Posts filed in: April 2011

Daisychain ABCs Crewelwork Sampler Kit

comments: 166


Is now available for pre-order! SOLD OUT! THANK YOU!!! PDF coming soon!

This kit will include:

Pre-cut 100% cotton fabric with the design already printed
Appleton's 2-ply crewel yarn in nine assorted colors
Two crewel needles
Easy-to-follow instructions and diagrams
Illustrated stitch glossary for every stitch used

You will need your own:

Embroidery hoop
Frame (my sampler is shown in an 11" x 14" frame) and framing supplies
Porch swing
Halter top
Peach lemonade
8-track to play "Sister Golden Hair"

To place your order, please click HERE.


As I mentioned, we are hoping to assemble kits during the month of May and have everything shipped by mid-June. In some ways, the shipping date depends on how many orders come in. If a lot of orders come in, we may have to order more crewel wool (which comes from England) and that will take some extra time. But the first people to order will be the first to receive their kits, so I really encourage you not to wait to order. Our kits always sell out, and I want to make sure that everyone who wants one gets one. I'll leave the pre-orders open until May 10.

As usual, we will ship overseas. To see the shipping costs for your 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. Also 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. We have a kind of a complicated system for making sure that everyone gets what they ordered on time, and post-ordering emails requesting address changes really mess with that when there are a lot of orders coming in at once, so if you can get it all straight before placing your order, I would be ever so very, very grateful. Thank you.

I spent all day yesterday trying to untangle the complicated shopping cart system I have going on in my web shop. There are three different genres of things for sale in the shop: Kits and supplies, downloadable crochet patterns, and downloadable sewing patterns. Kits and supplies orders that need to be physically shipped go directly through Paypal. To view the cart for them, click on the button at the top of the site that says "View Cart for Kits and Supplies." Crochet patterns go through Ravelry and are purchased one at a time. Sewing patterns go through another digital products service and can be purchased several at a time; to view the cart for them, click on the button at the top of the site that says "View Cart for Patterns Only." Kind of complicated, I know, but I'm going to try to reconfigure my shopping system this summer. If you have any confusion, just let me know and I will help steer you in the right direction.


A downloadable PDF of the Daisychain ABCs sampler pattern ONLY (not the kit, just the pattern) will be available, but not until sometime in June, after all of the kits have been shipped.

I absolutely loved making this. It is not hard, but it will keep you happy/busy for a while. That's what embroidery is all about, for me. I think we all need quiet time in life to do pretty little things like this. I know I do.

What else. I think that's it. My brain is fried. If you have any questions, just let me know! Thank you!!!

*Friday Update: THANK YOU everyone, so much, for all of your kind words and your orders! So excited here! Thank you! xo

A few answers to questions that have come up: 

Is this a project for beginners? Well, my answer to that is always, if you love it you can do it — embroidery just takes practice, you can rip out and redo anything you don't like, and there are illustrations to help you work through all of the stitches (which are quite basic: stem stitch, backstitch, satin stitch, French knot, chain stitch, and lazy daisy, among a few others). That said, it's a fairly big piece (the frame in my photos is 11" x 17", to give you an idea of scale) with some small, detailed parts, so it's a bit ambitious in that way. But, you know, of course I think you can do it!

Can you recommend a good beginner's embroidery book? Why, yes! There is an absolutely wonderful book called Embroidery Companion: Classic Designs for Modern Living by Alicia Paulson that you will just love!!!


Does the background fabric in the kit come in white (or some other color)? And does it come with any other letters, from other language alphabets? No, just mustard, and just these 26 letters. :-)

Will the hoop and scissors and twill tape ship separately, or with the kit? The supplies will ship with the kits, in June.

Will this be available later, or again next year? Probably not. I'll be onto something else by then.

What are the finished dimensions? The sampler is designed to fit into an 11" x 14" frame. There is a 3" margin of fabric all the way around the design area to give you something to hold onto while you're stitching, and to help with stretching during the framing phase.

And yes, I will definitely be doing a framing tutorial for you in the coming weeks. :-) Okay, back Monday! Thank you!

May 10, 2011 Update: The kits are completely sold out now. THANK YOU to everyone who pre-ordered! The PDF of the pattern only will be available soon. Thank you!

