weekend away + magnolia cardigan

5 October 2015 § Leave a comment

magnolia cardigan | respite

If you follow me over on instagram,
you will have seen bits and pieces from our recent weekend away
to my grandparents’ idyllic home.
We all love visiting them, and now that the boys are a little older
they have a lot more freedom to play in the fields and woods.
But this weekend was all about the bows that they made with great-grandpa.
From his birthday book, W got the idea to make a bow for target shooting.
With Grandpa’s experience as an archer
they were able to make working long bows.
It was the thrill of the weekend!
(picture heavy post coming up, if you want to just see the knitting info click here)

toadstool | respitemorning field | respite  pointing out the flock of turkeysbirches | respite archer with his bow | respite archer | respite antique heirloom apple

earned through scouts by walking 50 miles

earned through scouts by walking 50 miles

We spent hours outdoors, despite the first truly cold weekend:
tromping around in the woods,
spotting deer and turkeys,
looking for animal tracks,
picking, and trying to identify, heirloom apples.
And, as always, we were all sad to go home.

magnolia cardigan | respite magnolia cardigan | respitemagnolia cardigan | respite morning walk | respitemorning walk | respite
With the cold weather,
I was able to wear my new magnolia cardigan for the first time.
And really, I didn’t take it off the whole weekend.
Toasty, soft, and in love with the color.

For the knitters out there, here are the specs:
Magnolia Cardigan by Joji 
3 skeins Madeleine Tosh Merino Light in the color dirty panther
and a shout out to Jimmy Beans Wool who went above and beyond
to help me find the exact shade of variegated charcoal black that I wanted,
based off a photo on pinterest!
4mm needles for the body, 3mm for the buttonband (still need to find buttons!)

Modifications ::

~changed garter stitch to stocking stitch
~provisionally cast on both back and fronts, knit to underarms, then did a 3 needle bind off on the inside for more stability in the shoulders.
~used my favorite Carol Sunday’s Short Rows technique for short row shaping rather than the usual w&t
~knit the upper body to the size M length. Picked up the Medium sleeve stitch count as well.
~knit body to 16” then did 1×1 ribbing for 2 inches, with Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy bind off
~alternated skeins to avoid pooling
~buttonband is approx 9 rows (double the pattern) with 6 buttonholes
~love the yarn color, I am curious how the yarn will hold up re: pilling because it is so soft and is not a blend. i will update after a few months wear.

All in all, both a weekend and a sweater to love!


5 October 2015 § Leave a comment

birthday boy | respitebirthday cake |respite birthday cake | respite birthday gifts for an 8 year old | respite

candles | respite

Oh, how belatedly I am writing this post.
So many intentions to write,share,
and remember
but time just slips away.

W’s 8th birthday was a month ago.
And birthdays are a special thing around here.
The one day that is all about you.
Your likes, dislikes, and wishes catered to.

Extended family celebrations surrounded his day,
an ice cream party at the park.
His actual birthday included a dinner of bangers and mash,
a raspberry sponge cake with whipped cream,
and gifts selected with his funny and diverse interests in mind.

A jellycat kitty he named Victoria
This fun book full of activities and lessons geared towards boys, but would be great for girls as well
A tee with a contrast pocket
A solar system puzzle with wall poster
A feather headdress made from feathers found on our walks
(sanitized in a combo of hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol)
and a polar bear  for his cake

It is hard to believe that he is 8 and in second grade,
but what a wonderful day he had.

*the amazon links are affiliate ones, and if you purchase directly from the link I make a small percentage off the sale.*

diy: overdyeing a silk shirt

9 August 2015 § Leave a comment

overdyeing a patterned silk shirt | respite

A couple years ago I clearance purchased a patterned silk tee from JCrew, 
And even though I wore it quite a bit while it was new,
it would sit for months in my closet unworn
(pink is not a color I gravitate towards).
until I realized that overdyeing it black would up its chances of being worn.

Although I have dyed wool from a natural state,
overdyeing an already patterned item made me slightly more hesitant.
But since it wasn’t a favorite as it was,
the worst that would happen is a lesson learned,
and if it did work then all the better!

Before I began, I wanted to make sure that I did everything properly,
and looked up a few tutorials using RIT dyes.
However, very few talked about using actual silk, or it was for the shibori method
and I couldn’t find any about overdyeing a patterned item.

In the end, I threw caution to the wind (sort of),
bought a bottle of liquid RIT dye in True Black,
and did the following:

~ Mix a paste of baking soda, dish soap, and hydrogen peroxide and pretreat any stains. This also removes underarm/deodorant residue.

~ After that has set for 30-60 minutes, handwash with regular laundry detergent. Rinse. Making sure the garment is nicely soaked. You want it to be wet when you set it in the dye.

~ Bring a LARGE pot of water in a stainless steel pan to a simmer over medium heat, add 2/3 or a whole bottle of liquid RIT dye to the pot, along with a cup of white vinegar.

~ Add your garment and let it simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. Make sure you stir frequently using stainless utensils or a wooden spoon that you don’t care about, and that the WHOLE piece of clothing gets exposed to the dye. I think a bit of my shirt was scrunched up part of the time and the upper back did not get saturated as well as I would have liked.

~ Rinse in warm water, gradually getting cooler, until the water runs clear.

~ Wash in a conditioning soap to restore the proteins back to the silk. Roll it up in an old towel pressing the water out as best as you can. Let air dry most of the way, and then iron on a silk setting.

