Posts filed in: Fabric and Sewing

Calicozy Preview

comments: 17

Well, thank you! Thank you for your feedback on my questions! I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me. It was really interesting reading your comments, and it will help me make some decisions about offering these, this time and in the future. Firstly, although many people indicated they would love to be able to pre-order, unfortunately that just isn't possible. As I've mentioned, these quilts are few-of-a-kind, made with vintage print fabrics that I source from dozens of different sellers, and there's just no way to sell large quantities of any quilt that I could design and present. On top of that, and perhaps even more importantly, I don't take pre-orders because there are just way too many things that can go wrong when you have peoples' money but you don't have the goods in hand. Every once in a while I think it would be a good idea but then I quickly, thankfully remember that it's a terrible idea (for me; maybe other people can handle it but I'll never be able to).

That said, what I generally took away from the comments was that people really like having the option of all sizes available, so that will stay. I also loved what someone said about listing the actual solid colors that are used, and that is easy for me to do — all of the solid colors I used this time are Kona Cottons, available in tons of fabric stores and online. I will put the names of the solids I've used on the individual product pages, so if you do want to buy a smaller-sized kit and supplement it with your own fabric to make a larger size, you could get more of the solids. (That said, the beauty of these quilts is that they are really random, and thrive on a great mixture of patterns and colors, so don't get hung up on this -- if you like the colors I chose but can't find them, do just choose something else that's close in color, if you want to. Everything works here.)

Also, I will have two different sale times for people who live in different parts of the world, or have different schedules. The virtual quilts that appear below are for your preview purposes only. The kits, in all sizes, will be available for sale here on Wednesday, April 26, at 9:30 a.m. Pacific Standard Time and then again on the same day at 4 p.m. PST.

Once again, thank for your sharing your thoughts! I loved putting this batch together. I think it has a delicate, Pacific-Northwestern springlike palette, with a few bright spots signalling blossoms to come. For more information on these kits, please visit this post from the last time they were on sale. And I would also suggest that, now that the pattern is available, if you are interested in shopping for a kit when the time comes, either purchase the pattern ahead of time (or later), or even just put it in your cart so you don't have to do that when you're trying to get a kit. Not that I'm trying to tell you how to run your life or anything, but I'm just sayin'. And without further adooooooo, here's a parade:

 

MARJORAM

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KETTLESTRINGS

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TWILIGHT

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MORNING SONG

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MELBA

Melba

 

PEASEBLOSSOM

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Picking Patchwork

comments: 36

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I’ve been working on cutting new fabrics for the new quilt-top kits, coming soon. The fabrics are still so exquisite. Maybe it’s just me, and I’m in this weird zone about them. It’s hard to account for what appeals to anyone at any particular time. With me, my interests almost feel like obsessions, and they’re sort of weirdly capricious and weirdly timeless at the same time. Like, I love these fabrics, and I’ve always loved these fabrics, but why wasn’t I obsessed with them, say, last year? Or the year before? What accounts for anyone’s interest in any particular thing at any particular time? My interests have always been white-hot. Ever since I was a child, I have gotten deeply into whatever it is I have gotten into. Sometimes the trance lasts years (horses, Arthurian legend, chicken-loaf sandwiches, knitting). Sometimes it lasts only days or weeks (flute playing, Duran Duran, and apparently, weaving). But I feel like they're all a part of me, and that habit of delving deep has gotten me through some tough times. I think Andy shares this trait. Between the two of us, we have Projects. We're watching Amelia discover her own interests — right now she’s teaching herself all of her favorite songs on her toy xylophone — and it is totally fascinating to watch. She talks to herself in sweet little voices, encouraging herself, making jokes to herself, admonishing herself, giggling at herself. Watching her when she’s in flow, whether she’s playing with toys or playing music (these are where it seems to happen for her), is one of the most thrilling things I’ve ever experienced as a parent. I hold my breath the whole time, hoping the moment goes on and on. Don't lose that, baby girl. Get in there.

