Movie Date

i titter & coo / like i’m a cartoon / i congratulate you / as i leave the room

We’re in a group of about thirteen people all watching a film – and next to me my son sits in his white fur cap, content as possible. I watch him as he eats popcorn and tidily drinks from a small can of Sprite soda. His elven profile tears at my heart. I am rendered entirely helpless at how much I love him, and his sister, how they are my everything life and limb and body.

Today I dug into rent money to take my children – and two others – to the movie, and then for pizza dinner. I popped popcorn and hit the drugstore candy aisle and all that stuff because I will work for it, to give them a decent memory on their Winter vacations from school. All that work to try to get us to the theater on time and watching the film I am almost entirely disinterested; I check my phone as discretely as I can. I have a special exhaustion that seems fruitless and yet serene. I just have to move my body from here to there, to wash dishes, to cook pizzas, to direct children to wash hands or get ready for bed – et cetera, et cetera.

Last night was the second night in a row my son falls asleep right next to me, where I sit – crumpled up against me, his body turns heavy and his breathing even. As much as his interests have turned to school, for now (well – kickball and P.E., really), he is still a little boy who finds comfort in his mother. Why he seems so young and his sister – so much more sedate, darkling, older than her years – seems so grown, I do not know. It’s a rather dreadful juxtaposition as I’m torn between being too-important and not-important-enough, depending on which child I behold. Both children seek out my arms often and when I hold them I’m just wrecked in so many ways.

A Christmas package in the mail: a project knit in secret. Homemade Christmas cards. Yoga, and some time to myself on the mat. Breathing out a deep “cleansing breath” and feeling my face against synthetic plastic and knowing my husband is now at home, caring for the children. Dinner will be ready when I arrive and another day will come to a close.

Day in and day out, caring for younglings, one can learn quite a bit about the Right Stuff for the Right Reasons.

Movie Date

a story you can’t see

Today – at least – I snapped a picture of the jacket gifted to a wee gentleman at his 2-year birthday party.

Birthday Coat For J.

Double-sided fleece, self-drafted pattern. Super-pointy hood and seven hand-made pom poms. Trippin on pom pom-makin, biatches


Yesterday morning I wake –

after only a few hours sleep –

to the most oppressive sense of fear.

Slaps me awake and lasts at least half the day. I’m up and I try to do a few things then rest, but I can’t. My mind keeps trying to find a way out of the fear. I can’t think of anything else for long, before jolting back. Might as well make the coffee. Hot shower. Time to get up and go. Got responsibilities.

My mind like to drive me mad. Thinking, thinking, over-thinking. Trying to set it aside but it rises up again through my body. Fear racing through my chest and my kids talk to me, my husband asks after me, and I answer as best I can when I can pull my mind off the fixation. Can they tell? I don’t know. I don’t think so. They’d ask if they knew something was wrong.

Days like today I remember smoking. Pulling on a cigarette, getting that edge. Somehow it always seemed to help, keep me in that space of what I thought was alertness, but in reality: agitation.

And anyway: I quit smoking a while back. And now I’m over the bridge and into breaking sunlight when I know the only thing that will help me, since I’ve done prayer on my knees and lit a candle and eaten food and tried to breathe and tried to quit thinking, is to Help Others. Help Without Regard For Return. It’s not even like I think I get some reward if I help. It’s that the state of Helping takes me somewhere different, and things shift, and clarity comes.

My daughter wraps her arms around me. “Love me,” she says. I hold her and kiss the top of her head, her dry straw-scented hair; Heaven. Later. Running bath water. Kitchen light low. Hot water and a tablespoon of molasses. A heater ticks in the dark. My arm: aching. The laughter of my son in another room.

Cold to the bone, a darkness stretching out. Only a small candle but it’s enough.





slant rhyme

made some hats
need some scratch


buy this batch?

Also: if you are a local, I am looking for babies and kids as models, so I can photograph some of my creations. I have several items that are not being published in any way because I do not have children to model them. I am hoping especially for newborns in the zero to three months’ range; also kids up to three. AND of course any child model (and carer) gets a lovely Hoga-playdate plus a hand-sewn or hand-knit bit of loveliness from YOURS TRULY.

So. That’s it, for now.

creatures of the night

"Raquel" On Her 2nd Night Hostessing
Ralph aka “Raquel” in night two of MCing at a mini-drag show at the Theatre. He was by far the most beautiful and elegant lady there.

Movie Night

Up late; old movie. Warm blankets and wry quips.

Phee, Ready For Bed


Phee: my nighttime snuggle date. Drawing, sketching as per usual.


