That Color

comments: 135





















It's weird that a woman with no time and a baby that is crawling all over the free world pretty much every minute of the waking day would do something like hand-pleat a big piece of fabric and then smock it by hand and then block it and then baste it and then cut it and then sew it into a tiny dress that needed a ton of hand finishing (linings sewn in, a giant hem). Weird but true, people.

Meems goes to bed at 7 p.m., and I swear, the minute I turn on that monitor and click that nursery door closed my basket explodes, and out bursts the yarn, the floss, the needles, the thread, the fabric. The flying fingers. A flurry of quiet industry ensues, until . . . I pass out around ten. . . . I like it. I like to sit and think about her, about the day, about the year. It's especially nice to do it with my feet up, and my face washed, and my nightgown on, and a breeze blowing through the evening window, and a puppers or a kitters on the bed. Nothing else to do. A deep, deep sigh. Slowly the fingers find their rhythm. One of my favorite parts of the day.

I bought vintage McCalls pattern 2447, intending to use the smocking iron-on transfer that was included, only to find that forty-some-odd-years later the transfer didn't work. So, plan B: hand gathering, using this tutorial. That went fine. I made up my own smocking design and colors. Random. Don't overthink these things or you'll never get anything done. I followed the directions on the pattern for finishing the rest of the dress. It was a handful, but I was in too deep to turn back. Need a hook and eye for the back. Boom. Can't wait to see it on her. The color is just dreamy to me. I must really like this color. It's a dusty pink but warm. I must think of it as Amelia's color because I keep using it for her.

My Lilla koftan? Meh. It's okay. Came out sort of oddly proportioned. Didn't like how the placket didn't overlap. I've seen other peoples' versions of this sweater and they are much cuter. I think I would use a plied yarn and larger needles next time. Make it drapey. The Milk Glass Pink came out quite pretty, though it's still on the blocking board. Too hot lately to put these on the poor child. We had an enormous thunderstorm the other night, however, and that was just awesome. Cool and cloudy today and I am beyond delighted.

Now on my needles is Ravi Junior. Isn't that the most gorgeous pattern? I look at patterns all the time but I only just ran into this one. I'm using Quince and Co. Chickadee in the color Chanterelle. It really is such a lovely color. Or kind of a non-color. Sort of brown, sort of pink, like the underside of a mushroom, or a very old ballet skirt, or an antique book about flowers, or the wallpaper from the back bedroom in your grandmother's house in Iowa. That kind of a color. One that's just right for summer's slide into fragrant, cloudy, rose-hipped early autumn.


Your blog makes me so happy!!! I love the smocking -- so beautiful!!!


claire ashworth says: September 04, 2013 at 04:41 PM

Maybe you have mentioned this, but how does the Bee like the baby??

My favorite image is Andy and Amelia napping together.. just simply adorable. Are those sourdough flapjacks? I'm on a sourdough kick and am making them for the family each Sunday. Our son, DIL and 2 littlest grandsons are living with us know, so we have 6 to cook for instead of just 2! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

I remember those days of loving industry - although the things I made weren't as beautiful as those you produce. I am in awe at what you can do.

Your daughter is so lovely.

Sally (Toronto, Canada) says: September 04, 2013 at 04:46 PM

Your blog and crafty projects are a bright beacon in an often dark cynical world. Thank you.

I love your blog, and you have the most amazing photos that capture the moment. Amelia is the most beautiful little girl!

I have many dresses I smocked for my daughter, who is now nearing 30. I'm hoping someday to have a special granddaughter who gets to wear them. I had wonderful plans to make a cathedral window quilt for her with all the scraps I've saved. I don't think it will happen anymore, but who knows? Maybe when I retire?

Every time I read your blog, I just wanna go eat something.

The photo at the table, with Amelia in the background has a nice quality about it.

I echo so many of the comments above about your sweet blog and beautiful sharing. As a Northwest native currently living in California, your blog offers such a nice reminder of so many things I love about the Northwest. Thank you for that.

A quick question: can you tell me more about that great striped tote bag (at least I think it's a tote bag) hanging off the chair in one of the photos above? Thank you!