Currently I'm spending my nighttime free-time wiggling around on Ancestry trying to figure out what my maternal great-grandmother's maiden name was (I think I might have found it) and surfing eBay looking for vintage fabrics for new quilt kits. I think the looking appeal to me on so many different levels. I’m kind of a researcher at heart. I like thrill of the hunt. I like going down rabbit holes and following trails and finding different ways of looking for information. I like history. I like shopping. I like on-line shopping. I like when the fabrics finally arrive at the house and I open all of the packages and refold all of the fabrics, and start designing collections of them in my mind. I even, still, like the cutting, like listening to Pavement radio on Pandora for hours on end, cutting fabric and stacking it neatly and thinking about things.

I had a question from a customer the other day about how to pick out solid colors for the Calicozy quilts. I realized that I didn’t really specify this in the pattern, other than to give you the total number of solid patches you needed for each size quilt, and the total amount of yardage that corresponds. My thinking about that was going in several different directions when I was working on the pattern so I thought maybe I’d talk a little bit about how I put quilts and quilt kits together, and maybe someone will find it vaguely interesting if you’re in the process of doing it (especially if you’re struggling with it). I don't have any formal training in color theory or anything else around this, so this chatter is just about how I do it, not the right way to do it, or any of that. It's just my way, and specifically my way in making these.

So, let me start with prints. In the toddler Calicozy quilt kits, there are fifteen different prints, generally. In the larger sizes, even though there are a lot more patches, there are still about fifteen different prints, just more yardage of each. (The “yardage” comes in 4.25” strips.) When choosing prints, I think about a few things. First, I start with just a few prints of any color that I absolutely love. That usually gives me two or three main colors that begin to tell a story. What character uses this quilt? Where does this quilt belong? What does that room look like? What’s the weather like when this quilt is being used? Is there an open window with rain coming in, or a crackling fire, or a warm night breeze? What’s the feeling of this quilt? What feeling do I want to have when I’m using it? Let yourself think about these things, and then just commit to the scene. Limit yourself to that story. There will be other quilts to make. If you are feeling overwhelmed, it’s probably because you might need to narrow your focus. Those questions can help.

As you’re picking fabrics and designing toward that story, whatever it is, think about balancing. I think about it like this: First, as I mentioned, I just pick my favorites, no matter what their scale, or color, or whatever. If those are leading you into your story, that’s great. If one feels like it’s just not gonna work this time, don’t toss it, but put it aside. Work with the others. Now start adding. Pick prints that feel coordinated but also unique. Most of the fabrics in these quilts are tiny floral calicos with many colors and lots of detail, and those are the best. But I also do try to include a few fabrics that are larger scale, or monochromatic, or very simple (tiny white hearts on a blue background, for instance), or even striped (I know, life on the edge, people. Stripes!). If many of your prints are very busy, choose a few that have some "white" space (whatever their color). If many of your prints are bright or primary, choose a few that are muted or muddy, or pale. You want some variety here, so that those very favorite prints you love so much stand out in relief against a background that has depth and texture, visually. And, if you’re inclined toward very light, delicate, pretty prints and colors, don’t forget the black. Adding black, or even very dark brown or dark gray or navy or evergreen, even in a toddler quilt, provides a bit of grounding for everything. Remember that these patches will only be 3.75” when finished, and they will be scattered, so they will all look different in practice, too.

In the toddler quilt, the pattern calls for seven strips of solid colors, so about a third of the patches (in all of the quilts, no matter what size) are solid colors. This ratio felt nice to me, as the solid patches, no matter what color they are, help your eye rest as you’re looking at the quilt, and keep it from being overwhelmed by the busyness. I always pick out the solid colors last. Once I’ve picked out the prints, I bring them all with me to the fabric store and then I start holding them up to different solids. For each kit, I choose three different solid colors. If I want the quilt to feel more restful, I keep all three of those shades quite similar. If I want the quilt to have more energy, I go with bolder colors that are quite different from each other. The solid colors can really bring this quilt together. If you feel like your prints have quite a bit of inconsistency color-wise — and this can be a really good thing — the solids you choose can totally bring it all together. I like to choose solids that feel both pretty and a little unexpected. Let yourself choose things that don’t feel like “your” things and see what happens. You might be surprised. Some of the kits that turned out to be my very favorites were so random when they started that I thought there was no way they would come together. But I was pleasantly surprised by the result.

