Narrowboat Adventures: Weeks Nine And Ten November 11, 2017
Narrowboat Adventures (and Beyond!): Weeks Three and Four September 28, 2017
The time is flying by and suddenly, Week 3 has morphed into Week 4 and I am back in North America!
I won’t be on this continent for long, though. I’m spending the week with my Adventure Knitters in beautiful Nelson, British Columbia. More on that later…
Into our 3rd week, we were settling into a slightly more leisurely pace.Leaves were beginning to fall from some trees. On one lovely evening, we tied up under an oak tree and spent the night listening to the staccato machine-gun style rattle of acorns with every gust of wind. Our lesson: on nights when there are strong winds forecast, we won’t plan to moor under any type of tree in case of larger things than acorns breaking loose!For the last two weeks on the boat we’d been setting our sights on reaching Ellesmere Port or Chester on September 20th – not a tall order by car, but on a narrowboat (traveling at walking pace) you have to allow time for lock delays or other unexpected happenings and you can’t just hurry up.
I had a train to catch that Wednesday to get to Heathrow – hard to take a break from your journey, but needs must! John’s plan was to visit his mum and clean and do laundry. We also planned to offload any summer or unwanted gear – anything for space.We had gradually been learning how long we can go without taking on potable water, fuel, and how to judge the holding tank gauge for just-in-time pumpouts! Finding garbage drop offs can prove challenging, the Canals and River Trust have been removing skips from some of the watering points …. there is a quite a bit of fly tipping in evidence under the railway bridges.We’d taken Queen Bee to Ellesmere Port National Waterways Museum, to moor up whilst I’m away. The museum is situated on a basin accessed by a couple of locks and offers a snug protected berth. In fact, we’ve become part of the exhibit! Gongoozlers were busy taking pics as we came through the locks. We offloaded bin bags full of laundry and excess gear. John is taking the opportunity to stock up with dry goods and tonic water, which we constantly run out of!I was prepared with clothing and a small carry on case to be able to leave the boat as we passed through Chester and walk to the railway station.
As it happened we had a day in hand and decided to moor up Queen Bee and rent a car (had to walk to get that), and visit my mother in law for a night before my departure.
Next thing I knew, I was on my way to Nelson.I was dropped at Chester station and caught a train to London. This was a little like narrowboating in reverse, as the train line frequently criss crossed the canal that I had spent the previous 2 weeks on – it looked very tranquil on the cut.This felt cruel, having chugged alongside train tracks on many occasions over the previous couple of weeks. Now I found myself on a train, catching glimpses of the canal. It all looked so peaceful, rather like looking at a model scene. I saw the locks we’d recently been through and several boats on the move. I couldn’t exactly identify them without a map and they look so different from inside a train.
I then caught the tube across London during rush hour to get to Heathrow.
Next I had to find the hotel that I had booked! Couldn’t locate the shuttle buses so took a taxi. In the morning I was successful in catching a bus back to LHR and flew to Vancouver.
Here I was picked up by Judy, my Adventure Knitting co-conspirator, and conveyed to a very welcome bed and hot shower. We set off early the next morning on the 10 hour up-and-down car journey to Nelson, crossing several mountain ranges. The huge trees and craggy mountains were quite a contrast to the flatness of canal travel.
And now that I am here, let the Adventure Knitting begin!
My Almost Saintly Socks is our half-price pattern of the week!
An entertaining project for the ardent sock knitter, for those in search of an interesting foot-suntan pattern, or those with naturally hot feet! The scallop holes stitch pattern sets off hand-painted yarns beautifully.
The Almost Saintly Socks pattern is half-price ($4.50) until October 3!
Knit Camp 2016: Only 3 Spaces Left! April 14, 2016
Wouldn’t you love to spend a week on a secluded island with Lucy, enjoying knitting classes, companionship and incredible tranquility? Join us this September for Knit Camp 2016 on Big Tancook Island, Nova Scotia!
