Summer Begins

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I actually made something yummy all by myself for dinner yesterday, which was kind of a miracle. I've made this kind of rice-shrimp-corn-bean bowl many times before but this one came out really nicely. It's just a bowl of steamed jasmine rice on top of which I've put a big blob of Cuban black beans (I use these, from the refrigerator section at New Seasons), broiled shrimp (marinate them in a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper, then broil under the broiler for a few minutes), avocado, sour cream, and a lot of fresh corn salad. To make that I tossed a couple of tablespoons of olive oil with a clove of finely minced garlic, a half-teaspoon of salt, and some ground black pepper. To that I added a handful of quartered cherry tomatoes (and you could add some minced jalapeno or some cilantro, but I didn't have those) and then the kernals from two ears of corn, which I gently sauteed in some ghee (clarified butter) for a few minutes. Mix the corn, tomatoes, and the dressing well and let it stand for a few minutes while you put the bowl together. Mimi loved everything in here and so did I. I need to make these more because they're really easy and fast and filling.

It was really hot here this week — in the high 80s and even 90s — but today it is chilly and overcast and breezy. That seems like more appropriate weather to post a picture of this Fimma sweater, finished but not blocked. This was a BLAST to make. I loved it. I seriously loved it. At first I thought it was going to be small but it's not. I made the size 4 and this is probably size 4. I do have a problem with some fair-isle patterns (well, and some circular yoke patterns in general) because the yoke just does not seem well-proportioned. It's too tubular. But I guess we'll just have to see it on her (when she's four). I'm making another one (right away). This one, above, is made of worsted weight yarn (I used Cascade 220, which I'm not sure I've ever used before); it's quite thick and heavy. I decided to try and make the new one out of sport weight (Brown Sheep Nature Spun) and use the directions for the size 8 pattern. So we'll see. I started it a couple of nights ago. The body of the new sweater is light blue. It's always kind of amazing to me that the design is made entirely of only four colors (and, actually, for the mustard Fimma above I used two shades of the pink and two shades of the blue, just to give it a little more depth). In choosing them I stuck with a very dark (it's kind of a raisin color), a very light (cream), and then two midtones (the turquoises and the pinks). For the new sweater I chose a very dark (navy blue), a very light (cream), and three almost-midtones (the two pinks I'll interchange, and pale gold).

I don't exactly why these patterns are so much fun. I think part of it is that, if you're choosing new colors, you really don't have a very good idea (at least I don't!) of what the colorwork pattern is even going to look like. So it truly reveals itself in every row (this is knitterish thrillsville, people!!!). It's just the perfect amount of excitement, and it comes a little bit at the beginning (you start at the bottom of the sweater, and the bottom of the sleeves) but mostly at the end — and it goes faster at the end, because you're decreasing. All good. It's kind of the right order of a project for me (though, again, I'm not sure bottom-up sweaters fit as well as top-down — thoughts? Does it matter which way you go, or is this just a coincidence in my own personal project list?). There are a lot of ends to weave in, but I think I did all of them in less than one episode of American Pickers. So, this sweater still needs to be blocked and I think I'll do that today. And oh yeah — obviously, I decided not to steek it after all. After all that work it seemed more prudent to pick a pattern that has the steeking built into it, since I've never done it before (several of you suggested this lovely Kate Davies sweater, which I may try).

In spite of the weather today, it feels like summer has truly arrived. Sweeeeeeet!


the best of days - love the romantic chaos of your life at home with Mimi. (and oh, that sweater! my mom used to knit that pattern for us. I'd pick out yarn on Friday and wear it to school on Monday!)

Yum those shrimp look good. And the little pink shrimp asleep on the quilt is very cute :) You live in a beautifully floral part of town. look at those irises! Something I have wanted to ask about for ages, and I feel I must've missed a post somewhere along the way: in the 6th photo above you show what look like allotment gardens. Is this what they are? Or is this a really large community garden? I am always intrigued by the photos of this garden.

I think Summer may be here. I see my first rose bud which means I need to get out there and prune quick so I have lots and lots more this summer.

Love your fair isle. I got caught up in some fantastic versions for mittens. So. Much. Entertainment.

What a super little jumper. I love knitting Fair Isle, I even made a sleeve less V neck for my ole teddy bear. The style of your one reminds me of Icelandic jumpers. I went to Reykjavik a few weeks back and was blown away by all the yarny loveliness.

jean x

I've been loving the weather too and can't get enough of being outside. Spent Wednesday at oxbow with my 2year old and it as pure heaven. Saw you at Portland Nursery last week and seriously was awestruck! Ha! I couldn't think what to say but should have said I don't "know" you but I adore you and I always wonder if I'll see you around and here we are! ;)

Kristin Vala says: May 16, 2014 at 01:24 PM

When knitting a lopapeysa, you can start at the top or the bottom, either way is fine. As for steeking, it can be done with any lopapeysa, just purl four in the middle so you'll have a clear path to sew through. Instead of picking up stitches and knitting/crocheting a border, I like knitting it on its own and sewing it to the lopapeysa. We know our lopapeysas here in Iceland...

