I had a nice day yesterday. I think fabric shopping is the best, most fun, and most wonderful activity. Extremely relaxing. I thought about fabric a lot yesterday. Isn't it weird that humans like to look at stuff (plants) and then try to draw (and paint and embroider) little versions of that stuff? Do you ever think about that? What compels us, throughout the centuries, to draw little versions of things (like flowers) and put them on other things (like fabrics)? And why do some things appeal to me and not to you? And why do some things appeal to you and not to me? Why do I like certain colors, and not other colors? Where do these preferences come from, I wonder? I asked the lady at the fabric store (who was cutting about fifteen little 1/8-yard strips of all of my fabrics, so we had some time to hang) if people "seemed" like the fabrics they bought. First she said, What? (So I said it again.) Then I think she understood what I meant and she said Only sometimes.
What I want to know is: Who is buying all the batik at Fabric Depot??? (Partiers, I think! Right? :-) Is that not the biggest batik collection in the First world or what? Partiers, head to FD.
Sometimes I think I'd like to work at a fabric store and see people loving every different kind of fabric there is. And then I'd love to see who it was that was loving each one, and ask them about it. Why do they like it? I think those would be cool conversations to have.
Anyway, I think this new virtual quilt involves something I've only ever heard about, but never before chosen to experience. It's called fussy cutting. Fussy cutting is when you cut a piece of fabric to include a specific motif. I personally think it should also apply when you are cutting one of anything. My quilt: It contains one rectangle that measures 10 1/2" x 4 1/2". Interesting, Alicia. It's not only fussy cutting, it's fussy unfolding, fussy measuring, fussy cutting, and fussy refolding. And then the stack falls over.
Well, I ran into my very dear and beautiful friend Elizabeth at Mill End Store yesterday and showed her the design on my phone and we both agreed it was likely going to keep me out of trouble for a while. Hoping.
People occasionally ask me how I buy my fabric. Answer: Like a breakdancing lunatic. I have no method. I never know what anthing is called, I barely know what store I'm in, and I just get some. And do some moves.
I was playing with the cross stitch program I use (PC Stitch) this morning and started putting together a virtual quilt. I've never really planned a quilt before, or even made one that was sort of complicated. Now I kind of want to make this one. Each little box represents one (finished) inch, so this is 92" x 92". I wonder if I can do a quilt lke this. I don't think it would be that hard if I took the shapes apart and figured out how to build each section. I would do it in some tiny prints, not all solid colors. So maybe I'd have to simplify the design. But I think my colors would probably be less contrasty and less bright than these in real life. So maybe that would compensate. And I want it to feel flowery, in spite of all of these . . . what's the word . . . it's a math word . . . geometric. Shapes. Good grief, girl.
I was going to tell you some stuff about making cross stitch patterns but then this design started happening. Classic. Sorry!
It's kind of funny that it came out like this because I was wanting to make a new quilt but I couldn't decide which kind of design to make. So it's kind of a mish-mash, which is kind of how I was feeling. Super fun program to play around with, though. You get to make it without making it. Maybe there's some kind of quilting software that does this, too?
Thank you for all the farm name suggestions — they were so awesome! I need to check in with Brady to see what he thinks. I will report back! ;-)
I frequently express my congratulations to Andy Paulson, because I'm just so dang happy for him that he had the good sense to marry a girl that makes him croque monsieurs on a whim. Yup, I'm cool like that.
Our friends Brady and Peter recently bought a little farm at the edge of the piney woods. It came with an apple orchard, a big gray barn, a flock of sheep, and a hen, but no name. Any ideas?
It's the kind of place I dreamt about when I was a child (though my dream had a dapple gray Connemara pony in it, too). I can't wait to go back when the apple trees are in bloom.
Gah. This time of year. I'll call it freezing, with floral accents. It's very, very, very, very gray, and cold, outside. The light reads periwinkle. Everything's periwinkle. I've been knitting a cowl for, oh, ever. This is from the top down, increasing (getting wider at the bottom) as you go. Inspired by this one. One might think one should finish one's knit neckwear in wintertime, but then one remembers that one lives in the PNW and one knows [one sobs] that one has until . . . oh . . . June. To finish. One's knit neckwear. The yarn is exceptional (Tosh Merino DK). The color: called Antler. Warm, squishy-soft, creamy single-ply perfection. To warm the cool periwinkles, the silverlights of spring.
Last night our friend Shelly called while I was brushing my teeth. I heard Andy talking to her. He was summarizing different cable channels she might not be familiar with, lest her TV-watching habits differ from mine. Hallmark Channel was about "leprechaun experts." Lifetime was "secret lives." Not to be confused with Lifetime Movie Network, "which is, like, Girl Power. You know what I mean." I was sputtering toothpaste. I thought it was so funny. I'm afraid to hear how he would describe Bravo.
I don't know if I've ever told you, but . . . Clover doesn't like birds. More specifically, certain bird sounds. Regard the expression in the photo above: seconds after one trilled just outside the window. We can't figure it out. It's only certain songs, and I don't know exactly which birds sing them. She worries. Wind (I can understand), firecrackers (hate them!), and some birds (wha???): These are no friends of hers. Oh, sweetheart. It's okay. I usually try to distract her with something fun when it happens. Something fun like sticking a camera in her face and taking her picture. Just kidding. No, like playing, or having her give me her paw, and then her other paw, and then her other paw. Tossing the flappy toy. I think that's what Cesar says to do when dogs get nervous? Doesn't always work, but I guess it's something. Sweetest girl.
