Wooly Reads

comments: 43


Since it is, once again, fureeeeezing out, I don't feel so bad still playing with wool. I finally got around to making a cool little pincushion out of felted sweaters the other day. This little chunk is the Recycled Sweater Pincushion, a project designed by Meshell Taylor from my friends Larissa and Martin Brown's book, Knitalong: Celebrating the Tradition of Knitting Together.


It is such a cool experience to see a book come to life, and over breakfasts and barbecues in the year or so that I've known sweet Larissa, I've gotten to hear about and watch this one happen. Still, seeing the real thing is so different from seeing the page proofs, and finally getting to sit down and read the text is really inspiring — even for a sporadic knitter like me. This is much more than a book of projects, though there are twenty patterns here. It's truly an exploration and a celebration of the history of social knitting, as well as a mosaic of contemporary ways that knitters have come together around the world to knit with each other, even though they may be thousands of miles (and even generations) apart. I love Larissa and Martin's voices in the text — there is something incredibly soothing about this book. I've never done a knitalong, and I am a truly terrible, unreliable joiner, but this book makes me want to play with the group. L & M, you've really done a beautiful job with this topic, capturing the spirit of the individual knitter with her (or his) needles and skein in the context of this incredibly diverse and soulful community. I am so proud of you!


I was on the phone the other day with my friend Betz White, another genius with wool. We talked books, too, as it is so easy to do when you are trying to make a book and spending the vast majority of your time at home alone in your little studio, making things and making a book and not really talking to anyone about it, because it's kind of hard to explain what it's like. There are so many parts and pieces to the experience, it's hard to start from the beginning. If I get someone on the phone who has shared or is in the process of sharing that experience I begin to speed-talk intensely and at such length until the batteries on the phone die (this frequently happens to me). Betz's book Warm Fuzzies: 30 Sweet Felted Projects is so totally adorable, just like Betz. I frist saw Betz on Martha making these cupcakes and they are as cute today as they were the first time I saw them. The pattern is here, along with so many other darling things: a dog sweater, pillows, bags, kid stuff, book covers, hats, an apron. She is now working on her second book, and just updated her Etsy shop today if you want an original!

Inspired by the books, I went downstairs and pulled out my huge box of felted sweater scraps. Then I decided that I had too much, and I would pass some on, along with the calico scraps I mentioned a few weeks ago. So, tomorrow? Let's say, 11 a.m. PST? There are only fourteen half-pound bags of each, the wool and the calico, and there is absolutely no more wool. There is more calico, but I made as many as I could stand to. There's kind of an art to it — you gotta get all the pieces sort of facing out and you want all different pieces and, anyway, not my favorite thing in the world to do. But it always feels good to pass these on — I love the idea of people opening the bags and finding new little things to play with. I'm an inefficient cutter for exactly that reason, I think. I know my mess-ups will be shared and recycled.

Ooo — and I forgot to say thank you for all the kind comments on the tulip pics! Thank you! I wound up entering the tractor (16), the little girl with the hair in her face (3), and the one right below that (2). And if I could ever manage to get a link correct in this blog or on my web sites, it would be a miracle, but check these out — last year's winners. Awesome.


I love the new Knitalong book. When will we be graced with your lovely publication?

Ooh, those scraps are precious!! Thank you for being willing to share them with us!!!

Even your pins are adorable! Great book recommendations. I have a super-knitty friend with a birthday coming up... thanks for doing the shopping for me!

OK then - I will leave a comment, and say those calico scraps look very inviting - very inviting indeed.
Janet McKinney

what a sweet little pin cushion!! it looks like you could eat it as much as that cupcake one does :) i am just about to leave the house for the Wooden Shoe farm to see it for myself. i will takes loads of photos and hope some turn out as awesome as yours did. I will report back on the state of the fields after even more rain and cold all this week. brrrr i will wear my winter coat.
your friend, bird tweet robin from down the road

OHHHHH scraps! I missed out last time so I am off to work out what time that is here in England!

will the fabric "scraps" be available for sale in your shop?

What a darling pincushion. I have got to try making one of these.

And the dog sweater. My dog is only 4.5 pounds and 12 inches long so it wouldn't take much to cover him up.

I put the warm fuzzies book on my Amazon wishlist.

Sounds like something is happening here tomorrow at 11? I'll have to try and meet y'all then.

i absolutely do not NEED another pin cushion, but now i want to make one just as sweet as yours...

The Knit Along book looks beautiful. I must check it out.

Love the pncushion! And I'm definately gonna have to check that book out.

That pincushion is so cute. I always have an abundance of sweater scraps(I make stuffed animals out of them) and now I want to make yet another pincushion!

Bobbie Lynn Duran says: April 24, 2008 at 12:56 PM

I also saw your friend Betz on Martha’s show and read about her and her adorable cupcakes in Country Living Magazine, what talent. My 21 year old daughter just got into needle felting and loves it. She also bought a softie book that has your adorable felt dresses, which we both plan to make. Good luck in the photo contest. Have a great weekend.

Hi Alicia :o) very cute pincushion. I especially like the tangerine colored top! xox, stay warm!

Asbsolutely love your pincushion - hope I have a chance at your scraps. Thanks for sharing.

I don't know how you narrowed your picks to only 3! I linked to your blog today because I just love all those photos! The pin cushion is great... you have such a sense of color... it always makes me happy! I've seen Betz's cupcakes around. It would just figure that you know her!!! This is such a small world, isn't it? :)

I'd love some felted wool . . . to add to my stash (running away and hiding head now). A funny story: we had our dog, Tallulah Mae, DNA tested to see what breeds were in her (it's called the Wisdom test). Nothing strong on parental level (!), boxer on grandparent level, and "small" amounts of Maltese (!!!) ... and Cardigan Welsh Corgi. Which is too funny, because I swear I see similarities between Miss Clover's sweet face and my cutie pie. Lots of pix of her on my blog...every Friday is "Tallulah-Palooza Friday" around the ol' blog (www.foziewisp.blogspot.com).

Loooooove the pincushion! I'm just getting into the wonderful world of wool myself. I've finished a couple of little projects, my favorite being Mr. & Mrs. Gnome from Miss Hilary!

Tulips are lovely!

I picked up Betz's book a couple of weeks ago. SO CUTE. She's one of those people who seems like someone I wish I knew in real life. (You're on that list, too!)

Please count me in on the scraps!

Scraps make the best things! Are they still available? ;)

I never comment on your blog, but I need to tell you. I just love you. Your blog really cheers me up and doesn't let me down. You are so inspiring! After a long day of playing with my toddler, cooking, cleaning and trying to "hang on", reading your blog just puts me at ease. This colorful little thing is just what I needed to cheer me up...and your tulips! Wowzers! I can't do what you do...but I can dream about it. Keep it up, you are amazing. I just wanted you to know that.

Ohhh...scraps! Why is it that scraps make us crafters oh so happy? I don't know why either, but man alive, I LOVE hitting the scrap section of my local fabric store.

Hee! I wrote that pattern :)

I'm jumping up and down right now (err, inside I am, really I'm just sitting on my butt, but totally excited) to see that you've made one, yay! I haven't ordered my copy of the book yet but I really must, the suspense is killing me!

Alicia, have you seen these fabulous pins???


by GigiMinor on Etsy?
OMGosh!! I have orderd about 15 now, some for Mothers Day for mine and husbands moms. (And well some for me too!!)
Oh! Go look!!!

Can one ever have too many soft cusions upon which to set a pretty pin? Or too many scraps to play with? More is more, I care not what they say!!!

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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 aliciapaulson.com