Early July

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Good morning. How are you? I'm sitting here. The fan's whirling above me and Amelia and Andy are out for a walk with Clover Meadow. It'll be in the 90s today. I'm anxious to go out and patrol my garden. No sooner did I banish the katydid nymphs that were chomping my verbena than we've had new pestering. Since these pictures were taken, big fat green worms have gotten into my cabbage and broccoli. I tried plucking a few off yesterday but I literally almost threw up. I was surprised that I had this reaction. Scream-gagging in the street. Lovely. Amelia was mildly alarmed. I tried to blast them off with the hose. Unsuccessful. I'm not sure why I think I could live in the country. . . . Thank you for all of your kind and poignant comments on my last post. I was very moved by them. I'm really trying to take it slow and steady. Summer destroys me with longing, somehow. It happens to me every year. I don't know. Summer always feels hard in ways I can't even explain.

Meems and I have been rollicking through the days, nevertheless. Andy worked Sunday through Wednesday this week, through the holiday, but she and I kept ourselves busy with friends and fun stuff. It was hot yesterday afternoon, so we slowed to a crawl and laid around and did all the puzzles and watched kids' shows on TV after we got home from swimming. It was nice. I read a library book (The Headmaster's Wife — don't tell me what happens, I'm not done yet) while eating curried shrimp and pineapple and peas (weird combo, I guess, but it was good) and she ate a dozen enormous strawberries for dinner on the couch. At night I've been knitting miles and miles of stockinette on my Birkin sweater and that thing is shaped quite oddly. I think it's going to funnel-neck pretty badly on me. My tension looks pathetic, alternately too loose and too tight. I really can't do three colors in the same row. I can knit with both hands but dropping the second and picking up the third color just messed me up I guess. Usually my colorwork looks pretty good — I'm pretty loose — but this yoke (not pictured among the four thousand pictures above, naturally) looks positively smocked. I did try it on, though, and it fit, in a way, but I can see that it wants to ride up. The armholes are quite low. There is no increasing over almost the entire depth of the yoke pattern, so the yoke is pretty tube-like to begin with, almost poncho-like. I have about eleven inches left to do of straaaaaaaight stockinette, in fingering, in size XL. Soooooooo I'm going to be there for a while before I get a chance to block it out. I'm gonna block it hard and hope the yoke stretches. Or should I take it off the needles now (I'm about three inches into the body, after separating for sleeves) and block it and make sure it's going to be wearable without tragic funnel-necking before I keep stockinetting for hours of my life? OH such problems. Well, you know. I knit while watching the news so I should probably go up about four needle sizes in general, actually and in all things, to counterbalance the inherent tension of . . . oh, everything, everywhere.

My skirt pattern (second-from-top photo) is done and I'm going to release  it next week, along with some of the extra yards of calico leftover from cutting strips for quilt kits. There is not a ton of fabric, but I do want to make some of it available, so I'll probably do it next Tuesday morning at 9:30 a.m. again. The pattern is a PDF download and it will only be available as a download (not printed). I'm vaguely nervous about this as it's my first-ever clothing pattern, but it's pretty simple and I know you'll write to me if you have any problems. More quilt kits should be coming in the next few weeks or so — I just got a new box of fabric from West Virginia yesterday, so that will hopefully be cut next week and then I'll start designing kits again.

I've been thinking a lot about the various teachers Amelia has for her school and different lessons and stuff that she does. Isn't it incredible how certain teachers really are totally life-changing, in the best of ways? I'm just starting to watch this happen, and am learning what it means for my kid. It really moves me, watching her bond with and trust and love some of the teachers in her life. It really is like watching a flower bloom right before your eyes.

Here's a cute video that Andy took of Meems at Ryan Adams last week. Xo

50 comments

These pictures are beautiful! I just love the silhouette! Did you do it yourself? The black on floral is lovely! Also - those puzzles are beautiful! Could you share where they are from? Thanks!! And good luck plucking caterpillars. I did that once every night for a week to my beans - plucked worms - and then they were gone for the rest of the season! So maybe if you stick with it they will go away?