Let yourself go down the rabbit hole. Follow it wherever it goes. Don't get hung up. Enjoy every minute. XO

Time of Flowers

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This is my absolute favorite time of year. I do love winter, but this time, on the far edge of winter about to tip into spring, is my favorite. The daphne is blooming. The daffodils nod, heavy with a thousand rainstorms. The sky is gray and bright, the ground soaked, the rivers high and brown. I went to Starlight Knitting Society for the first time this afternoon to get some yarn to make a sweater for Amelia's Easter dress (cutest little Laura Ashley dress that I found, used but in perfect condition, on eBay). I had parked a couple of blocks away and walked through the neighborhood to the shop. The air was deeply, darkly fragrant with wood smoke and magnolia blossoms and mud and oh, spring, you are deeply enchanting.

Thank you to every one of you for your orders and your kind words and your patience about the quilt kits. As I said in my update on the last post, I will be making more. I've already found more fabric and it is on its way. And I don't think I was able to find more than three or four of the original prints I had, if that, so this next batch will be entirely new. Now that the pattern is done I will have more time to just focus on kits, so, never fear! I will definitely do at least one more round, and I will keep you posted on this. But more than that, I just do sincerely want to say thank you, and I really will do my very best to deliver as many as I can.

This past week Stacey and I untangled all of the orders and got them organized. She went on vacation and I am going to start shipping them all tomorrow. At night I've been working on my Beatrix Blanket, although I was trying really hard to make this Anya cardigan and it just proved to be beyond me right now. I'm going to pick it back up, but I needed something easier after this week, when I also got together all of the volumes of paperwork for the accountant to do the taxes, too, etc. Bah. I need a vacation. Alas, for the next two weeks, Amelia is on vacation from preschool for spring break, so rest will not be forthcoming. But that's okay. It's spring and that is exciting. I'm not sure what we're going to do yet. It's still pretty wet, and I believe there's still a lot of rain in the forecast, so, I don't know. Lots of play dates. I feel like watching Anne of Green Gables. And making another rhubarb pie. And some egg salad. Currently it's raining so hard we can hardly hear ourselves talk.

Calicozy ComfyQuilt Top Kits Now Available! SOLD OUT

comments: 69

UPDATE: Thank you beyond words to everyone who ordered and tried to order today. We sold through 2,266 strips of fabric today in minutes. I am speechless and mildly catatonic right now, and am very sorry that not everyone was able to get a kit. I know that some people are very disappointed, and that is never, ever my intention. Please know that I do hear you and am so grateful for your efforts, and we will definitely be making some more. Thank you so, so much.

XOXOX, Alicia

Recently I decided to make myself a throw quilt out of my very favorite calicos from the 1980s and 1990s — tiny, charming floral prints from my childhood and early adulthood that remain, for me, the epitome of fabric sweetness. It turned out to be so pretty that I began collecting similar vintage fabrics so that I could offer quilt-top kits, along with a pattern, to make a quilt-comforter like mine.

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This quilt is set on-point, so the square patches actually display as diamonds. It is designed to be turned inside out instead of bound, tied at each patch intersection, and filled with a poufy, inexpensive comforter from Ikea (though you can use batting, if you like). The Ikea comforter can be purchased both at the Ikea store and on-line.

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Please note that these sizes are smaller than standard quilts or comforters. Modeled after old-fashioned eiderdowns, this quilt is meant to sit mostly on top of your mattress, and doesn’t have a long overhang.

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The approximate finished sizes are: Toddler 42" x 58" (107cm x 147cm); Throw 58" x 58" (147cm x 147cm); Twin 58" x 80" (147cm x 203cm); Full/Queen 80" x 80" (203cm x 203cm); King 101" x 80" (257cm x 203cm).

