It’s getting pretty Intense in here…

Oh, argh, I am frustrated with my green sweater and I’ve barely even started it. I wanted to knit this:

from Top-Down Knits by Ann Budd
Basic Brioche Cardigan from Top-Down Knits by Ann Budd

It’s knit using the brioche stitch.  Brioche is a really cool stitch that’s very warm and kind of puffy…sort of 3D if that makes any sense.

Before casting on for the sweater, I cast on to do a gauge check and to learn how to do the stitch.

First stumbling block: I couldn’t figure out how to do the brioche stitch.

So in desperation (or chutzpah), I wrote to Ms. Budd! And she wrote back! What a lovely person she is! She explained how to do the stitch. The lightbulb went off and I was out of the gate & galloping! Yay!
Once I had the stitch under my belt, I cast on the sweater.

Second stumbling block: short rows. The sweater is knit from the top down and has set-in sleeves. The pattern calls for shaping the shoulder using short rows. Now, I’ve done short rows with varying levels of success when decreasing and shaping the gusset in a sock. But I’ve never done them when you have to wrap the stitch and then knit it on the way back and you’re not decreasing at the same time (and if that sounds crazy, it’s probably because I barely know what I’m talking about).

By the time I had the shoulder shaped, one side was 6 stitches wider than the other and had a pretty severe odd jog in it. And also, I’d messed up a bit on the Brioche stitch, so it was pretty sloppy.

Can you say riiiiiipppp it out?

This sweater pattern is currently over my head. That’s a fact. It isn’t the pattern’s problem – Ann Budd is a renowned knitter and pattern designer. The problem is that I am not up to the same speed as the pattern.

the Grace cardigan from Finish-free Knits by Kristen TenDyke

So…I also have this other pattern:

I really like it. It has some interesting features and it also has set-in sleeves.

But this pattern doesn’t require shoulder shaping with short rows (yay!)

Actually, there are new skills I can learn from this pattern. Skills I can then apply to knitting the brioche cardigan.

Since I just don’t have the skills to knit the Basic Brioche cardigan yet, and since I will gain some skills and a lot of confidence by knitting this simpler (but also challenging) Grace cardigan, I think that’s what I’m going to do.

I’ll save Ann Budd’s Basic Brioche for a future date when I have a bit more experience.

I don’t think it’s a cop out.

It’s like doing a difficult yoga pose using modifications and props to help out until you’re ready to tackle the full pose.


IIntense Side Stretch pose

Parsvottanasana (parsh-voh-tahn-AHS-anna)

If you need help with this pose, support yourself on the back of a kitchen chair, or use yoga blocks or even a couple of soup cans.

For those who spend a lot of time sitting at the sewing machine, or knitting (!), or at a desk, this is a great stretch for the hamstrings. If you’ve been sitting for awhile, go ahead and get up, hold onto the back of the chair for support and give those legs a good stretch. They’ll thank you for it!



I never in a million years would have believed I’d move so far away from home…and a home yoga practice

I’ve been thinking lately about how we identify with place. Last year at a gathering in Whitehorse, I was introduced as being from Salmon Arm, BC. Which, I suppose, is true, since that’s where I’m living right now. I had, after all, flown in for the event.

But at time, we had only been gone from Whitehorse for one year and I still very much identified myself as a Yukoner. So when the introduction came over the sound system, I had a very visceral reaction. A little twinge of adrenaline shot into my heart and I actually caught my breath. It felt so wrong! I felt, suddenly, like an outsider, a stranger in a place that was was so dear to my heart that I could still taste the air just by thinking about it.

I still can.

I’ve been living here in the Salmon Arm area for just over two years, now. And while I definitely feel more at home now than I did at first, I still don’t know my way around very well.

Forget directions that involve the name of whatever business was previously located next to the one I’m searching for. “It’s next to where the old yoga studio was before it moved up town.”
“And where is up town, exactly?”
“At the top of the hill, by McDonalds.”

Or how about this one: “It’s on 18th.”
(Avenue or street? West or Nortwest? I believe there are four streets that begin with the number 18 in Salmon Arm. there might be more, I’m not sure.)

