the Fabulous Flying Fox!

It’s winter. So – time for some ridiculously adorable, and cozy, headgear!

The Fabulous Flying Fox!

The Fabulous Flying Fox!

The Fabulous Flying Fox!
I’ve been working hard on making up an aviator-style cap to my liking. This, my third iteration, finally made me happy. With good reason.

The Fabulous Flying Fox!
I absolutely adored the topstitching detail. And the lovely twill-weave of the wool, which adds a subtle but beautiful texture:

The Fabulous Flying Fox!
The Fabulous Flying Fox!
The Fabulous Flying Fox!

The Fabulous Flying Fox!

Do  you know how long I spent shopping for the right grommets? And I was way too into it! I have decided I need my entire life to be about snaps and grommets!

The Fabulous Flying Fox!

Two types of faux-fur for ears. Ya know.

And of course, a handsome model. The handsomest!

The Fabulous Flying Fox!
I put this cap in my Etsy shop – and I have some fabulous wools to make it up in. My personal favorite is the overdyed houndstooth, which is a black with a pale, slate-toned blue:

(Fabrics For) The Fabulous Flying Fox!

winter pajama sew-along: supplies

The cold weather suddenly slammed us and it became glaringly obvious:

Winter Pajama Sew-Along Badge


Very Cozy
This is a quick sew-along, for those of you who’d like to have some special crafting time during the holiday. We start sewing December 1st and will be done by the 15th. And this is super-important:

If you want automatic updates on the sew-along, you must send your email address to


The supply list is short and sweet. We need the following: your pattern, fabrics, a zipper, 1/2 yard of 3/8″ elastic, thread, and appropriate needle. Read on:

Winter Pajama Sew-Along
From top left, clockwise: Jalie pattern, Classic Footed Pajama pattern (rolled), velour fabric in a bright green-yellow, Tough-Tek non-slip fabric, thread, 3/8″ elastic, and a dress-weight zipper.

I am supporting two patterns for this sew-along: Jalie 3244 (size 12 months to women’s 22) and Peek-a-boo’s Classic Footed Pajama (for size newborn to 12 years). You can buy either pattern, or both, depending on which size range appeals to you. I will be following Jalie’s advice for construction (along with, of course, my personal preferences and improvements); the Peek-a-boo pattern will be used for the pattern blocks.

Yes, I can’t get enough of Jalie! Do I sew with other patterns? Oh heck, yes. Have I met another pattern company with as large a size range? Not yet! And since I like sew-alongs to be as inclusive as possible, I favor large size ranges. Jalie has it all, though. Their patterns are stylish, timeless, well-drafted, and come with excellent instructions and line drawings. This pattern also comes in a printed version, or a 

We need three fabrics: the main fabric, ribbing, and a non-skid fabric for the footie soles.

So first: we are sewing with knits again! If you aren’t familiar with sewing with knits, or if you have had bad experiences, I recommend taking a deep breath, getting a cup of tea, and taking a couple minutes to read through my new-to-knits post, as well as – if you like – my other knit tutorials. Sewing with knit fabrics is not rocket science. But there are a few things to keep in mind – and trust me, the more experienced you get, the more you’ll love these fabrics!

The pattern recommends a main fabric with 30% stretch across the grain, and some mechanical stretch lengthwise. This first requirement is simple to determine: grip two points on the crossgrain of the fabric five inches apart, and stretch. The fabric will need to stretch to at least six and a half inches comfortably. For the length, you merely need the fabric to stretch a little. Most knits will.

For fabric yardage, consult the back of the pattern. Measure your intended client at their chest and inseam. Determine their size based on each – and use the largest yardage requirement between the two. I will be discussing how to grade the pattern when your chest and inseam are different sizes, during my first sewing post.

So on the back of the pattern,  you will find the yardage of 59″ wide knit fabric you need to purchase for your size, as well as ribbing requirements for the sleeve cuff and, if you are skipping the footed part of the PJ, the ankle-cuff. In my case, I am using self-fabric for the sleeve ribbing. Self-fabric is a softer option with a less firm “grip” than most ribbings.