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To make the Calicozy ComfyQuilt, you will need to purchase the Calicozy ComfyQuilt PDF pattern, available only as a digital download, HERE.

And then if you are interested, you can purchase a quilt-top kit (please note that the kits are for the TOP ONLY) in one of several colorways, shown below. Click on each image to be taken to my web shop where you may purchase a kit for one of five sizes.

 

MEADOWSWEET

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WILD RHUBARB

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MOONFLOWER

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CHERRY BLOSSOM

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PRAIRIE FLOWER

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SUMMERNIGHT

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VERBENA

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ROSEWOOD

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Please note that the virtual tops shown here are an approximation of the prints and solids you will receive with this quilt-top kit. The kit you receive will include vintage cotton calicos and non-vintage cotton solid fabrics already cut for you into 4.25" (11cm) strips. Because these print fabrics are vintage and available in limited supply, you may not receive every fabric pictured, but you will receive 15 unique fabrics that are consistent with the overall colorway presented. Each kit includes enough fabric to make the top for each quilt size as described. I believe that all of the print fabrics are vintage, and 100% cotton, but I can't absolutely guarantee it.

We do ship overseas! To place your order, you will be required to read this information, which contains details about international shipping and customs fees you may incur when ordering outside the U.S. (If you are overseas, the shipping cost charged by Posie does not include any further charges you may incur when importing goods.) To see the shipping-only costs for your order and location, just place the items in your cart and choose your location (or enter your zip code, if you are in the U.S.) and it will tell you how much the shipping is. As usual, I have a sincere request: Please check on and update your shipping address correctly in your Paypal preferences so that there is no confusion when we go to ship. If you do need to add things to your order or change your address after you've placed the order, just email me and we'll figure it out, no worries! I just like to remind people of this ahead of time, because it's a bit easier.

Also, because the inventory is a bit of a moving target this time -- how many kits in any size we can sell depends on how many kits in other sizes we sell, as there is a total number of prints available for each colorway, and I will be babysitting the numbers to adjust inventory offerings in real time — we will refund shipping overages (if there are any) on an individual basis, after everything has shipped.

Thank you, as always, for your enthusiasm for and interest in my work and in these kits. I have never done a kit quite like this before and I am very excited about this!

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments and I will get back to you here. Thank you!

Quilt-Top Kit PREVIEW ONLY -- On Sale Tomorrow, 3/21/17, at 9:30 a.m. PST

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Hello! A few people asked if they could have time to look at the virtual quilts before they go on sale tomorrow, and I thought that was a good idea. Here is a virtual parade of them, for your viewing pleasure. Tomorrow morning when I get home from dropping Amelia off at school I will delete this post and replace it with a new one add a new post with live links and all the information you need in order to shop. Do remember, too, that these are general representations of the fabrics included, and may not reflect exactly what your quilt will look like. Thank you!

MEADOWSWEET

MeadowsweetFlat660

 

WILD RHUBARB

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MOONFLOWER

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CHERRY BLOSSOM

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PRAIRIE FLOWER

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SUMMERNIGHT

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VERBENA

VerbenaFlat660

 

ROSEWOOD

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Quilt Kits Coming on Tuesday, March 21st

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Hello, loves. I hope all is well where you are. It's dark and warm and rainy here this morning, and these are the only blossoms I could find, so far, on our plum tree. It's about three weeks late in blooming, and I feel about three weeks late with these kits, so, there you go — my plum and I are finally coming around. Andy finally has several days off in a row, starting tomorrow, and I'm planning to wrap up the details on these during that time. We will have eight different colorways of quilt-top kits in every size, from toddler to king. I've made "virtual" quilts for you to see approximately what fabrics you will be getting; these are meant to be a general display of the fifteen different prints and three solids included in any given colorway. You may not get every fabric pictured, but you will get a few others consistent with my overall vision for each one — I've tried mightily to build individual kits that align with the basic integrity of the virtual quilt pictured.