When we spent a year in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, I met an elderly woman who took me under her wing a little bit. She lived in a nice little house in a nice little neighbourhood of “newer” homes in town. “Newer” meaning built in the 1950s.

“Would you like to see where I’m from?” she asked me one day.
“Is it far?” I imagined a day trip to some other small Manitoba town, maybe an hour or so away.

We got into her car and drove about six blocks to the other side of town, and parked in front of a beautiful old heritage home.
“My nephew lives here, now,” she said, pointing out the dormer window that had been her childhood bedroom.

We walked up the street and down the alley behind the house, admiring the gardens full of tomato plants, rhubarb, and peonies while she reminisced about her childhood.”I never in a million years would have believed I’d move so far away from home,” she said, sadly.

It’s funny, isn’t it, how we can live quite happily in one place and yet still yearn for another. I don’t know if I’d move back to Whitehorse. I like it here. And yet, I identify myself as a Yukoner living away.

And every time we visit the coast and I get a whiff of that salt air, I yearn to live by the ocean again.

If home is really where the heart is, then I guess one can be at home in several places at once. And that’s a good thing, eh? Because the moral of the story is that home resides within us. We carry our homes inside us like turtles carries their on the outside.

HHome Yoga Practice

There are many ways to set up a home practice. If you’re interested in having one like mine, all you need is a space big enough to roll out your mat, a few uninterrupted minutes and a place to set your laptop (or a TV with a DVD player).

I currently practice with the Dianne Bondy on-line videos and with my Rodney Yee DVDs.

Here are some links to get you started. Have fun and choose what fits your style and your body. ♥

You can enroll with Dianne Bondy at Yogasteya. You can also check out her YouTube channel. Here’s a short sample:

There’s Curvy Yoga on YouTube:

And there’s Curvygirl Yoga, too:

My Aunt Margy recommends Jane Fonda’s yoga videos, which can be found on YouTube:

Last but not least, my all-time favourite  DVDs are by Rodney Yee. Especially his Yoga for Beginners series. Here is a sample:

Green…and the Garland pose


I’m late with my letter today – did you think I forgot you?


Spring is here in my area of the world. No doubt about it. The car is covered in pollen and I am stuffed up with hay fever. Today I knelt on the grass to take a couple of pictures (in bare legs) and now my legs are covered in an itchy rash. It will pass. It happens every spring.


One of the differences that I am really appreciating between living in the Yukon and living in southern British Columbia is how green April is.

Today Sam & I walked around McGuire Lake, in downtown Salmon Arm. The fountain is running and turtles are sunning themselves on logs.
Today Sam & I walked around McGuire Lake, in downtown Salmon Arm. The fountain is running and turtles are sunning themselves on logs.

Don’t get me wrong, I miss a lot of things about living in the North. However, April in the sub-arctic isn’t one of them.

In the Yukon, March and early April bring some of the best cross-country skiing weather you could ask for.

Here on Shuswap Lake, people are already out in their boats.


Today, everything is green, green, green. The new leaves are popping out. The daffodils, tulips, heather and forsythia are blooming. The cherry trees are blooming. The magnolia trees will be in full bloom any day. I have mowed the lawn twice.

Can you blame me for appreciating this particular difference?


All this greenness has caused me to cast on a sweater in rich dark green wool. I’m thinking ahead here, folks…it’ll be my summer knitting project. I expect to have it finished in time for the next big colourful season: autumn.

The yarn is actually fairly close to the colour of a rhubarb leaf, though it looks teal in these photos.

Green is my favourite colour this time of year! And what better pose for today than the Garland Pose. This is a pose I sit in a lot, though I’ve actually never done it in a yoga class!



Garland Pose

I naturally sit in this pose quite comfortably when I’m pulling weeds in the garden, or contemplating the layout of quilt blocks on the floor. I’m lucky to have flexible ankles and stretchy calf muscles, I guess. ♥

Here is a really nice video tutorial with modifications.

Fat people do yoga, too

The nicest people will say the most extraordinary things without even thinking about it.

Like one time a friend was describing someone she wanted me to meet. I was told how well educated she was, how varied her interests were, how well she dressed. And then there was an awkward pause. “But she’s, well…you know…(insert hand gestures here) “a little large,” she said, apologizing for her friend’s dress size before introducing her to me.

