Happy Stitches

Keep your stitches smiling!

Earlybird Enrolment Ends Tomorrow! April 25, 2019

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I’m so pleased to be joining all of the creators who will be showcasing their talents with the KnitStars team in November!  I’ll be joining designers like Susan B Anderson, Marly Bird, Caitlin Hunter and many more!  (Check my affiliate link for details)

You’ll be taken behind the scenes to the Stars’ own private studios, workspaces and farms, to learn what inspires their designs and drives their passion. Then you’ll learn from them in a series of 10 step-by-step workshops that will take your knitting and crochet to the next level. And the best part? You own them, so you can learn at your own pace – pausing, rewinding and fast-forwarding as needed until you really lock in the learning! So it’s ideal for all levels.

 

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I’ll be sharing my favourite addiction, two-colour double knitting, from my studio on Big Tancook Island.  I have so much to show you, from cast-on to cast-off, all while giving you a special sneak peek at my colourful home and wonderful Island community.

Now the bad news:  When the earlybird pricing (a 15% discount) ends tomorrow,  you will no longer be able to reserve your spot until October.  Click on my special affiliate link to join us now and you’ll be part of the fun and learning all of November.

I’m looking forward to seeing you there!
Lucy

 

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Exciting Adventures Ahead April 18, 2019

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For a quiet year away from the gallivanting routine that has been my life for the last 20 or more years, this year is shaping up BUSY again… somehow I still feel there are not enough hours in a day!
Two unexpected mini camps have been organized on Big Tancook Island (sorry, both are already full), I’ll be Adventure Knitting with Judy and others in the North West Territories in July, teaching in Edmonton for River City Yarns in July and teaching at Knit East in New Brunswick in October. Whew!

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And, as of today, I can finally announce ONE more exciting teaching gig:
I’ve been chosen to teach in KnitStars for Season 4.0!
KnitStars select 10 amazing thought leaders from the knitting firmament and film them in their respective working environments hosting a series of classes.

I’d love for you to join me and the other fabulous instructors for this exciting on-line global learning event beginning in November! This year’s lineup features craftspeople from Peru to Oregon to Nova Scotia and points in between. You’ll have the chance to join me on Tancook Island without even taking the ferry!

The online style of the conference makes it possible for anyone around the world to join the fun.

Click my affiliate link to see who’s teaching what!

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During my multi-part workshop, I’ll be demonstrating my favourite technique, double-knitting, from my favourite island, Big Tancook, what fun! I’ll introduce you to my lovely home away from home, with sneak peeks at some of my Tancook friends and my little cottage workspace – all while teaching you my take on double knitting techniques in step-by-step workshop lessons.

 

Early bird discounted registration is open as of TODAY and closes at the end of the day on April 26!

If you purchase KnitStars 4.0 using my Knit Stars Affiliate Link, I will earn a commission – at no additional cost to you. Once purchased, all of the KnitStars 4.0 workshops are yours to be viewed at your own pace as many times as you wish.

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Wishing you all the very KnitStarry-est of Stitches,

Lucy

 

Narrowboat Adventures 2018: A Fond Farewell July 22, 2018

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It’s over. We have departed from Ali’s Dream.

We made our way super, extra, very slowly the last 1/4 day, stretching it out as long as possible.  We meandered back to Swanley BridgeMarina, to allow time for a last canal coffee, and to savour the last 5 locks.

In total, we completed 939 miles and 874 locks in 81 days (not to mention several bottles of Baileys – the essential ingredient in our canal coffee).

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a last bit of knitting while enjoying another glorious sunset

We filled Ali up with fuel, did a few pirouettes and backed her into a very slender berth. Then followed 24 hours of washing, polishing and sorting. I achieved my Fitbit goal and then some just on dashing to and fro between the boat and the marina laundry!

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Jackie-the-Boat-owner made a few queries about us being happy to get back to a flush toilet and ample water flow but, honestly, a washing line and good Internet connection were all I’d missed.

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Our last was another stunningly beautiful morning but, strangely, between locking the boat and reaching our hire car, there were raindrops. Actual rain drops. This turned into a light shower, requiring windscreen wipers and creating modest puddles. Not enough to break the drought, but it did help to make our departure easier.

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Thanks for reading and joining in John’s and my summer adventure. And now I’m signing off from the cut…

I’ve started putting out feelers for next year’s boat.

 

This week’s sale pattern:

 

 

The  versatile, multi-size Lighthouse Bag is another fun summer project! It is worked in the round in a spiraling lacy pattern that gradually decreases as it winds its way up the bag to finish in a short-row Spider strap.
This quick project requires very little finishing and can be felted to make it resistant to stretching.