Cats in the Sun

comments: 45


I didn't have the heart to shoo the kitterses off of the table yesterday evening, even though they aren't supposed to be up there. But they made such a pretty picture. Symmetry: Lamps, windows, lamps, candles, cats. They are as desperate for sun spots as the rest of us. Actually, I have never seen them on the table together ever (usually it's just the naughty Bee who sneaks up when I'm not looking), so they must have been a bit desperate. Normally they don't like to be this close to each other. The Bee jumped down just seconds after I took the photo.


So Violet had the opportunity to pose for me.


Oh, Kitters.


You are so, so dear.


This was really the only time I slowed down at all yesterday.


The sampler is now finished and framed (did that yesterday — had to wait for the frame to be special ordered). Yippee! It looks good. I'm quite pleased.


Look at this kitters. Be still my heart.


When Andy and I first moved to Montana together, we drove out from Chicago at the end of August, 1994. He dropped me and all of our stuff off (we had just enough to fit in the bed of his Chevy S10). I had to start school a few days later, but he turned around and drove back to Chicago for his brother's wedding. Then a week or so later he turned around again and drove back out to Montana, barely stopping along the way. This was back in the days before cell phones. When he got to Missoula, he came in the house and went right up to my room. The door was closed. He opened it. There sitting alone in the middle of the floor was a teensy tiny little tabby kitten that I had rescued, and that was Miss Violet. (Apparently, I was out shopping at The Bon when he arrived — oops.) I guess I also forgot to mention to him that we were getting a kitters. "Hey, my girlfriend turned into a tabby kitters!"


She's been the sweet little heart of our home ever since.


A contractor is coming today to give us a quote on how much it will cost to turn a window that looks out on the backyard into a door that actually leads into it.


I'd better go get working on the sampler stuff (I am hoping to be ready to start taking pre-orders for the kits tomorrow) so I can pay the man.

Sun Spots

comments: 36


Andy had to work yesterday, but we had the most gorgeous Saturday for our family Easter lunch. Sunny and it must have been 70 degrees. Hardly a breeze. Tulips blooming. Windows open. Birds singing. Food and family. Warmth and light. It's pouring and dark again today, alas, but that finally feels temporary. It's absolutely amazing how rejuvenating two days of sunshine and warmth can really be.

Old Bones and Simple Stitches

comments: 56


I've been riding a lot the past few days and it's all still kind of just blowing my mind — can't quite find words to talk about it, really. I probably will find some words at some point, knowing me. For now, when I get home I am sooooo tired, it's actually quite hilarious. I'm speechlessly tired. I take my shower, eat, stretch, and climb into bed, where I lay almost completely flat. Pointing the clicker at the TV and changing the channel feels like a major accomplishment. Then I fall right asleep. I thought I was appreciating the new showers before — that was nothin', people! I sit in the shower under steaming hot water and go like this: "Uhhhhhhhhh. Nice shower. Good boy. Nice shower [patting tile]." Anyway, it's been just the best thing ever. I am so happy. I have a few days off now (now that I'm an athlete-in-training and all, you know, I have a few days off) so I expect to get caught back up here. I hope you can bear with me!

Thank you again for all of the generously kind feedback on the alphabet sampler! That has also made me so happy! (What a good week it was!) I expect to finish the sampler today or tomorrow (I have just three letters left) and then frame it on Monday. Then I will take its photo so you can see the whole thing all nice and stretched, and then I will start taking pre-orders for the kit next week. The kit will include the cotton background fabric with the design already silk-screened, all of the crewel yarn you will need, and a needle. I am also going to be carrying a small, curated collection of my preferred embroidery supplies, including the best birchwood embroidery hoops (along with the twill tape for wrapping them, and instructions on how to do that), beautiful embroidery scissors, and other necessities. You don't need many supplies to embroider, but it's really very wonderful if you can treat yourself to the right ones. I am so excited to be able to have these things available right in my web shop so that if you need them, you can order them when you order the kit. So, more on all of that. Oh and yes, we do ship overseas.

