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A New Year

It is astounding to me that although I have written very little on this blog over the last couple of years, it is still being viewed.  According to wordpress stats I have viewers pretty much every day.  Most of those views are on the Bow Tucks Bag tutorial, but some of my other quilting and sewing posts are still getting viewers as well.

Sooooo….I think I will take up writing on this blog more frequently this year as I transition from Virginia back to Taos, NM where I began writing this.  I’ll be posting more sewing tutorials as well as what I’m doing with the botanical illustration I’ve starting learning to do over the past year, and vegetarian cooking.  Other things, too.

Now that I am retired, I can return to these fun things and still find that there is always justenoughtime to do the things we really want to do.

Stay tuned.


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Blue Fleece Vest

In my effort to get back into garment sewing, I’m choosing some simple patterns and fabric that are pretty forgiving.  The hardest thing about the blue fleece vest I just made was finding a separating zipper that would work on it.  Color selection was nil, and I would have preferred a lighter weight one than the parka-style zipper I settled on.  But it worked okay.


I used this McCalls pattern in size large.  I had to stitch a little narrower seams from the waist down just to give a little more ease, because as usual, when it fits in the hips, it’s too big on the top.  And I didn’t want to try to mess with much altering.  The top is a bit big, but will be nice if I want to wear it over a sweater.

The pattern was pretty easy to follow, although I added some additional topstitching so every seam is stitched down, and I also basted in a few extra places beyond what the pattern guide suggests, just to make sure I wouldn’t have to rip anything out.  Ripping stitches out of fleece is not fun.

There are some other patterns for vests I like better than this one–especially that are more fitted–but one of the features of this pattern is the little left breast pocket for iPhone or iPod.  I also like the variations and the fact that I can use this pattern for my husband also.

Blue Fleece Vest  McCalls 5252

Blue Fleece Vest McCalls 5252

He tried my completed vest on and it fits him perfectly on top but needs to be narrower in the hips.  go figure.  He suggested adding a drawstring, which is not a bad idea.  Might make one for him sometime.  But first I want to make the pullover with the short zipper.

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It’s taken a while but I have finally finished this cowl for my daughter. It was supposed to be for her birthday in October, but now it will be for Christmas. The yarn created a more ‘stripey’ pattern than I expected, but it actually shows up stronger in photos than it does in actuality.

My daughter is partial to pink and green. She’s using pink, green, and navy in her wedding next year, and pink and green are the colors of her sorority, Delta Zeta, so hopefully she’ll enjoy this cowl, which she calls an infinity scarf.


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I’ve just begun an infinity scarf/cowl for my daughter with this interesting 100% wool, pink and green yarn from Plain & Fancy Sheep & Wool Co.  The color is “Candy Cane” The pattern is Honey Cowl from Madelinetosh.  I made this for her with a deep purple yarn a year or so ago, although I’ve still not gotten to use Madelinetosh for it.  It calls for DK and this pink and green is sport weight.  However, I’m still using size 8 needles, so it’s creating a more lacy texture rather than the denser one with DK.  I’ve also made it a touch longer.  I haven’t really done enough to tell what it’s going to look like, but I think it will be interesting.  She loves pink and green.


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Crazy Socks

I’ve been making Crazy Zauberball socks for my husband over the past couple of years, and just finished a new pair.


I usually don’t block socks before giving them to John, because he just wants to wear them right away, so these look kind of funny.

Here’s a picture of all the Zauberball socks I’ve made for him. I really like working with this yarn. It’s fun to watch the random color changes emerge. And the socks wear really well.


I’ve also made a cool scarf that I still need to block, and a pair of socks for my sister with this yarn. I have one more ball in my stash and am thinking of trying an infinity scarf with it.

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Sewing Again

Not only has it been a long time since I’ve written on this blog, but it’s been a REALLY long time since I’ve done any garment sewing, which was my first love in fibers and textiles.  I used to make ALL of my clothes, including lingerie on occasion.  I learned how to do really fine hand sewing in a home ec class in high school, so I even used to hand sew buttonholes on blouses.  How things have changed.

But I really do love garment sewing, so I’ve decided to make a concentrated effort to get back into making my own clothes.  This week I finished a blouse that I really love.


It’s made from the Sewing Workshop’s Liberty Shirt pattern with some linen-like cotton fabric I got on sale at Joann’s.  I wanted to make this up first from an inexpensive fabric before I try it with silk for a Craftsy online class that I’m going to take on Sewing With Silk.  I did also make the shirt up first in a muslin, and although I think the shoulders are a little too long I decided to go with it as is.  I’m quite happy with it, but will probably fuss with the shoulders a bit before I make the leap to silk.  The hard part now, is deciding which silk to make it in.

Oh, and I did use my sewing machine to make the buttonholes, although I did consider making them by hand, because it had been so long since I used the automatic buttonhole foot on my machine that I had to fight with it for a couple days, and look up some instructions online, in order to figure out how to use it.

I like this shirt and the way it fits so much, I can imagine I’ll be making several copies of it.  It wears great with Jeans, but I think a dressier version would be nice with a skirt, also, as well as dressier pants.

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Daily Lenten Mandala 6

Today’s task was to create a mandala in response to the desert-like dryness we sometimes experience in our spiritual lives.

“One who now receives my Word and now refuses to accept it is like a field that is sometimes green and sometimes dried up.  But this person does not perish utterly.  His soul suffers hunger, but he has some greenness, though not much.”   Hildegard of Bingen, Scivias III.10.4

I chose to depict ocotillo — spiny desert plants sometimes planted as fences — set against desert colors, arising out of a dark dry center, as a response to this passage.

Copyright Deborah Baldwin Fair 2013

Copyright Deborah Baldwin Fair 2013

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