Kelly Hogaboom, Pyjamas Livestream

“seams legit” sewing lesson: pyjama pants!

It’s April, and spring is well underway here in the Pacific Northwest! We had a lovely time sewing a bralette in March; and this month we are stepping into woven fabrics (literally) by creating a simple pair of pyjama pants with pockets!

Let’s talk about this month’s project!

Whether or not we know it at the time, most of us first start our sewing exploits with woven fabrics. They are stable, they are more generally available (many of us small-town stitchers get our start by using the quilting cottons from local shops) and for a variety of reasons they are used in more beginner projects and classes.

This has been changing of late, though. With the advent of more independent sewing pattern designers we are seeing far more patterns designed for knit fabrics. This has led to a larger baseline knowledge of knit-sewing in the DIY community, as well as many knit custom fabric suppliers – a wonderful change indeed!

A Little Sun

one-legged balance

A Little Sun

Any engaged, active parent will tell you that children and teens go through stages we aren’t ready for. I’m not talking about childhood milestones – losing their baby teeth, learning to walk, mastering the ability to read – landmarks which are fairly universal and usually bring much delight in those whirlwind years of early parenting.

I am talking about those changes that we wrestle with, because they are shifts of personality and values that are stark, startling, and profound. I’m talking about the upheavals we weren’t ready for and that knock us back a bit – or a lot. These are stages we usually navigate pretty gracelessly – at first not seeing the sea change for what it is, fighting it or unconsciously resisting it – and then scrambling to keep up as we begin to comprehend: Our child is different now!  Twenty years ago I remember my friend Parker telling me about the last time he held his son’s hand, when the boy was twelve. He had somehow caught that it would be the last time (what a gift!), and he’d treasured this deeply as they walked together down a forest lane.

I understand the pain and sweetness of such an experience just a little more, today.

My youngest child is going through such a change. I have not, in my decades of parenting experience, previously beheld such an abrupt shift. This is a child who coslept with me into his double-digit years, and who every day would approach me several times to hug and kiss, who has been sitting on my lap long past the time he surpassed me in height. This is a child who since the age of three would tenderly chide his “Little Mama!” and offer sly, loving affections most times I entered the room. I have homeschooled this boy and I have had more time with him than most parents ever get with theirs. I drank up deep draughts of those days and I never grew tired of the elixir; I always found it delicious. Day after day of these caresses and his beautiful brown arms tangling up in mine and his laughter like crystal warming the home. I had this Eden for as long as one could.

Those days – are gone.

And I mean they are gone, and the change happened within just a few days – after almost fifteen years of such a bounty. I can’t begin to express my shock and confusion.

At first, you know, I thought something was wrong. I thought he was going through a distraction; I thought he was having a bad couple of days.

***

I practice yoga every single day of my life; I have been doing so for a few years. The other morning I moved through several one-legged balancing and strength postures – Tree, One-legged Tadasana, Warrior Three – with confidence, with joy and swiftness, and with a smoothness that has been patiently earned. As I hung suspended in air I reflected on this stability; it has arrived only after years of fairly unglamorous body work, of actively and repetitively engaging all these muscles large and small, finding new support through a myriad of subtle counterbalances. Now these once-difficult movements are a joy to me and this physical delight carries me through the rest of my day. Such is the benefit of yogic practice.

I’ve been practicing parental yoga for years, every day, too. I don’t wobble like I used to. It took me about a week to realize my son had shifted; only a week to perceive things had once again changed, forever. Upon this awareness a torrent of emotions flooded my body and mind; surprise being the foremost, quickly giving way to shock. And I felt, and still feel, a profound grief radiate from within my body’s center, a body blow that is so massive and middle-deep that I can patiently feel this bruise and know that it will last, it won’t shift swiftly. Hello grief! Welcome. Again.

I know, too, that what my child needs the most right now is privacy, respect, and personal dignity; I know not to whine or complain about the change because I have other, better ways to process my pain. After a couple days’ awkwardness, I stopped asking him for hugs. I stood at my kitchen sink and held my loneliness in my hands and knew I would treasure it; it is mine after all, it is not something he or anyone else created within me. It is the gift of many years’ floods, swelling on the beach and warming the sands, and now the sky has turned cold for a little while and frost creeps around the edges.

I started, instead, offering hugs to this child – offering, not demanding – less frequently than I would like. After a day or two he came out of his standoffishness; he hadn’t asked me to change, but he clearly appreciated my retreat. I have slowed down and become more circumspect in how I address him. I ask his preferences. He hugs me differently, the earthy sunshine shifting out of his straw-colored hair and a remote coolness within his slender body; his shoulders ever-broader and his physicality a glancing one. I am patient. I can survive.

And of course, as is my prerogative, I have engaged him directly – but only a little. A little, a little – no lectures and no feelings-talk. I will tell him about my feelings at some point but I will give it time, and I will share with him two sentences or so. For now: I am a parent, and I have a beautiful obligation.