Never touch the caterpillars or worms, too gross, causes gagging as you discovered! I keep hard plastic kitchen tongs on my outside table for removal or use plastic gloves (prefer tongs). Where is that lovely gardened pool? So serene. I miss Oregon!

Summer always feels hard for me too... I feel uncentered and restless, longing and yet unmotivated. Like I'm coming apart. And so many people love summer the most but I don't know why I can never quite get with it. But it helps to see the joy of it through the eyes of my children and to feel pleasure in helping them make sweet memories.

You can definitely block a project mid-knitting. Slide the stitches on waste yarn and give it a good block! You will either reassure yourself, or face facts that it has to be ripped. I've done this before when I'm nervous mid-project.

Living in the countryside does not mean you have to feel comfortable touching worms. I don't touch them either! LOL! I think what you'd love is the feeling that you are in control of more space around you. You can stretch out. The house next to us is for sale! LOL! I enjoyed your photos.. what a pretty skirt!! Love seeing Mimi blossom. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

The picture of Amelia with her hair down kind of backlit is so cool! I think it gives a hint at how she might look in about ten years or so. Lovely!

Yes, stop and block the sweater. Just slip it onto waste yarn or an extra set of needles so you don't lose the stitches. You won't regret it, I promise. Too many times I've had niggling doubts about a knitting project and forged ahead and ended up regretting it.

This post is an absolute visual delight. I couldn't figure out what flower it was in the top photo until you gave us a clue - an allium. It is beautiful. I love the photos of Amelia's face - the little sun-kissed freckles kill me. She has so many different expressions.

Maybe you needed the bugs to show you that you are in the exact right place.

Once again, thank you for sharing these photos.

I agree about blocking the sweater. Better to find out now if it's not going to work. I would thread a blunt needle with some thin cotton string or embroidery floss and run it through all the stitches on the needle, slip the needle out, and then block it.

I'm looking forward to the skirt pattern. I mentioned this in another comment, but have you ever done crayon tinted embroidery? You use regular Crayolas to color the fabric, iron it, and then embroider the design. It is really beautiful and I think you would be very good at it. Here are some examples:

http://meghawkey.com/PDF/Autums-Beauty-Bouquet-Pattern.pdf

Oh I love the skirt! I was hoping youd mention where the pattern was from and so im so pleased you're planning on releasing it! Im sure youll do a wonderful job! I'd be tempted to bock the sweater now to be honest, I don't think I'd be able to face the fear of it all being for nothing later... 😉

S x

Love the close-up photo and the hand-in-hand picture, so sweet. I know what you mean about pests in the garden, it's a constant battle here too. The pool with bamboo and fatsia round the edge is brilliant, more pools should have greenery I think. Knitting on a summer night is a very good thing. I shall get back to it just as soon as I've trained my puppy not to join in.:) Hope you have a lovely weekend. CJ xx

Beautiful pictures. Your house looks so cosy. I just love your colours and furniture. The silhouette picture of Amelia is beautiful. I live in a very old (1730s) tiny cottage in Kent, England so your house looks vast compared to mine. By the way - I don't enjoy the heat either. Am at work today in London and it's going to be around 29 degrees today again. No air con where I work either. Roll on the autumn! I mainly crochet but have started getting into knitting and have just finished one half of a topsy turvey doll. It's from a vintage toy making pattern book by Jean Greenhough. I managed to knit the skirt in the round and I know what you mean about getting a little bored with going round and round with stocking stich. Don't give up on your sweater. Saw the previous picture and I was really impressed with it. Going to try and find a relatively easy first sweater pattern to try. I cannot quilt but your kits look beautiful. Have a lovely weekend.

I've seen this sweater on a few instagram accounts lately, it's so lovely. The notes on ravelry from one test knitter say that some aggressive blocking on the yolk was needed, so you're not alone. The colours you are using really are great.