We've cut all of the fabric into 4.25" strips for you. (You'll cut the strips into squares yourself.) Since every size kit has a different total number of print fabric strips and a different total number of solids included, I've worked out an algorithm that will apply to every size as far as pricing goes. I plan to babysit the inventory, so that, no matter what sells, we will make all of the sizes available until we run out of the total number of prints that we have for any particular colorway.

The pattern itself will be available as a digital download only, so even if you are purchasing a quilt-top kit you will also have to purchase the PDF pattern. We are not printing these. You don't have to purchase a kit to make use of the pattern, either. The pattern is very detailed in telling you exactly what you need to make one of these quilts, so you can use fabric from your own stash. As with almost all of the kinds of quilts I make, the fabric placement is completely random, so this is a good project for beginners.

Okay! Any questions, please ask and I'll address them in my post about these kits on Tuesday. Have a good weekend, dear friends! XOXO

Whirl and Swirl

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One by one I've been reading all of the Beatrix Potter stories to Amelia at bedtime. They're quite edgy little stories. Some are too long for her right now. Some I knew and some I've never read before — actually, most classic children's literature was not actually a part of my childhood reading. But I'm enjoying them so much (likely more than Amelia, but isn't that always the way). When we got to The Tale of Two Bad Mice the other night I could not stop laughing: Tom Thumb and his wife, Hunca Munca, notice that the dolls have gone out for the day, so they venture into the dolls' house to have what they think is going to be a marvelous feast. When they find that the beautiful food is all made of plaster, they basically have a fit and trash the doll house. They smash the plates and then try to burn them in the kitchen fireplace, but that's fake, too. Tom Thumb throws all the doll's clothes out of the window. After pulling half of the feathers out of the doll bolster, Hunca Munca (who "had a frugal mind") remembers that "she herself was in want of a feather bed" and they set about stealing the bolster by dragging it to their mouse hole (along with a bunch of other furniture, including the doll-baby cradle). In the end, the dolls return (and silently survey the scene) and the little girl who owns the dollhouse puts a policeman doll in front of the house to guard it. Tom Thumb redeems himself by putting a crooked sixpence that he found under the rug in the doll's Christmas stocking to pay for the damages, and Hunca Munca sneaks in every morning with her broom and dustpan to sweep the dollhouse. I love this story so much. The first time we read it I went downstairs the next morning and stood gaping at Amelia's own utterly trashed dollhouse. "Did the two bad mice do this?" I asked. "Yeah," said Meems, chagrined. I convinced her to put it to rights, but I suspect that Tom Thumb and Hunca Munca might be up to their old tricks in our dollhouse again. . . . The funny thing is that when you start buying miniatures made by miniaturists, tons of it says, literally, "This is not a toy suitable for children under fourteen." Fourteen! Ha. I get that. Like, I think I had my first job at fourteen. When you go to high school you can play with your dollhouse, kid.

I've done almost nothing but cut calico fabric for weeks. Weeks. I stand in the studio, cutting strip after strip for the quilt kits I'm building, and think about things. Often I think about my own inspirations for these quilts in particular, which feel like a story I've been telling myself for a long time. I thought you might like to see some of the images that swirl and twirl around in my head when I'm coming up with a project, so I made this little collection of things, woven together with pictures of some of the actual fabrics that will be going into the kits. These are turning out to be kind of epic, if I do say so. I will give you more info as I get closer to releasing them in the next few weeks, so thank you for your patience. I will be offering a pattern for the quilt-comforter (in sizes from toddler through king, including throw) that you will have to download, and then about a hundred (total) toddler-sized kits to make the quilt top in seven or eight different general colorways. There will be options to purchase kits for larger sizes, as well, but I'm still working that out. I will say that, as with a lot of things that I do, these are a totally limited edition, even more so than usual. All of these fabrics have come from eBay and Etsy or estate sales or my own stash. They are rare. I've spent the past month combing every listing, looking for all of the best stuff, and it has been a massive project. I've cut close to 225 yards of fabric into 4.25" strips by myself. And I have more to go. But I honestly think you're going to be really thrilled when you see these. They're pretty special. Again, stay tuned for more info on these over the next few weeks as I get closer to finishing them. It's taking a long time, I know, but honestly, I pretty much spend every single free minute I have working on them and it's just been a huge project. I think, short of my books, it might be one of the biggest projects I've ever done.