Finally – besides the main fabric(s) and the ribbing (if you’re using ribbing), you need a non-slip fabric. There are many different non-skid fabrics out there – and you might find some in surprising places. After some shopping and review, I chose the ToughTek fabric from Two of A Kind Supplies on Etsy. To that end – yay! – Kate has generously donated a 10% off coupon for her shop, for those participating in the sew-along. You need to email me if you’d like this coupon.

The back of the pattern also lists the size of zipper you need at the lower right in a table. I purchased mine from Zipperstop using my super-awesome color card.

Elastic is used in the back of the foot, for the footed version. Anything between 1/4″ to 1/2″ will work fine, but 3/8″ is ideal.

I use a cotton-wrapped poly for most my apparel. I tend to favor Mettler, but I also buy whatever is available to me when I’m in a pinch. Bargain-basement or old thread is a no-no, but Coats & Clark is fine – this is what I’m using here. I will be zig-zag finishing my seams.

The correct needle depends on the fabric you are using. In general, a jersey or ballpoint needle is best for natural-based stretch fabrics (wool, cotton, linen, etc), while a stretch needle will work well for synthetic stretch fabrics.

You will need a few other supplies: a tracing medium, interfacing and stabilizer.

You can trace with almost anything, and we could debate the merits for quite some time. You can use Swedish Tracing Medium, tissue paper, project paper from the copy supply store, newsprint, or – my personal favorite – sew-in interfacing.

I will be interfacing the seam allowance where the zipper is installed, as well as the cuffs.

I never sew knits without several kinds of washaway stabilizer. If nothing else, I use them to start and finish construction seams (I will be demonstrating the process). 

What are washaway stabilizers? They are simply non-woven, non-knit products that stabilize either under or on top of the work, while we stitch, then are washed out with water and gentle agitation (or laundering). They make for better results on knits, and even the oldest, most antiquated zig zag sewing machine can sew knits easily using these methods. When it comes to washaway stabilizers, I always have a sticky and non-stick version on hand. I use Solvy’s Fabri Sticky Solvy (in a roll as well as printable sheets), and (for non-stick) Vilene plus. Bonus: the non-stick version can even be dissolved and painted on knit seam allowances to make for stable sewing – far cheaper than buying a stabilizing spray.

So – yeah. Pretty cool, huh?

Our sew-along starts December 1st. In the meantime, if you have any questions you can email, @kellyhogaboom on Twitter, or comment here.

For those of you who celebrate the holidays – this time of year can get pretty overwhelming. I am wishing you a serene, lovely few months!

no mama drama

I adore my new(ish) job, but there are decided quirks. For instance, budget problems are major issues amongst personnel and almost every day I’m there, someone is sniffing out “so… what exactly are you doing today?” All the more depressing considering my predecessor was gloriously underpaid and while “appreciated” (as in well-liked by all coworkers) – quiteunappreciated when it comes to working conditions.

So for me – even though there’s plenty that needs to be done, and lots of cleanup I’ve been messing with, and little training at navigating databases and lawful requirements – well still, many days I’m facing some direct or oblique form of, Is There Any Possible Way We Don’t Need You Here?

Now I am a patient woman, a competent worker, and a confident person, so I don’t get too excited if I think someone trying to get me to justify my contribution. Still, it is a bit depressing. I find my mind wandering to people are accustomed to living this way for their food and board, daily. Work is a trade – my best hours for your rate of pay. Where do we get the idea we’re lucky to have a job? Give me a break.

At two o’clock today I zip up my coat, pull on my wool cap, and bundle into my scarf, ready to brave the elements for a lunch break. A storm hit the Pacific Northwest this morning; now the Chehalis River is flooding and deadfalls are crashing to the backroads. The wind is lashing torrential rains against the grey little buildings squatting outside, cheerful lights flickering within. My coworkers take a moment from their clerical exertions to watch the storm. The joke they’ll see me blow across the street if I step outside.

