comments: 110




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.


We put flowers on things because they are beautiful! I love the way you described your fabric buying style. I am the same. I get much too excited and then when I get home i think what is this for? Why did i choose this one? I haven't got nearly enough of this...etc etc. xx

I'd pee my pants if I saw a lunatic breakdancing in the fabric store! But I'll keep my eyes open if I'm ever in Portland. Thanks for the laugh and things to ponder.

Which quilt are you working on?

I think my friend Debbie is buying all the batik.
It is her very favorite, so much so she doesn't use it much she just collects it.
It reflects her as a person I think, she is so calm and soft spoken but releases her emotion in sewing.

I am a bi polar designer, I love the soft shabby chics as much as I love bright bold patterns and the kawaii stuff always gets me :)

Have fun quilting.

I really do think fabric describes us. But there are many side to everyone so we need a whole bunch of fabric. Yes, the lunatic break dancing in the isles! There are some day I just need to feel fabric, you know get that fix! I'm happy you came home with a stash for lots of projects! Hey, I came home from Reno with a Featherweight. Yep, carried it right onto the plane!

Ha! I love this post. Shopping for fabric really is the perfect activity. And you're so right about how weird and ingrained our fabric preferences are. Two fabrics might have the same colors and both have foliage on them, but the slightest difference in design choices will mean I might love one and hate the other! Have fun with this quilt. I'll be following along.

my aunt's quilt circle backs ALL of their quilts in batik, it's so funny!

Fabric shopping becomes fabric hoarding for me! I love fabric so much that I can never find the "perfect" pattern to use it with. And then, of course, when I finally use it, the pattern doesn't matter - anything would have been "perfect." LOL!

Your conversation with the fabric store lady made me laugh, since I've had some kind of funny conversations at Jo-Ann's, lately. The latest one was when I was buying some quarter yards and the lady cutting it asked me what I was making. I said I had a couple of different projects going on (actually three of them) and she said, 'Yes, I can see that!' with a look on her face that was like,'that's obvious, since none of them go together - I would never put any of these fabrics together in ANY project.'
People are so funny in their own little preferences...To each their own - viva la difference!

Love it. I adore the non-pretentiousness of that fabric-buying method. Not looking for any particular designer or what's "in" - just looking at what grabs your fancy.

Well, that's it. I've been reading your blog and laughing, sighing, nodding, and empathizing alongside your posts in stealthy silence for years. Being a bit of a blog wallflower isn't the most brave or creative thing to do, but it has been delightful all the same.
But today is different. Today ends the wallflower-ness. Today I MUST share a comment with you because you have just perfectly put into words what I hilariously identify with in myself. It's that part about how you buy fabric--like a breakdancing lunatic. Thank you for giving this funny, crazed, whirling-dervish approach to fabric shopping a name. When I step into my local store, it's as though I can tangibly feel all sense fleeing my body. Fabric jumps into my arms, we wrestle, and I end up going home in a daze with a strip of white sequined something-or-other. I don't know what happens, but there it is. It's the breakdancing lunatic pitfall.
I suppose it affects even the best of us.

Happy spring to you, Alicia.

Love your stacks of fabrics. When I buy fabric I cannot wait to get home and spread it out and just look at it. I'll keep it spread out for two or three days before I decide what I want to do with it. Alot of times I think it's just too pretty to cut and leave it in piles!

Indeed! Who IS buying all that batik? Sometimes I wonder if I'm missing out on some crafting fad because there is SO much of it and I never buy any...hmmm...

OH and I'm so glad to hear that you chat with the Fabric Depot ladies too! So do I, and they're generally confused by my musings. :)

Batik must be a craze for all you guys over the pond! Don't think I've even seen any here, but then maybe I've missed it - maybe its not my thing! I think colours are more important than patterns for me - pinks & reds & blues & mustard - sort of deeper shades. Sometimes fabrics call me to shop shelves or from where they're hiding in a Sunday morning car boot, or bundled away out of sight in a charity shop! They say people look like their dogs - maybe they look like their quilts too! If you add it altogether, maybe dogs look like their owner's quilts. Now there's a topic for some research! Have fun with your fussy cutting.

