Posts filed in: Fabric and Sewing

Pillow #1

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Birthday preparations are underway in the Paulson household. Cupcakes are in the oven. Amelia's "friend" party is tomorrow and we are excited. Her first friend party! Squeeeee! I think you're supposed to have one friend for every year, or something like that? Yeah. I did not get that memo. Apparently she's turning eighteen. . . .

But look at that face. I cannot deny this child ANYTHING, I tell you. Not possible.

On demand: A dress like Hunca Munca's. I might have sobbed with delight. I've finished the dress and am about to start the pinafore, in creamy white Swiss dot. I'm using Little Vogue pattern #1326. More to come on that. That one's for her family party.

A few weeks ago we went to the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival, as we do every year with Amelia's birthgrandparents. Her grandma and I were looking at the punchneedle and rug-hooking patterns and I remembered the pillow I made several years ago, and remembered that I had an Oxford punchneedle (I have the Mini #14) and a big hoop. I bought a piece of monk's cloth at OFFF and then found this cute pattern on Etsy. Marijo Taylor, the designer, generously sold me only the paper pattern, drawn at 10"x10", and I enlarged it on my printer/copier to 18"x18". I think it's originally a rug hooking pattern (curious about the difference between punchneedle and rug hooking? Here is some information) but I wanted to use my stash of worsted-weight yarn, so that's what I've been doing. Punchneedle is FUN. It's really, really fun. The bunny, above, will be the first pillow I make as part of my new Personal Pillow Endeavor. When I'm finished I'll just back it with some calico (with an envelope closure) and stuff it with an 18" pillow form. I like bamboo pillow forms because they're pretty hard. I hate soft pillows, personally. I'll show you more about how I do it when I get closer to being finished. I was hoping I might finish for Amelia's birthday but I have a lot to do so I'm not sure. . . .

I finished the cardigan I showed you last week and it's still on the blocking board, though completely dry. That will get pale pink buttons. I still haven't put it on Ravelry. I like that sweater but I'm not sad to be finished with it. Next up, knitting-wise, are hats for everyone and gloves for me and a new neckwarmer for me.

Last night I made African chicken peanut stew and it was really good. You're here, October. I was so ready for you to arrive it was ridiculous. Hence the creative mania.

P.S.: I got that cute little painting a few weeks ago at Goodwill for $3. And the sweet invitation was from this Etsy shop; I printed it out at home on cards from Paper Source and made the envelope liners with their templates and a printable flower pattern from this adorable book (and CD) that I've had for years.

P.P.S: Oh jeesh, and thank you so much for all of your kind comments on my last post. I really appreciate them!!!

Couch and Cake Topper

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WHEW. There is little rhyme or reason in how these pictures are presented here. Everything's all over the place and that's probably a good metaphor for my mental state. Some of these things, like that sweater up there, I've been working on all summer. The pattern is called Carl's Cardigan and I used Woolfolk Far in Pollen for the yarn. I'm not even sure why this is the first time I've taken a picture of that sweater, since I've had it in my hands almost every single night for months. The stitch pattern seemed endless. It's basically ribbing, so you're constantly going back and forth between purling and knitting in each row, with a wraparound thing every fourth row. Et cetera. I finished it last night, now just need to block and add buttons. It's cute. The color is going to be really versatile. It's super stretchy, so even though it looks skinny, I'm hoping it will fit for a while. I'm turning into Practical Mom about kid-knitting anymore. It's weird how that happens. I never thought that would happen.

Okay, next. COUUUUUUUCH. I love it. I sit on it and never want to get off of it. It's called the Radley sectional from Macy's. I think the color was Chrome. It looks a lot like our old sofa but 1) it is soft and not scratchy, 2) it is tall instead of the height of a toddler bed (as was the Kivik, at least for me) and 3) it's firm and doesn't collapse like a souffle when I park myself on it at the end of the day. I got the protection plan thing with it so my goal is for it to be here for a long, long time. Thumbs up on that. Andy and I actually sit around at night and talk about how much we love our sofa. Middle age.

CAKE TOPPER. I made it. :))))))))) SUPER FUN. I started it this summer and I wish I could tell you exactly where I got everything for it but it was either JoAnn's or Michael's — I went to both places when I was shopping for supplies for this. The cake is made out of Fimo and I didn't make that — I got it years ago from someone's Etsy shop but I can't remember whose. The present is just a wooden block wrapped with origami paper. The bunting is washi tape cut into flags. The flag poles are stripey straws topped with mulberry-paper flowers (also had those, from way back when, when we used to sell clothespin doll kits). The balloon is made out of yellow Model Magic. Her dress is made of the same fabric Amelia wants her Hunca Munca birthday dress made out of (still gotta do that). I basically hot-glued everything together when I was done with the pieces and it was a total blast. I spent a long time looking at cake toppers on Pinterest for ideas, and then I actually whipped this out in a day or two, as I tend to do. This will go on top of the cake for Amelia's family birthday party, here in a few weeks.

