Tiny, Tiny Stitches

comments: 62











Thank you for all of your sweet birthday wishes! I had such a lovely day and it feels like it has stretched into weeks. I've been lazy and lingering and literally soaking up the blissful, fuzzy, languid blur of January, where I am determined to hibernate, raising my head only when necessary. I must be part bear. I prefer to be swaddled in my cave during these days. I hung a new calendar and have gotten Amelia to school on time and have fed everyone more-or-less successfully but mostly I've spent this month just . . . puttering.

And letting it all settle.

In my head I have a million creative ideas, things I want to make and things I want to try and things I want to develop for Posie. That's generally an uncomfortable place for me, and I try to roll with the feelings and inspirations — I let them all tumble around, falling out of my hands and onto the fabric and onto the page and onto the screen (in the case of new cross-stitch ideas; I design on-screen in a program called PC Stitch) and try to just let myself be loose, to see what sticks without getting tight about it. I almost always have more ideas than I know what to do with. For me, rather than ever feeling particularly "blocked," it can (more likely) be tricky not to follow every impulse I have to make something down the rabbit hole of turning it into a pattern or kit, since turning things into patterns and kits is my job, after all. I come to all my work impulsively, for the most part. The design process is very impulsive, and happens in a burst. But the vast majority of the time after that is anything but impulsive. It's the opposite. It is spent figuring out the details, both the details that are technique-specific to that particular project and the details that are source- and supply-specific — what fabric do we use for this? Is it about to be discontinued? [Of course it is.] What's the alternative? What's the turnaround time to get 55 yards of it? How do we wind 3 grams of lace-weight yarn so that people can use it? What colors of floss do we have on hand so that we don't have to place an order, now that they've changed the minimum ordering amount to $1,000? Will people be able to do this tiny thing that I can't even explain how to do? Can I explain how to do it? How many times does this need to be proofread before I press "send" to the printing guy? How did that typo get in there? How many did we print? Why is it more expensive now than it was six months ago? All the things. I do enjoy figuring that out, for the most part. But: I really love just being in the zone of the primary creative process of making something, because that is the first love. That's the love that knows no bounds.

Thus it was that I found myself stitching away on tiny little botanical specimens, using one ply of six-ply embroidery floss, and finding even it too thick for what I was trying to do (so I started using machine-sewing thread for the roots). Amelia has a penchant for old field guides — it's funny and interesting and Andy and I sort of hold our breath and look at each other wide-eyed with relief every time she comes home from the school library with one of them instead of another Bad Kitty book (which, no offense, but I loathe). I was flipping through one of her field guides, and then I pulled out some of my own old illustrated field guides, and then I found myself ordering "brooch trays" from Etsy and Amazon. . . . It all happens fast. Within about an hour I went from "What's with the whole pin thing? I don't get pins!" to becoming obsessed with pins, and thinking about pins all day and dreaming about pins and wearing a pin on my coat and giving pins to everyone in my family.

The pins and necklaces above are about 1" (2.5cm) (pins) and 1.5"-2" (4-5cm). I stitched them all on regular Kona cotton using mostly hand-dyed floss from Weeks Dye Works and a company called The Gentle Art that I got at my beloved Acorns and Threads. I used, as mentioned, one ply of floss while stitching. I sketched out the basic shape of the plant freehand with this extra-fine chalk pencil. I stretched each little circle of fabric around a tinier circle (or oval) of cardboard and glued it into the brooch tray. The shape of the pin holders was such that I didn't need glue on those. Wild thyme, bog star, sorrel, fern, heather, forget-me-not. Now started, I haven't been able to stop in weeks, and have reordered more settings to make more tiny scenes. I'm going to send some of these to my friends, and maybe I'll sell some eventually, once I get a big enough collection finished. I almost never sell finished items, but that sounds nice right now. Maybe I'll make a pattern and tutorial if I don't get onto something else right away, knowing me. It just feels great to make these while dreaming of spring, and of how all of real little plants are waiting in the ground for it to warm up a bit before they uncurl themselves and gift us with their spirits. Embroidering things this small is a sweet conjuring that feels like magic. You should try it. Should I do a pattern? Maybe I will.


I promised to take care of Foxie today while Meems is at school She got him all tucked in.


Oh Alicia, I love these!!!! And it looks like you’re taking good care of Foxie too. 😉

Dying. Dying!!! Over those exquisite embroiderings. What a beautiful mind you have, Alicia. Also, dying over Foxie - he seems to have that ground-in loved look that one particular puppy of my daughter's has...

