In the Stacks

comments: 35

Stacks_1 I'm getting more and more ready to sew. Oh, the complications I have assigned to this humble art, no? First there was the impassioned analysis surrounding the collecting of new pins and needles. Then the foraging for even more fabric to add to this ever growing tower of it. Then there was the commitment ceremony I held where I vowed to be more organized and mature about everything sewn in general. ALL of this and hardly a stitch has been stitched.

Amysbook I had curry last night with our little chicken and spent the evening telling her all about her book, which of course I haven't seen a page of, but you can't think that stopped me. Oh no no. It is my special Alicia-way to rattle on incessantly about myself and what I think until my companion falls off her chair with boredom, and the waiter comes to suggest that I might want to take note that my friend is now sitting on the floor, but I just lean further over the table and project my voice downward a bit, and then she climbs wearily back up, and I continue on as if she never left. Possibly I push a glass of water toward her, if I remember (she is preggers, after all). Yes. That is what I call having a "conversation." I was telling her that I was newly inspired to sew lately, in part because of her book cover, which you must agree is the cutest stinking book cover you've ever seen in your life. It is. I will not hear otherwise, and I'm not just saying this because I love my friend. And from what I hear about what's going to be happening inside the book (I let her squeeze in a few words), it will be as cool and sassy as the cover, and as Amy herself is. I don't normally order books off of Amazon, or before I have a chance to really look at them, but this one's a pre-ordered no-brainer. I can't wait.

When I ordered Amy's book, at the suggestion of Amazon I also got the beautiful Simple Sewing with a French Twist, of which Leisl wrote a better review than I could hope to. It came a few weeks ago and I've looked at it several times now. The design of this book is really lovely. It has this sort of evocative, handmade quality that is super clean and very . . . dreamy. I think a lot of the actual projects are probably a little plain, as far as my own aesthetic goes — I tend to like a few more bells and whistles on my stuff, but that's just me. I must say that the seductiveness of the book itself (it is French, after all, and the French are sexy like that) kept drawing me back to look at it again and again — and although I initially skipped over the beginning part that tells you how to stitch seams or clip curves or miter a corner (thinking "I already know all of that stuff") I've had cause to reconsider it all. Because I have this new plan. My plan is to calm down, stop rushing, stop assuming, and see if there isn't more I can be learning about what I supposedly already know how to do. . . .

As if this all wasn't enough, I had an afternoon last week at Kinokuniya looking at Japanese embroidery books (which is always maddening, I must say, because there is nowhere to sit down, there are so many I feel like I'm going to have a panic attack, and I can't see anything the way they are all slotted in as efficiently as Thin Mints onto their shelves — but, you know, it's worth it to acquire such genius). I'm not a huge collector of them (for the above reasons — I'm sure if my budget and physical-comfort-while-browsing were no barrier I'd want them all), but I did come away with 4-8347-2498-0 to go with the one I ordered from Superbuzzy a few weeks ago, 4-8347-2421-2 (sooooo much easier to just order it from Superbuzzy, yes). That one (which, alas, appears to be sold out) has the pattern for the pastries in my new banner thing. I'll tell you about the banner tomorrow (not that there's much to tell other than "I traced it and stitched it," but you know, I do have that attractive knack for talking incessantly about myself, etc., so I'm sure I can muster some brilliant thoughts).


Dear Alicia,
I spent the weekend organizing my studio. Even during the process, I thought I was wasting my time. But, it is just so much more pleasant to be there that production has doubled. Your efforts to get things in order will not be wasted and it looks just so lovely, I hope that I see that picture of those beautiful fabrics with all the happy colors in my dreams.
Have the best day!
Love, Tiffany

ps just noticed the new banner. Darling!!!

Oh good....I'm not the only one that goes on and on.......and on. Frankly, that's why I love blogging. I can yammer on endlessly with no interruptions ;) It's that little slice of heaven for a non-stop talker like me. btw, love the stash of materials. I would love to display mine out in the open. Unfortunately, San Diego is far to dusty to not keep the fabrics behind closed doors.

oh goodness...all that gorgeous fabric. i keep telling myself that i can't buy anymore until i use at least half of what i have...but it is so hard not to. i swear i find moments of peace in fabric stores, so i just have to go in...and then of course i have to buy...

love the new banner!

Very cute banner!

I had a similar plan a while back, and decided to take a sewing class at the local community college to actually learn what I've been making-up-as-I-go-along for years. It was great! I'm so glad I did, I learned lots of fab tips that make my sewing better (and nicer looking), and it inspired me to get out of my comfort zone and create new things.

And I've been eyeing that book ever since I saw in on Julieree's blog... I just love the colors.

The banner is so adorable! I can't wait to get Amy's book either. She's such a doll!

I do that talking thing every once in a while too. I'm usually a quiet person, but certain people by their magical presence (I'm not sure what the "IT-factor" is) have me blabbing away on some topic that is surely way more fascinating to me than to them. At some point I become aware that I'm doing it, subjecting this person to a tirade on the merits of this or that, but does that stop me? Nope. I have learned to forgive myself for this mortifying behaviour, on the grounds that I'm usually so quiet. Surely there's stuff in there that needs to be expressed so I don't implode :)

thank you, you've inspired me twice, first with getting that amazing book, and secondly, to re organize all my fabrics in neatly stacked, delightful rows in my bookcase instead of in rubbermaid totes....

