another New Mexico project I started.  This is the one that was for airport and airplane knitting.  And for the end of the day when I’m wiped out and need something mindless to work on.

It’s Grace Anna Robbins’ Double Bias Scarf made with Kauni fingering weight yarn.  I love the way the colors graduate.  And it’s super simple to knit yet interesting enough with that little bias trick and an increase at the beginning of each row to keep you from totally zoning.

Got them both on my first visit to Tutto in Santa Fe last month.



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I started a few new knitting projects while on vacation in Taos last month.  I usually don’t like to work on more than one project at a time, but I needed something challenging, as well as something easy for airplane/airport knitting.  And, I of course, had to do some sampling at some of the great yarn shops in New Mexico.  So I now find myself with 5 active knitting projects–two of which are socks that have been on the needles for months.  We won’t go there right now.

While visiting Village Wools in Albuquerque on our last day I found a great book called Knitting Goes Large.  There are some wonderful patterns in this book, so I just had to get it along with the yarn to make one.  This week I’ve been swatching for the Twisted Rib Cardigan by Wendy Baker.  The yarn is Jo Sharp Luxury 8 ply DK Pure Wool, color Fleur 353.  It’s worked up quite nicely in the twisted rib with size 6 needles.


I’ll post the other projects in coming days.

In the meantime, along with everything else, I’m reading an outstanding book on creativity titled, Trust the Process: An Artist’s Guide to Letting Go, by Shaun McNiff.  There is so much great stuff in this book.  I’ll be using it to spark my own creativity for a long time, and am also finding some great ideas to use in planning for my doctoral dissertation project.

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When you drive the roads of Northern New Mexico this time of year you will see sunflowers lining many of the roadsides.  Sometimes you’ll even see fields of sunflowers.  These are the great big ones that produce sunflower seeds you feed the birds with, but a smaller variety with lots of 3″ to 4″ diameter blossoms.  

The sunflowers along the roads were inspired this mandala.  I took pictures in steps with this one.  I think it’s fun to see how different it looks at each stage.

DSCN3421The initial drawing.




I took some artist’s license by adding red and orange, since there isn’t any in the roadside sunflowers.  I almost always try to include some red in my mandalas.  Not sure what Jung would say about that. 


Turquoise for New Mexico.


Black to make the eye travel.


I decided it was a little flat, so I added some shading.

Finally, I put the lines back in with permanent black ink to punch up the whole picture. 


Taos Sunflower Mandala  —  6″ Diameter — Watercolor and Ink on Paper

Deborah Baldwin Fair 2009

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So it’s not couture sewing but I actually sat down at my sewing machine yesterday and in about two hours put together two costumes for our first (annual — I hope) Living Nativity Walk.  We’re setting scenes for people to walk through that tell the Christmas story.  They’ll be bordered by luminaria, or as we say in New Mexico, farolitos, and surrounded by music that was recorded at our Christmas Cantata.

Each scene will have live “characters” as our Living Nativity creator and director, George, calls them and we’re expecting some live animals as well.  Our only hope is that the rescue squad siren (the rescue squad is across the street from the church) doesn’t go off in the middle of everything and frighten the animals who are used to being out in the country.  I’ve checked my Bible and I don’t see animal stampede anywhere in the Christmas story.

We’re also hoping that it doesn’t rain–at least not too hard.

George brought me some fabulous material he got at a mill end shop and I quickly stitched up this Wise Man’s/King’s costume, tunic and robe.  I made a bit of a mistake on the cutting of the tunic, which is ridiculous because it’s ridiculously simple, but I fixed it with a little fancy zig-zagging.  Pretty opulent, I’d say.


I’m going to be an angel–no comments!  So I pulled out my old white robe (alb) that I no longer use for preaching and worship and embellished the arms with stylized “wings.”  Considering the fact that my sermon tomorrow is titled, “The Truth About Angels,” and I’ve learned in my preparation for it that nowhere in the Bible do angels have wings, it seemed odd to me to equip myself with the typical stiff, stuck out from the back wings.  

Here’s how I made my “wings.”


I tore two yards of shimmery, filmy fabric across the grain into approximately two-inch wide strips so they would be frayed and would not just lie flat as they would if simply cut.


Then I pinned them onto a 30-inch length of 1/2-inch wide ribbon.  I started with one piece at the half way point and then made each one longer with a shorter “fold-over” as I headed from wrist to shoulder.  The fold-over acts as a second layer for the wing.  Then I stitched down the middle to attach to the ribbon.


Finally, I tacked the “wings” on by hand to sleeves using a long running back stitch down the middle of the ribbon.  It will be easy to go in from the back side and snip them off when I’m finished with them.


The strips of fabric fold over to make a layered “wing”.  One problem is all the strays threads that keep coming off the fabric strips, but it’s not a big problem.  I’m hoping there will be a slight breeze that will make the wings “fly about” a little while I’m standing there being a “character.”

Now I just have to finish folding down the tops of 50 more brown paper lunch sacks for the luminaria.  We’re making over 200!  (I love this picture from newmexicophotos.com.  Check out the site for more farolito pics and other great New Mexico pictures.  I’m dreaming of a New Mexico Christmas!)

five-luminarias THEN I have to get on with some of the other things I have to do today:  finish preparing for worship and teaching tomorrow, make cookies for Larissa and Josh’s arrival on Wednesday, fix a pot of vegetable soup, and of course, get ready to be an angel.

