The Inspiration for My Yarn Advent Calendar

comments: 43
















WinterMorningby the TopRoadbyNicholasHelyHutchinsonAndTea




These are my winter colors.

Sea-glass greens of the winter woods. The muted gold of lit candles. Moody grays of heavy clouds. The lilac skies in the winter gloaming. Neon pink and lemon-yellow Christmas lights. The violet luminescence of alpenglow. The cool whites of snowfall. The warm browns of the winter kitchen. Hot brown tea in my teacup. Piles of peachy quilts on the bed. Knitted blue things falling out of baskets. White flannel nightgowns on tiny tip-toers. I like mustard golds and ballet pinks, inky-dark blues and milky greens. I like Arctic sunrise colors. Mountain snowstorm colors. Nordic rose-golds and frozen ice blues. The opalescent rainbow of sparkles on snow.

For the past few months, I've been working on a "yarn advent calendar" to sell. Have you ever heard of these? People do them all sorts of different ways. Mine will be like this: You will receive a box filled with individually wrapped goodies sometime between Thanksgiving and the beginning of December. Then on December 1, you will start opening your treats, and you will open one for each day of December until December 25. These treats will include twelve different hand-dyed 20g fingering-weight mini-skeins, twelve other treats, and, for December 25, one full-size 100g skein of single-ply fingering-weight super-wash 100% Merino wool. The mini-skeins and the treats for the 1st through the 24th will alternate in a mostly random way. The mini-skeins are all fingering-weight yarns, but they are in many different colors in several different super-wash yarn bases, including Merino wool/Tussah silk, Merino/cashmere/nylon, Merino/lurex (metallic), Targhee wool/nylon, and Corriedale wool/nylon. Some of the colors are subtly shaded with few "speckles"; some of the colorways are busy with color and spot. All of them have been hand-dyed by us here in our kitchen in small batches, lovingly handled and carefully colored by way of the odd little process I developed over the past several months of dyeing yarn. After dyeing, we wound every single mini by hand. (I won't do that again, but I did it this time because I wanted a variety of bases. . . . ) My speckles are sort of soft with some dark bits, and my colors are generally soft, clear, and light. I just really try to dye each yarn exactly how I like it, and what I love most about the yarns I've been dyeing is that I think they knit up so beautifully. Sometimes I really like hard-speckled indie-dyed yarn in when it's in the skein but I've noticed that I like it a lot less when I knit it up. My yarns knit up in a really pretty, kind-of subtle way, in my opinion, with gentle color changes punctuated occasionally by flecks of darker or brighter colors. The yarns, when knitted, really do remind me of opals.

What will the treats be? When I started brainstorming what little treats I wanted to include in this calendar, I knew I wanted to include things that winter knitters would use or like. Each calendar has many elements in common, and some things that are completely unique; no two are exactly the same. Some of them are things I've made by hand. Some of them are things that Andy and Kady and Kelsey and Kayla and Sadie and Lydia and even Amelia have helped me make (and wrap). Some of them are things I bought just because I thought they were wonderful and that you would like to have them. Some of them are things to eat and drink; I worked with several amazing Portland and Northwest vendors to provide you with four of these special things. Most of the things that I made by hand are things I had never made before I started working on this kit. I taught myself a lot of new stuff. Many, many hours, weeks, and months of trial and error and experimentation and just plain hard work went into making these things truly special, and I am so proud of all of them. I've had the absolute best time creating all of these gifts, as well as the yarn, and I sincerely hope you love it all.

It's been really hard for me to make this decision, but I have decided that we will sell and ship these to the United States only, and will not take international orders for these advent calendars. We are planning to ship these calendars the week of November 19. There will only be 50 available for purchase, and they will be $215 each, plus $15 shipping in the United States only. We will ONLY ship these to addresses in the U.S. The boxes are too heavy, the shipping costs are too high, there are food items in the boxes, there is glass in the boxes, we don't track international packages, we can't control customs costs for you, and we definitely can't guarantee receipt or delivery on time — there are just too many factors that are causing me no end of stress around this, so for this first time out, we have decided to simplify this situation and ask that you do not order a box if you are outside of the United States. . . . I'm terribly sorry if you were looking forward to this, and hoping to have one shipped overseas. If we continue to do these in the future, I will find a way to accommodate.

Also, if you would like to order other things from my shop, please place a separate order, as we cannot ship anything else with these advent calendar boxes. They are only big enough to hold the advent calendar, and they will serve as both the gift box and shipping box at the same time.

Once these advent calendars sell (if they sell) they will be completely sold out. There are absolutely no more than fifty boxes because that is literally all that we have made. However, I am planning on selling some of the special treats that are in the package to the general public; they will be available only after the recipients of the advent calendars have opened their treats on the specific day that they are scheduled. So if you miss out on the advent calendar itself, you will be able to purchase some of the treats included à la carte, after the surprises have been revealed to the original recipients. I'll be showing you what's in the advent calendars day by day as December goes on, because I think that will be so much fun.

My yarn advent calendars will go on sale at two different times: The first 25 will be released on Wednesday, November 7, at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. The second 25 will be released later that same day, November 7, at 6:00 p.m. I hope this gives more people a chance to get one if they want it. Please know that you must complete payment in order to get a calendar; the cart does not hold your purchase as you shop. You must go all the way through the checkout process to complete your purchase before it is yours.

This project has been a true experiment for me and I have learned a lot, and I know I will learn even more as I put these on sale and deliver them in the next few weeks. We are almost done with everything here. If you miss out (assuming these sell), please know that if everything works out we plan to do more of these around different themes but on a smaller scale — about half the size — in the future. My next theme that I am already dreaming about is The Secret Garden. I'm super excited. Let me know if you'd be interested in that one. It will help us plan.