But I need hot food. I’m going.

My husband and children are home, safe inside the house.  I’ve sent Ralph a grocery list, so he can get us a few things should we need them. The power might go out; we need to be as reasonably well-supplied as possible. We’ve got a fireplace and plan on putting it to a maiden voyage these days.

At four-thirty: home then, and caring for the family. It’s getting dark, but the road isn’t as wet as I’d feared.

Ralph cooks most meals these days – funny that! – but while he’s taking a nap tonight, the house is quiet. I enjoy making up our meal: mashing up garbanzo beans, mixing up herbs and spices and breadcrumbs for falafel cakes to fry. Pita, fresh out of the oven. I let the kids help – first putting away the clean dishes, then washing their hands and squeezing lemons, snipping fresh parsley, placing the hot bread in a cloth-covered bowl.

Tomorrow I have the day off; the storm seems to have died down. My car is out of commission – some kind of horrendous leak somewhere, we are still troubleshooting – and the bank account is, predictably, overdrawn.

But – so what? I’ve got safety, warmth, and a lotta love.

and a new fireplace!

First Fire

a place where my heart feels the safest

xxx ooo
Halloween sewing is over, and it’s time to make a bunch of wonderful things for little people!

"Vesper", A Winter Baby Ensemble
Shown here: “Vesper”, a four-piece ensemble I was inspired to make based on the baby-blue eyes of this lovely little girl I know. I wanted something in winter colors – here, bluebird, deep cherry, periwinkle, and ivory.

Some sewing-pr0n pix:

"Vesper", A Winter Baby Ensemble
I made little “fins” out of the interfaced jacket wool, just because. The shell of the hat is a novelty Halloween knit in olive, burnt sienna, bluebird, black, and fuschia. The hat’s cuff is in a jersey knit matching the sweater dress, and the hat is lined in the same periwinkle bamboo the leggings are made of.

"Vesper", A Winter Baby Ensemble
The sweater dress was actually the inspiration piece for the whole outfit! Now, there is a time for using a serger, but… to be honest… I rarely use mine. I love the hand-finished look of (in this case) traditional zig-zag. The nubbmly sweater knit is very light and even semi-sheer. Definitely want a onesie under this gear!

"Vesper", A Winter Baby Ensemble
The coat… a Christmas coat in a deep cherry 100% wool, flecked with ivory. Bright red snaps that match the rayon/linen pocket lining and the slipper satin jacket lining. Have I mentioned how much I love slipper satin? It is one of my favorite linings to work with – and it feels wonderful!

"Vesper", A Winter Baby Ensemble
How tiny can I make double-welt pockets? PRETTY DERN TINY! Do babies use pockets? THAT IS NONE OF YOUR CONCERN! I am always improving my welt pocket prowess. These were made using grosgrain ribbon which allows for a very firm welt.

"Vesper", A Winter Baby Ensemble
OOPS I lined the coat with faux fur! A minkee (I think) to be exact. I’m not sure where or when I got this fur – it was in the last year – but it is so very soft. It’s also very rugged as babies – let us be fair – are pretty messy!

"Vesper", A Winter Baby Ensemble
A very tiny bit of high-end sweater knit – I had hardly any left after making Phee a sweater last May – finishes the cuffs of these entirely-reversible bamboo leggings. No seams whatsoever to irritate baby’s skin. Finished at the waist with a three-step zig-zag:

"Vesper", A Winter Baby Ensemble

So… I was just wondering, was that baby cute? Maybe take another picture to see:

Smiling Babe!
Um – yup!

This ensemble is on Etsy, where a steady trickle of sales has helped us keep food in the fridge. And today I’m finishing my next baby ensemble, for a little boy. Stay tuned!

these precious days

One of my favorite things about the children is their cheerful and utter confidence they are worthwhile human beings. I call out to Ralph, “I’m going to turn up the heat just until I get into bed – it might get hot in here for a bit.” Before my husband can respond, Nels says, “That’s fine, mama,” placidly – he’s buried under a comforter in my bed, entirely pleased with himself and how the evening is going.