The felt birthday crown: I got the idea for this entirely from the one that Ginny made for Mabel's first birthday. The embroidery pattern comes from this book. I forget how cool waste canvas is, because you can cross stitch (or, in this case, evenweave stitch) on anything. Then you soak the whole thing in water and that canvas becomes totally pliable. You use tweezers to pull the waste canvas threads out from under the stitches. It really isn't hard at all and it's really cool. The crown shape I just drew on a sheet of paper — well, I drew half of it, then flipped it. The crown is lined with really soft, thin pink polar-fleece. Amelia was mildly disappointed when she saw the birthday crown. She wants flowers all over it. She's sure I can do this. I'm not sure how I'll do this. . . .

I knew I'd taken a picture of her school dress before she wore it and put it on Instagram, but I wanted to post it here so I would remember it, because she didn't get to wear the blouse on the first day of school, since it was 100 degrees. . . . It's McCall's pattern #7590 from 1981. It's the same dress that I made her for her first day of school last year, but that one was plaid. I loved that one, too. This is one of my favorite-ever patterns on her.

Okay, what else. I rearranged Amelia's room for her last weekend. The lovely artwork in her room is from various places, but my favorites are the things made by friends and family: Amelia riding a bunny, which is possibly the coolest thing ever, and was a gift from Emily when Amelia was really little; a floral monogram from my friend Rebekka; the sweetest deer pair painted by my sister, Julie; the gorgeous dandelion photograph was taken by Amelia's birthmama; the silhouette of her when she was one was made by my brother-in-law. The mushroom light I got years ago and I don't remember where now. Maybe Smallable? It's European, I do remember that. The alphabet samplers are my designs and patterns are here (and by the way you can get a wool pack for that project now) and here. The pillow on the chair is a project I made for my second book, years ago. I'm going to make a new one with my punchneedle and I can't wait to start it. I found vintage Laura Ashley sheets on eBay and I was psyched. They are hard to find.

I'm finished with my new wintertime cross-stitch sampler for this year, and will open pre-orders for it in few weeks, after Amelia's birthday parties when I'm more organized again. You can see a glimpse of it up there. I am excited about it. I have some ideas for the cover photo I want to try. So stay tuned for that. I don't have a good sense of what the numbers will be for this kit so that's why I want to do pre-orders to make sure we get the quantity right. Not too many, not too few. Normally pre-orders make me ridiculously nervous. But we have the floss in hand already for up to 600 kits, and the fabric manufacturer has the fabric coming in in a few weeks, so I think it will be a good idea to do pre-orders this time. These projects are easy to do when I'm doing them but hard for me to re-issue once they're sold out, so if you're interested in this, I'll keep you posted. Many of my old kits are sold out and won't be reissued. Now that Amelia is in school every morning, I have more time to work, and I want to focus on my new ideas for patterns and kits for 2018.

Anyway, what else. My charity quilt. When Hurricane Hugo Harvey (!) hit, I wanted to make a quilt to raffle off for charity. There have been several other heartbreaking disasters since then, including Irma and now Maria in Puerto Rico, that I would like to contribute to as well. I haven't started the quilt yet the way I thought I would have time to, but I'm still planning to do it soon. I'm not quite sure how to make it available — someone told me they did a raffle and got in trouble for it because it was considered gambling, or something like that, so I will have to look into it and I just haven't had the wherewithal yet. But it's all on my list. The needs are great. I don't even know the best ways to help. Helpless feeling.

We went with our pre-school to see the swifts the other night. That's an event that happens here every fall where the Vaux's swifts use a local school's (unused) chimney to roost in at night on their annual migration. See all of those little freckles in the photo of the school chimney up there? Those are the birds. Here is a pretty rad video of what this looks like when they final spiral in. It was a really fun night. Everyone brings blankets and picnics and watches from a hill — it's a perfect viewing spot for the show. The weather was excellent, too.

Well, that's it for me, I guess! I hope you are all well! Thanks for looking at all my stuff! Have a great weekend!

***Ooops, forgot the sweater picture originally but it's there now, and thanks for the head's up on Harvey! Doi! Slaps forehead.

Calicozy ComfyQuilt Top Kits Available Again

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Hellooooo. I have more quilt kits!

