Hot Stitches

comments: 75
























Well, I've been trying to write this thing for five days!

Summer is nuts. It kind of leaves me speechless. Yesterday my car thermometer was consistently showing it was over 100 degrees. My bad foot hates hot weather and so do I. I had to take Amelia with me to Target to get a bunch of stuff for our vacation: coloring books and new toothbrushes and ever more sunscreen and mosquito spray and a new backpack and all that kind of junk. It filled up half the cart. How we're ever going to pack it all I do not know. Pushing the cart with her in it out to the car was as far as I wanted to walk without air conditioning. This was all after cleaning the house, watering the pots, having a morning play date at a friend's house, going to swimming lessons (on the other side of town), eating lunch at the bakery (where she ran around the bakery or sat under the table), and driving down SE 82nd Avenue (ugh). I remember at our wedding, Andy's sweet little grandmother, Ruth. I happened to be standing near her when someone said to her, "Oh, Ruth! Isn't this wonderful! You must be having such a great day!" And (it was also about 90 degrees out that day) she goes, "Oh, yes. Get in the car, get out of the car. Get in the pew, get out of the pew. Get back in the car, get out of the car." All with a twinkle in her eye. This week my eye has more of a rabid, possibly heat-stroked, unblinking glare in it. I got to sleep in to a whole 5:30 a.m. this morning (yes, we generally get up at 5:00 due to Andy's work schedule/our child, the human alarm clock). Amelia came bounding upstairs looking like a wild animal, her hair literally going in every direction, part of it held back by the two mini-braids I never took out before bedtime last night. I said, "You need a bath. Go tell Daddy you look like Nell." Summer.

Knitting. I knit like a woman on fire. It's like some kind of homeopathy, wool + heat, like eating spicy food in India. I knit an entire extra-large sweater in a week and a half. Could not, would not stop. I am so proud of my sweater. I love how it came out and it was such a great experience. I love knitting fair-isle. This is the second sweater I've ever made for myself. I've started two more sweaters for myself (pictured above, and on my Ravelry page). I must be asserting myself somehow. Lord, please, please let it get cold enough to wear sweaters. Soon. Or ever.

THANK YOU for the recommendations for new yarns to try. Thank you, thank you! That is such a rad list, and I'm so excited to explore your suggestions. Some of the yarns you like are familiar to me, and many are brand new, so I will have to order some samples and make some plans. I didn't have enough time to do that before planning my vacation projects, but oh, this fall. I can't wait. I wanted to wear the sweater to the Avett Brothers show at Edgefield the other night (it was actually cool and beautiful; what a beautiful night in every way that was). It wasn't quite cold enough, but maybe at the lake in a few weeks. . . . Anyway, thank you for your very helpful suggestions lately. I truly appreciate them and will let you know what I come up with.

I did get to go to Powell's one wonderful afternoon and get some cozy mysteries. That was FUN. That was so much fun. I made a handwritten list of all of the books and authors you suggested and then I just went up and down the aisles, seeing what they had. I chose authors that I had 1) never read before and 2) had the first book in whatever series they've written available right there on the shelf. If the first book of the series wasn't available, I usually moved on (not every time, in the case of Jeanne M. Dams — the covers were so good). Did you ever notice how impossible it can be to figure out what the first book in a mystery series can be (without the benefit of the internet at your fingertips)? It's so weird. Why is that. Anyway, I got a whole big bunch of books. Can you tell I'm excited to have some time to read? I hope I get to. I can't wait.

I hope you are all well! I'm sorry I haven't been here as much as usual. I don't have any dedicated childcare this summer and my time on the computer is so limited. That'll change in the fall, but for now, I'm waving as I race by: Hi!!! I hope all is well with you!!!


Lori Ann says: July 29, 2016 at 08:32 AM

I am heading to the library right now and so glad to see some of your books - I will be on the look-out! Have a wonderful vacation!

It sounds like, despite the heat, you're enjoying your summer, as you should! Savor these days, we'll still be here when things slow down and allow you more time to write. :) <3

You are so right! It drives me CRAZY that I have to be a mystery detective myself when I want to know the order of books in the series.

Oh, this sounds busy, warm but great. To warm is not nice, hopefully it will cool down soon.
I wish you a great holiday, take a rest and enjoy your books, they look a good read.
I am well, I love the summer, although it is not warm at all in Holland, it is great with the children
And grandchildren around.
With love Manon

Alicia, I love reading your posts. That Amelia, what a cutie and a growing girl she is. How nice it must be to live in a place that "maybe in a few weeks" (August) one could wear a sweater. In a few weeks, I'll be saying "If I can only make it to September, then I'll have hope again." Texas. I know about grandmothers named Ruth. I had one myself. What a wonderful grandmother she was. I hope you have a super vacation and I look forward to hearing more from you in the Fall.

I adore the Royal Spyness series! In fact, It fed a mini-obsession I had going on with upper class ladies in the midst of changing social roles, solving mysteries. Mr. Churchill's Secretary and the Amelia Peabody books were consumed and loved in that phase.