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My question late last night as we were finishing up packing was, “How many more moves are we going to make?”  It was at that point where all the little last minute items were making themselves known, and we put together two boxes of all the miscellaneous things we didn’t know what to do with.  That’s the part I really hate, that, and the last minute cleaning.

I really do like going to new places, I just don’t like the packing and physical move part.

Because we were late finishing up I didn’t get to a cyber cafe to make a post last night, but luckily we’re staying at a motel in Weatherford, OK tonight that has high speed internet.  Yay!  John and I are both busily tapping away at our keyboards. 

I took some pictures yesterday and today leaving New Mexico.



I’ve tried several times to get some good Rio Grande Gorge pictures, and managed to get a couple yesterday.  They’re not fabulous, but if you’ve never seen the gorge it’s pretty awesome.  These are taken driving from the south into Taos.

Leaving Taos this morning we made a quick stop for John to make sure everything was ok with the trailer on which he’s pulling his truck.  I’m driving my car behind him.  We ended up getting a mid-size rental truck because the trailer we’d planned to get wasn’t quite large enough.  I couldn’t leave out my stash, could I?  


This is one of our favorite overlooks, looking out into the Mora valley.  It’s on the eastern side of the mountains from Taos.


I snapped a couple of pictures while driving–I know, very unsafe–to try to show how terribly windy it has been all day for our drive across eastern New Mexico, the Texas panhandle and southwestern Oklahoma.


You can sort of see how the trees are leaning in the wind.  But pictures don’t even come close to showing it.  We’ve had to drive between 55 and 60 mph because the trailer starts oscillating at any faster speed.  I think the wind has a lot to do with it.  We passed an area in Texas where they were harvesting hay and the blowing chaff colored the sky yellow.

Along the way we’ve seen some wind generator farms.  I actually think they’re kind of elegant looking.  Those are cows in the lower left hand corner.  Note the blowing tree on the left. 


Now to the needlework.

Yesterday I got one short break to start on the middle of “Making Tracks.”  So far I’ve stitched the upper right hand square of the middle.


It’s not very easy to see since I’m using the lightest of the thread.


I’m using this pattern from Fill-in Patterns from Sixteenth Century Blackwork Embroideries, and will also stitch the square diagonally across from this one the same way.  The other two center squares will be in the very darkest thread, but I haven’t decided on the stitch pattern yet.

I’m hoping to get a little stitching done tonight.

Tomorrow’s destination is Russellville, Arkansas.

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Saturday we took a trip to Santa Fe, mainly because I wanted to sneak in a visit to the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market before we depart the area for a while.


There were lots of wonderful vendors.  This booth was selling all kinds of dried herbs and flowers and they also had feathers.  Yes, feathers.  They were really beautiful.


There were lots of plants.


And spring veggies.

I especially wanted to visit the Milk and Honey Soap Company booth because I had read an article about the owner in a local publication and thought the products looked really great.  I wanted to try them out to see if they would work well with hand knit wash cloths for gifts.

I purchased one of the soap bars (left) and one of the lotion bars (right).  They smell wonderful.  One is mint and the other is lavender.


I love the molds they use to make them.  They have lots more designs and fragrances on their website

We also made a quick visit to a new yarn shop in Santa Fe, Looking Glass Yarn and Gifts.  It’s small but great and the owner is very friendly and helpful.

Yesterday we participated in a great cycling event with the Taos Cycle Club.  It was out at Wild Rivers Recreation area near the Colorado border.  John cycled with four other guys from Taos–40 miles.  Others cycled in the park on the smooth paved road for rides from 4 to 17 miles, while still others road the Rinconada loop on mountain bikes.  I did the short 4 mile paved road ride, but I also took Mishka for a walk on one of the hiking trails. 

Then we all had a picnic.  It was a wonderful day with perfect weather, and lots of people of all ages showed up to take part.

Today we start packing in earnest.  John’s already crinkling packing paper behind me trying to get me to hurry up.    

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Here’s a picture of a pretty little knitted gift bag my Taos knitting friend, Laura, gave me.  Tucked inside was a safety pin full of pearl and bead stitchmarkers.  I’ll be reminded of her every time I use them.


Laura is the one who “founded” our knitting group that has become so close-knit (pun intended) over the past five months.  It’s hard to believe we’ve been meeting such a short time, because we’ve all become fast friends.  I will really miss them when I’m in Virginia, but I know that whenever I come back for visits they’ll be there on Wednesday nights.

Yesterday John, Mishka, and I went for a four mile mountain bike ride on a new trail.  It’s actually a short forest road off of a tight curve of hwy 64 as it heads up the mountain towards Angel Fire.

What a gorgeous place.  The road had only a few really technical spots for riding and it was bordered by a meandering creek and lush green grass.  Mishka was in the creek right out of the truck.  I don’t know how she knew it was there, but she was in it.

While we road she ran in and out of the creek, and the grass, and ran up the hill on the other side of the road, chasing who knows what.

At the end of the road was a pond surrounded by aspen and another track where we left our bikes and walked for a bit.


We found patches of wild iris all over the area.



In one place they were blithely taking over the human-made road.


Coming down the hill we rode about 10 to 12 mph and Mishka kept up the whole way.  After her running, sprinting, and generally nosing about, she was filthy and pretty tired.

When we got home, she laid down by my sewing chair while I worked on a new project.


Here’s a teaser.  I’ll post more tomorrow.


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