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I've been making these quilt kits out of vintage calico fabrics from the 1980s and '90s since early this spring and they make me very happy. If you haven't read what I've written about them before, you might check out this post from the first time I sold them, because it has some information about how I came to design and make them. I've recently had the opportunity to buy many yards of new-old stock fabric from a quilt store that closed in the '90s back east, and the fabrics in the kits below are almost entirely from that collection. It's really extraordinary fabric, and there is only so much of it left in the world. Once each of these kits is gone, it's gone. I've been making more, but no two colorways are alike. I've had enough fabric this time to do three or four kits in each size in each colorway, so I truly hope that everyone who wants or has wanted one of these is getting that chance. I will have more later in the fall, but probably not until November.

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Don't forget: To make the Calicozy ComfyQuilt, you will need to purchase the Calicozy ComfyQuilt PDF pattern, available only as a digital download, HERE.

And then if you are interested, you can purchase a quilt-top kit (please note that the kits are for the TOP ONLY) in one of several colorways, shown below. Click on each image to be taken to my web shop where you may purchase a kit for one of five sizes. Approximate finished sizes are: Toddler 42" x 58" (107cm x 147cm); Throw 58" x 58" (147cm x 147cm); Twin 58" x 80" (147cm x 203cm); Full/Queen 80" x 80" (203cm x 203cm); King 101" x 80" (257cm x 203cm).

 

 YORKSHIRE

Yorkshire960

 

ELEANOR

Eleanor960

 

ORCHARD HOUSE

Orchard House960

 

PLUM TREE

Plum Tree960

 

NANCHERROW

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PORTHKERRIS

Porthkerris960

 

And there is one more WILD LILAC in size KING only.

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Please note that the virtual tops shown here are an approximation of the prints and solids you will receive with this quilt-top kit. The kit you receive will include vintage cotton calicos and non-vintage cotton solid fabrics already cut for you into 4.25" (11cm) strips. Because these print fabrics are vintage and available in limited supply, you may not receive every fabric pictured, but you will receive 15 unique fabrics that are consistent with the overall colorway presented. Each kit includes enough fabric to make the top for each quilt size as described. I believe that all of the print fabrics are vintage, and 100% cotton, but I can't absolutely guarantee it.

We do ship overseas! To place your order, you will be required to read this information, which contains details about international shipping and customs fees you may incur when ordering outside the U.S. (If you are overseas, the shipping cost charged by Posie does not include any further charges you may incur when importing goods.) To see the shipping-only costs for your order and location, just place the items in your cart and choose your location (or enter your zip code, if you are in the U.S.) and it will tell you how much the shipping is. As usual, I have a sincere request: Please check on and update your shipping address correctly in your Paypal preferences so that there is no confusion when we go to ship. If you do need to add things to your order or change your address after you've placed the order, just email me and we'll figure it out, no worries! I just like to remind people of this ahead of time, because it's a bit easier.

Thank you, as always, for your enthusiasm for and interest in my work and in these kits. I will keep making these as long as there is interest, so if you miss out this time, more will be coming.

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments and I will get back to you here. Thank you!

Slowly, Surely

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Hello, my dear friends, hello. I hope you are so well. I have few words lately, watching with worry as Hurricane Irma plows through the ocean on its way toward the southeastern United States while we in the west deal with the devastation wreaked by thousands of acres of forest burning in more wildfires than I can count, including the Eagle Creek fire burning in the Columbia River Gorge, close to Portland.

(That, by the way, is the moon in a very smoky sky, in case you've never seen the moon in a smoky sky before. It actually seemed even more red than it appears above.)

This fire is hard to talk about. I extend my endless gratitude to the men and women working tirelessly to fight these fires. The gorge is so dear to my heart, and to the hearts of everyone here and almost anyone who has ever visited it, however briefly. I have cried about it this week. I have blogged about the area many times and I will write about how I feel about it again, but not today. The pictures above are from a morning hike we took almost a week ago on Powell Butte, when the skies around the area were only just starting to fill with smoke. (Powell Butte's not in the gorge, but it's another nearby place dear to me. You can see how unbearably dry it is here. Eighty days, or something close to that, without measureable rain.) Today I'm glued to the TV watching images of the storm devastation in the Caribbean, which literally defies belief, and hoping that all of the people in south Florida who haven't yet evacuated (please, please, please) do evacuate. Today I want to pick up Amelia from preschool and take her to the cool, clean library, where we can sit and snuggle and read books all afternoon, and have tea and juice and treats at the cafe next door, and forget about the ravages of the world for just a little while during this, her thrilling, wonderful, truly delightful first-ever week back to school. And here she was, my sweet darling, in her new dress (it's McCall's #7590 from 1980; I made a blouse, too, but it was 100 degrees so she didn't wear it) on Tuesday, her first day. She came home supercharged, with a new, more mature voice (!), a totally new spring in her step, and her big, bright, beautiful eyes sparkling with excitement. And it is so exciting to be the big kid at school. We've talked all week about how she is helping all of the "little" kids at preschool, and how she is "showing them around." She was thrilled and proud when the teacher asked her and Dalia to show the little kids how they "stack the story stools" and she told me about it several times. And so, this joy, it salves my aching, anxious heart.