My kids are always assuming I’m addressing them, talking to them like grownups. They make me proud – every single day.

I thought maybe my youngest child would miss public school – after his one-year experiment in the medium last year – but he most certainly does not. The neighbor boys – who first trod on our lawn and then began to peek in at the kitchen door, especially after they were fed well at our Halloween party – now appear here and there, now on the stairs, now on the deck. Nels knows them all, directs them in minor yardwork, and conducts a variety of “Imagination” games in the autumn-soaked greenery. “Just so you know,” one thirteen year old tells me as I walk down the path to the car, past where the boys are sitting: “Nels is awesome.”

My sewing space is getting colder as the temperature falls outside. I find myself without wool and layers to bundle up in, and without a convenient way to heat the space. The occasional massive spider is gone, at least. Just me and my music, and little tiny sweater dresses for an infant, with a cranberry wool caot. Or perhaps a corduroy blazer size 2T in two shades of forest green. Because I just can’t get enough of that sort of thing!

The house quiets; Phoenix, finished with her math homework – which I am kind of amazed she can keep up on – is now drawing a new obsession, a character from one of her beloved cartoon programs. Ralph has made fresh brownies and they cool under a cloth, on the stove. Behind me, the dog groans and stretches, his blanket freshly washed in the morning housework Nels and I conducted.

The summer seems like it was ages ago, but the fall brings comforts. Hasn’t it ever?

crowdfunding my li’l boo

Readers: you have, over the last twelve years, supported me in a hundred different ways. I thank you for this, and today I have a special request.

Our 13-year old daughter is the youngest-ever student to enroll here at Grays Harbor College. She is doing well, halfway through her first quarter of college – a 95% in her math class, and high marks in her Life Drawing course. She is also finishing up a private Pastels class – this latter, paid for by a patron.

Tuition was due last week. It is pricey – about $100 per credit, per quarter. Our hopes to find her a scholarship have astonished me: most scholarships discriminate by age, making our bright, gifted daughter too young to qualify for traditional funding. Be assured Ralph and I are pursuing various options to help with these costs – but so far, as they say, bupkis.

To wit: you can help us immensely by either a one-time donation here via Paypal (or traditional mailing to P.O. Box 205 Hoquiam, WA 98550), or by supporting my daughter’s Patreon account. Please know that even a small sum monthly, will make all the difference for my daughter’s educational goals.

Phoenix Fire Hogaboom

I will be keeping this post updated if we receive scholarship funds, enrollment in Running Start, or a large enough donation to cover costs. And as always – thank you so much for your support.

Phoenix Hogaboom
c/o Kelly Hogaboom
PO Box 205
Aberdeen, WA 98520

Phoenix’s first pen-and-ink, for class last week:

Phoenix Fire Hogaboom

i got a man to stick it out, & make a home from a rental house

At the oddest times I suddenly feel like I’m living in a dream. I am loading the washing machine and I suddenly wonder: maybe I will wake up, and our lovely new home will be gone. We will be back in our rental. Nothing was particularly missing, or awry in our old place. But our new home is very, very special to us, and has felt like home from the very beginning.

Now that I’m working for the county a little over half-time, life has a tendency to fly by pretty fast. Today my supervisor asks me to stay late tomorrow, on Election Day – and I tell him, I have to go home and ask the family. It’s unreal to suddenly be working for pay, where there are a hundred (figurative) fires to put out, and not enough time, and every now and then you hear someone say something catty about someone else, which is seriously not something I’ve been around regularly as a homeschooling parent and artisan. And the public comes in and either tries to engage me in idle chit-chat while I’m obviously very busy – or maybe they say something really out of left-field. Or report a changing circumstance in their lives – something heartbreaking or just kind of unimaginable or different than anything I’ve thought about. And there is one issue after another, bam-bam-bam. The hours fly by, and then it’s time to go home!