Expect a warm Tancook welcome, and enjoy the rugged beauty of this remote island full of a peace and quiet that scarcely can be imagined in our modern world. You may even find the volume of bird song and sounds of the waves rather intrusive on occasion! You’ll travel back in time and leave the everyday world behind, the moment you step ashore.
Attendance is limited to 12 and there are now only 3 spaces left, so reserve your place today to avoid disappointment!
Lucy will provide formal knitting classes for 3 hours each morning (there will also be informal gatherings for social knitting with Lucy at other times). With such a small group, we will be able to explore ideas more freely than is usual in a conventional workshop environment.
The topic for this year’s camp will be socks. We will explore the attributes of a great sock, and the best techniques and methods to knit them. Special emphasis will be given to cuffs and edgings, and fancy sock legs using stitch patterns of your choice. (You may select one of Lucy’s patterns or work on your own design.)
Afternoons will be free to spend as you wish. Curled up with a book on the beach (it’s pebbly, but pretty), sipping tea on your cottage deck overlooking the ocean, knitting in the gallery with friends, or wandering freely.
Optional weather-dependent plans include a bird watching walk with Hillary (she knows where they all hang out and what they are called), an expedition by ferry to Little Tancook Island, or touring by bicycle or on foot.
Welcoming the Cooler Days October 22, 2014
We have things pretty good here in Nova Scotia: though our summers do start wet and late some years, the season certainly makes up for it in September and October. We are treated to glorious foliage, our gardens are bursting with the colours of late-summer flowers and ripening vegetables, and we enjoy an abundance of warm and sunny days. This is the perfect weather for long bike rides along the coast, leisurely strolls on the beach, and invigorating inland hikes. This September was gorgeous, and I was thrilled to introduce another crop of Adventure Knitters to my home-away-from-home on Tancook Island. We had a glorious week, spending much of it outdoors.
But now the colder months are fast approaching. We are starting to put our gardens to bed, and hunting through the closets for our warmer clothes.
While I like to create and design throughout the year, some knitters feel less compelled when the weather is warm. But with one or two cold snaps under our belts, the needles are coming out and we’re all getting back to work!
For many of us, it’s socks and slippers, blankets and cozy sweaters, and, of course, mittens and hats. This time last year I was knitting the Zinnia Blanket, and I enjoyed the warmth of a sizeable WIP on my lap. Now I’m working on my Blossom design and, while I’ve focused mostly on smaller sample sizes, I am keen to let this winter flower grow!
To start off the season, we’ve created a new Bundle to help get some of those needles clicking and entice you to knit a few double knit accessories in the round: the DK Hats Bundle is on for a special introductory price for the rest of the month. It includes four of my double-knit hat patterns and my DK Hats Tutorial. A worsted weight DK hat is an easily achievable gift size project to practice on.
Who knows? With a few smaller dk projects under your belt, you might want to try working on a really large one this winter. You may even wish to join my upcoming Blossom PIP Club!
Happy stitches to you, wherever you are.
Introducing Susan November 8, 2013
My name is Susan Hannah and I began working with Lucy in 1998 when my youngest son was in preschool. (He’s 6′ 7″ and several years into university now. L)
Lucy had started her fledgling business a few years earlier and I knew that, in order to continue being creative and developing new patterns and ideas, she would need help on the business side of things. So I offered. After some consideration, Lucy agreed, and we decided to give it a whirl at a Knit With Us event in Newfoundland. Lucy taught some classes and I ran the sales; we both had a great time and so began our business relationship.
After a few years, Lucy asked me to help with the bookkeeping. Her husband John had been doing it up to that point, but could no longer fit the extra work around his full-time job. Now there was no looking back, and we worked together for many years on our own. Over time, Corrie developed Lucy’s web presence, and we truly became an online business (more from Corrie in a later post).
But how did a girl from the West Coast of Canada meet a girl from England and Wales?
