party in the u.s.a.

Steev’s birthday party yesterday. Every single picture was taken by my children and these are all the pictures taken by them as well. They were sparing and quite artsy, methinks:

Party, Skewed

Ralph At Party



Today the sunshine continued – a tiny bite of cold creeping in. One of the nicest things for running for me are those days I have a breakthrough, marvelous session. Today was such a day. From the sighting of a woolly bear caterpiller to the boost in speed and distance and the two deer I saw and the glittering water and sunshine –

And today instead of just lifting my hand in a sedate acknowledgment of car and bike fellow travelers I did a full-on wave and smiled. And Every. Single. Car – so many – smiled and waved back! The bigger wave admittedly means I risk looking rather foolish but, I don’t care.

Today's Run

The View On My Run

It was beautiful today!

From a little earlier this year: gifts I made for JJ and Alden and their two bambinos (what a total fucking score I went searching for JJs blog address and I saw B. was wearing the hoodie!):
Hoodie For B., Booties For Baby Sib


Rayon Knit

We have a new mini-deity in our house and it’s called Minecraft. As might be expected Nels has been learning at an alarming rate. He is finally on the mend – his throat no longer sounds constricted and his tonsils are almost normal size. He still looks alarmingly thin and he has not been eating much. I’m plying bananas, milk and peanut butter and honey sandwiches. Let’s see how it goes.

veneno verde

It turns out I rather prioritize bullshitting and hanging out with dinner guests (tonight my sister Jules, my mom, and guest Randa) than taking pictures of the sewing I got up to while at the Lake. But in any case, here is my best effort documenting my business – for starters, a hoodie and pair of lounge pants with room to grow for my daughter:

Poor Creature


Center Back

Inside Outseam



Side Seam, Topstitched


Phoenix wanted a poison green something. I am so in love with the Imke hoodie I am happy for any excuse to make them. This one was made up in about an hour and from Joann’s cheap fleece. Funny as I was buying it I mused aloud I’d never sewn with it. The retail clerk said confidently, “Oh don’t worry, it’s very forgiving”. This made me laugh to myself because seriously? Fleece sewing is so 101 (for me – I prefer Malden Mills though). Anyway, later on while stitching I remembered I *had* made something from Joann’s fleece, so very long ago, an ivory and deep rose kind of baby bunting for my daughter. So very long ago or rather, so many projects ago I simply don’t remember. This is why, reader, I try – TRY – to take pictures!

Sewing while at the cabin, like baking pies (P.S. – I won, of course, and shoutout Paige re: “the incident”), is if not Traditional what I’d call Customary. I still remember the tender Thanksgiving awesomeness I made up on my little Spartan back in – I think – 2007 (I am too lazy to find good pictures but here’s my daughter wearing the dress).

While on vacation I also sewed a few gifts but I can’t, goddamnit, post them here (not now at least). Be assured I will publish their photographic memorialization when the recipients have received and opened the goods.

Tonight Phoenix was not interested in posing. And I don’t blame her. But I had to get pictures fast because she was already wearing the garments (a lot, and it’s very gratifying how much the kids like to wear my wares). I try to take the picture as soon as I can because I remember the lesson of the the ill-fated adorable striped knickerbockers I made Nels over a year ago – pants I painstakingly crafted and finished, took pictures of, and within the HOUR he’d spilled bleach on and destroyed them (in no way that could be salvaged).

& now? Time to snuggle my good-sport daughter.

Farben-mixing it up, an introduction

Kids need sturdy clothes, and hopefully ones that grow gracefully so the child can wear them long enough to wear them out (in the case of the blazer I made my son last summer, Nels continues to wear it despite growing five inches in a year; it is now comically too-short).  When my kids were wee their clothing needs were less intense; gone are the days of babies and toddlers who mostly don’t get up to too much rough play.

I mentioned late last month I’d purchased a book with children’s sewing patterns: Sewing Clothes Kids Love: Sewing Patterns and Instructions for Boys’ and Girls’ Outfits (published by Creative Publishing International). The book’s patterns and scope are such that I’ve been inspired to complete all the garments therein and write about it here.  I hope all my readers – stitchers and non-sewists alike – find my travels interesting.

A few questions answered:

Why Sewing Clothes Kids Love?

The book Sewing Clothes Kids Love (hereafter called “the Farbenmix book”) has a good scope.  In the ten patterns of the book we see practical kidwear that can be constructed according to the age, preferences, and tastes of each child.  There are ten patterns in size ranges Euro 86 cm to 152 cm (roughly 2T to size 14).  The patterns are not complex in and of themselves and favor loose and comfortable fits, pull-on waists, and elastic or tie features to accommodate a growing and active child.

In addition, the Farbenmix book showcases a high attention to detail and embellishments, the kind of things most children love. It provides a few guidelines for making sure to create something your kid will like and select from the closet over and over again.  As those who sew for others know, you have to create something the individual loves, or he/she simply won’t wear it.  I’m pretty good at knowing what friends and family like. The ideas and pictures in the Farbenmix book provide additional influences and inspiration for which I am ready and grateful to use.

It is not a perfect book; most of the patterns are styled with distinctly feminine embellishments and pattern lines, leaving creative boy-styled garments in the lurch.  However, the focus on garments that play and grow with the child and express children’s unique sensibilities make it a project full of Win for me.

Is this project expensive?

Not really.  Home-sewing can be as cheap or as pricey as you make it.  In addition, home sewing stands for lots of wear.  I have never purchased clothes that last as long as the ones I sew – yes, even on my kids who regularly climb trees, play War and kickball, and rough-house like no one’s business.  Homesewn items can have a life beyond those you purchase; yesterday my daughter went to a dance in a dress I made – which had doubled as her Halloween costume last year – and her friend attended the same event in Sophie’s dress form the year before.

Is sewing a money-saving venture?  I leave that for others to bicker about.  I will say: homesewing takes time, but it’s time I’m thrilled to spend.

Is this project appropriate for beginners?

Well, yes and no.  Familiarity with sewing, tracing patterns, adding seam allowances, and fitting children will be a big help – all of which I have in spades.  However, a beginner might find themselves intimidated by the many new concepts they have to wrangle at once.  If you’d like to tackle the book and would like assistance, please don’t hesitate to email me at kelly AT hogaboom DOT org or call me at (360)532-9453.

Why sew for kids?

Ready for me to get pop-culture specific?  Well here goes anyway.  The current craft and homesewing scene is glutted with pornographically cute and often trivial craft projects.  These books and sites often contain photographs of adorable (usually white) children doing cute, non-kidlike and non-messy things on sun-washed oak floors; concomitant to this we have the craftster culture of shoddy and fast results meant to clad the (usually thin, young, and white) urban hipster and her closetful of eclectic fare.  At the other end, a few monolithic sites showcase rather dressy enterprises for adults’ formal or dressy garments, highlighting tailored techniques.

These markets are being served just fine, and all of these projects have their individual merit.  I am all for a newbie sewer having luck embellishing tea towels, then going on to try something more ambitious. In addition, tailor-made details are some I thrive on when it’s appropriate to employ them.

Yet my life is one of caring for a family with young children and a houseful of pets – and one income.  I can’t afford too many expensive fabrics while keeping up with my kids’ demand.  The Farbenmix book is a perfect avenue to continue sewing expressive, strong, beautiful clothing for people who work and play hard.

If this sounds like something you’d like to do, I’d love to help you.

So let’s get started!