This afternoon:

Pressure cook beans and then I kept them on too high and vented pressure and it went nuts; formed like a bean-water spa, but since I’d rinsed them well after soaking it was a rather pleasant smell / carefully set outside on the porch and then:

Slice up carrots and garlic and the leftover ham; carefully dice canned whole tomatoes making sure no stem or skin passes into the soup, seasoning and broth and raw spinach stirred in at the end /

a cast iron skillet of cornbread

bowls on the big table, set for however many kids were running in and out. Cutting a paper pattern and answering the phone, helping other alcoholics stay sober for Today

washing dishes in hot soapy water and listening to Promise and the Monster

a fine mingling of letting go and holding on

“That’s what I can do with my fifty dollars,” my daughter muses quietly, mostly to herself. I say, What’s that? and she replies, “I can give it to a homeless person.” She turns her eyes to me; they are large, liquid brown, filled with love; her eyes are smiling. “The eyes of the Buddha”, a friend recently reported to me about this child.

I wrap my arms around her while we wait in line; a small number of household sundries in the Walmart. I had a rough morning today, worse than I’ve had in a while. Being out with my daughter is balm, soothing my nerves.

It’s cold enough out that in the evenings and early mornings one has to be careful not to slip on black ice. It gets dark so early it feels like I’m living in darkness. Today a friend mentions Spring and it reminds me how deep into winter I go. I resign myself to the cold and depths, and I hold on for dear life. Somehow I forget that Spring comes, I really do.

[ deep breath ]

look what I can do!

Harley's Faux Fur Vest

One piece of two, made for my friend A. for her Christmas gifts. Also, my beautiful daughter modeling (she is the same height as the recipient; thinner). Information about the garment at the bottom of the post.

Harley's Faux Fur Vest

One fur hook at neck, for closure. If the recipient wants more hooks installed I will do this gratis. It hangs very nicely but swings a little with movement.

Harley's Faux Fur Vest

Harley's Faux Fur Vest

Very insulating. It was quite cold when we walked to the coffee shop & phee, with her arms exposed, was perfectly warm.

Harley's Faux Fur Vest

In this case, my client selected and brought me the fabric and the lining. This is something I am often not into doing but it worked out great. This faux fur was quite a bit more challenging than YETI-riffic fur. Additionally, it required lining up not only a striped pattern, but a striped pattern in a scallop. Yeah, I know! A total challenge. However I lucked out with yardage spacing, and returned quite a bit of faux fur to the client who now is pondering what she might or might not want to make with it. Faux fur is fabulous, but it is also quite bulky. I think some boot liners/leg warmers would be choice!

Harley's Faux Fur Vest

The lavender satin the client chose was so pretty – and a nice weight, making for a garment with a lot of weight. Very delicious. I added in-seam pockets, also in satin.

Harley's Faux Fur Vest

Very silky fur! Phee is not so excited about being a model here. Can you tell?

Harley's Faux Fur Vest

Close-up of the armscye binding. An over-dyed cotton print, which I also used to make the thread-drawn patch:

Harley's Faux Fur Vest


Harley's Faux Fur Vest

This faux fur had a nice drape. I drafted a self-facing for the jacket, which is flipped over here to show you the inside of the garment.

Harley's Faux Fur Vest

Harley's Faux Fur Vest

Harley's Faux Fur Vest

Phee & her DGAF face. I think I might start paying her to model. Children are more becoming when they smile!

Harley's Faux Fur Vest


Tips: Sewing A Faux Fur Jacket

A looonnnng post, y’all. YETI-riffic I just finished YETI-riffic, which is one of my daughter’s Christmas presents – and, because it was so much fun, I thought I’d write up some of the process. 

First yes, I get on this Christmas stuff early (or: “on time”, if you’re like me and make most of your gifts). And second yes, I’m posting a surprise present here on my blog. Guess why I can? Because my daughter is one person I know who DGAF about my blog. I don’t think she’s ever read it except maybe over my shoulder. She’s way too busy with her own badass stuff.

I was so pleased with the project I documented along the way, and I have a bit of advice for any who’d like to tackle faux fur. If you have any questions, please put them in the comments or email me (kelly AT hogaboom DOT org) and I’ll answer them here. And before I start – thank you so much Josh Moll and Elizabeth Gish, two readers who donated funds for my daughter’s jacket, which was not inexpensive. Without the support of readers I might not have made the jump to try something new! I have another client who dropped off faux fur for another project, which I’ll be starting soon. So – let’s get going!

