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Have Canal Map, Find Boat! July 27, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — happystitches @ 15:22
Taking on stores

Taking on stores

At last, canal trip time arrived! We made it from Nova Scotia to England, and out of the airport. (The anticipation of our ‘messing about with boats’ holiday made even the airport look lovely.)

The very first stop was at Sainsburys for essential supplies and rations; good food makes for good boating.

This was much more fun for us than a typical Nova Scotia shopping trip, due to the novelty of shopping in a UK supermarket and rediscovering all kinds of forgotten favourite foodstuffs–remembrances of ‘foods of yore’ engulfed us.

Action Bridge Black Prince depot.

Action Bridge Black Prince depot.

Half a dozen boats tied alongside the wharf

Half a dozen boats of various lengths are tied alongside the wharf



First Pick Your Canal! July 22, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — happystitches @ 08:56
Tags: , ,
A map of most of the UK canal system.

A map of most of the UK canal system.

One of the hardest decisions about planning a canal trip to the UK is to settle on a particular area to explore. There is a map available that just shows the canals, and the extent of the canal system is quite surprising! The canals started being built in the late 1700’s to facilitate the transportation of heavy cargoes between ports and industrial centers. For us, the choice is slightly assisted by the location of our UK relatives, and we’ve only visited the Liverpool, Manchester, North Wales area as yet. You don’t travel very far in a day, however, you travel at an intimate level with the environment: rapturous birdsong, the scent of roses, glorious wild flowers, eyeball to eyeball with cows, industrial and domestic architecture, local pubs with excellent warm bitter –all can be enjoyed at leisure. We covered about 130 miles in 13 days of cruising!

Our canal choice the first year was settled by the desire to transit the Pontcysyllte Aquaduct in North Wales. This is a justly popular engineering marvel. Link

Crossing the Pontcysyllte aquaduct over the river Dee.

Crossing the Pontcysyllte aquaduct over the river Dee,126 feet above the valley floor. Still super cool, even in 2015!

This year we found a circular route known as the Four Counties Ring that looked appealing and also had the possibility of using the Anderton Boat Lift to lower us down to the River Weaver, 50 feet below the Trent and Mersey canal.

Anderton Boat from the canal

Anderton Boat Lift from the canal

Anderton Boat - going down

Anderton Boat Lift- down and sailing onto the River Weaver

The recently restored Anderton Boat Lift from the river

The next stage of planning is to find an available boat. There are many narrowboat rental companies on the internet. We have used Black Prince twice now, and have been very happy with their boats. More on our trip in the next bucolic installment!The hire company we used.

I’m heading to Tancook island today; I’m taking the “Artisan Bread in Minutes”  Craftsy class with me. This is a great method for making bread with very little work! Zoe’s recipes are easy, and there’s nothing like taking fresh-baked bread with you when you visit friends. Try the class with a discount through my Affliliate Link


What I did during my summer holidays! July 16, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — happystitches @ 13:57
Tags: , ,
Off on an Odyssey

Off on an Odyssey

Please excuse the longish intermission between blogs! I’m back in the ‘land of speeding Internet’ after an all too brief odyssey along a few gorgeous canals in the UK. Now that I’m back, I’m hoping to share with you some of the sights and sounds I experienced along the way. (I’m determined to make this holiday experience last as long as possible.)

Since anticipation can be a delightful part of a trip,  this year I took more time to study the maps and potential routes before we left. There is a large network of historic canals, most of which are navigable. The map shows only canals – no roads. They were the heavy freight highways of the  1800s.

A map of most of the UK canal system.

Canals, no roads, on this map!

It’s hard to decide on which area to explore, but it was made a little easier by the anchoring geography of our various relatives who planned to join us. Last year we completed the Llangollen Canal , lured by the Pontcysyllte Aquaduct. This year our main options were two circular routes, either the Cheshire or the Four Counties Ring. There are a number of excellent guide books with detailed information about the routes, the number of locks, the estimated travel time, the availability of water, canal side pubs, shops etc.

The decision was made and the boat hire location chosen. Then the wait. Ooh, the wait…The hire company we used.


Become a Fearless Knitter with my new Craftsy Class June 18, 2015

Filed under: Craftsy,Knitting tips and hints,Uncategorized — happystitches @ 09:43
Fearless Knitting

Fearless Knitting

Have you ever wanted to go from the first picture to the second?

Playing with scissors? - a nasty hole.

Playing with scissors? – a nasty hole.

Perfectly mended!

Perfectly mended!

Or to know how to shorten an already knit sleeve? And much more…

Watch my new Fearless Knitting class. The first class review is posted now, please add yours. www.craftsy.com/ext/LucyNeatby_5156_H




I loved the comment from a student, that she had to hide her eyes whilst watching the hole being cut in the Fairisle!

It ended happily ever after, though.


Announcing My Forthcoming Craftsy Class – Win a free copy! June 5, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — happystitches @ 08:18
Fearless Knitting

Fearless Knitting

For a chance to win a copy of my forthcoming class, click this LINK


More info about the content of this class will follow shortly. I’m delighted with what I covered. From single stitches to complex knitted structures, all at your command. The class is really well named, there’s something for every knitter.


Fiber Art – wood and wool together May 21, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — happystitches @ 08:40

For once I’m not talking about knitting and needles. This is something quite different.

Two of my favourite artists (who happen to live in Nova Scotia), Sanna Rahola and Douglas Drdul are featured in this short film from the NS craft council. Take a moment to watch this – it’s a delight.

Watch it and be amazed, inspired and relaxed.

The harmonious yet contrasting combination of both of their art forms is an inspiration.

Below is a small piece of their art that hangs on my wall.


The Fiesta Family – Flying Swallows Stitch May 7, 2015

Fiesta Vest  Photo by Pauline Rook

Fiesta Vest
Photo by Pauline Rook

I’m always interested to see which garments in my traveling trunk show catch people’s attention. This trip it was particularly the Fiesta Vest. I was teaching buttonholes and bands, thus had the vest with me. I ended up explaining this stitch many times!

So here it is for you too.

This was the stitch I developed first for my Fiesta Feet Socks (which are on sale this week).

As I enjoyed it so much, I then went on to use it in the Fiesta Mittens and Fiesta Stocking patterns.

Do take time to read the comments as various aspects of this stitch are discussed.

Do not attempt to work this stitch flat, unless you enjoy WS row decreases and cutting your yarn frequently!

Worked in the round with a steek, you’ll have much more fun.



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