Six More Weeks

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Well, it finally happened. The knitting mania I was experiencing burnt itself out, and I'm not really sad. I had been eyeing the Teru sweater for a while and really wanted to make it but after only one evening it had already bested me. You can see it above, that piddly little amount of neckline knitting in the cream-colored donegal with the beginnings of blackberry-colored fair-isle starting. I didn't make any mistakes or anything like that, and the pattern is, seriously, a work of art, but it is fingering-weight, and complicated, and, after knitting for many hours, I was literally only maybe an inch into it. I looked at it and I was like, "Yeah, I'm done." And it was kind of a good feeling, actually. Knitting-wise, I had been pretty wild-eyed in general for the past two months. My purple heather honeybee sweater is still happening but I've made lots of mistakes in the lace and it's feeling kind of sloppy. I have some yarn on order to cast on for a South Bay sweater, which is mostly just gobs and gobs of stockinette with only small areas of interest, so that will be nice and easy, and like something that a normal person with a five-year-old instead of, like, a lady who's getting paid by the stitch, or something, would knit. So yeah, in general, now that it is February, I'm mostly relieved that I'm breathing regularly instead of hyperventilating. That was intense. And thanks to Punxatawney Phil, we still have lots of winter left.

The house is a disaster. Small piles of I-don't-know-what are hanging around like beached detritus leftover from storm season. Thirty books, a fish mobile, a party hat, fourteen Calico Critters, pieces of yarn, peeled off stickers, apple peels that someone threw on the floor and tried to pretend she didn't throw on the floor, zillions of Legos, stray baby socks, broken crayons, snapped-off pieces of a bowling-alley-arcade crown, naked dolls, entire handmade XL sweaters, stitch markers, random pieces of paper, lip balm, a wooden spoon. Amelia, lately, has been trying out operatic responses to the smallest of tragedies — gales of tears when she scrapes a knee, shrieks of despair when something goes missing (as if it could not; see above). The other day in the schoolyard: wails of frustration when she saw that something had fallen into this deep window-well that houses a bunch of pipes and machinery stuff alongside the church in which the preschool is housed. The window-well is bordered by a metal railing which is covered in some kind of cage thing so the kids can't fall into it. Amelia stood and sobbed, pointing. She called me over and I went, expecting from her intensity to see, I don't know, a hurt kitten? a abandoned baby bird? a million dollars that couldn't be reached? Instead it was . . . a barrette. And not even one of her pretty felt-flower barrettes, but just one of those ubiquitous little metal clippies. I literally could hardly see it. Dramatic crying and continued pointing by Amelia into well. "Hmmmm," said I, "I think that one's been sacrificed, darling." I went back to the wall where I had been sitting and talking with mom friends. Within minutes, however, three dads and a handful of kids were all peering into the window-well through the fencing. Something was happening. A rescue operation had ensued. The guys were so into it I didn't have the heart to tell them we had at least two hundred barrettes per room, back at the house. Quiet peering into the depths of the well continued. We could see consultations and apparent breath-holding. Then, suddenly, a great cheer went up from kid and man alike: Aaron (dad) had found a magnet and Frank (dad) had produced one of those metal handyman tape measures from his pocket and they had literally fished the metal barrette from the depths of the well. Amelia, now smiling, was also mildly nonplussed; these dramas are rather short-lived and also half-hearted, for all their volume, and, anyway, she is already quite sure dads can do anything. I love our school friends. I'm already starting to have a lot of nostalgia over our time at the preschool, as none of the families with whom we currently go to preschool will be going to the school Amelia is going to next year.

So, the house is a mess and Amelia's room is completely nuts with tiny things covering every surface, rugs bunched up under bed legs, and clothes stuffed into corners, and instead of knitting, I'm now crocheting. My (lovely, I must say) Shetland Adventure shawl came off the blocking board on Tuesday and promptly went right 'round my neck, where it stayed for hours and hours, cuddling me. Hap shawls really are lovely in every way, and that one (I only made the top layer, as the bottom one felt a bit too fussy for the way I dress, which is, most days, still like an eighth-grade volleyball coach, with all due respect to mine) certainly was. It only barely bit into the third skein of fingering weight, so there went another almost-full skein of yarn into the stash. Hrumpf. Curious, I pulled out my old between-projects project, my Beatrix Blanket (which has, for months, been going nowhere). And suddenly I decided that I wanted to make something other than that for Amelia's bed — instead, I am going to do a little checkerboard granny square inspired by this one but with this pattern for the square. All fingering and sport and almost entirely stash. Random colors with a very creamy pale lavender (this yarn, gloriously called Oyster Mushroom, which I have four or five skeins of already) contrast. In the shower this morning I also had the idea to maybe add a few little fabric patches in there, too, but we'll see how that goes. Anyway, stay tuned for that. Amelia is getting a new full-sized Calicozy, too, out of fabric that I have been collecting just for her for quite a while, so I'm excited about it, though I still haven't done a bit of actual work on it. Nevertheless, I'm hoping it — both — will inspire me to start cleaning.

