Spring Rain

comments: 107








Whew. A few days ago I was about to do something else, and before I knew it was sitting under an enormous half-finished quilt with a big blister on my finger. It was like I accidentally stepped into the fairy circle, then was further tempted to eat one of their little cakes (even though I know you should refuse all offers of food there!). And so then they just kept me for a while, and made me sew. And sew and sew. Yes. I think that's what happened. I was under a spell.

I do remember that it was pouring rain for several days straight. It was a rain spell. At times I think I had almost every light in the house on just so we could see what we were doing. The sun came out just for a short, glorious while on Saturday afternoon. Andy came into the studio with me and played video games on his phone while I went from cutting table to sewing machine to ironing board, and back again. I just kept adding patches to patches patches. In all honesty, seriously, this quilt top came together faster than any quilt I have ever made. If you really look at it, once all the pieces have been cut, it's just a matter of putting it together like a puzzle, and many of the patches are BIG. I left a few of the big long pieces uncut until closer to the end, when I knew whether groups of vertically pieced patches were going to match up to groups of horizontally patched pieces. (Sometimes they did, sometimes they didn't.) If they didn't (and if they didn't it was, luckily, never by too much), I just added a bit to some other piece that I hadn't cut yet so that the collective group of patches was still the right length, or width. It came together exactly like the diagram except in a couple of places, like where my little green blocks didn't get done in the right order, and I needed to add a strip to the bottom of the log cabin column because it was way too short (and I still don't really know why). As each part came together, I was very happy. I thought it all looked so pretty together. Thank you to anyone who was here over the weekend with me! Your comments were cracking me up bad! That was really fun.

When I first started to cut all of the patches, before I stitched them together, I basically printed out a diagram of what I had drawn, so I knew exactly which patches I needed. As I cut them (randomly, from some new fabrics and from my stash), I crossed them off. So by the time I started sewing I had all sorts of little piles, labeled with sticky notes: 16" x 4", 4" x 4", 58" x 2", etc. Almost all of the patches are 2", 4", or 8" wide. The grid made it easy to see the exact size of each patch, and I just added 1/2" for seam allowances to both the length and the width before I cut. As I finished each strip or section, I hung it in front of the sliding glass door and then I sat and looked at it to figure out where to put some of the darker colors, so that they were a little bit balanced. I didn't plan which fabrics to use where in any sort of labored way, and they just sort of fell where they did. I didn't follow the chart color-wise at all, expect for a few places like the big gray boxes, and the navy-and-green mini stripes.

When the top was all finished I realized that I wanted it to be even bigger than it was, so I added a 4" border all the way around. The binding will be some kind of mustard yellow, or maybe brown. The back is a patched mix of really beautiful cotton lawns — in fact, there is a ton of cotton lawn in this quilt, from Liberty prints to some from my friend Anna to various stuff I've collected over the years. I don't know how well it will all wear, but oh dearie me is it dreamy to touch and work with. It also has made the sandwich so light. I used Dream Wool for the batting (which is what I used for my log cabin quilt). They say you can stitch up to 8" apart on it. I love it. It makes the whole thing feel like a big puffy comforter. I prefer that so much to flatter, cotton-filled quilts. Firstly, it's so much lighter and loftier. Secondly, I just like the way it looks more poufy when it's all finished. Thirdly, It's seriously warm. I was sitting under it (with all its pins in it) last night with just my thin nightgown on and I was toasty.

To finish it, I've decided to tie it. I was thinking of having it professionally quilted, but then I decided that I really just wanted this project to be all mine. It felt like me, and I wanted to keep it close to me. It will take much, much longer to tie than the top did to put together, I think. I'm going to use all sorts of different colors — to match the background fabrics — of embroidery floss. I don't want them to show up too much. Not sure exactly what kind of arrangement I will tie it all in yet. I'll work on the binding first. I stitch that by machine on front and by hand on back. It's about, oh, eleven yards of binding, so that will take me quite a while. But at least I can do it while I'm sitting under it.

Oh — I almost forgot about the cross-stitched patch I made for the back with my initials. It only seemed fair to make a cross-stitched patch, though I didn't actually think of it until the back cloth was all pieced together. So I used 14-count waste canvas and sort of centered it on there. I ran out of room, so although it was supposed to say 4-1-12, I just had it say 4-12 for month and year. I expect to be working on the second half (finishing) through April. Though knowing me I may become possessed again and in that case I can't say what will happen.

Did you notice the woodpecker (I think it's a Nuttall's woodpecker? Downy woodpecker — thank you!) in the second photo? I took these pictures from the house, so I was quite far away from the birds.


Luscious. It just looks luscious!

so wish I could do crafty things like you. But it's nice living vicariously through all the beautiful things you create, Alicia!