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Oh, these days. To my friends in Florida, including my best friend's parents and her in-laws, we are thinking of you and praying for your safety. To those in the Caribbean who have already been affected by Irma, and to those in Mexico who have been hit by the earthquake there last night, my gosh, you are in my prayers. What in the world is going on, honestly. I wish you all peace, health, and safety, dear friends. Let's stick together. Be careful, and be well.

Scarborough Fair Skirt Pattern Now Available!

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***Update: THANK YOU so very much to everyone who ordered this skirt pattern and fabric. The fabric is completely sold out, and I am hoping to have a bit more to offer next month. Thank you beyond words for your interest in my work. I am so grateful. XOXO

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Oh, now I'm happy. My Scarborough Fair Skirt Pattern is now available! Please click here to go to my web site to purchase it!

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You can make this skirt in any size and length you'd like. Just take your waist, hip, and skirt length measurements and plug them into the formulas I've listed in the pattern and you're good. All of the pieces are cut with a rotary cutter and ruler, so there are no patterns to print out and tape together, etc. There are step-by-step illustrated instructions for making the skirt and it is really quite easy. I really hope you are going to love this and I hope you'll send me pictures of your finished skirts in action because I want to see them! I really love the skirts that I have made — I've made five of them now and I wear them almost every single day! For better or worse!

If you have any questions about the pattern let me know. (***Update: Yes, it is pull-on and has elastic in the back only.) It's an advanced beginner pattern. You need to have a basic understanding of sewing, including how to gather, sew around curves, and sew pieces together carefully to make this skirt. It's not difficult but might be a bit challenging for an absolute beginner, as the construction and method are a little bit unusual. But overall it's pretty straightforward and simple to make.

Should you need fabric, I am offering some of my vintage '80s and '90s calico in 2-and-1/2 yard  (2.25 meter) pieces. This fabric is quite precious, and it can be hard to find vintage fabric in continuous pieces that are this long. This amount will make a skirt that's up to about 30" long (the one pictured is about 25" long) so if you're not looking to make one longer you'll be good; if you'd like you're skirt shorter, you'll have some extra to make a hat or quilt patches or something else. I decided to offer this fabric in skirt-sized pieces rather than selling it by the yard, or by the half-yard, because there are a lot of different prints and I wanted to get it all cut and folded ahead of time. If you're looking for a smaller amount, you might want to pass on this; we will not cut these pieces down, and they are already packaged.

I hope you like them! Click on each photo to take you to the web page where each fabric can be purchased. There are only between two and seven pieces available in each print, so if you miss out this time, I will have a few more coming later in the summer. But in general this is a very rare stash, and one it is gone it is gone. I'm using most of it this fabric for quilt kits, but some of the bolts I recently purchased had upwards of 25 yards on them, so that was more than I needed and I wanted to make some available for skirts! All fabric is 100% cotton unless otherwise noted and 44" (112cm) wide.

 

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Steel Blue with Garland

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Gold with Grapes

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Blue with Roses and Daisies

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Pale Brown with Roses and Daisies

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Navy with Blue, Gold, and Pink

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Tiny Autumn Mix

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Green Gardens

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Cream with Roses

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Spring Garden

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Violet Riot

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Tan with Garland

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Mauve with Tiny Blue Flowers

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Dark Green with Roses

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Mauve with Blue Flowers

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Even MORE Calicozy ComfyQuilt Top Kits Available at 4 p.m. PDT! SOLD OUT

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***Thank you to everyone who ordered! I will be shipping tomorrow (Friday) and will have more coming in the next month or so. Please stay tuned and thank you SO MUCH to everyone who likes these. I sincerely appreciate it more than I can say. Thank you! :)))

 

Welcome to the third installment of the Calicozy ComfyQuilt Top Kit sale! I'm cutting and pasting the general information here directly out of my old posts, since the information has not changed. Please scroll down to see the new kits!