The cold weather hasn’t set in yet, but the rains have. Yesterday while talking with a friend over coffee, a violent hailstorm of about three minutes’ duration shocked us all. My new house is on a hill, the living room window facing north to my neighbors at a higher elevation. It isn’t exactly an expansive plot of land, and the combination of this closeness and the trees in our neighborhood, help me feel safe, and secure.

Nights, Ralph and the children take our dog for a walk. Tonight three cats followed along. A few moments of quiet, and some time for me to journal. My daughter sits at the kitchen table and completes her homework – now that she’s in college, she’s completing a year of high school math in a quarter’s time. Somehow she’s adjusted to this as smoothly as the rest of us have adjusted. It’s going to take a bit for it to feel real, to feel like a new rhythm – although the old one feels so long ago.

jalie hoodie sew-along post 6: Step 6 assembly

Edit November 2015: the sew-along is finished! Below you can reach the different parts of the sew-along by clicking on an image. The tagset “jalie hoodie sew-along” contains any and all posts relating to the sew-along. Enjoy!

sal-m-1 sal-m-2
sal-m-3 sal-m-4 sal-m-5 sal-m-6
sal-m-7 sal-m-8

Jalie Hoodie Sew-Along Photo Badge
Hey there stitchers! Today, we have our final post. I have so appreciated those of you who’ve commented, emailed, and posted to the Facebook group. I hope you’ve had as good a time as I have!

So: onward and upward! We’re installing our inner collar, and finishing up!


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on awakening

This morning when I sat down to meditate, things seemed a bit muddled. I’ve been very ill, nothing serious, but debilitating. Too ill to work, or sew, or clean or cook. I knew I was a productive enough person, but I was not prepared to see just how much doesn’t get done, when I don’t do it.

It has been very difficult to watch the moments slip away and know that it means I can’t complete tailoring work, I can’t be in to my job in Elections where I am needed, I can’t make a meal for my family. Our bank is overdrawn for the first time in quite some time – hundreds, due to a series of fees that in inexperience I did not anticipate.

I can do nothing about this.

This morning I woke early. Sick or not, I am committed to a volunteer event I’d assigned myself too several months ago. About twenty to twenty-five individuals are traveling from the Seattle area, and I am hosting them – responsible for breakfast, lunch, and facilitating the event. I asked for help from my local chapter in this group – and only one person volunteered. 

As so many are wont to say: “It is what it is.” 

In meditation these thoughts – and a hundred more – come, swell to fruition, pass on. I come to realize over these few minutes that I do want to be there today, and want to feed and help my fellow volunteers. I am afraid of how ill I am, and that I will get worse, and that I won’t be able to do what I need to do – not just today, but in the days to come. I am uncertain – about so much. I am unsure as to how I’m going to pay for our keep. I am unsure of when I’ll get to rest again, when I’ll get a good night’s sleep.

But I don’t need to do all that right now.

Right now I let these thoughts come and go and I realize, I am very glad for the life I have. I am less sure than I was yesterday how things are going to go. But I am sure they are going to be fine.

jalie hoodie sew-along post 5: Step 5 assembly

Edit November 2015: the sew-along is finished! Below you can reach the different parts of the sew-along by clicking on an image. The tagset “jalie hoodie sew-along” contains any and all posts relating to the sew-along. Enjoy!

sal-m-1 sal-m-2
sal-m-3 sal-m-4 sal-m-5 sal-m-6
sal-m-7 sal-m-8

Hey there stitchers! Time to get back to hoodie-stitching! And before we start: here’s my second version of the Jalie hoodie:

I made this beauty as a cosplay piece for my daughter, at her request. Based off the iconic hoodie of emo, surly Robbie from “Gravity Falls”:

Robbie, "Gravity Falls"
So: onward and upward! We’re assembling our hood today!


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