Luckily, my new spring cross-stitch design is finished. Unluckily, the fabric I chose (a piece of which I happened to already have in my stash and so did not call ahead to the distributor to see how much they had on hand or could get before planning to design an entire kit around it) has NATURALLY been discontinued. Thus I continue my winning record of picking out things that are mere moments from being discontinued. It appears to be my truest talent, honestly. Waiting to hear how many yards Wichelt has on hand before I decide what to do. But am still planning on releasing this new design this spring. It's also an 8" x 10", like First Snow, and my plan is to do one for each season.

A cautionary tale (or two):

My best friend, Martha, lives near Boston. We were college roommates and we now talk (text) every day, and have done for many years. She is a single mom and also has a little girl, so there's not a lot of time for either of us during the day. She is three hours ahead of me, so every night after I put Mimi to bed, I get back downstairs around 7 p.m. my time, 10 p.m. Martha's time, and we chat about everything and nothing.

On Wednesday after school, Mimi and I had gone to Fabric Depot to get some interfacing and ribbon for a blouse I'd made for myself. After that, I took her out to an early dinner, where she didn't eat anything and instead, as soon as her ravioli arrived, laid down on the booth bench and asked if she could take her socks off. This was quite strange, as she is a great restaurant kid with a hearty appetite who also generally never stops talking. But instead she was quiet, and on the way home she fell asleep in the car (unheard of). I started to worry that she might not be feeling well again, though she had no temperature and said her throat felt fine. But as soon as we got home we went straight upstairs and started her bedtime routine, even though it was still light out. By 6:00 she was in bed and I was back downstairs, telling Martha that I had just put Amelia to bed and was a bit worried that she wasn't feeling well. No sooner had I sent the text than I heard a warbling, "Mommy? I need to go pottttttttty. . . ." Cue me, sprinting upstairs. "Mama, I have a tummy ache. . . ." And this time the tears were utterly real. Her discomfort was heartbreaking. I suddenly remembered that there had been sugar-free gummy bears granted in line at Fabric Depot. Mimi is actually pretty good about not asking for that crap at check-out (there must be thirty different mini-packs of jelly bellies right there, where you get it line), and sometimes I say yes, and sometimes I say no. This time I'd said, regrettably, yes. "I can never have candy again!!!" she said, face covered in tears. "Next Halloween I'm going to put on my costume but I'm just going to walk around the blooo-ooo-oooock." Oh, my dear sweet honey! My heart was breaking. I assured her that one day there would again be some candy in her future. We sat there in the bathroom together for forty-five minutes until she was . . . finished . . . and I had her laughing again, and literally the second it was all over it was like it had never happened. She bounced off to bed, I tucked her in, she rolled over and grabbed Foxie, and we said our good nights and I love yous and sweet dreamses. I breathed a cautious sigh of relief and went back downstairs and texted Andy (who was at work) to tell him what had happened, and said I was mildly worried that she had the flu but I was much more sure that the episode was caused by the gummy bears I'd approved earlier that afternoon [guilty grimace]. Then I texted and told Martha, who had also been sick earlier this week. Before she could answer, Andy replied to me with this:

Sugarless Haribo Gummy Bear Reviews On Amazon Are The Most Insane Thing You'll Read Today

So, I'm reading that article and practically falling of the couch horrified-laughing (people are hilarious), and then sending it over to Martha and saying, "Uh, yeah, it was the gummy bears," when she answers back:

"I just threw up ten times."

Me [stunned]: "Oh no honey! You have the flu! Are you okay???"

And then she goes:

"I think I drank old daffodil water after I took the NyQuil."


I'm paraphrasing.

It turns out, she'd bought three small bunches of daffodils from Trader Joe's earlier that day, then put them in a glass of water on the counter, planning to bring them to her boyfriend's house for his birthday later that night. They were in the water for about four hours. She said that in retrospect she thought the water tasted funny but she had gulped it because of the NyQuil. Then this, from Jonathan (boyfriend):

"All parts of the daffodil contain a toxic chemical, lycorine. The part of the plant that contains the highest concentration of lycorine is the bulb. However, eating any part of the plant can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. These symptoms usually last about 3 hours. More severe problems such as low blood pressure, drowsiness, and damage to the liver have been reported in animals that ate very large amounts of the plant but have never been reported in humans.