Or the time I naively made the suggestion to a petite, hard-bodied enthusiastic gym exerciser who was bemoaning the fact that she couldn’t go flat out on the treadmill while she healed from an injury. “Are you kidding me? Yoga isn’t exercise,” she snorted derisively.
“Have you ever tried it?” I asked, thinking about how sore my butt was from the previous day’s class.
“Yeah, I went to a class once. I couldn’t believe it when this fat chick walked in. Then it turns out she’s the teacher. So I left. Jeeze, I could teach her a thing or two about fitness,” she sorted. “Yoga.” Another snort.”

I don’t understand why a person’s dress size should be factored into someone else’s perception of whether or not they can or should participate in fitness activities.

And I don’t understand why Yoga is so often viewed as being just for skinny white chicks.  I mean, come on…

And since when is Yoga not “real” exercise? It’s just as legitimate an exercise option as cycling or walking or running is. A good yoga session can leave me sore the next day after working hips, thighs, bum, abs, shoulders, chest, back and arms – all hallmarks of weight-bearing exercise.

Warrior III April 6, 2016
NitaDances in Warrior III pose

Yes, yoga is meditative. It leaves me feeling relaxed and centered: key factors in maintaining balance in a hectic life.  But so does a good workout in the gym. It’s just apples and oranges, people.

NitaDances in Tree Pose
NitaDances in Tree Pose

Apples and oranges. Sure, there are a lot of bananas, but there are pears and watermelons there, too.


FFat people do yoga, folks. Get over it.




I take on-line yoga classes from Dianne Bondy. I’ll let this little video of Dianne flowing smoothly through a series of asanas to music speak for itself.

Happiness is Easy: visiting my yarn stash…and Sukhasana (Easy Pose)

Sometimes happiness comes to you in small unexpected ways. Like today.


Somehow, without intending to, I played with my yarn stash today. It made me happy.

I was looking for something (isn’t that always the way?)…and before I knew it, I had pulled everything out. I found some beautiful yarn I had forgotten all about!



Like this wonderful skein of Noro silk-wool blend:







And this…which has lost it’s label. I have no idea what it is, but I’m sure it’s another silk-wool blend. It’s a wonderful colour…kind of a purple/denim. It’s very soft. I bet I had a scarf pattern in mind when I purchased it…




Am I the only person who keeps all the little bits and pieces of yarn left over from this project or that? Because, you know…I might need them someday. Meanwhile, they’re all wound and sorted into bags according to type.








See that basket with the green yarn at the bottom left? That’s my next project…a brioche-stitch sweater in grass green that I’ll be able to wear this fall. I’ll get a swatch made up and the gauge figured out, maybe this evening. Stay tuned!

It feels really good to have it all tidy and organized. 🙂

Isn’t it nice that happiness can be found so easily?




It made me very happy to sort and organize my yarn stash today, so it feels appropriate to introduce you to a yoga pose that promotes happiness!

EEasy Pose

It is said that The Easy Pose (Sukhasana) can reveal the joy that resides in your heart.

Think back to a time when you felt blissfully happy from head to toe. How would you describe the sensations that rippled through you? My bet is that during this period, you had a sense of being utterly grounded and at ease in the present moment. You probably also felt buoyant, uplifted, and awake to the vast possibilities of life around you
….Read the rest of the article here.

I invite you to sit in Sukhasana and let happiness rise through you.

Here is a really quick visual tutorial to help you out:


Every Good Cowboy Needs a Dolphin

I don’t remember what I wanted to be when I grew up, but when M was very small, he knew exactly what he was going to do.

He was going to be a cowboy.


But not just any cowboy…


My imagination-filled son was going to be the cowboy at Sea Land.

You know the one…

The cool dude who rides the dolphins.



Which segues very nicely into today’s yoga pose:

DDolphin Plank

Dolphin Plank is plank on your elbows. If you have wrist pain, Dolphin Plank is the one for you. It’s a great workout for your entire body.

It’s also a great measuring stick for how much stronger you’re getting!

If you can’t hold yourself up on your toes, it is absolutely 100% okay to put your knees down. You can do it! Yes, you can! 🙂