Melissa L. says: March 29, 2012 at 01:12 PM

I am holding up my hand as a Batik Buyer at Fabric Depot! After I actually made batik fabric ONCE, I now definitely appreciate being able to buy it ready-made(yeah, I'm lazy). It's perfect for pretty summer tank dresses.

OMG Alicia, I'm in LOVE with the beehive!! Oh, I am so hoping (as are many others, I'm sure), that a new kit or pattern may be coming. We may have to wait a while if it is line behind that quilt!! But that's OK, I have lots of other projects to work on, like a quilt of my own (very first attempt at making a quilt) out of Christmassy fabric that was "supposed to be" done for Christmas 2011.

I have had a few weird moments in the past few years when I've looked at some children's picture books I had as a kid but haven't looked at since. Some of the decor is stuff I like now. I mean, very specific, very detailed things. So I have a theory that some of those childhood images from favorite books have remained in my head and informed my adult taste.

oooh, I have a question for YOU: what IS it you are cross-stitching on that BEAUTIFUL dark fabric that makes all those soft colours seem to glimmer and glow and will there be a pattern for all of these insanely beautiful little images - blueberries, beehive, a stem of flowers? (she said, whimpering anxiously.)

and I cannot WAIT to see this quilt of yours. I wish I could free-wheel through design like you seem to do. I always choke up when I look at a blank screen or canvas or what-have-you. I like a bit of structure to guide me. I don't know how you do it; I guess there's a key element of trusting oneself and letting go, but I've never been terribly good at either (eg: I just finished weaving a scarf and both my husband and mother-in-law laugh that, once again, I have made a rug, not a scarf).

I'm the girl buying all the soft neutral greens, browns, rosey tones, especially if it's linen! I actually bought fabric the other day to make myself a dress like the one Ann Hathaway wears in the cricket scene in Becoming Jane. I feel a little silly about it, but it's just so enchanting. I want to see if I can get away with wearing it at university.

man, that new flower sampler is gooooooorgeous!
I should send you some fabric from my new collection and you could throw it into the mix - or let Clover Meadow sleep on it. It's really soft - and pretty too.

When I ponder things in life - such as why do we make versions of the things that we see - my husband tells me that I think too much - I bet Andy never says that!

Okay, I love the beehive and the botanicals!! The amount of batik fabric you have there is the amount of sari fabric we have here in PA. Crazy amounts of beautiful fabric to make saris. I personally will never make a sari, but I have this marvelous stack of bolt odds and ends from the sari fabric that I hope to do something with someday. Your photos are inspirational!!

I definitely agree with you on the batiks--definitely don't see the charm in them. And I hope you come up with the answer too why some fabrics appeal to some and not to others... a question for the masses. I love your fabrics! I'm off to finish up a project, then sit at my sewing machine and work on a quilt--perfect weather today (raining in Portland--who would guess!).

I thought fussy cutting was when you cut your quilt pieces to include specific images or motifs on the fabric. The first quilt I ever made had a fabric that had skateboarding teddy bears on it, and they were kind of spaced out and about 3" tall (I was ten, the quilt was for my baby brother - speaking of fabric choices...). So I cut the squares so the bears would be centered. I thought that was fussy cutting. Am I wrong? Learn something new everyday I tell you!
By the way, I know who is buying all those batiks and at the risk of losing their friendship I will say - I passionately dislike batiks. But I my love for almost all other fabrics more than overwhelms my dislike of batiks, so it's all good.

Yes, don't forget that little sampler! I'm sure we're all dying to see how it turns out!

I'm buying all of the batik at Fabric Depot! I tend to gravitate towards loud and bright fabric. So I'm working on a never ending English paper pieced quilt top in turquoise, chartreuse, bright purple, and royal blue mostly batiks but some other prints.

I also live in a house where nothing is a neutral color. I have lime green chairs and an aqua blue couch.

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About Alicia Paulson


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




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.