Fabrics & Supplies

Do you pick the pattern or the faux fur fabric first? Experienced stitchers probably won’t find this a troublesome question. Me, I think you should go with the fur that speaks to you. But take a few minutes to think about it, because your pattern and/or your fur are going to determine a lot about how you proceed. I used a high-quality, long-napped “llama” fur from Harts Fabric for this project. Faux fur: The fur should drape nicely & feel pretty good for a coat-weight. Most faux furs are on a poly-knit backing. You want to pick the right fur. Some furs are so poorly-made I genuinely feel sorry for anyone who’d sew or wear them. That said, this llama you see here? $40 a yard. So if you see a good deal on good fur, grab it up. Make sure you get enough yardage for the nap requirements (picking a pattern that is drafted for faux fur, or for a napped fabric, will help you). Pattern: Pick a simple pattern with simple lines. The faux fur will make it fabulous, promise! And besides, any fancy details may be swallowed up by the fur (depending on the fur). In this case, I opted for in-seam pockets (more later), a generous hood, and flat-set sleeves. I also omitted facings and just lined the coat in full, prick-stitching the entire lining to the shell for structure and formal fanciness (more later). Interfacing / Underlining: This will depend on the fur and the pattern; most faux fur ends up being so warm that no underlining is needed. In the coat mentioned above, I used a fusible interfacing but then secured it to the coat. A sew-in interfacing is probably best; you can work on practicing patience as you hand-stitch it in. Lining: A mid-weight lining fabric is best. Something too light will work, but might not hold up to the wear that the faux fur lends itself to. I used a slipper satin, fairly heavy for a lining. Thread: 100% polyester is fine. While you’re at it, pick up a heavy-duty needle for the fur, a sharp needle for the lining, and – if you’re lining the hood or cuffing with knit, like I did here – a stretch or ballpoint for that.

General Sewing Tips

Pre-washing / pre-treating: You shouldn’t have to do this with most polyester fabrics (the satin and the fur). However, I do recommend for any slippery fabric this neat little trick of firming it up with gelatin Yeah, you heard. I used two packets gelatin in the smallest load in my washer, for my two yards satin. It worked great. The satin handled better and didn’t shift during sewing and cutting. Note, you will need to wash this gelatin out after construction, so skip this step if you’re going to want to dry-clean only. Faux fur, and linings etc, can all be hand-washed as long as you don’t have a tailored structure in the coat – and in this case, I don’t. Cutting and handling: Cut only, only the backing of the faux fur. This can be done with the tips of your scissors or an X-acto knife. Cut each piece out separately (no folding and then cutting as for so many fabrics) and make sure not to cut any pieces upside-down, or cut two left-side hood pieces, et cetera. Heavy petting: Sewing with faux fur is easier – and less messy – than you might think. Cut only the backing, and continue to comb the fur before stitching each seam – and you’ll only need a brief pass with the lint roller at the end of the project. Sewing machine settings: I used three fabrics for this project, and all three need vastly different treatments. Use a zig zag stitch for the fur and for the knit (if you use a knit); use a short straight stitch for the satin. All three fabrics need three different needles (heavy-duty for the fur; stretch/ballpoint for the knit; sharp for the lining). If you have three sewing machines (DON’T LAUGH, ASSHOLES!), you can set them all up accordingly and whiz through the project. When sewing on the fur, you can use a fairly wide zig zag as it will not show in the finished seam. The looser the zig zag, the easier it is to tease the fur back out of the seam after sewing, and therefore get a seamless look. However the looser the zig zag, the more likely you could lose a seam. Test on a scrap to figure out what you’d like to do. Use a tight seam for the satin and don’t trim or pink the satin as it frays quite a bit. Steam press (on the correct setting, not too hot!) after every seam for a good-looking lining. If you hate making linings – many do – make the lining first. For my lining technique, I typically leave a stretch in one of the sleeves open so that I can attach the lining and the jacket in the “bagged” style of lining attachment (I’ll link to that a little further along, here). Trimming, Notching, Grading: You might do a bit less of these than typical garment-sewing. For one, the coat style is going to be a bit loose. so reducing bulk is less of an issue. Secondly, be careful on any notching and trimming of ravelly fabrics like linings (depending on the lining). If you simply must trim closely, make sure you’ve reinforced with a stitch 1/32″ from the seam line, or some other technique to ensure you won’t have a seam come undone. I haven’t had a lining seam come undone in many years and I have the best “testing lab” there is – very active, rambunctious children as clients.

ENOUGH, Now On To The Coat!