I totally get the obsession with botanically inspired embroidery. Your tiny pieces are exquisite! I look Cory to seeing more of this work.

For a few years I have been obsessed with botanical embroidery too, but I am doing much larger scale pieces on denim clothing. Because I live most of the year in the SW desert, some of my images are big, vibrant cactus flowers and the cacti themselves. But I also seem to be spending enough time in Oregon to be doing roses, and fall leaves and acorns. I did a whole bird nest inside of branches on the back of a vest last summer, when I was in Corvallis for 3+ months.

But the earliest embroidery art I did was 45+ years ago—tiny, realistic trees and clouds and sun on the bib of my overalls, when I was in high school.... it was so fun to work in that scale too.

These are just so sweetly beautiful. I especially love your moth/butterfly.

Lyndia from Northern CA. says: January 22, 2020 at 10:46 AM

Your little gems are perfect. I love wearing a pin. I think it tells who you are. You didn't leave a link for the pins, only pendants. I would love to make or purchase. You're the best!

Oh, so pretty! Kits would be fantastic! Do you follow Sherry Iris on Instagram? This reminds me of the embroidery she does on project bags and journals. She also has such interesting field guides, or flower book recommendations she sometimes posts.

Susan in Tsawwassen, BC says: January 22, 2020 at 11:19 AM

These are beautiful! I would love to purchase as a completed piece or a kit/pattern!! Just sayin' ...

Beth in Maryland says: January 22, 2020 at 11:32 AM

Alicia, I think you're in for it now!! You can't show us these utterly lovely little things without creating demand! I truly LOL'ed at your progression from "What's with the whole pin thing?" to complete obsession. It's so true. You TOTALLY rock.

Just a tiny slice of heaven! They are a little tiny world unto themselves! Especially love the crocus bulb!

those are just amazing, I'm off to order the supplies now! I'm encourageable haha

These miniatures are so adorable! I see that you are in Oregon, so I came back down to comment. If you were in the UK or Europe, I wouldn't because I couldn't hope to buy a brooch from you. But I do hope now! Thank you for sharing these precious plants with us.

MICHELE HOLMES says: January 22, 2020 at 04:36 PM

Oh yes, please! I want one of each - adorable!!

Absolutely charming :) Love how you added the roots in sewing thread

Add my name to the list of people who are drooling over these embroidered jewels!

OMG, so adorable! You can make those tiny stitches into leafs, flowers, mushrooms that just look alive! So much talent!! As someone who has to cross stitch or embroider every day or its just not a good day I would love to see patterns!

So sweet to see Foxie tucked in waiting for Amelia :) I agree with everyone, the tiny embroideries are lovely and it would be nice to purchase and make one too! Hopefully, you'll create a pattern! Why is it that tiny things are soooo adorable??

Linda Petersen says: January 23, 2020 at 06:47 AM

I love them!! Please make kits,patterns,& sell finished pieces...PLEASE❤😍

I absolutely love these. I’ve wanted to make one forever and have some empty necklaces but always chickened out. So, of course, now you’ve inspired me to get on with it. Beautiful

So lovely as always! They are utterly charming and delightful. Thank you for sharing the beauty that you create with the world. <3

Alicia have you considered pure silk thread? It’s much finer than cotton floss and not as expensive as one might think. Here in the UK Piper Silks have a lovely selection, I’m sure there are similar US companies.

S x

I love your little botanical stitches! How sweet they are. Your January sounds just lovely. Mine has been far to busy so I would quite fancy a bit of slow living :)

I love the tiny stitches pins SO much! And would dearly love to buy one ( only one? how to choose?). Please,please add them to your "shop."

These are AMAZING! I would love to purchase one!
But also thinking that if you just developed the PATTERNS for those of us who are not as talented to be able to freehand, then perhaps we could attempt the embroidery too. I love the botanicals!!
I would love to attempt these same patterns on a slightly larger scale, to be able to frame them in a small picture frame. 💗

Courtney Marlowe says: January 25, 2020 at 08:01 AM

These are so special!

Melissa L. says: January 26, 2020 at 10:01 PM

Oh, such lovely teensy things. You must have the hands of a surgeon and the patience of Job ;-)

I know there are few Alicia-made things out there, and I want you to know I treasure the pink and white sock Corgi I bought so long ago at that lovely Christmas bazaar. xo

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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 aliciapaulson.com




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.