Lucy moved to Nova Scotia in March of 1992, and I arrived less than a year later. I always claimed that we were destined to meet and each had to move four Time Zones to do it. We had three connection points: the Knitting Guild of Canada, where we had both placed ads looking for Knitters in the Halifax area, Shirley Scott’s Newsletter (Knitting News) and the Newcomers Club in Halifax.
My older two children fit between her younger two and, in fact, her youngest and my oldest are good friends to this day. We became each other’s family in Nova Scotia and would celebrate various holidays together.
But mostly Lucy and I worked together to create Tradewind Knitwear Designs (or LucyNeatby.com).
I have had many roles here: I started out doing the shipping, then started answering e-mails and phone calls and taking on more duties. I have packed patterns, created kits, sorted yarn, run Knit-Alongs, done the books and generally been involved on almost all levels of the business.
Last summer, I found out that I would be moving back to BC. At first, I couldn’t tell anyone, as the plans wouldn’t be finalized before November. My family and I had been in Nova Scotia for 20 years and we had built a life there, including this job I had created for myself. Though I had been scaling back and we had gotten more help over the years (Stephanie had arrived on the scene by then and I could hand a large part of running the business over to her), now I had to leave completely. I was torn– this job and my relationship with Lucy had been a big part of my life for such a long time. Could I really do it? Lucy and I had many emotional talks as I tried to untangle myself from the day-to-day workings of Tradewinds.
In the beginning, things had been very hands-on. A big part of my job involved sending pattern packets, kits, yarn and DVDs to customers. Nowadays, so much of the work can be done online, which means that certain parts of my job can, as well. So here I am in Brentwood Bay, BC, a full continent away from Lucy, and I still work with her! We do our accounting online (of which I’m still a big part), and I run Knit-Alongs on Ravelry. I still help to answer some of the trickier e-mails and questions without having to step in the shop. In the end, I’m still a part of the business, but from a distance.
What were my favourite things about working with Lucy at Tradewinds? Watching an idea grow from a small seed into an international business and knowing I was an important part of that. Being involved with yarn–very dangerous but so much fun! Most of all, I enjoyed the contact with customers. I loved talking to you on the phone or working with you via e-mail to help with your choices, answer your questions, help interpret Lucy’s patterns and support you. It was wonderful to meet many of you in person at Lucy events, especially the four Adventure Knitting trips I went on.
Oh and the knitting! That was our original connection, and it remains to this day. I have knit or test-knit many of Lucy’s patterns and have enjoyed every one, even the ones I had to be talked into knitting
It has been a great ride and I am so grateful to Lucy for taking a risk and allowing me to go on this crazy, wonderful journey with her.
Now I’m looking forward to sharing my insight into Lucy and the business via the blog. I’m hoping you’ll welcome different perspectives and, in turn, do your bit to make this business a better, more user friendly and fun place to be.
A Taste of Les Îles de la Madeleine! October 5, 2013
We naturally endeavored to support the local brewery: I admit to only sampling the Corps Mort 12% brew!
Texture in Double Knitting #3 February 14, 2013
This is the Paintbox Scarf. Once again using Kauni EQ (Spectrum) as the main colour interest and a solid neutral to frame each colour box. Each of the windows of colour are worked in reverse stocking stitch. The first row of the colour motif has to be worked in stocking stitch in order to avoid contrasting purl bumps, after this it is reverse stocking stitch for the remainder. Working reverse stocking stitch on both sides is easier than stocking stitch, once the yarns have moved to their respective sides of the fabric at the start of the block they remain there to work the stitches until the block ends. Contrast that with the constant need to keep moving the yarn between stitches in stocking stitch!
These areas are locked at the sides only, not top and bottom, they would not hold stuffing!
Information regarding my Adventure Knitting trip to Quebec and the Magdaline Islands in Sept 2013 is now available, please email my website for information.