Recently I decided to make myself a throw quilt out of my very favorite calicos from the 1980s and 1990s — tiny, charming floral prints from my childhood and early adulthood that remain, for me, the epitome of fabric sweetness. It turned out to be so pretty that I began collecting similar vintage fabrics so that I could offer quilt-top kits, along with a pattern, to make a quilt-comforter like mine.

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This quilt is set on-point, so the square patches actually display as diamonds. It is designed to be turned inside out instead of bound, tied at each patch intersection, and filled with a poufy, inexpensive comforter from Ikea (though you can use batting, if you like). The Ikea comforter can be purchased both at the Ikea store and on-line.

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Please note that these sizes are smaller than standard quilts or comforters. Modeled after old-fashioned eiderdowns, this quilt is meant to sit mostly on top of your mattress, and doesn’t have a long overhang.

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The approximate finished sizes are: Toddler 42" x 58" (107cm x 147cm); Throw 58" x 58" (147cm x 147cm); Twin 58" x 80" (147cm x 203cm); Full/Queen 80" x 80" (203cm x 203cm); King 101" x 80" (257cm x 203cm).

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To make the Calicozy ComfyQuilt, you will need to purchase the Calicozy ComfyQuilt PDF pattern, available only as a digital download, HERE.

And then if you are interested, you can purchase a quilt-top kit (please note that the kits are for the TOP ONLY) in one of several colorways, shown below. Click on each image to be taken to my web shop where you may purchase a kit for one of five sizes.

 

 WENDY DARLING

Wendy Darling6602

 

STRAWBERRY FIELDS

Strawberry Fields660

 

SWEET JANE

Sweet Jane960

 

MARY ROSE

Mary Rose660

 

BISHOP'S GATE

Bishop's Gate660

 

GERANIUM WINDOW

Geranium Window660

 

WILD LILAC

Wild Lilac 960

Please note that the virtual tops shown here are an approximation of the prints and solids you will receive with this quilt-top kit. The kit you receive will include vintage cotton calicos and non-vintage cotton solid fabrics already cut for you into 4.25" (11cm) strips. Because these print fabrics are vintage and available in limited supply, you may not receive every fabric pictured, but you will receive 15 unique fabrics that are consistent with the overall colorway presented. Each kit includes enough fabric to make the top for each quilt size as described. I believe that all of the print fabrics are vintage, and 100% cotton, but I can't absolutely guarantee it.

We do ship overseas! To place your order, you will be required to read this information, which contains details about international shipping and customs fees you may incur when ordering outside the U.S. (If you are overseas, the shipping cost charged by Posie does not include any further charges you may incur when importing goods.) To see the shipping-only costs for your order and location, just place the items in your cart and choose your location (or enter your zip code, if you are in the U.S.) and it will tell you how much the shipping is. As usual, I have a sincere request: Please check on and update your shipping address correctly in your Paypal preferences so that there is no confusion when we go to ship. If you do need to add things to your order or change your address after you've placed the order, just email me and we'll figure it out, no worries! I just like to remind people of this ahead of time, because it's a bit easier.

Thank you, as always, for your enthusiasm for and interest in my work and in these kits. I will keep making these as long as there is interest, so if you miss out this time, more will be coming.

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments and I will get back to you here. Thank you!

Calicozy Preview III

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Helloooooooo, dears. I was trying to get this posted on Friday but, life. Here is the third installment of the Calicozy ComfyQuilt Top Kits preview. Once again, I will have two different sale times for people who live in different parts of the world, or have different schedules. The virtual quilts that appear below are for your preview purposes only. The quilt top kits, in all sizes, will be available for sale here on Wednesday, June 21, at 9:30 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time and then again on the same day at 4 p.m. PDT.

These kits are the first batch from a purchase of new old stock from a quilt shop in West Virginia that closed in the '90s. This is literally just the beginning of me dipping into this incredible stash of fabric, more of which arrives every week or so. Because the quantity of fabric that I now have is HUGE, I had almost all of the fabric I'm using for these kits cut by an enormous and sophisticated laser cutting machine by the crew at Spooltown, a small-run sewing factory down the street who cut tons of the fabric for my animal kits a couple of years ago. I still can't believe I have a resource like this literally down the street, and I can't even say enough about how much I love working with Dana and Sara. Please read about them and see how cool this place is. I will have one of each size of every colorway pictured below, with three of each size for the colorways Wendy Darling, Strawberry Fields, and Sweet Jane. And, once again, if you miss these, more will be coming at the end of the summer, especially now that Andy and I are not doing all of the cutting ourselves.

For more information on these kits, please visit this post from the first time they were on sale. And I would also suggest that, now that the pattern is available, if you are interested in shopping for a kit when the time comes, either purchase the pattern ahead of time (or later), or even just put it in your cart so you don't have to do that when you're trying to get a kit.