There's no school again this week, for teacher in-service this time. Poor kids. It really never stops raining. We're way ahead of average rainfall for February. Oh that we could have some of this rain during the summer months!!! Yesterday, despite the weather, was a great day. Andy was home and we all went out to lunch and then came back and laid around the house, me knitting, Mimi and Andy playing for hours with the Matchbox car track. Andy made a roast chicken while Amelia and I watched the season one finale of The Great British Baking Show. You get so attached to everybody. It's a very sweet show. Thank for the recommendations of some of the other shows, too. I will check them out.

I finished reading The Orchardist last week, as well, and I don't know that I've ever been so disappointed with a book. (Not since my hissy fit about The Goldfinch, anyway.) When I finished The Orchardist I literally just sat there (alone in my favorite Thai restaurant) shaking — it was, in some ways, so good. But ultimately it felt so empty to me, and it wasn't until the very end, when I finished it and then just put the book down in slow motion, stunned with a very particular kind of Reader's annoyed-disbelief, that I realized how much more I wanted. Demanded. And it was a demand that felt entirely created by the beauty (the almost-beauty) of the book itself. There were so many places where it could have and should have pushed, where something should have been made clear and bright, where hard things to write should have been written and not just circled around and ultimately, almost stylistically and willfully avoided. Toward the end, when Evangelene throws her arms around Talmadge's neck in the wagon after he gets out of jail? There? Right there! That was a massive moment that should have been cracked wide open — even one brilliant sentence could have saved the book there, and it didn't get written. Well, I was mad about this. It felt like plaster food. I marched right upstairs and, though I didn't quite hurl the book, Tom Thumb–style, out the window, I did grab my copy of Howards End (which for me, does the hard things) and huffily opened it, needing my faith restored. Now I will expect too much from you, E.M. Forster. And so it goes.

 

Photos and illustrations, from top to bottom: 1. Cecile Veilhan, My Treasure 2. Eloise Wilkin 3. Unknown, from Pinterest 4. Carmen Hawk 5. Unknown, from Pinterest 6. Erich Heinemann, Siebenpünktchen 7. Ross Laurence 8. Beatrix Potter, from The Tale of Two Bad Mice 9. Girls in Laura Ashely Dresses with King Charles Spaniels, 1970s, from Paris Vogue 10. WIlliam McGeorge, Picking Blackberries 11. Anne Andersen 12. Jill Barklem, from Brambly Hedge: Autumn Story 13. Still from Tess of the D'Urbervilles, 2008 14. Stevie Nicks 15. Tanja Kuvaa, from the Pretty Gingham blog 16. Edouard Vuillard 17. Beatrix Potter, from The Tale of Two Bad Mice 18. Sarah Freeman and Emma Ashley Photographed in Laura Ashley Dresses, 1960s, from Paris Vogue 19. Eloise Wilkin, from My Goodnight Book 20. Sleeping Mimi (by me) 21. Tasha Tudor 22. Jill Barklem, from Brambly Hedge: Spring Story 23. Sydney R. Jones, The Village Homes of England

February Flowers

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Hello dears. The wind whips around the house today. Out every window is flashing daylight and blowing branches. Something on top of the roof of the studio clanks and clanks. It's some sort of metal flap. Over and over again it's slapping against the roof. The power went out once this morning and then came right back on. Every few minutes comes a raging, howling gust. I'd better write this quick, before all electricity leaves, as it seems it surely could.