"The bulb also contains chemicals called oxalates, which are microscopic and needle-like. When swallowed, oxalates cause severe burning and irritation of the lips, tongue, and throat. They can also cause skin irritation.

"Usually, the only treatment required is rinsing the mouth well and drinking water or milk. If vomiting and diarrhea persist, watch for dehydration. If a person is having severe throat pain, difficulty swallowing, or drooling, medical evaluation and treatment is needed."


Martha: "Apparently there are several posts about this. I'm not the first person to drink daffodil water."

Me: "I shouldn't be laughing at that last one."

Martha: "It's okay. It's kind of hysterical. Except not right now. For me."

Me: "Neither you nor Mimi is allowed to eat sugar-free gummy bears nor drink daffodil water ever again!!!"

Martha: "Okay. FINE!!!"

For the record, she felt better throughout the night and then went to bed. When Andy got home he was with our friend Jeff, also a nurse. They'd brought sandwiches and were planning to play Atari in the garage. I told them about Martha and then asked if they'd known that sugar-free gummy bears apparently "power-wash your intestines." Andy said he hadn't know, but he'd mentioned it to another nurse at work and she'd immediately gasped and said, "Oh my gosh, that's, like, a thing." And then they looked it up. So I'm here to warn you. The pains are real. #truestory


Oh my gosh on both Mimi AND your friend!! Life is an adventure, isn't it? ;-) Sugar-free anything is really bad for you (as you found out)...these products have to be sweetened somehow, so if not sugar, then fake sugar. In the case of gummy bears, it's Maltitol, which is a sugar alcohol that causes extreme tummy upset and diarrhea. I can only imagine the comments on amazon with the gummy bears! I hope all is well and calm(er) in your house now. Don't worry about the messy house - this too shall pass. Big hugs to you.

I read some of the GB reviews. While mostly hilarious, I can only imagine the pain, suffering & humiliation. I have eaten very few of these but this is my warning never to take that risk again. Glad Amelia is okay. Do enjoy your lovely projects & your blog.

Oh my goodness...this post is perfection.

I'd watch out for Halls sugar-free cough drops too. Also no bueno.

That is the most beautiful cross stitch! Well it's equal with your winter design.

The spring cross stitch is beautiful! I hope you can get the linen or similar, because it's absolutely perfect.

Wow! I learned so much from this post. I don't usually indulge in gummy bears or daffodil water, but henceforth I will certainly be on guard! How unfortunate. Love the sampler - the bleeding heart and fiddle head create a lovely frame.

Ohmygosh, I read those sugar-less gummy bears reviews! 😂 What is in them? Drain-o? Glad your baby is ok & thanks for the warning.

WOW. Now that was quite a post! I admit the part about the sugarless goodies... that ARTICLE - heavens, don't know when I laughed as much last! But since it's most certainly a serious thing, I posted it for family and friends in Facebook.
I have been quite envious of your endurance with knitting and all the other Projects on the side. I rarely get going and even if I do, then I never get finished... I love the Shawl... lovely color indeed. Do what does you good... leaving the chores slide to the end of the list of to-dos is no deadly sin. There will come a time when you will find the energy to grab the bull by the horns! ;-)

Mariapia Watzig says: February 04, 2018 at 07:11 AM

Husband and I experienced the sugar free gummy bears issue once when we thought we won the jackpot and found great sugar free candy. Oh my goodness it was awful. So glad you’re all feeling better. Punxatawney Phil said six more weeks of winter, however Fufu at the Oregon Zoo said we are ready for spring! I believe the Oregonian rodent. Bring on the spring!

The reviews were hilarious; I read them aloud to my partner (when I wasn't crying from laughter). Thank you for that.
Also, can you tell me about that super cute pillow? Love, love, love it!

catalinakel says: February 04, 2018 at 11:07 AM

Thank you for the laughs, and the descriptions of what is lying around your house right now. Winter blahs here have me sewing when I ought to be doing homework, but I need the color and the hand-activity to keep me from going crazy from all the gray, but, boy, oh boy is the tiny apartment I live in a mess of fabric and general sewing detrius everywhere! I keep saying I want to do Spring Cleaning, but can't because there is no time in my schedule (though I somehow am fitting in the quilt I'm making right now), and, besides, it just keeps raining and raining so it will do no good to clean just yet.

Daffodil water and sugar free gummies....while I’m glad everyone is okay, I have not laughed that hard in I don’t know how long. When I showed my daughter what was making me laugh so hard (had to show her cause I SURE could not speak!) she pulled up the article on her phone and we laughed together (“did you read number 5, bwah hah hah hah hah”). funny. May I also thank you for describing the current state of your home. It is so nice to hear someone admit that a house just gets away from you sometimes and makes you crazy with stuff everywhere. It’s a very real part of life and particularly when you have kids and/or pets. Love your new shawl, and the new cross stitch is a design wonder! Looking forward to the release. And your Beatrix Potter blanket and new blanket — really, as with all of your posts, there is so much goodness here. Sometimes at work I sneak a peak at your blog as it takes me to my happy place, but I’ll have to remember to look, not read, this post at work. It would be just too hard to explain the laughter! Thank you, have a great evening, Alicia!