"in the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the experts mind there are few." i've always loved that, good luck re-learning a few techniques!

the first time i had coffee with you, my sister called to ask if i had a good time. "oh, yes!" i said, "it was excellent! i only had to say about two sentences!"

forever your rapt listener,

I highly doubt you could bore anyone! I would just be taking in every word you said. ;)

Ooh I love the new banner, and I want that book (I was actually thinking of pre-ordering but I have to actually learn to SEW first!) I am going to try and dust off the new Singer and stitch a few rows tonight, even if the bobbin kills me (I'm new to all this.)

I loved this post. you are very funny, and I'm sure it is delightful to have coffee and listen to you.

I loved most the title of the post, though. When I was in high school and college, I spent a lot of time in libraries, where the "stacks" refers to the rows of shelves. In high school because I worked in one, and in college because it felt comforting and familiar to be there, and because I had learned that the quiet of the stacks was a good place to think. Before writing a paper or working on a painting class project, I'd go lose myself in the stacks for a while. I'd pull books off the shelves and puruse the index looking for something specific, read and take notes, then study the bibliography for a bit and be off again, looking for the next book, following some thread of fascination and wondering. Eventually, I'd emerge from the stacks, head full of ideas, ready to work.

This is SO funny! I've been telling myself for over a month now, that when I finally get this BIG project done and off of my to-do desk that I will get to sew again. Problem is, the project tasks have stretched themselves out beyond what I thought possible...and I almost gave up. But yesterday when I'd finally whittled the list down to three little things left to do, I caved in and took a trip to the local quilt shop because I just badly needed some fabric therapy. For one whole hour I petted fabric and pulled different bolts and fat quarters off the shelves to play color against color. It was SO fun! But I felt a tad guilty that I actually wasn't DONE with my chore first. But this morning I finally finally finished! And now I'm almost giddy that I get to play and sew in my studio! So funny to see that you're doing (or at least thinking of) the same thing!

oh, goodness! now I have to go home from work and clean/organize my dingy basement sewing area so I can get busy working on something immediately! Damnit!

I haven't sewn anything lately because first my studio must be organized... a process that has taken a very long time. What I'm finishing now is organizing all my magazine and recipe clippings. Only when that monumental task is completed can the real cleaning begin. THEN I can sew. My husband does not get this, but that's just how it is. I must mise en place it all before production may commence. Did you like how I worked that reference in there? I'm incorporating that phrase into my everyday conversations now!
Can't wait to get my hands on Amy's sewing book!

Oooooohh! I love seeing people's fabric stashes. So much potential! I can't wait to see what comes out of it.
And I agree, the banner is delicious!

Long-time lurker coming out to tell you that (ahem, so original) I adore your blog and writing style. I do have a question: would you mind sharing what kind of sewing machine you use? I'm in the market for one and would love to know what you use...

oh really, you know I had plenty to say, and say it I did. Complete with big hand gestures, eye rolling, and lots of food coming out of my mouth, no doubt. The only time I wasn't talking was when I was eating. . .still mad I forgot to put the leftovers in the fridge! grrrr.

it was lovely, as usual, thank you.

i love your new banner and amy's book sounds great! this book looks nice, too - Romantic Home Sewing: Cottage-Style Projects to Stitch for the Home -

Love all your banners, but I miss the big rubbery looking nose. You know what is bad?? Two excited talkers high on business,new stuff, crafting, caffine and goodies. I prefer anything chocolate. Not a pretty sight of two talking at the same time. Just all the excitement of new ideas and friends doing well. I could paint a whole house on a chocolate frappicino. The neighbors all laugh when I talk really fast(which isn't very southern) and race around doing as much as possible. I have been to Barnes & Nobles guzzeling chocolate, caffine and sugar. Coming down is not a pretty sight. Blast on and enjoy!!!

Love all your banners, but I miss the big rubbery looking nose. You know what is bad?? Two excited talkers high on business,new stuff, crafting, caffine and goodies. I prefer anything chocolate. Not a pretty sight of two talking at the same time. Just all the excitement of new ideas and friends doing well. I could paint a whole house on a chocolate frappicino. The neighbors all laugh when I talk really fast(which isn't very southern) and race around doing as much as possible. I have been to Barnes & Nobles guzzeling chocolate, caffine and sugar. Coming down is not a pretty sight. Blast on and enjoy!!!

beautiful stash, love the new banner, dear!

I totally need to learn to go on and on more... I get disappointed in myself for being a bit of a Shy Violet. I don't like to sew, although I *do* when I need to, and I know I'd sew more if I never had to rip out stitches!!

Love the stash, those colors are perfect on in the gray Oregon light.

Go ahead and talk, talk, talk away. I just broke out of my "need to get sewing" thing by renting a mountain of videos. I will get sewing, just so I can finish the movie! Love your stash of colors, by the way.

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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.