Thanks for sharing your darling girl and your beautiful home and your knitting and cooking and..... I always have a happier day when you have posted. :) I'm currently knitting Strokkur, am almost finished the body. Mine is dark gray with lighter gray and deep rose. I'm wondering if you changed the shape or length of the sleeves? I'm about to start mine, and want full length and maybe ribbed cuffs. I haven't decided on the cuffs. :) I love the colours you chose for yours! Happy summer to you! It's stinkin' hot here too, with no coolness in sight yet. Soon enough it will be sweater weather here. I'll be warm in my Strokkur!

That stack of mysteries looks mouth-wateringly enticing: I hope you get enough downtime to get through a bunch of them. To my eye, your girl's busyness is going to make quite a dent in your reading time, but by this point you're probably expert at carving out bits of reading time here and there. So glad to see The Beekepper's Apprentice in your stack. Someone here recently recommended Margery Allingham's English mysteries from the 30s and 40s, and I'd give those a thumbs up too. Not exactly the most realistic of plots, sometimes (nefarious gangs bent on world domination and/or destruction through huge ray guns, for instance) but for character development and lovely descriptions and just outright charm, Allingham is hard to beat. In The Fear Sign, the detecting hero meets the young woman he will eventually marry. As summer escapism, it's hard to beat.

Oh my goodness...little big girl. Where has the time gone? She is so tall now, it seems. Laughed at the binoculars and the hands. Congrats on the sweater completion - no small achievement with toddler time and the heat. Love your blog and appreciate seeing your lovely photos. Thank you!

Melissa L says: July 29, 2016 at 10:38 AM

The minute I saw that tent photo I thought: AVETT BROTHERS!! That photo of Andy and Amelia is so precious.
Love your sweaters - yes, nothing says summer like a lap full of warm fuzzy yarn. Go to it, woman. xo

I love it that you are waving as you race by!

You always brighten my day. Have a wonderful vacation!

Wow you are making some serious sweaters! Your finished one is amazing and the colors are perfect! So fast too, I have been working on a cabled cardigan for 1 year and almost done but I am so slow. You will love the Beekeeper's Apprentice, we just finished her latest in that series (my husband likes them too). Hope you have a great vacation!

Kristen from MA says: July 29, 2016 at 11:38 AM

Amelia looks *so* grown up! Where does the time go?

I'm so jealous of your trip to see the Avetts. I discovered them through your blog and I just love their music!

Even with the internet it's hard to work out which book is first sometimes. I think they want us to read whatever we get our hands on, but I like to read them in order. I just gave up on a nasty badly written violent book, I shall pick something from your list instead next time I fancy a murder I think. I chose my book because I was interested in the unusual location (will be visiting there soon) but even that wasn't enough. It's good to have some sound recommendations. Hope the heat eases up a bit for you soon. Maybe you should start taking the summer in England, we are almost always blissfully cool here. CJ xx

I do hope you'll find a way to check out The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter by Susan Wittig Albert! It's by far my favorite cozy mystery series (not at all spooky, just utterly charming). I've re-read them many times--they pull you into another world entirely. I saw another person had recommended them in your other post, but wanted to add my support to that suggestion. :)

"Go tell Daddy you look like Nell." You crack me up! And have made me smile. Thank you. Happy vacation to you all and safe travels.

Isabella says: July 29, 2016 at 12:30 PM

Such lovely photos of your summer days. We have that very squirrel hand puppet as part of the vintage 70's Fisher Price log house squirrel playset. I found it complete at a garage sale for one dollar. My three granddaughters all enjoyed it so much. Unlike you, I LOVE the heat here in Minneapolis!

Oh, those busy, pre-vacation days! So worth it though. Have a glorious time.

Uh, oh. Bump on the noggin! She's really growing up. Beautiful sweater!

That is so neat that you take Mimi to music festivals.. but protect her ears. I'll have to try listening to those guys some day.. I've never heard them. Enjoy these halcyon days of summer.. it will be gone way too fast. We head to our camping trip in 2 weeks. Fun! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

The train to Wisconsin, books, yarns, book stacks, and 1234 Art...
your summer looks full and good, and I am glad you found a moment to wave
as you race by! Wishing you fireflies, cheese curds, sweet corn, and many more summer pleasures~

Hot weather is just plain out soul sapping. In a perfect world the temperature would never rise above 74 degrees. 😁

Miss Em is so cute sitting atop here Papa's shoulders. Love the pink noise cancelling headphones. You two are such good parents! 🎵

Knitting is like that ~ relaxing, addictive, meditative. There are so many psychological benefits to knitting. 😍 The next step would be to learn to spin your own yarn. Oh dear, did I said it out loud.😳

Powell's is my happy place. Well Powell's and our local library. If you're up for a very good knitting mystery series please give Anne Canadeo a try ~ I've found her writing to be far above others I've read. 📚

Take care, try to keep cool and pray for cooler days. ⛄️

i've read the Body in the Belfry and The Beekeeper's Apprentice and i'm so excited for you to be going to Door County on vacation!! we honeymooned in Sturgeon Bay and there are some lovely places that sell handcrafted pottery in the peninsula. not that Amelia would be into that kind of thing. there is an adorable restaurant-- delivers your meal on a toy train that she would definitely find enchanting. it's off the beaten path, but perhaps you might have a rainy day where you need an excursion.

it has been UBER hot here in ATL too. it's raining as i type and i cheered when it began a few minutes ago.

Hogging ALL the talent, writer, photographer, artist, knitter, mother, wife. Love it.

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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