Okay, see you Wednesday! I will have a new post with live links to my web shop where you can purchase. Also, in the next couple of weeks I will have some of these fabrics on sale by the half-yard to go with the any-size-skirt pattern I am almost finished with and will be releasing soon. Thank you! Xo, a

 

WENDY DARLING

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STRAWBERRY FIELDS

Strawberry Fields660

 

SWEET JANE

Sweet Jane660

 

MARY ROSE

Mary Rose660

 

BISHOP'S GATE

Bishop's Gate660

 

GERANIUM WINDOW

Geranium Window660

 

WILD LILAC

Wild Lilac 660

Cold Start

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The weather here has been absolutely freezing. Apparently we're just going to be hurled from one extreme condition (scorching) to another (freezing). I had the heat on last night, and the flannel sheets. I'm not really complaining (much) as this has been perfect knitting weather. All the knitters I know are surreptitiously knitting as fast as we can, trying to finish stuff to wear before the next heat wave. Because honestly, we need sweaters right now. And probably scarves. It's that cold.

Something really, really cool happened to me the other day. I came in from watering out back and I heard this very loud birdsong, and found that there was a chickadee sitting in the dining room. We don't have screens (or mosquitoes), but a bird has never flown into the house before. Birds have been in the house before, brought in in a state of mortal crisis by The Bee. But in this case, she, Old Lady Bee, was sleeping on a chair on the porch, literally right outside the window above which the bird was sitting and singing its heart out. She continued to sleep. The bird flew from curtain rod to pendant-lamp cord to picture moulding, singing and stopping to look around. He didn't seem in distress. My heart started racing a bit. I opened all of the windows as wide as they would go, and threw open the front door. I went outside and watered the front, hoping he would find his way out. I talked to my neighbor for about an hour, and we could hear him singing in there the whole time. A friend of his was flitting around outside, frantically calling for him, but he continued to sing his way around the dining room and didn't come out. I went back in and talked to him a bit. I really needed to come in and go to work (in the back of the house) and wanted to shut the front door. He did more flying from thing to thing. I stood still and talked, very quietly. He tilted his little head, listening. Suddenly he flew down to the lampshade on the entry table. I walked over very slowly and he stayed on the lampshade. I seriously could not believe it. I was two feet away. We stayed like that for minutes. I don't know how many minutes. I lifted my arm and held my finger out to him, moving a bit closer. He tilted his head again and sidestepped away. I stayed like that, with my arm out, until my arm started getting tired. Then I propped my other elbow on the entry table and started holding up my right arm with my left hand. We stood like this for a long time. Still, he didn't fly away. I inched my hand closer. I put my finger up to his feet, holding my breath. He was so small. He put one foot on my finger and then took it off. I kept my finger there. Suddenly he put both feet on my finger and started pecking at the tip of my finger. He was so light. He pecked at the tip of my finger some more. I was smiling hugely, afraid to breathe. Slowly I walked over to the open window, him on my finger, bobbing nervously, the whole time. When I got to the window and moved my arm outside he started to walk up my arm, toward me! I moved my arm further out the window, afraid he would fly off and back into the house! But then suddenly he was off, flying up into the sky.

It was, honestly, one of the most awesome, most amazing things that has ever happened to me in my whole life. It was so, so, so cool. I still cannot even believe it! It was so cool!

I forgot to say that at some point, Bridget did hear me talking and she came into the house through the door and started sauntering back and forth through the dining room. She knew something was going on but she couldn't figure out what, and she never saw the bird. She kept coming back into the room in mild confusion, like she thought she should definitely be involved in something. And she mostly just wanted to go back to bed. The old girl is seventeen years old this summer. She's mostly a wild cat. An old wild cat, now. She's never really sat on my lap, in seventeen years. That's not to say she hasn't been on my lap, but when she gets on my lap (once a year or so) we are both so totally freaked out that it's about as far from a lovely or relaxing experience for us both as it gets. She acts completely bewildered to have suddenly found herself on my lap. She skitters around on my legs as if her paws are on fire. I freeze in place, trying to avert my eyes lest I be caught looking at her (because she will punch you in the face faster than the speed of light if she catches you meeting her eye). It's like having a cross between a squirrel and a goblin for a pet. But she comes home every night, she loves us in her way, we love her in ours, Clover Meadow intelligently tries to give her wide berth (although occasionally she will walk up to Clover and try to head-moosh her, and Clover's entire body stiffens in terror, and we all hold our breath, too, until it's over), and Amelia screams like a banshee every time Bridget comes flying through the room like a fruit bat trying to get out of the light. Little Bee. Our little alley kitten. Doing pretty well for an old girl.