For now, just know that as soon as I am ready to start accepting pre-orders for the kit, I will leave the pre-orders open for a couple of weeks. Everyone who orders a kit during that time will get one. We will make some extra — but not many — because that's how we roll, so please make sure you place a pre-order if you are interested. We order supplies based directly on the number of pre-orders we get (because that's what we can afford) and then we go into production mode: I get the pattern instructions written (which I haven't actually done yet), designed, and printed; Andy gets going on the silk-screening (this all gets done in one major push); and then we'll assemble everything together for you and start working on the packing and shipping. I expect that will all take several weeks. But we'll do it all as fast as we can so you can get working on this. It is going to be a really fun summer project, I think. I had kind of a Sister-Golden-Hair thing going on in my mind as I designed it, and I like to think of you sitting on your porch in a halter top and bare feet, drinking peach iced tea, working on this as you watch the dandelions bloom and the summer unfold.

Oh — and I wanted to mention: A lot of people have left comments about being intimidated by crewelwork. Don't be!!! It is really nothing more than embroidering with wool thread, that's all. The stitches I use are (generally) exactly the same as they are for cotton-floss embroidery, and you know I like the basics: backstitch, stem stitch, satin stitch, lazy daisy, stuff like that. I will include illustrated stitch guides for every stitch that's included in the design, so do not worry. These are all very easy stitches and you will be fine. I will also have a page on my web site that will give you enlarged images of every letter, bigger than I could ever do in print, so you can see the stitches up close and really get a good look at them.

What else. Oh yeah, I wanted to tell you one more thing. When I frame this sampler on Monday, I will do a photo tutorial at the framing place and show you exactly how to do that. I frame all of my embroidery myself with the help of the do-it-yourself framing place. It is so easy, and so much fun (if you like that sort of thing, which I do), and in my opinion, if you've gone to all the work of embroidering it you might as well frame it yourself, too. Because no one will care about getting it just right as much as you do, and it's really satisfying to see it all into completion. I had never framed anything myself until a couple of years ago and I totally love framing now.

Anyway, okay. Apparently I have no words about horseback riding but I can still find millions for embroidery. Sorry! ;-)

I'm on R.

comments: 142


Conjuring spring from wool thread right here, in front of the heater with very hot coffee. It's so cold today. Wooly flowers, possibly a metaphor for Oregon April.

(Update: Thanks for the inquiries about this piece — as mentioned, it is a crewel sampler I am designing which we will offer as a kit as soon as I can get it all finished. I'll keep you posted. Thanks!)

Sweet Spot

comments: 49


I saw one of the cutest things I have ever seen in my whole life this morning. It was the first really sunny morning I have noticed yet this year. I was sitting out on the front steps with Violet and Clover Meadow. (They are both so cute because when I sit on the front step [these are the steps that go down to the sidewalk, flanked by picket fences] they each sit on either side of me, and we three watch the neighborhood go by. But that's not even the super-cute thing.) So we were sitting there hanging out in the quiet of the morning when I looked down onto my next-door neighbor's parkway where they have newly planted a little tree. They must have just put a bunch of warm compost or mulch around the tree this weekend, because it was all piled up in a little ring around the tree; the ring was maybe three feet in diameter. It was like a little pool of mulch being warmed by bright morning sunlight. Then I noticed that there was a little squirrel body-surfing around the pool of mulch. He was on his stomach, lying as flat as he could, and propelling himself really fast all around in the ring of mulch, as if he were swimming. He was loving it. He scooted over every inch of the ring of mulch, both in a circle and in straight lines across. I was laughing out loud. I watched him for about ten minutes and then he just got up and scampered away. Isn't that the cutest thing? I have never ever seen a squirrel do anything like that.

Then it got a little cold outside, so we all went in and closed the doors. (Boo.) But a few minutes later I found the beautiful Violet Paulson sitting on the stairs in her own little patch of sunlight. It reminded me so much of the book Cats in the Sun by Lesley Anne Ivory, which I used to pore over when I was twenty-two and worked in the children's department of a bookstore and didn't have a cat and wanted one desperately. Funny how life works out sometimes. Sweet Violet will be seventeen years old this summer.