I've been tucked into the studio, spending most of my free time with floral fabrics. This is good medicine. Why should it soothe? I don't know. Thank you for your kind words and enthusiasm about the new quilt and the pending quilt-top kits! I couldn't be more thrilled, and am trying to collect so many fabrics that I want for these. They're more rare than I thought. I can't believe how beautifully they all work together, though. In the back of my mind I'm constantly thinking about how to offer these kits. The amounts of each fabric that I'm able to get are so varied. I'm not sure exactly how to display what you'll be getting, as there will be too many different arrangements to photograph each individually. Maybe I'll have to describe them in general terms and let you trust my design sense. I'm not sure yet. I'm pretty much finished with the pattern, which offers a toddler size, throw size, twin size, full/queen size, and a king size. It's been kind of fun working on all of the layout diagrams for each size. It's not all there yet but it's getting there.

February. I don't feel quite ready for it. I think we'll make Valentines today. Spread a little love around.

Rest and Recharge

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I made a quilt-comforter. I patched the top and pieced the back, and for batting used an inexpensive polyester comforter from Ikea. All of the fabrics I used for the top are old calicoes, mostly from the '80s, I think. I did not bind it, but layered and turned it: comforter on bottom, backing right-side-up on top of that, then quilt top face down on top of that. I stitched around the entire outside edge with a 1/4" seam, leaving an 8" gap, then turned it right-side-out and stitched up the opening. Then I tied the whole thing, through all layers, with black embroidery floss. The finished patches are 4" squares, set on point; I cut all of the squares on the edges of the quilt in half along the bias (effectively turning them into triangles along all of the edges) once the whole top was sewn together. I have wanted to make a quilt set on-point like that forever. I really, really love it. It's about 76 inches square, a "throw" for me to sit on the couch with. Our couch is freezing when it's cold because it's right in front of so many windows. When I was done tying it, at about 10 p.m., Andy ran it downstairs and threw it in the washing machine for me. He dried it the next morning and it was a fluffy, poufy cloud of 1980s-calico bliss when it came out of the dryer. I was so happy. I am so in love with pretty much every single one of those fabrics, which cause such a nostalgia-fit in my heart. My best friend, Martha, sent me a whole bunch of them several months ago, and I also search them out at Goodwill and online and I just can't get enough of them. I love the Peter Pan and vintage Joan Kessler ones, especially. I loved the exact same ones when I was a little girl and a teenager, so some things never change.

Oh ho, that snow. Full snow-loving disclosure: By the time it left I felt weary and limp as a colorless dishrag, ready to be flung toward the hamper and retired. "I need a hot shower and some alone time," said Mommy, the introvert, who scores nineteen out of twenty on the introvert portion of the Meyers-Briggs test. Nineteen is a lot. I surprised even myself the first time I took it. I've taken the test for twenty years now and it's always the same. It means: Shhhhhhh. Let me sit in this quiet corner and recovvvvvvver. Parents never do get to do much of that, and the past month and a half has been extra-challenging. The ice and snow stayed for eight days. We were in the house alllllllllllll the time. There was no driving, and, once things started to melt and then refreeze overnight, the walking, even with the Yaktrax, was pure treachery. By the time the ice finally melted, Amelia had only been in preschool for sixteen hours in thirty-six days, including holiday break (I counted), and I only left the house only three times (I counted) during the entire week of snow. The only people any of us saw during snow week were our neighbors, and, well, mercifully, we are a tight, loving crew. Our kids romped and rampaged, and we adults sat around all of our tables, in turn, over chili and beer and tea and tangerines and talked, and talked. Yesterday I swept piles, actual piles, of dirt and dog hair and dust and mini-legos and ponytail holders and half-Cheerios and pine needles from the floors. I sweep all the time but we've lived hard in this house lately and, Tomten-like, I dream of flowers, again. I loved that snowstorm, but I do love flowers, too.

I have plans to make a toddler-bed quilt-comforter, like an eiderdown (but without the down), for Amelia that fits the top of the bed and does not need to be tucked in anywhere. Her bed is IMPOSSIBLE to make. She has one of those extendable toddler beds from Ikea, extended right now to the middle length. The bed is perfect for her but every single time I go to make it I 1) stub my toe on that middle bed leg, 2) break my back because the bed is so damn low to the ground, and 3) curse the inventor of duvets and duvet covers, which I unapologetically loathe no matter what their size because they always look like such a sloppy mess with the cover sliding around over the duvet and the corners of the duvet never staying in the corners of the cover and the whole thing weird and bulbous and I could go on and on. I get duvet-cover rage over those things. I prefer to buy good old-fashioned comforters but they are hard to find. At least ones that I like. So, I'm going to make her one that's similar to mine, and I might even make a pattern and a limited-edition kit for the just the top (toddler-eiderdown sized), with all vintage calicoes for it. Would anyone be interested in a kit for that? I would take pre-orders so that we wouldn't run out or make too many. I'm kind of excited about this idea. There is still winter left to get cozy for.