We had new pendants installed in the living room. This one hangs in the middle of the room over the little side table by the chair (and one hangs over the back corner of the sofa by the window). There's really only one way this room can ever be configured. Especially now that there's a pendant hanging in the middle of it. Chicken or egg thing, really.
Oh, that made me laugh! Thank you for the hilarious comments on Andy's post. That was really sweet. He cracks me up. I love him.
Over the weekend there was a sunset. (Only Portlanders will know why that word is in italics: Winter sunsets are oxymorons in the PNW. At least in my neighborhood.) I had to document it. Must mean spring is on its way, though it snowed yesterday morning. As soon as I pulled the shades up and saw it I whipped off my nightgown and threw on a turtleneck and leashed up the puppers. We walked and walked through the quiet morning streets. Clover sits at every corner and waits until you say "okay" to cross. She saw one of her old friends from the dog park about a block away and got so excited her whole body was just wiggling and wiggling. Totally happy. It was so adorable. I really think she did recognize her because she doesn't do that with most of the other dogs we see, especially one that's so far away. That dog's owner said they didn't really go to the dog park anymore because that dog had become pretty ball obsessed. And indeed the dog did have a ball in her mouth on her walk. So she couldn't really stay and chat, because she would've dropped the ball. Clover Meadow took it in stride, as usual.
Sweet Nanny Katie (our neighbors' [and Clover's] nanny, and our trusty kit-assembling helper) brought me a biscuit from Pine State. Still warm. Crazy good. We are packing up the last of the orders today through the weekend — the next batch of fabric is due to arrive here on Friday! Very excited about that. Thank you again, so much, for the orders. I really really really hope you enjoy this one! Just shout if you need me. xoxo
Hi everybody! It's Andy again! Woot woot.
Well I had an adventure trying out the new kit. I will illustrate how I felt during each stage (I identified 3). Let's call the first stage Readiness:
That's right. Ready for anything, bring it on. I opened a kit, got my nice new scissors and hoop. Looked at the floss for a good long while, feeling good. Then I started separating the floss.
I will admit that I did not properly allocate time for this. This seemed daunting. I started looking more closely at the flosses. What makes something tiger's eye compared to dirt road? Or bullfrog vs. hosta. (These are the color names.) At first glance I was like "nothing". But after separating them all I could TOTALLY TELL!!
Then I took Alicia's advice and made a little holder thingy. I used some extra foamboard I had in the basement. Love it! All lined up and ready to be used, like a toolbox. Time for the second stage. Let's call it Working:
Oh, you noticed. These aren't Alicia's pictures. I took them all with my phone and then had to crop them from verticals to horizontals. Sorry bout that.
So with my arsenal of floss, I was ready to sit down and start. I read Alicia's cross stitch tutorial again (it told me to read it in the instructions). Yea yea yea. Tie a knot in the back who cares count out where the next motif starts. I got this. Easy. Make an x. Make an x next to it. Yea. One two three four five six... wait five six... wait FOUR five six... What the. Maybe I just messed up. Start again. Four five six seven... I can't see it this. Go back to the tutorial. Tie a knot in the back if you want, count, yea yea yea. Got it.
Yes, I read the instructions.
No. I didn't get that. I sort of skipped over that. Each stitch of the X goes over TWO threads of fabric, not one. The center of each X goes over an empty hole. Ohhhhhhhh!! That makes it SO MUCH easier to see. And count! So each X is sort of like the 5 on a dice. Ohhhhhh! Oops. Okay. I'm feelin it. It feels good. Look at my slug (and notice my mess-up in the upper right section of the hoop, where I was doing... 28 stitches per inch):
Oh now I'm cookin with gas. Turn up the music! Looking at the grid. Finding that the holes are HUGE. Improvising from lower left to upper right first then going upper right to lower left. Yea that's right, I said it. Honey badger don't care.
Mayday!! Mayday!! What happened? Oh. I just went too far. Back it out. No biggie. Back on track.
And on it goes.
Now we ain't got no slug, we got us a SNAIL. What! Alicia drew it and I made it. Yay. Switch floss.Tiger's eye? C'mon son. Of course I'm psyched to use string called tiger's eye. And pretty soon it's all like:
Hey look, in the background it's Nanny Katie putting together kits. Is she stuffing yours right now? Also, notice the thumb. Yes, I will go trim my nails. Right now... BRB.
Hi. I'm back. Look at that thing! He looks quite proud, going about his business. Don't you think? I know how he feels, cuz I just made my first "cross stitch motif". Which brings us to the final stage. Let's call it Accomplished.
Did it! Feeling competent and good. I totally made that!!
Well it's time to release this little fella back to his natural environ:
A morning walk to the bakery for Irish soda bread. Things are starting to sprout. I took that first photo through the slats of someone's fence. I love this time of year. Except that it's supposed to rain cold rain for ten days. Bleh.
Fabric is supposed to start arriving today. Then we can really get going on the shipping. Light a fire, put on some music, brew some coffee, pack envelopes. Andy is going to test out the tutorial and see if he can cross stitch. He started working on it yesterday. The first thing I heard was, "OH MY GOSH. THIS IS A LOT MORE WORK THAN I THOUGHT."
How's that for a sales pitch?
My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com
Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.