What you wrote rings very true for me. When my daughters were so small, just one year apart in age, my days were beyond full. But my time to be "me", while sewing and making lovely things for "them" was one of my greatest joys from those days. The time spent thinking about what I was going to make, planning things out in my head, then waiting until the magical 7:00 p.m. Oh, it was lovely.

Your last paragraph brought a tear to my eye. I just remembered my grandmother's house in Iowa, with the back bedroom and closet shelves full of treasures, the breezy screened-in porch with the bed (!) in it, on which to bounce and relax. Those were the days.

So I just went trolling the Interwebs to find that pattern. Your dress is gorgeous, by the way. And I didn't find anything for Simplicity 2447. But I did see a McCall's 2447 that looks exactly like your dress. I just thought, if you made a mistake, you might want to correct it so that other copycats like myself can find what they're looking for! :)

That photo of Amelia cuddling with Andy....perfect.

Just beautiful - the colours, the dresses, the cardigans. Amelia is a very well dressed girl. And she's walking! Why wasn't I told. ;- )

I loved the description of your evening work. I too do that occasionally. I also love to sit with all the lights off with candles glowing their soft peach light. It's very relaxing, especially when a storm goes over.

Beautiful handiwork for such a sweet little girl!
Enjoying cool, gray skies up here in Washington ready for autumn!


Beyond gorgeous! Every single photo!! The dress is a treasure and will be so pretty on lil Amelia :) You are a remarkable woman!! Boy, I am suddenly so hungry for blueberry pancakes ;)))

Oh what a lovely dress! I'm so impressed with all of the meticulous work that you put into it. I also enjoyed your description of sewing and knitting as soon as Amelia goes to sleep. This is what I've done for 5-6 years and it is how I fell in love with your patterns. I too love to think about my children, the day, dreams for them, etc. while I stitch/sew/knit.

How can one blog bring so much happiness and contentment! As Leanne above said, I also try to scroll slowly and savor each gorgeous photo, but I'm so excited to see the next! Amelia is so beautiful, and the photo of her sleeping with Andy melted my heart! :)

Yes, smocking, years home Ec. I smocked a dress, it was gingham, must of made it easy, because yours is beautiful. Love all you do, inspiring, studying your pictures, wondering if I'll ever learn to knit. Thank you.

I've reinked old iron-on transfers with great success...just get a pen at Jo-Ann Fabrics, etc. As for that smocking, amazing. I've a 1940s adult smocked blouse pattern that I mean to try sometime. Anyone in the Chicago area who wants to try pleating, there's a pleater for rent (yes, rent) at Vogue Fabrics. It's pretty reasonable although I've never tried it.

Love it! We call my Amelia "Meems" to. Well, actually she started calling herself that. The Meems, actually. Which started as Mia and morphed to Mimi, then on and on. My grandmother always said that a child with many nicknames is very loved.

oh, those little standing legs! oh, joy. double joy.

and yes to that color. dusty rose, my mother always called it. so perfect, with miss a's sweet peachy complexion.

and weird? this handwork after bedtime? what?? well, count me in, then.


Gosh I need a baby!
I miss nuzzling in my boys' warm hair when they
were sleepy.
Also? I have a little friend, Mimi, who they call "Meems" so that is funny to hear you say :)

Your photos are always lovely, but the photo of Amelia against the screen door blew me away! At once, I thought of her 15 years down the road, blowing out of that same screen door to meet her beau. I could see it.
Don't cry, Mom & Dad, you still have years to go! :)

Heartsdesire says: September 04, 2013 at 07:04 PM

Gorgeous, gorgeous smocked dress, and such a beautiful colour. Meme is a lucky little girl to have such a talented mama. Your knitting is also beautiful, love the trim on the pink cardigan. A very sweet photo of daddy and baby.

My Great Grandma in Montana used to make smocked dresses during the depression to earn a living. When I was seven or eight she made one for me even though she was almost blind. It was gingham with smocking that looked like little cookie cutter boys and girls holding hands. I was only able to wear it a few times before I outgrew it. But I loved it so much that I kept it hanging in my closet until I was a teenager. Your smocking is beautiful. Your life is full of grace.

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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