I ordered three different rolls of wallpaper today so I can (or someone can) wallpaper a wall in the dining room (the one with the big window), a wall in the living room (the one with the mantel), and a wall in the kitchen (the one with the back door). Should be here in a week or so. Our house has been in need of a bit of sprucing up. I folded up our red gingham curtains and got gray gingham curtains (from Country Curtains, but they don't seem to have them anymore), and got a new braided rug for the dining room (ours had been dog-puked on just one too many times). Feels good. January changes. I trimmed six inches off of Amelia's hair right after I took that picture of how long it was. I think it immediately aged her approximately eight months. Approximately.

Thank you ever so much for the sweetest birthday wishes! You are so kind. Thank you!

I haven't forgotten to show you the dollhouse but I'm still waiting for a couple of things that I ordered for it to get here before I take pictures.

***Paintings and illustrations, from top to bottom: Illustration from The Story of the Snow Children; bunnies can be found here; Little Miss Fairfield (1850) by William Matthew Prior; amazing watercolor of Mimi riding a rabbit, which was a gift for her from the dearest Emily Martin; illustration of the tomten from The Tomten, my absolute favorite winter picture book ever. I just love this book and we read it almost every night. Doesn't Clover kind of remind you of the tomten?

Happy New Year!

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Oh, the messy, bright blur and wonder of all of these days! For goodness sake. Where does the time go? I would've written sooner but I was too busy making a dollhouse floor out of Popsicle sticks and looking at every miniatures web site ever constructed for the perfect diminutive wallpaper. I certainly am enjoying Amelia's Christmas present! And everything else about the holidays. It's been a glorious few weeks. Christmas with a four-year-old is the absolute best.

Today the winter sun is shining ever so brightly, and it's so windy that my office is flashing with light. It's freezing cold. It's Amelia's first day back at preschool in three weeks. Ahem. Mummy is a bit  e x h a u s t e d. The holidays, no matter how "simple" you try to make them, wind up being crazy busy. At least for us. Yesterday I got to spend the day by myself, and that was the first day that I haven't spent pretty much all day (and night — she keeps waking up) with Amelia in the past weeks. I went out to lunch at the brewpub all by myself, and they gave me such an awesome table, right in front of the roaring fire. I ate fish tacos and read my book and texted my friends. Then I went to the bookstore for a few hours and then I went to JoAnn Fabrics. At JoAnn's, which was pretty much empty, I wandered aimlessly and thought about things like should I buy these seven little silver cones (apparently jewelry-making findings) for $3.49 or should I use an old toothpaste cap for a tiny pendant-light-fixture (made out of a drawer pull) escutcheon??? I think about things like this now, when I have time to think of things. It was quite wonderful to wander aimlessly. I even looked at a magazine. Yes. It was a really nice way to finish the "vacation."

I wish you all a very happy new year and hope that you had a wonderful holiday season! It's my birthday in a few days and I want to make something good for dinner but I don't know what. Any ideas?

***The raspberry thumbprint recipe can be found here; the dress pattern I made for Amelia is Simplicity #9297 from 1979, and the fabric is from the wonderful Pioneer Quilts; the dollhouse I got used on Craigslist (but the same one is here) and I was totally inspired to get it because of Artemis's darling version — seriously, is that not the cutest ever; and I made Meyer lemon pudding with some gorgeous lemons my dear friend Sarah gave me for Christmas the recipe is here. I honestly don't think you need to add the butter, and a little zest could easily replace half the lemon juice.

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.