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.


Thank you for thinking of the à la carte treats. The advent calendar is very tempting even for this non-knitter, so it's exciting that some of the other goodies may be on offer.

Antonia from the UK says: November 06, 2018 at 02:31 PM

Sounds beyond awesome! I was all set to sign up and would have happily paid the customs tariff......until I read the bit about being US only. Very disappointing :( But I hope those in the US who are lucky enough to get one really enjoy them to the utmost.

Sounds delightful! I love all the inspiration pictures. Definitely my favorite kinds of colors and feelings (you know what I mean? The way something looks makes you feel a certain way...). Makes me extra excited for the goodies you have planned! :)

I LOVE your wintry pictures! They are totally my aesthetic year round. My budget won't stretch to one of your advent calendars but I look forward to your reveals. I may have to treat myself to one or more of them when they go on sale.

I visit your blog in winter (or as its setting in, here in Canada) because I’ve come to rely on your enthusiasm for mybleast-favourite season. I wasn’t disappointed! That poem is delightful. Your calendar sounds divine and I would order it for the goodies alone, if you were shipping internationally :)

I woke up in a dreamy state, happily thinking of the beauty you observe and create. I didn't comment before, because I run out of ways to say, "Beautiful. Amazing. Inspiring." But you really do raise the bar, and it can't be overstated: Beautiful, amazing, inspiring. Cheers to the 50 people who are going to have the pleasure of a Posie Cozy Advent... what fun!

Ha! I'm trying to count how many people commented that they want one to see if I have a shot. Alicia, you always put lots of love into your products...I'm sure this one is no exception. Yes, if I don't get one, I would still be interested in The Secret Garden one. Yes, please give us a peak after those that score one have their's revealed.

I have absolutely loved seeing your collection of winter images, so very YOU and so so beautiful, your descriptions also such a delight to absorb. I love the way you put your whole heart and soul into the things you do, truly inspiring on so many levels xxxxxxxxxx

Hi, Alicia! I'm just wondering where I will find the advent calendar kit in order to attempt to make the purchase. Will there be a link on your blog, or will it be at And if it is over at your store, will it be in its own category, or under one of the other already existing categories (such as "Hand-Dyed Yarns")? I'm really hoping to get one, and I don't want to waste any time hunting around. Thanks!!

I adore this idea and I would so love to participate, but I am not a knitter. If you ever consider doing something similar for needlepoint, I would be in!

So disappointed to be shut out this evening--and definitely interested in The Secret Garden!

I can only imagine how beautiful these will be. I'm glad I will get to live vicariously through your posts and I can't wait to see what you offer in the future. I am always inspired by everything you do!

Your advent calendar sounds and looks so lovely! I won't be able to afford it right now, so I will be on the lookout for the Secret Garden box.

So exciting!

You are so inspiring and talented and funny

Jill Ottley says: November 08, 2018 at 09:15 PM

Have you and Amelia read the children's book, "Extra Yarn"? If you haven't already, I'm sure you would love it.

This is just the loveliest collection of winter pictures. I especially love the poetic one of your little dancing girl - makes me wish mine wasn't all grown up! You are gifted in so many ways. ...

Amber Schwarz says: November 12, 2018 at 03:22 PM

Oh! I can't wait to see all the things you picked because you have such exquisite taste and such an eye for beauty! The secret garden one sounds lovely and I can't wait to see what ala carte items you put up! I'm sorry I can't order a basket (beyond me $$-wise) but I would if I could! And honestly, it's probably just as thrilling to me just to see it on here!

A lovely post, beautiful pictures. The secret garden is ine if my all time favorites. Read it over and over as a child in the early 60s. A special choice for your new project. What are the illustrations from in your picture collage? The same book, or different books. The owl, the crows etc. I would love to know. Love your blog.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


post a comment

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.