Two days ago I sit with this child over morning coffee and I ask him if he is angry with me; he’d spoken maybe fifteen words to me the day before. His face clouds and a flinch of irritation passes over his countenance and he says, “You said it was just a stage.”

I think carefully before I respond. “Yes – and no. The part of you that doesn’t want to hug or kiss, that doesn’t want to snuggle and that wants to spend all your time with your friends – that’s a stage. That’s a normal part of development, and it’s a good thing. That will pass and who knows what will happen next.”

I continue: “But the part of you that is angry with me, that has thoughts about me and how I behave, those are things we should talk about.” After a moment, he shares. He has been feeling acute unfairness with regards to a housework duty. He believes I favor his older brother in this regard. I ask questions. We talk. After a few moments I can see he feels heard and understood.

We propose changes to our routine, and later in the day we bring them to the other two family members.

I know there is more to talk about. But not all in one day.

When I was a child, my strong emotions and behavioral changes were not treated skillfully. I was called names – “little Hitler”, “asshole”, I was told repeatedly that I was selfish. I was yelled at to “Show some respect!”; I was slapped. I was mocked for displaying strong emotions and I was belittled for how deeply I felt them. I was told, “Don’t be upset!” By the time I was a teenager I felt ashamed of my strong feelings, particularly anger or aggression. I felt a strong pressure to hide these experiences under a mask of civility and inauthenticity. I’d long lost the memory of what it felt like to seek out my parents for physical affection and comfort.

How I was raised, was not good enough for our future. My partner and I have made a different path.

So: my children will not know these humiliations in their home. They will know respect, privacy, and deep nurture. These periods of change, these are the times when we most need to honor their dignity. This is when the habits of our earlier parenting come to the fore and we reap what we’ve sown.

I grew this practice. This balancing practice. It is not without its wobbles, but it is surprisingly stable all the same. I planted this practice while they were small; I patiently tended it every day with ferocity and with persistence.

It sustains us still.

***

If you like my works on parenting, please sign up to receive notices about my upcoming publication:

HOW NOT TO FUCK UP YOUR CHILD
(ANY MORE THAN THE WORLD FUCKS WITH THEM ALREADY)
(working title)
(shipping date TBA)

For March: Bralette Sewing (Livestream)

“seams legit” sewing lesson: a bralette!

It’s March – already! We had a lovely time sewing briefs last month; this month we continue our lingerie efforts by making a bralette.

A reminder that for all sew-alongs you need:

1. a machine with it’s manual, tuned-up, that can sew a balanced zig-zag
2. the supplies listed in the pattern, as well as a thorough read-through of the pattern you use

From here on out we will be cutting with a rotary cutter and mat. March 15th I will also list some preparation work we can do for the bralette sew-along, to make sure our livestream class goes smoothly!

So! Let’s talk about this month’s project!

2019 "Seams Legit" calendar

“seams legit” calendar & schedule

Today we went live on Facebook and made up our Jalie socks; we had a great time! I was especially pleased that several people sewed their own socks along with me, and others gave feedback on the stream. This kind of participation really helps me create a helpful and coherent stream.

If you are just finding this post, but want to make the socks yourself, you can start at my materials list, and continue on.

Kelly Hogaboom, Thermal Socks Livestream

“seams legit” sewing lesson: thermal socks!

Update: the streaming class is available here on Facebook. A little of the audio is muted but only here and there; you should be able to follow along just fine.

Happy New Year!

Dear readers, I have been working very hard on developing my streaming sewing channel – with loads of help from you all! I am still working on some of the tech assembly – lights, and additional cameras and furnishings – and to that end your donations help me a great deal. If you have the funds, any amount helps. Thank you for your support!

aromatic cooking

Tonight I carefully slice into a red bell pepper, then a green one, and finally a cheerful purple onion. I cut a quarter wedge from each of these and slice as thinly as my patience will allow. I am exhausted, and I am trying to prepare a new dish. So I move slowly; but I do move. I heat up two types of tortillas (microwave under a damp cloth napkin) and wrap them in heavy foil packets into the warmed oven. Having pickled a jalapeño (while the others roast in oil and salt), I dice it finely and add to the marinade hosting thick tempeh slices. I halve cherry tomatoes into a bowl and gently combine them with a little oil, salt, sugar: set aside. I fry up the seitan chick’n strips – having pre-baked them dry and chewy in the oven – and add the peppers and onions and more pickled jalapeño. The kitchen warms brilliantly with the fragrance of peppers and onions and the family cheers a little. Finally: I slice avocado, bring out the lime cashew cream, and the purple slaw, my husband prepared earlier. We don’t set the table as my work is spilled across it, but join one another convivially on the couch to watch a quaint baking show before we go our separate ways again for the evening.

Living Room

dry goods

Living Room

I have these waves of beyond-exhaustion that come and go. Life is not easy at the moment, but it there is much to be grateful. I am bone-tired but also exhilarated; a nearly bottomless fount of creative energy, and a lot of wonderful support from my community. We have our health. Ralph’s job is going well, and the kids are thriving. We’ve got Christmas handled but that said, it’s always a challenge for me to pace myself during such an intense time of the year.