The Lighthouse Bag pattern is half-price ($3.75CAD) until July 26,
Happy Stitches!

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Narrowboat Adventures 2018: Cruising into July July 8, 2018

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Breakfast on the sun deck!

July made its appearance in the midst of a heat wave. A UK heat wave usually only lasts 2 days, but this one has held out. We’ve adjusted to the weather by setting off even earlier in the mornings to catch the cool bit of the day.  It’s too warm to do anything other than read, and definitely too sticky to knit.

 

 

 

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Langley Mill at the top of the Erewash Canal

 

We celebrated Canada Day by doing 16 wide beam locks, making it up to Langley Mill, at the end of the navigable Erewash Canal.

The Erewash was rehabilitated from a stagnant swamp in the late 70s, and what a transformation it is! The water is crystal clear (you can see right to the bottom), with a disconcertingly vast number of fish. It’s hard to stop gazing at them and pay attention to steering! The fish are mostly 6” and smaller, but when walking up the towpath between locks I did spot a couple of pike at least a foot long lurking under the lily pads.

 

 

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We took a diversion the other day.  We were going to head north at Autherly Junction and get onto the Shropshire Union, but then I received a message from Riverknits on instagram that we were very nearby one another. It appeared that, if we turned left onto the Staffs and Worcs canal and headed down about 12 locks, we might be able to meet up. John and I decided to give it a go.

 

Becci and Markus arrived a hour or so after we tied up. Their range of mini-skeins dyed in 72 colours was most impressive. All of the dye-work is performed on a 60’ narrowboat (with a 2 1/2 year old underfoot)! Formerly conventionally employed engineers, maternity leave and a redundancy payout spurred Becci and Markus into trying yarn dyeing full time. I’d say they’ve found their niche! They sell the prepared skeins at shows and through their web site, taking parcels to the post office nearest to where they happen to be tied up!

 

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25 hot locks before 12:30!

We’ve had our conference with Ali’s owner, and she’d like the narrowboat back at Swanley  in about two weeks.  It’s a bit shocking to have such a finite period, but now we can plan our final couple of weeks (assuming we don’t succumb to heat stroke).

To finish our trip off we plan to head up the Montgomery Canal. This is a fairly newly reopened branch off the Llangollen that we have never had time for on our other trips.  We have to book passage through Frankton Locks in advance.  This is limited to 12 boats a day, so we have to determine when we will be there and when we will return.

 

 

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This week’s sale pattern:

Wow, it’s hot out there!
Lucy’s cool cotton Swirling Sun Hat is a quick summer knit requiring little finishing. Knit the lace brim to fit the head, pick up sts around the brim, and work in the round up to the crown.

A quick and satisfying hot weather project!
The Swirling Sun Hat is half-price ($3.75CAD) until July 12,
Happy Stitches!

 

Narrowboat Adventures 2018: Along the Grand Union Canal July 1, 2018

After having spent some time on the Grand Union Canal, John, Ali’s Dream and I are back on the top half of our canal map!

When we reached Norton Junction, we might have turned left and gone to Braunston, Napton and the Hatton locks on the Grand Union, where we were a month or so ago.  Instead, we turned onto the  Leicester length of the Grand Union. There it magically turned back into a narrow  canal until we reached Foxton Locks.

 

 

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Flowers and cattle! A cloudy but warm morning on the Grand Union

 

Almost immediately, we were out into beautiful unspoiled Leicestershire countryside, with often not a building in sight. Huge fields of very dry arable land. We noticed cracks in the soil in the fields, and maize crops that didn’t seem to be getting much taller. That particular  section was closed last autumn due to lack of water, although we were assured that the near continuous rains of February to April had refilled the reservoirs. Despite that, every time we dropped a double wide lock 70 x 14 x8’, in volume, it felt like a lot of water going downhill. We met up with other boats occasionally and shared a few locks, but were alone for the most part.

Along our way, we took every canal side spur that presented itself. We took the Wendover arm: 6 miles up to a dead end, a windy narrow little channel that suddenly took you past a modern working flour mill, and later petered out in a small turning basin in a field.

The next one was the Aylesbury arm: after many narrow locks we reached a turning basin in the middle of the town that appeared to have been bulldozed and rebuilt without any soul. There were visitor moorings and services there, but we felt no inclination to stay.  After a quick raid on Waitrose, we were on our way.

 

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the irresistible Hambleton Bakery

 

Our next detour was to Market Harborough, which was quite a surprise: a lovely basin at the end, beautifully redeveloped but in keeping with the former port and wharves. We found excellent moorings and services, too. John and I took a short walk through town to the wonderful Hambleton bakery, a butcher, fishmonger, hardware and all sorts of excellent small shops.