Kristina strain says: July 07, 2017 at 05:22 AM

Re: gross disgusting green worms on your cabbage and broccoli. Oh, cabbage worms. Bane of my existence. The thing that I do is interplant my cole crops with cilantro and dill and calendula. The butterflies that lay the eggs from which the caterpillars come do not like those things, and stay away.

Also, I have learned from experience that the worms turn yellow when cooked... so at least they're easy to avoid eating. Good luck!

I am so excited for that pattern. All of your photos are gorgeous! I totally get where you are coming from in regards to summer. I love the festivals, fairs and parades, but I hate heat and humidity. I despise the pesty bugs that I battle just simply walking out my back door to visit my garden. Summer has it's place, if it weren't for summer, I don't think I would fully appreciate autumn and all of the splendor it brings (and cooler temperatures).

For all my 60-plus years that I can remember, I have disliked summer. A previous commenter described the feeling well -- restless longing coupled with an exhausted (my word) lack of motivation. It's good to hear from other people who don't do well in this season. In my experience, we are very few and far between.

What you need for those yucky worms is a spray bottle with water and salt mixed up.. spray the cabbage or broccoli with the solution and they will leave...give the veggies a good soak in salt water after you harvest and any lingering pesties will disperse right out. if you take a can out with you after you spray them you can just catch them in the can...just a little trick. lol The pictures are lovely and thank you for sharing them.

I love your posts! I am a knitter, but don't sew. After this post I am thinking about sending this skirt pattern to my sister - in another state - who also doesn't sew either but has a machine. So Pretty!!! Thanks for sharing all your beautiful creative ideas with the rest of us - what a gift! (I'm a heat / humidity hater and in NY we get a LOT of each.. along with all the crummy news of late...).
And your sweet Amelia simply radiates love - adorable!

Hello, from Japan.
This is my first post! I just want to tell you that I really enjoy your blog (actually I visit your blog almost every day!). I want to thank you for sharing your photoes with full of your love, and want to let you know you have a big fan of your blog in Japan.

Joyce Hobbs says: July 07, 2017 at 07:05 AM

Thank you so much for sharing. Your photography is amazing! I think Amelia looks like her dad. That happens sometimes!

Where did you find those amazing puzzles? My girls would delight in those. Can't wait for the skirt pattern to come out. I love it.

Ahh, I saw you and your family heading into the Edgefield lobby at the Ryan Adams concert and almost went all fan-girl on you but I controlled myself. Now wishing I had said hello.

oh alicia .. i so enjoy your photos and words .. just caught upon last two posts .. the thoughts about summer .. never really realized, but i think i am much the same .. always a bit at a loss .. unmotivated .. pining .. i do somewhat live in 'the country' .. 5 acres, two miles from small town, one hour from large city .. seems a good mix, but it's funny how people live rural for two reasons .. to escape noise and to be able to make noise ( i am the former, two neighbors fall into the latter) .. right now it is ever so quiet, windows open, breeze blowing, faint dog barking .. so it's times like this i love it .. times with four wheelers/snowmobiles/large trucks, not so much .. i am always so drawn away to dreamland when i visit your posts .. you make things beautiful no matter where they are :)

Can't wait for the skirt pattern, I'm in a total sewing mood!
What brand are those puzzles? I love them!
Looks beautiful down there, just as hot in northern BC too.

When I read your post, yesterday, I slipped off into a blissful wandering... imagining the cool interiors of pretty rooms, the tree lined streets of Portland neighborhoods. I made note of the day you'll share the skirt, with the hopeful wish that I can make one, and wear it, prettily, confidently. I took pleasure in the details in your photographs, the moods you capture, and thought, thankfully, how calming and gratifying your blog posts are. And I composed my thoughts, or so I thought, into a comment that I wished to convey my admiration, appreciation, and delight... but now I see, that the wandering got the better of me, and I never did write those feelings and ideas down.

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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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Photography

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.