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!!!


Danielle G says: July 29, 2016 at 02:45 PM

Avett Brothers concert was extra amazing this year, wasn't it? I saw you guys there, but could not place why your faces were so familiar, and then once I realized where I recognized you from, I thought you might think I was a complete creep/blog stalker if I walked up and blathered about how much I enjoy your blog and your story and your creativity and how you inspired me after my car accident (where I lost my hand) to continue my own creative pursuits. So I will say it here instead. Oh and happy summer ! Amelia is as darling in person as in your photos. :)

Oh I'm so glad you have the Robert Goddard, that's one of my all time favourites, a book I can't let myself start unless I know I can abandon the rest of the day to finish it - it's a brilliant story, completely gripping and just a smidge of unreliable narration too, it's awesome!

LauraInSacto says: July 29, 2016 at 02:56 PM

Our entire state of California is burning up. 107 today and pretty much the past 8 days. We are going to have cooling off period tomorrow at 100! I can't take it. I just want to soak in a cool tub. "You look like Nell" I love that!!! I believe everyone here looks like Nell at this point. It is horrid.

Amelia has become such a big girl! She isn't even a toddler any more.

Your sweater is gorgeous---it's hot and HUMID here in the Quad-Cities. I want to knit a couple of new cardigans for myself, but I'm waiting for fall.

Susan F. says: July 29, 2016 at 03:34 PM

Just finished reading Missing, Presumed. Loved it - one of the best books I've read it ages. Hope you enjoy it:)

meredith says: July 29, 2016 at 03:43 PM

I LOVE your posts. The photos, the text, all of it. I find it inspirational.
And summer is a warm blur with a small child. Your daughter is just lovely.

I'm so happy to see The Beekeeper's Apprentice there. I hope you enjoy it :) That first shot of the apple tree makes me think of Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen. It's a lovely, magical book.

Alicia, I was so inspired by your cozy mystery post and all the amazing suggestions in the comments, that I used it to compile a lot of the info in a roundup post about cozy mysteries on my own blog! Here it is if you want to peek ;) -

And I was just in a used bookshop yesterday and they had 'Ming Tea Murder' by Laura Childs, and it's NUMBER 16 in the series lol (and I haven't read any of them before), but I got it anyway because I liked the cover and it had great recipes in the back!

I'm waiting for fall too. When it gets too hot, I can't get anything done.

What a gorgeous sweater! I love the muted color palette-it's all very soft and lovely. Here's hoping for some cooler weather soon!

Thanks for sharing your stack of books...I always choose titles that are too serious for this time of year, and I end up with a pile of half finished books collecting dust on my nightstand. I'll definitely check out a few of those titles!

You are so sweet! I also cannot take the heat. It has been so hot here in Maine. We do not have air conditioning. Only lots of fans. I thought people must think I am crazy to knit with wool or angora in this heat. How other non knitters must see someone who is knitting a hat, or gloves, or a sweater in the heat as a crazy person. Oh well! can't stop. Have a wonderful vacation. We are on our way also. To Canada and hopefully some cooler weather.

Are you familiar with author Louise Penny? She has a wonderful mystery series I think you would enjoy. Start with the first one in the series😊

I'm so envious! The Avetts ... I and love and them.

As usual your knitting is skilful and superb. Your girl is growing up to be a real beauty. :- )

I'm tired and excited after reading about your adventures. Waving back. E

Love reading your posts with my latte on Saturday mornings and hearing about your world, your books, and your projects. I, too, do not enjoy hot weather, but it's summer here in Northern CA. At least, we don't have muggy weather! Can't wait to hear about your book list and see your wonderful creations - gorgeous sweater! I knit/crochet a little, but not at your level (Faire Isle is gorgeous). Looking forward to cooler weather too!

Gorgeous Fair Isle . . .
Loved "first drawings" . . .(the teacher/mother/granny/great in me no doubt!)
I see a scratch on "sweet little Amelia adorable" forehead . . .
and the red over/around in her drawing too . . .
Happy vacation days . . . and playing, relaxing, reading!

I love reading your blog. I want to tell you about a place I think you would really love. It's called Cascade Alpacas of Oregon. It's on the "fruit loop" out of Hood River on Hwy. 35. I don't knit, but they have the SOFTEST yarn, just luscious. Also your daughter would enjoy it because you can feed the alpacas. They look like little aliens. If you ever do the loop around Mt. Hood, you should check it out. I'd send you the link, but I'm not computer savvy. Just google it.

Rena Guth says: July 30, 2016 at 08:48 AM

The Beekeepers Apprentice- a lovely book. Still love the cottage tales tho.
I too am knitting away and quilting, funny thing you would think when it is hot we would put the wool down...but no...keep knitting, keep knitting

I've been following your blog for a few years and every time I read a new post I sit with a cup of tea and relax into your descriptions of the seasons, your projects, and what your sweet girl is up to. When I saw the top photo of your daughter I was taken back by how grown she looks! I'm in Portland as well raising two little pumpkins and I admire your thoughts on motherhood, how you truly enjoy it. It takes me to an more introspective place in regards to my own children and how much I love this season of life.

Sounds life my life, except I live on the surface of the sun. Otherwise know as Louisiana. It has been tough on a Homewood, Illinois girl. Fall...please come soon! ugh.

Oo-ee you are going to love Robert Goddard. He writes so beautifully. Tell me more about Powells - those look like some old books and some are maybe second hand? It sounds like an amazing bookshop to find all of those treasures under one roof....

I have started a new knitting project in the English heatwave. Totally agree with you, knitting and hot weather has some kind of lure. Love it. I am knitting angora wrist warmers.

Lovely photos as always x

I adore you 1000%.

I hope you're enjoying your "down-time" with your little one as much as we did recently in New Hampshire. It was glorious weather, a swimming and fishing pond in the shadow of Mount Chocorua virtually to ourselves, our daughter, son-in-law and their little guys. The fish were jumping out of the water while my daughter and I knitted away. The time goes so quickly - I know you'll savor the moments.

Oh! We have that little squeaky squirrel! It was mine from my childhood, from the set with the fabric house and rubbery chairs and table and the mom and kid. I still have the set and have never seen another one until today on your blog. Sweet memories!

Also--Laurie King is great! I've read about halfway through that series, and I'm always flabbergasted at how smart her main character is. Love, love.

I'm reading "Missing, Presumed" right now. I wasn't sure I was going to like it at first, but I actually do. Your sweaters are all lovely!

i feel the same! i have only posted once all summer. we have spent so much time running here and there... and lots of time at the water. i have been dreaming lately about fall and sewing projects, and knitting, and reading... sigh. i haven't done any of those things all summer... well... there has been some reading... a half page each night before i pass out from exhaustion. anyway, thank you for sharing your wonderful bits and pieces. i always feel refreshed and inspired after peeking into your world.

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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




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.