Phew. Anyway, thank you for indulging me and if you have any questions I will try to answer them! Thank you!!!

Photos and illustrations, from top to bottom: 1. Children Playing in Snow by Lucy Grossmith 2. By Alicia Paulson 3. Unknown 4. By Alicia Paulson 5. Alicia Paulson 6. Snow Girl by Sweet Reality XO 7. Morning Mist by Akihiro Hori 8. By Alicia Paulson 9. Unknown 10. By MixPixBox 11. Winter's Tale by Birgit Franik 12. Winter Garden by Lucy Grossmith 13. By Alicia Paulson 14. Encaustic by Jeff League 15. Urho Kekkonen National Park, Finland by Valentino Valkaj 16. Unknown 17. Poem by Natalia Crow 18. By Alicia Paulson 19. Pink Block on Green by John Hoyland 20. Blueberry Scones by Yuliya 21. Alicia Paulson 22. Winter Morning by the Top Road by Nicholas Hely Hutchison 23. By Alicia Paulson 24. By Alicia Paulson 25. Alicia Paulson 26. Unknown.


Hi Alicia, the calendars sound amazing. I am really looking forward to seeing what’s in them as the days go by in December. I live outside the US so won’t be in the running for one unfortunately! I have no doubt they will sell out in an instant. Best of luck with this. The secret garden sounds like another fabulous idea and I would be interested in that.

Sounds so amazing! I also live outside the US so won't be opening one, however I look forward to reading your blog as the days go by and see what's in the virtual advent calendar.
Best wishes, Emily

I adore your winter colours above. Well done on the advent calendars. They sound amazing and will give so much joy I'm sure. They have been a lot of work for you and all your elves.

These sound so amazing! And I for one will be lining up on Wed. hoping to buy one. Last Advent I had a preemie in NICU. She weighed less than 2 lbs. and was there for exactly 100 days! It has been a year of stress and beginning recovery for certain! And I hope to reward myself this Advent with one of these boxes of goodies. Fingers crossed.

I don't even knit and I want one!

Alice Stephenson says: November 04, 2018 at 12:38 PM

This advent calendar sounds so exciting! I hope that you'll do a reveal (although delayed) for any of us who miss out on snagging one of these. Can you give some examples of what can be knit with this cute skeins?

Your colors sound beautiful and the inspiration pictures are so lovely. You work so hard on everything you do, and so nice that you will offer some of the treats separately! xoxo

They sound lovely! I am actually glad that you aren’t shipping internationally, as I would have been tempted to severely break my budget and buy one. I do hope that we can see daily what was in the advent calendar on the blog.

love your calendar ideas and YES i would be very interested in your

Oh, what fun! Pretty please, post a picture of the beautiful yarn all together once everyone has opened theirs. I would love a peek at how the whole palette looks, and also the lovely packaging you’ve chosen for it. I love the Secret Garden theme, too, and can’t wait to see what you do with it!


Your imagination is astounding! The ideas you come up with and actually bring to fruition is inspiring. I, like you, have come up with some great ideas to create but don't always make them. I am amazed how much you fit into your day! Thank you for the inspiration to just do it! Blessings on your projects and I look forward to your next creation!

What a wonderful post! The photos were each and every one beautiful and made me excited for the coming season. I hope I am able to order one, what a treasure it will be! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

LOVE this whole concept! I am not a knitter but am so excited to see what are in the boxes as you unveil them here on your blog. The Secret Garden box you have brewing around in your head sounds very interesting and I can't wait to hear about that as well. I started on my Autumn cross-stitch yesterday and am excited to add it to my set. Thanks for all your inspiration!

I really hope I get one! I blocked my calender at 10am, and though I have a meeting for work at the same time I will just be late to it!

Julie Johansson says: November 05, 2018 at 05:58 AM

I think the Secret Garden idea is lovely!

Mary Ann in Vermont says: November 05, 2018 at 06:07 AM

Your photos and the images you used for inspiration are just so lovely. Do you know how excited we will be to see a post every day in December from you! I cannot wait! I would just love anything to do with The Secret Garden. Your offerings and words and stories and mothering make my heart sing. xo

I'm so IN LOVE with your winter colors. I'm going to have to postpone a lunch date, just to have a chance...but it will be worth it no matter what. I have to try!

I would also be interested in a Secret Garden theme.

The advent calendars sound wonderful and I totally understand your reasoning for not shipping internationally. Looking forward to hearing how you may one day do an overseas advent, as I'm sure you will, your ideas are boundless. I do also love your mood board, such lovely images!

Like others, I am looking forward to seeing pictures and having you post throughout advent. That will be lovely. I am also overseas.

Can't wait! Is the 6 p.m. time PST as well? I am on the east coast, don't want to mess up the time! Thanks!!!!

Penny J Holliday says: November 05, 2018 at 12:17 PM

What a nice way to start my day ~ reading about the most intriguing Advent Calendar you are presenting for purchase this wed. I am definitely interested & hope one will be available for me. Thank you very much!

What a wonderful idea to create a unique and what will be absolutely gorgeous advent calendar. Your images and the words you write paint the most wonderful scenes and as always create feelings of inspiration. xx Susan

I am so excited! Crossing fingers I get one :)

Also: Are you still using the Cannon? Your pics are so beautiful...

(We have bronchitis here and it is so gross. I'm working through it, but man...I cannot wait to be able to talk without coughing....) I'll just talk here instead :) :)

Linda Fluke says: November 06, 2018 at 12:24 PM

I love the Christmas tree in the photo with your daughter dancing. Is that a real or artificial tree? Do you know where I can find a similar one?

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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