The Counter. And the Canter.

comments: 76

It's really been a busy week. There hasn't been much of a minute to think or write. We've been trying to tie up some loose house ends. I spent a ridiculous amount of time chipping away at the kitchen counter grout, trying to make a silk purse out of a really bad idea, and I have to admit it has been an improvement. I think it's possible that the previous owner got a really good deal on 5"-square ceramic tile, because he put it everywhere — floors, counter, backsplash. Counter = so impractical. I scrubbed the grout the best I could. I think it all needs to be chipped out and regrouted to look better. Thank you for the countertop feedback, both replacing and cleaning — ohmigosh. So helpful. So many people suggested wood, butcher block. That would be perfect. It would really fit with the house. I hadn't thought of that at all. Granite always did seem a bit heavy for this rather lightweight kitchen. I don't really see a kitchen remodel in our near future. But I am going to get a quote to see how much it would cost to replace the countertop with wood, and have some new drawers and maybe new doors for the existing cabinets built. Even if someday we did knock out the wall between the kitchen and the hallway, and put in a door to the backyard, I don't think the cabinets or the countertop would need to change to do that, so maybe it will be alright to update those things. Anyway, thinking out loud here, sorry.

I'm still not even finished with the last section of countertop. That's on the list of chores to finish today. Whenever I get tired of scrubbing the counter I go in the other room and work on the sampler. Oh, how I am love love loving the sampler. Thank you for being excited with me. It is a lot of fun. I forgot how much more time embroidery takes than, say, crochet, but I am working as fast as I can on it. I am currently on the "E" in the alphabet. I am happy so far.

The other reason that I have been busy is that I've been spending as much time as I can at the stable. I've started riding again, after twenty-five years. I have so much to tell you about this. I'm absolutely over the moon about it.


Crewel Wool It Is

comments: 73


The crewels have it, so crewel wool it is for the alphabet sampler kit Andy and I are putting together. Thank you for your input! I'm sure I'll make this template and instructions available as a downloadable PDF for those of you who have supplies or want to use six-strand cotton floss. More details on all of it later, as I move forward. Andy silk-screened the first sample for me last night and it came out really well, so I am quite excited about this. I love love love working on projects together.

I've spent the whole morning and afternoon re-painting all of the kitchen cabinets and trying to clean the grout on our nightmare of a tiled kitchen countertop. My arm feels like it's going to fall off and it still looks awful. Good times.

Has anyone ever does this thing where they put a new granite or glass countertop right over your existing countertop? Does that really work?

Square Patch

comments: 91


In an effort to keep the amount of supplies I have equal to if not less than the amount of space I have to store them, I would say I am on a constant quest to create things that use up a stash, whether that's yarn stash or fabric stash. I have lots of both. I don't think I have TONS of both, but I would say I keep a very healthy stash of supplies in my life. That said, the whole idea of a having a stash of anything really kind of bothers me — so this feeling is in conflict with my reality. Because in general I do not want to have things that I don't use, whether that's kitchen utensils, books, clothes, or fabric and yarn.  I don't consider myself a collector. I only want what I need and what I will use. The minute I feel any amounts of craft supplies bubbling over I can almost concurrently feel myself starting to twitch, and I begin designing something that will use up the odds and ends. So, a square-y, Hipstamatic-inspired crocheted patchwork blanket. Eighteen 3 1/4" squares done, one hundred and seventeen to go. I want that stash busted.


By the way, I keep meaning to answer a question that comes up every time I talk about blocking crochet or knitting. The question is, "Do you have to re-block every time you wash that thing?" And the answer is yes. For whatever weird reason, this has never bothered me. (Yet.) I sort of consider blocking to be one of those oddly satisfying little jobs in life. I almost never think, "Oh dang it, I have to go and block something today!" I almost always think, "Oooo, I get to block something today!" I don't know why. Just, weird like that. I wanted to block all of these patches for some reason I can't remember now. You don't have to block them before you stitch them together, necessarily, but you can, and I just felt like it.

There is so much going on in the house here today it's crayayayzy. Dan the electrician is here now, moving the big ceiling fan from the dining room to the upstairs bedroom. He is finished installing the two new lights over the dining room table and the light in the downstairs hallway.