"Knitterish thrillsville", ya just crack me up and make me smile with such delight;). These photos, my dear, are one awesome collection! That first one of Mimi is ADORABLE. Can't wait to see pics of the new sweater as I've been thinking of a similar color scheme to crochet a Nordic Shawl. And to Nicole, you are so cute and if I lived in Portland, I, too, would hope to run into Alicia, and then surely would not know what to say. When you're a fan, you don't want to stammer or sound like a stalker. Anyway, a lovely post as always. Have a wonderful weekend, and by the way, I adore you, too, Alicia.

I love the colours you choose for things Alicia. Lovely yarn, beautiful quilts. Oh, you tired that little girl out I think! I'm happy to see another picture of the community garden, I'm enjoying watching it unfold. And that pathway is divine, what a lovely spot to wander along. I hope you guys all have a really good weekend. CJ xx

A tonic... all things my weary eyes were in desperate need of.
It's been hot here, too... much too hot, and somehow, even reading about cooler temps, and seeing all the loveliness you've captured, I feel renewed with hope. Summer is grand, but the way it's starting, I almost wish it were late November already!

Edda Soffia says: May 16, 2014 at 03:12 PM

Hey, I love the pictures that are on your blog, beautiful all of them. I always look forward to reading your blog and have made some of the stuff that you design, f.e.s. Sunshiny day afgan and now my Amelia is crocheing your Tiramisu blanket,(she is 20 years old).
I like your Fimma sweather, it looks like Icelandic sweathers and eaven got an Icelandic name. Fimma is five in Iceland. If you would like to see more sweathers like that, take a look at that website. uppskriftir
Thank you for a wonderful and inspiering blog.
Edda Soffia
From Borgarnes, Iceland

Beautiful Lopapeysa, yummy food, sweetest girlie and snow in Chicago today!! Who says summer is here?

Lovely sweater and I love the sweet sleeping toddler feet!
We will be visiting Portland this summer, can't wait, sure hope it is good weather when we are there.

Oh I must try that bowl recipe! It just starting to feel like Spring here in New England - but it's so nice to see flowers again after our winter.
I love the sweater! I'm not there yet in my skills as a knitter, so everything you make I'm in awe of. Fall and winter are my yarn months while spring and summer are pottery painting months. Is that weird?

I can get so lost in your pictures and your writings of your day to day life. The sweater looks great. Your color choices are always very sweet and a bit different than I see most pick, which is refreshing. I know what you mean about that feeling when the colors are coming together and you watch it sort of happen with each row.

Have a great weekend.
Birgitta xx

Hello Alicia! Awesome sweater for Mimi.. I can imagine it in so many color combinations. I also have been wondering about the photos of the community garden. Spill, girlfriend! I got a kick out of Nicole's comment and went over to see her blog and became a "Follower" and left a comment there. Hopefully I've made a new friend. I also hope to run into you some day.. I will be sure and say hello.
((hugs)), Teresa :-)

You have so much blooming and I'm pretty sure you are north of us, crazy! That little gal of yours on that quilt and then her little stinking cute!

Stunning sweater! (To counteract the "tubular" effect you mentioned, many people go up a needle size when they get to the Fair Isle yoke, because Fair Isle automatically produces a tighter gauge.) And I LOVE the photo of her holding her skirt out. She's obviously admiring the fabric. What a sweet little comrade-in-arms!

Jane S. says: May 16, 2014 at 06:51 PM

Oh, to sleep so deeply and sweetly as Mimi! I guess when you play at 110%, that's how you sleep too.

There are foxgloves in your neighborhood?? I'm so jealous. They are one of my favorite flowers.

Your blog always has me falling in love with gardens, quilts, and knitting all over again. This summer I've made it my goal to make a quilt for my bed. Something light and summery!

I think you've inspired me to help my mom plan our front garden too so that next year we can have some lovely bulbs pop up everywhere. Lots of love to you and your family!

Your columbine photo is gorgeous.

Knitting is such an amazing thing isn't it. Don't you wonder who the first clever soul was to cast on and purl two, knit one? Now, my momma always felt that knitting down had a couple advantages. You could easily adjust the length if it took so long to knit the patterned yoke that the child had sprouted up six inches, and, if the sweater gets worn hard as they sometimes do, and the cuffs wear to tatters, they can be replaced by raveling back and re-knitting. Not so easily done if you begin at the cuff. Happy May!

Sona Jacob says: May 16, 2014 at 10:00 PM

Sweet little baby girl!
Your garden is looking lovely!
So is the sweater!
And the dinner bowl looks fab. Lovely colors, don't you think?

If you block your the sweater to a body shape, it will be fine. You used wool, it will be wet and you're the boss. Make it be the way you want it to be!

I was going to say, "I spy some Whole Bowl!" My 14 year-old loves the stuff and dreams/talks of it all year long.

Beautiful pictures! And love that sweater! I like doing top down on circular needles so I can control the length, and also, sometimes I just don't feel like seaming. But really, either one works! Depends on the pattern. Ann Budd's books are a great guideline, too. You seem like you have measurements and sizes down well, though! Love your blog so much!!

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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.