Oh my! I did not expect to see a completed quilt top so quickly! It is gorgeous, you were definitely under some type of quilting spell. Maybe you broke some quilting record? I'm excited to see it with all your lovely embroidery threads.....and envying your time spent under such a warm and lovely project. Amazing.

Just wonderful! I'm so inspired and amazed! Jamie V in MT

beautiful weather and quilt :)

I can relate to your wanting this beautiful quilt to be all yours and not sending it out to be professional quilted. It is beautiful as is and I also love your thought of different colors of embroidery floss for the tying of it. I sure you've heard this time and time again YOU are so creative.

On another note - can you send rain our way. We are in the midst of freakish winds and wildfires. Rain sounds like heaven.

Holy quilting, lady! You are seriously amazing. Didn't you just design this like, like, um, less than a week ago? Wow wow wow. I was wondering how you were going to finish it. Can't wait to see it all tied up!

So lovely. I finished a quilt top today too, from a beautiful piece of embroidered silk with a peacock on it. Very different to all your lovely soft colours though.

I'm breathless!
I love that you still managed to take photographs, capturing the robin, the cat stepping lightly... all the colors, and light, the elements out your window, in the room, reflected in your beautiful quilt.

What an accomplishment - it's a beautiful quilt. I was going to sell my 'Rose' quilt - the first one I made this year, but then I kept it! I just love snuggling under it every night - it's freezing here, but sunny in the daytimes. There's snow - yes SNOW forecast for the next day or so - more quilts needed! Enjoy Springtime!

wow, its beautiful!

having only ever made 1 quilt in my life, reading this was like reading through an explanation of something in a foreign language. it was entertaining, though, and however you did what you did, i'm impressed!

happy tieing.

Alicia, do you ever hand quilt? With that type of top you could have so much fun with different quilting designs. I'm biased - it's my most favorite part of the entire quilting process!

Lovely Lovely Lovely, I am so inspred by portlanders who take the streches of crappy weather and turn them into something lovely. You inspire me to do more then just pout about the house during the next stretch of rainy days!

Love the kitty feet on the quilt edge!

Are you seriously DONE with that quilt???????

My jaw has just hit the floor....

I'm seriously impressed and I love the idea of being under a sewing spell ~ it was awesome to watch your progress over the weekend. Looking forward to seeing the ties (a few tips on how this is done would be wonderful too). Love your photographs. Your blog is such a homey one ~ I love visiting.

Ok I go away for a few days and you are talking about fabric and doing a quilt I come back and you have it together. Amazing! Its very beautiful!

It's amazing how fast this went from vision to completion. The top makes me think of a sweet rural village -- streets of houses, with fields surrounding them. I love the patched back.

Cindy Pittman says: April 02, 2012 at 10:34 AM

Truly funny and light-hearted and whimsical- your writing. I think I've experienced this same quilt spell, and oh, how delightful to be swept up in its magic.

Here in Texas, I'm being summoned to my garden. My cool weather veggies are all up and showing promise with the rest of the garden calling my name, before the real heat shows up and we wonder, "And why do we live in Texas?"

Keep writing on and quilting and embroidering and cooking and cross-stitching, and all the lovely things you do. We are reveling in your creations right alongside you!!!


Boy--that came together quickly! I love that it looks so random. I can just imagine cuddling under it. Thanks for sharing. You are inspiring.

You are amazing, it would have taken me months to put something like that together!

All I managed to get done the last couple of days was paint rainbow colours on my toenails and do a lot of spreading the word about the rainbow toed army of support for folk fighting breast cancer. (The story is on my blog if anyone is interested.)

holy mackeral! you just went for it, didn't you! if it were me, they'd be lining my coffin with the unfinished thing! :)

love it, it's just beautiful!


Wow, the quilt is so beautiful! You are definitely on a roll; I'm predicting it will be done by next weekend :: }
I live in Southern Oregon and we've also had the crazy weather - wind, rain, sun, wind, rain, sun . . . Welcome April, hmmm. I came home from work sick on Thursday afternoon and I'm still here, nasty sinusy cold. On the positive side I've started a granny stripe blanket a la Lucy at Attic 24 and so far I've done 50 rows (25 stripes). It's 4 ft wide and I plan to make it about 6 ft long, so I have a ways to go, but I'm loving it. The Stylecraft Special DK she recommends is lovely stuff and I found a UK online seller who ships free to the US. I have a large patch (16" squares) quilt in the works and I'm waiting for some Dream Wool from Fabric Depot; I'll be in sewing mode soon so I hope my backorder arrives soon. Thanks for telling us about Dream Wool, I love puffy quilts and it's wonderful that it's washable! Enjoy your week.

OMGoodness! I turn my back for a few days (I haven't been by since Friday) and you've gone and made THAT quilt. I am seriously amazed. You're amazing! What an incredible, original, wonderful quilt!

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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




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.