I don't think I am going to write a pattern for that other stripey blanket that I made after all. I finished it, and I kind of liked the way it all came out, but I feel like I have kind of a creative backlog starting to happen in my life and that's bugging me. With spring coming, I think I need to remember to just keep moving forward and not get stuck. I think I like this new color-square-y blanket better, anyway, so I will write this one up instead. It's simple but it has a few quirks I should explain in a pattern. Onward. Andy and I also want to start a new project together, where I design an embroidery kit and he does the silk-screening to transfer the design to the fabric. I already have the design I want to use; now I just need to stitch it up. Can't decide if it should be crewelwork (with wool thread) or regular embroidery floss. Any preferences? It'll be a kit so we'll provide all the stuff. I'm kinda leaning toward crewel.

I got massively spammed here on the blog over the weekend, so I have reluctantly added one of those things where you have to type in the fake word before your comment appears so that the computer knows you aren't a robot. It solved the problem immediately so I'll probably leave it there, but I am sorry for the extra step!

Mina Crocheted Dress Pattern Now Available

comments: 57


Tulip time is coming and here is the first tulipfield dress! I'm looking out my front window and waiting for my 120 'Mistress' tulip bulbs to bloom. They look to be a couple of weeks off yet. Maybe in time for Easter? That would be wonderful. This will be the first year for these bulbs for us. We ordered them last year, when this trip to the color-striped tulip fields inspired the creation of a few tulip-striped crocheted dresses. Miss Mina is the first of the those for which I have (finally!) written a pattern. You can find the Mina Crocheted Dress pattern (and big huge pictures of the dresses) here.

6-12 months size

I'm (finally!) really happy with this one. It's done entirely in half-double crochet (my patterns are written in American crochet terms, by the way; Brits will have to translate terms and measurements out of inches) and I would say an advanced beginner — one who knows how to chain, do hdcs, change color, and increase — should have no problem with this. The pattern is sized for 0-3 months (6-12 months, 12-18 months, 18-24 months, 3-4 years). It also includes a measurement diagram thing (what do you call those?).

0-3 months size

This dress is also totally seamless, done from the top down. You still do it in rows, however; you just join the ends of the rows in the back, making a visible seam up the back to the opening, but I still prefer that to seaming, personally. When I'm done, I like to b done. I tell you how to join here without the twist that can sometimes happen. I have photographs showing you exactly where to put the hook in each stitch, but if you get stuck just let me know and I'll help you.

From the back

Photos and yarn details about the Mina dresses can all be found on my Ravelry project page. I also made the largest size in oatmeal tan with purple striping but I forgot that I never finished the belt or photographed it so I will try to do that this weekend and put it up there, too. I just simply can't believe it is already the weekend again.

Some other things I keep wanting to mention:

1) Portlanders, do not forget to get your Avett Brothers tickets for July 16 in Salem! They go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. PST this morning. We will be down in section 4 somewhere — can't remember what row we are in. I can't wait.

2) I am doing an internet radio interview for Pat Sloan's Creative Talk Radio on Monday, April 11 (this coming Monday) at 4 p.m. EST (1 p.m. PST). You can listen to it live (and participate in the chat) or download it as a podcast afterward. I think I am on in the second half-hour of the show.

3) I read an entire book in one sitting a couple of days ago which I have never done in my entire life (I'd heard people talk about it but I never really believed it was possible). It is called Chosen by a Horse: How a Broken Horse Fixed a Broken Heart by Susan Richards. I heard about it last summer when our friend Ken visited and said that he sat next to the author on a plane ride back from Europe and she gave him her book for the ride (I think this is how it went). I picked the book up the other day and started reading it at 2 p.m. and finished it at 6 p.m. I was BAWLING at the end, couldn't even see to read. Like our mortgage broker says about this k.d. lang video he had us watch in his office (yes, picture it — awesome), "If this doesn't make you cry, you're missing a gear."

4) I have no idea why I keep reading and watching such sad things lately. The pioneer books? You guys. I've finished five of them now, I think. We have to talk. I will say that after the first two I had already decided to only read FUNNY BOOKS for the summer. More on this. . . .

5) Thank you to everyone who has sent emails because you thought I would love Jillian Tamaki's gorgeous, and I mean gorgeous, embroidered book covers for a new series of Penguin classics. Do. I. EVER. Wow. I might have to break my funny-books-only rule and get this version of Black Beauty.

Okay, I'm gonna let you go get your Avett tickets now!!! Hurry!

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.