Here are a few photos as I worked up the coat. First: the lining. Applying interfacing; in this case, to the front placket. I fused and then sewed, attaching with a prick-stitch. Prick-stitch is a form of back-stitch, very strong and dare I say, pretty. Technique: YETI-riffic Backside: YETI-riffic Front – which remember, will be against the body: YETI-riffic Sewing the lining together. Sharp needle and small stitch. About 1/2″ seam allowance – and no trimming. Press after each seam: YETI-riffic Sleeves. These are sewn in flat (both the lining and the jacket), so – easy. I only pin at the shoulder seam juncture. I always put the sleeve down, against the machine, as its sewing line has a bit more ease. I put my fingers in between the sleeve and the body and ease the sleeve in. No pins, super-fast. For me, anyway. The fur, same process, but more fiddling to comb that fur into the body of the coat. If you look, it may be hard to see where the fabric is and where my needleplate tape is. Well TOO BAD, I can’t go back and take a better photo: YETI-riffic Here I’m sewing toward the hem of one sleeve, leaving a gap in a sleeve – basically, a bagged method of attaching a lining (which deserves its own tutorial). Note, I stitched from the sleeve hem to the gap’s edge, then turned around and stitched back. Sturdy, and no thread-tails at the gap. YETI-riffic Underarm of the jacket. Knowing how active my kids are, I did a few reinforcing stitches here. Running from upper left to lower right diagonally, the side seam. My fingers are on the sleeve seam which has been pressed open before stitching: YETI-riffic OK. Now time to talk about sewing with the fur. As I’ve said, if you cut the fur properly, and sew with it properly, there is hardly any mess at all. If you just start hacking away, SO MUCH FUR-DRAMA. Here is a seam before and after I’ve pinned and combed it to illustrate how manageable it really is. Before: YETI-riffic After: YETI-riffic You note that after pinning right-sides together, I gently push in the fur towards the right side of the garment. Sew according to the nap, towards the direction the fur falls. It is worth it to make sure to do this for every seam, sometimes stopping – say at the armpit – and switching things up. Here you see what I’m talking about: YETI-riffic Experienced stitchers will know what they’re looking at, and beginners might be confused. Here you are seeing the side seam of the coat, with the sleeves attached and the satin pocket on the left (I’ll talk about the pocket in a minute). I’ve pinned on the side I’ll be sewing on, given things go a lot better when the bulk of the garment is to the left of your needle. Since I’ve got to sew DOWN the coat while sewing the body (to stay with that nap), and DOWN the sleeve when sewing the sleeve, my pins switch sides. Anyway, taking this care will make a nicer garment – trust me. So how did that pocket get up in there? Here’s a bit about where things get tricky – sewing satin to the fur. In this case, in-seam pockets. I drafted this pattern myself, so I just made up a couple pockets. You can buy a book or look it up online but inseam pockets are fairly intuitive. First, I attached one satin pocket piece to one side seam, right-sides together, combing the fur as I’ve mentioned. I will be sewing with that smaller stitch – not the zig zag – for the sake of the satin, which needs a firm stitch so it won’t ravel. I sew just shy of the seam allowance, so about 3/8″ for this project: YETI-riffic Now I flip it (I always picture Jim Carrey in the Lemony Snicket movie when I say “flip it”, he says it twice in different settings and both incidents are hilarious) and look, an awesomely luxurious half-pocket, waiting for its life-partner: YETI-riffic Sewing the side seam and the pockets all-in-one. If you’ve measured carefully and pinned carefully, everything comes together wonderfully: YETI-riffic Pockets done. & admit it. The result is like a beautiful bit of ladybusiness: YETI-riffic My son, who modelled the coat for photos, LOVES that you can’t see the pockets, or any seams, from the outside of the garment! Attaching the lining and the jacket. Here I am sewing along the jacket hem which means I have some awkward fur business (Awkward Fur Business is the name of my emo music project). You can push up the fur toward the coat but you’re still going to catch some fur in the stitching line. Even though my coat looks good, I have since thought of a better treatment for this, and I’ll be putting up an auxiliary link on that option for my next faux fur garment. Which is coming right up, by the way! YETI-riffic Here’s the coat as I’m “bagging” that lining. I love lining garments this way because at this stage the whole thing looks like fuckery, but you are only seconds away from turning it right-side out and having a beautiful garment! You notice I’m sewing a straight stitch here – again, it’s something I’m doing for the sake of that ravelly-ass satin. YETI-riffic Like just look how pretty it all is together. Can you believe, I ordered everything online, but I just KNOW what kind of shit will look good together! YETI-riffic Fur hooks (no zipper, duh!), attached with dark orange cotton thread. You can also see that prick stitch I put in the lining edge. YETI-riffic So. Cozy. & radsauce. YETI-riffic YETI-riffic OOPS, Nels is too cute again! YETI-riffic YETI-riffic