I told Andy I don't think I've ever taken a picture of Clover that more accurately captures her than the one above. Sweetest heart ever. Drives me insane on a daily basis. But I love her so much. Dear love. That face.

I've been ridiculously busy. Andy had the week off and I've just been working, working, working. I drafted a skirt pattern for you. And bought half of the remaining inventory from a quilt shop that closed in the '90s. Not even kidding. More on both of these things soon. New quilt kits coming! Next week! They're really pretty. I can't wait.

Calicozy Preview

comments: 17

Well, thank you! Thank you for your feedback on my questions! I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me. It was really interesting reading your comments, and it will help me make some decisions about offering these, this time and in the future. Firstly, although many people indicated they would love to be able to pre-order, unfortunately that just isn't possible. As I've mentioned, these quilts are few-of-a-kind, made with vintage print fabrics that I source from dozens of different sellers, and there's just no way to sell large quantities of any quilt that I could design and present. On top of that, and perhaps even more importantly, I don't take pre-orders because there are just way too many things that can go wrong when you have peoples' money but you don't have the goods in hand. Every once in a while I think it would be a good idea but then I quickly, thankfully remember that it's a terrible idea (for me; maybe other people can handle it but I'll never be able to).

That said, what I generally took away from the comments was that people really like having the option of all sizes available, so that will stay. I also loved what someone said about listing the actual solid colors that are used, and that is easy for me to do — all of the solid colors I used this time are Kona Cottons, available in tons of fabric stores and online. I will put the names of the solids I've used on the individual product pages, so if you do want to buy a smaller-sized kit and supplement it with your own fabric to make a larger size, you could get more of the solids. (That said, the beauty of these quilts is that they are really random, and thrive on a great mixture of patterns and colors, so don't get hung up on this -- if you like the colors I chose but can't find them, do just choose something else that's close in color, if you want to. Everything works here.)

Also, I will have two different sale times for people who live in different parts of the world, or have different schedules. The virtual quilts that appear below are for your preview purposes only. The kits, in all sizes, will be available for sale here on Wednesday, April 26, at 9:30 a.m. Pacific Standard Time and then again on the same day at 4 p.m. PST.

Once again, thank for your sharing your thoughts! I loved putting this batch together. I think it has a delicate, Pacific-Northwestern springlike palette, with a few bright spots signalling blossoms to come. For more information on these kits, please visit this post from the last time they were on sale. And I would also suggest that, now that the pattern is available, if you are interested in shopping for a kit when the time comes, either purchase the pattern ahead of time (or later), or even just put it in your cart so you don't have to do that when you're trying to get a kit. Not that I'm trying to tell you how to run your life or anything, but I'm just sayin'. And without further adooooooo, here's a parade:

 

MARJORAM

Marjoram800x960

 

KETTLESTRINGS

Kettlestrings800x960

 

TWILIGHT

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MORNING SONG

Morning Song

 

MELBA

Melba

 

PEASEBLOSSOM

Peaseblossom800x960

 

Picking Patchwork

comments: 36

4Fabrics1

I’ve been working on cutting new fabrics for the new quilt-top kits, coming soon. The fabrics are still so exquisite. Maybe it’s just me, and I’m in this weird zone about them. It’s hard to account for what appeals to anyone at any particular time. With me, my interests almost feel like obsessions, and they’re sort of weirdly capricious and weirdly timeless at the same time. Like, I love these fabrics, and I’ve always loved these fabrics, but why wasn’t I obsessed with them, say, last year? Or the year before? What accounts for anyone’s interest in any particular thing at any particular time? My interests have always been white-hot. Ever since I was a child, I have gotten deeply into whatever it is I have gotten into. Sometimes the trance lasts years (horses, Arthurian legend, chicken-loaf sandwiches, knitting). Sometimes it lasts only days or weeks (flute playing, Duran Duran, and apparently, weaving). But I feel like they're all a part of me, and that habit of delving deep has gotten me through some tough times. I think Andy shares this trait. Between the two of us, we have Projects. We're watching Amelia discover her own interests — right now she’s teaching herself all of her favorite songs on her toy xylophone — and it is totally fascinating to watch. She talks to herself in sweet little voices, encouraging herself, making jokes to herself, admonishing herself, giggling at herself. Watching her when she’s in flow, whether she’s playing with toys or playing music (these are where it seems to happen for her), is one of the most thrilling things I’ve ever experienced as a parent. I hold my breath the whole time, hoping the moment goes on and on. Don't lose that, baby girl. Get in there.