Remember that if you don’t use stainless steel items, or if your sink isn’t stainless. The dye will stain Immediately. We don’t have any sinks or drains that are stainless, so I dumped my dye pot in the garden and used stainless mixing bowls for rinsing outdoors.

On very close examination, a faint bit of the pattern remains,
but all in all, it does not look like a diy,
which deems it a success.


19 April 2015 § Leave a comment

walk | respiteblog dutch galleries | respiteblog dutch galleries | respiteblog dutch galleries | respiteblog

This weekend was the first in a long time that
we had no extra obligations.
The weather was beautiful,
and we spent the majority of it out walking.

Saturday’s walk in field and woods
quickly turned muddy,
the four of us squelched our way through a couple miles,
alternating between laughing about it and complaining.
We came home, rinsed off, grilled burgers
then had root beer floats and hot fudge** sundaes for dessert.

Sunday was relaxing with a quiet morning of
boys reading and building masterpieces with Lego bricks,
E and I slowly savoring our coffees.
The weather was still beautiful, so we walked again
refreshing our memories of all the birds we hadn’t seen for months.
After chatting about our town’s history,
we decided on an impromptu visit to the local museum where we
spent hours looking at the “our town” exhibits,
as well as the gallery of Dutch paintings from the
17th and 19th centuries.

A perfect weekend to remember.

*but have to remember my camera next time!
iphone photos just do not cut it.

**the hot fudge sauce was made using this recipe,
but swapped the corn syrup for honey (about 5T) and
half the chocolate for 6T cocoa powder + 1T extra butter.
Otherwise followed it as written.

handmade wardrobe additions

8 April 2015 § Leave a comment

messaline pullover | respiteblogmessaline pullover cables | respiteblogwiksten and messaline layered | respiteblogvintage wiksten tank | respiteblogvintage wiksten tank | respiteblogliberty wiksten tank | respiteblogliberty wiksten tank | respiteblogliberty wiksten tank | respiteblogA and mama | respiteblog


It has been a long while since anything handmade was added to my own wardrobe.
However, in the last week I finished three pieces,
and am feeling inspired to do more!

The first was a sweater that used “recycled” yarn,
from a stockard cardigan knit last spring,
which never really fit properly,
and instead became a Messaline (pattern by Bristol Ivy) ~

Made from Quince & Co’s wool/silk yarn Tern.
Knit on 3.25mm needles. Six skeins of yarn almost exactly.
The pattern lengths are a little bit different than what her photos show,
and although she states that the pattern isn’t what the sample is,
I wish she had given measurements for the length differences.
As a tallish person (5’7″/170cm) I always add a little bit of length to patterns.
This one had an extra inch and half knit in,
and then blocked a little more than that.
The raglan length is a little short, so if I were to knit it again,
I might add another half-inch in there as well.
Overall, I like it, and am hoping that with wear I will love it.

Also two tanks for layering, and staying cool –
if warm weather ever arrives!
I really debated which of the great tank patterns to use
Grainline’s or Wiksten’s.
Both have such great reviews, with minor alterations in silhouette.
I eventually decided on the Wiksten tank,
because of my shoulder shape and I liked the shirt-tail hem.

For the ‘wearable muslin’ I used some vintage poly/cotton fabric.
Usually in RTW I fit between a medium and a small,
so I took a leap and cut a straight medium,
after adding 1/4″ to the bottom of the pattern.
When I tried it on the shoulders and front/bust fit perfectly.
but the sides needed a little slimming.
For the Liberty tana lawn tank,
I cut a medium to the underarm, then a small for the sides, still adding the length to the bottom.

Using Grainline’s bias neckline tutorial is an absolute must.
Although the process is a bit fiddly,
doing the understitching gave every seam the best finish,
and actually made the topstitching go more smoothly.

I LOVE the end result for both tanks. No wonder it has become a hit pattern, such a great basic.
Although I am fairly certain I will make a couple more in solid colors,
I am tempted to also try the new Cali Faye Collection tank pattern,
because of the lovely scoop back,
but perhaps will try her dress pattern instead!


annual butterfly exhibit

6 April 2015 § Leave a comment

butterflies butterfliesbutterflies butterfliesbutterfliesbutterfliesbutterfliesbutterfliesbutterflies butterflies
One of the highlights of each spring is the trip to
our local botanical garden’s butterfly exhibit.
For eight weeks they release thousands of tropical butterflies
in the conservatory.
It is hot, humid, and busy,
but always astounding.
We only ever capture a few of the fifty species on camera,
but it is one of those outings where it is far better to live in the moment
than wait for the perfect photo opportunity.

birthday fun

27 February 2015 § 1 Comment

age 2 | respiteblog

2 year old selfies | respite

birthday dinner | respite

birthday cake | respite

My birthday was yesterday,
and every year I kind of dread it;
thinking of growing older,
birthdays of years past overshadowed
by other things in life.
Yet, I am always pleasantly surprised
by all the love and care my family puts into
making it a special day.

I played with my favorite two year old,
enjoyed a long leisurely coffee date
with some favorite mamas of mine.

Meandered around the fabric store
for a long time,
looking over cottons, linens, and laces.

Despite the feet of snow and frigid temperatures,
I pretended it was spring.

Wearing a new bright blue Breton,
enjoying a dinner with my little family ~
chinook salmon with fresh dill, asparagus, new potatoes,
and a baby lettuces salad,
with (an old family recipe) sponge cake
little strawberries and whipped cream
for dessert.

All my favorite things wrapped up in a day.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 25 other followers