Amanda Dixie says: February 05, 2018 at 02:58 AM

The whole story about sugar free gummy bears had me on the floor with laughter. That may be because the story is a little too close to home. When my girl was of a similar age to Amelia, I had to leave her with the babysitter for a few hours. As I was going out of the door I mentioned that she had already had lunch but if she was hungry there were some grapes in the fridge. When I came back I took my daughter to the park and let's just say a very similar incident happened to which you describe. All the way home I was in a panic because I thought she was very very ill indeed. I got home, bathed her, tucked her up in bed and went back downstairs only to discover that all the grapes were gone. Every single one of them. It turned out that the babysitter had taken my instructions a little too literally and had given a five year old one and a half BUNCHES of grapes to eat all by herself. That would be it.

I love that long post so much! So glad that you sometimes tell us those little stories, and also you house always looks so clean that I’m glad to hear that you sometime have mess:)) you knitting projects are so inspiring, I really want to make a sweater too, but I never tried knitting things apart from a few scarves. And I’m waiting for the cross stitch project! (But honestly I hope you will give some recommendations on fabric for those who will get digital pattern) it would be great to have all 4 seasons coordinating on the wall!

Oh, thank you for giving me a good, hearty, much-needed laugh today. I, for one, am thrilled you are back to crocheting.

Sabina Auburger says: February 05, 2018 at 08:52 AM

No wonder squirrels avoid daffodil bulbs, and they sure like tulip bulbs.

Oh my goodness...thank you for the abundant laughter this morning. You can certainly spin a tale like no other! A true tale, of course, which makes it the best ever.

Have a great day!

I have warned EVERYONE. Many thanks and especially for your very real description of a happy messy home in winter.

I don't usually laugh about medical misadventures, but these are pretty funny now that they are over. One of my friends was in the hospital and asked his nurse to put some of that alcohol foam in a cup so he could clean his hands with it. Soon afterwards another nurse came in to give him some medication and poured water into this cup which he promptly drank with his medication. He was horrified that the nurse could be so negligent to use his alcohol hand wash foam cup to give him his medication. I defended her saying that she could not have known that the clear liquid in the little cup was alcohol foam residue as opposed to water. And it's not really toxic unless you drink a LOT of it. Then you will get drunk.

I'm glad Amelia didn't get one of the wintertime vomiting/diarrhea bugs as they are definitely going around. We are inundated with the flu at work (Pediatric ER). I always love to hear about your knitting and crocheting projects. And the spring needlepoint design is wonderful.

This is one of your very few posts that didn't make me hungry. That's kind of a good thing. I don't really need to be reminded of food.

Heeheehee...I have learned SO much from this post...I will never drink daffodil water again! :)

You have had a very productive couple of weeks...lots of finishes! You should feel great!! Sweaters, a shawl, your punchneedle pillow, a cross stitch, and those lovely granny squares! I love your variation on those!! Prettier somehow than the traditional. I really like your Beatrix blanket! Who knows, you may get back to it some day.
I finished crocheting a baby blanket and hat (for a gift) mostly hdc but did moss stitch for the border. It's a nice 'sturdy' stitch and thought it would help everything keep it's shape.
My favorite thing this week; companies who no longer put the little metal staple in teabags. I work around the house, my tea cools and I just want to pop it in the microwave.
I was also glad for 6 more weeks of winter!! Many projects in mind and the reprieve from gardening and yard work is very welcome just now.
Looking forward to your next post as always...

I swear Europeans are so much better-informed about everything health/medicine-related than Americans are. It's kinda sad, really. I learned this about 25 years ago from my Italian sister-in-law: My 2 year-old niece hadn't been feeling well, so I gave in and bought her a roll of her favourite sugar-free candies. When I showed up with niece, sister-in-law took one look and said, "Uh uh! You know those are diuretics, right?" 20 year-old me "Uh, diuretic? Sure, I knew that."

Let's not discuss the fact that artificial sweeteners are thought to be a cancerogen -- or the effect on the liver of Ny-Quil. Oy!

Just the mention of the sugar free gummy bears and I cringed. Years ago when they first came out I thought they were brilliant. That was until "it" happened. I seriously thought I was dying. It was awful! I feel so bad for her and I don't blame her for not wanting any more candy. Glad she's better!

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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.