Currently I'm spending my nighttime free-time wiggling around on Ancestry trying to figure out what my maternal great-grandmother's maiden name was (I think I might have found it) and surfing eBay looking for vintage fabrics for new quilt kits. I think the looking appeal to me on so many different levels. I’m kind of a researcher at heart. I like thrill of the hunt. I like going down rabbit holes and following trails and finding different ways of looking for information. I like history. I like shopping. I like on-line shopping. I like when the fabrics finally arrive at the house and I open all of the packages and refold all of the fabrics, and start designing collections of them in my mind. I even, still, like the cutting, like listening to Pavement radio on Pandora for hours on end, cutting fabric and stacking it neatly and thinking about things.

I had a question from a customer the other day about how to pick out solid colors for the Calicozy quilts. I realized that I didn’t really specify this in the pattern, other than to give you the total number of solid patches you needed for each size quilt, and the total amount of yardage that corresponds. My thinking about that was going in several different directions when I was working on the pattern so I thought maybe I’d talk a little bit about how I put quilts and quilt kits together, and maybe someone will find it vaguely interesting if you’re in the process of doing it (especially if you’re struggling with it). I don't have any formal training in color theory or anything else around this, so this chatter is just about how I do it, not the right way to do it, or any of that. It's just my way, and specifically my way in making these.

So, let me start with prints. In the toddler Calicozy quilt kits, there are fifteen different prints, generally. In the larger sizes, even though there are a lot more patches, there are still about fifteen different prints, just more yardage of each. (The “yardage” comes in 4.25” strips.) When choosing prints, I think about a few things. First, I start with just a few prints of any color that I absolutely love. That usually gives me two or three main colors that begin to tell a story. What character uses this quilt? Where does this quilt belong? What does that room look like? What’s the weather like when this quilt is being used? Is there an open window with rain coming in, or a crackling fire, or a warm night breeze? What’s the feeling of this quilt? What feeling do I want to have when I’m using it? Let yourself think about these things, and then just commit to the scene. Limit yourself to that story. There will be other quilts to make. If you are feeling overwhelmed, it’s probably because you might need to narrow your focus. Those questions can help.

As you’re picking fabrics and designing toward that story, whatever it is, think about balancing. I think about it like this: First, as I mentioned, I just pick my favorites, no matter what their scale, or color, or whatever. If those are leading you into your story, that’s great. If one feels like it’s just not gonna work this time, don’t toss it, but put it aside. Work with the others. Now start adding. Pick prints that feel coordinated but also unique. Most of the fabrics in these quilts are tiny floral calicos with many colors and lots of detail, and those are the best. But I also do try to include a few fabrics that are larger scale, or monochromatic, or very simple (tiny white hearts on a blue background, for instance), or even striped (I know, life on the edge, people. Stripes!). If many of your prints are very busy, choose a few that have some "white" space (whatever their color). If many of your prints are bright or primary, choose a few that are muted or muddy, or pale. You want some variety here, so that those very favorite prints you love so much stand out in relief against a background that has depth and texture, visually. And, if you’re inclined toward very light, delicate, pretty prints and colors, don’t forget the black. Adding black, or even very dark brown or dark gray or navy or evergreen, even in a toddler quilt, provides a bit of grounding for everything. Remember that these patches will only be 3.75” when finished, and they will be scattered, so they will all look different in practice, too.

In the toddler quilt, the pattern calls for seven strips of solid colors, so about a third of the patches (in all of the quilts, no matter what size) are solid colors. This ratio felt nice to me, as the solid patches, no matter what color they are, help your eye rest as you’re looking at the quilt, and keep it from being overwhelmed by the busyness. I always pick out the solid colors last. Once I’ve picked out the prints, I bring them all with me to the fabric store and then I start holding them up to different solids. For each kit, I choose three different solid colors. If I want the quilt to feel more restful, I keep all three of those shades quite similar. If I want the quilt to have more energy, I go with bolder colors that are quite different from each other. The solid colors can really bring this quilt together. If you feel like your prints have quite a bit of inconsistency color-wise — and this can be a really good thing — the solids you choose can totally bring it all together. I like to choose solids that feel both pretty and a little unexpected. Let yourself choose things that don’t feel like “your” things and see what happens. You might be surprised. Some of the kits that turned out to be my very favorites were so random when they started that I thought there was no way they would come together. But I was pleasantly surprised by the result.

Let yourself go down the rabbit hole. Follow it wherever it goes. Don't get hung up. Enjoy every minute. XO

About Alicia Paulson

About

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

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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.