 

 

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Halfway down the famous Foxton Locks

Foxton Locks are famous, with two 5-step staircase locks with a small pound between them. There were many gongoozlers milling about.   The locks are interesting in that they let any excess water out into a series of side pounds as you go down. This saves water but makes for a more complex operation. Fortunately there are volunteer lock keepers to keep track of both boats and people!

 

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Beautiful sunset on the Grand Union Canal

The weather continues to be extraordinarily dry and hot.  I have discovered the delights of dipping my feet,  socks and all, into a bucket of canal water.  What a relief, especially when they feel that they might catch fire! In the evenings, we endeavour to moor in the shade.

We are headed towards Nottingham now, then the Erewash canal before heading east towards Shardlow.

 

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Happy Canada Day from Ali’s Dream, John and me!

Hoping that summer has found you wherever you are, Happy Canada Day!

 

 

This week’s sale pattern:

 

 

Happy Canada Day to our Canadian friends and Happy Fourth of July to our American ones!
To celebrate, my  Zinnia DK Blanket and its accompanying Tutorial are our very special downloads of the week.

The Zinnia is a spectacularly beautiful double-layer blanket; something lovely to knit on, whenever you need it. Knit a smaller Zinnia and create a lovely chair pad or coaster!
The Zinnia DK Blanket and its accompanying Tutorial are both half-price until July 5,
Happy July Stitches!

 

Narrowboat Adventures 2018: Our Last Days on the River Thames June 23, 2018

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We enjoyed our last few days on the River Thames, which was busier and busier the further down it we went. We enjoyed viewing all the crazy houses, castles, follies, and wide varieties of boats while also looking forward to more mundane, workaday peace of the canals to come.

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One magical day stood out! We leisurely cast off from our bank in Windsor in the morning (aka, not quite at the crack of dawn), watching  the castle looming larger and larger, then disappearing behind the trees. The canal then looped around behind the Home Park (or castle grounds), giving us a lovely view from the opposite side. The bank was clearly marked: no mooring– trespass being a criminal offence.

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We chugged on as the skies slowly cleared and tied up at Staines-Upon-Thames, where I had a quick meet up with a knitter who lives near the canal!

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We headed on out, past many houseboats of all shapes and types of grandeur, cottages on the little Thames islands, loads of folks out enjoying a beautiful Sunday.

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In one lock which, on that day often had 7 or 8 boats in at a time, we were the largest by miles, with a wooden speedboat, an inflatable canoe, a lovely launch, and a be-fendered plastic boat. We have grown accustomed to those crafts all giving us a wide berth, as we are 20 tons and steel with no brakes. We nearly collided with a thoroughbred  rowing scull awaiting their race at a regatta! There was nothing more I could do than stay in the Channel. Fortunately, they finally noticed our hoot and  looming bulk and realized there was no contest.

 

Shortly after that, we came around a bend to see a very odd craft. Upon closer inspection, we realized she was the Royal Barge Gloriana!  Decided not to take her on (even though she was on the wrong side of the river. You’ll have to take my word for it, she really is spectacular.

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We’d been looking for somewhere to tie up for the day and had been failing for the last couple of hours. I had hoped to moor near Hampton Court but had doubted this would be possible. Then we found one spot that might just be long enough. The boat is 57’. We squeezed in, the gap was 56’ 9”. With a slight overlap of rudders we managed it. Imagine my delight when I looked across the footpath to find that we were right by the golden railings of the back garden of Hampton Court Palace! We went for a little stroll and were surprised to find we could freely stroll around the grounds, rose and kitchen garden. We even saw a flock of green parrots in one of the trees.

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As we were returning to to boat we found we had been locked in at the side gate. Luckily we could see the main entrance and headed that way and were politely let out by a uniformed gent!

Only wish we could have stayed another day to check out the Royal School of Needlework.  I guess it’ll just have to wait until next time.

 

This week’s sale pattern:

#443 Faroese Flower Shawl

The graceful, shoulder-hugging Faroese Flower Shawl is knit in one piece from the neck down. This gorgeous, airy piece features floral lace stitches and an unusual petal trim at the bottom.
A beautiful summer project!
The Faroese Flower Shawl is half-price ($6.00CAD) until June 28,
Happy Stitches!

 

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Narrowboat Adventures 2018: Daily Life June 19, 2018

We retraced our route somewhat at the beginning of the month, and perhaps even enjoyed it a bit more the second time around! The weather was clearer and the views better. The addition of our boarding plank has widened our options for mooring, too.

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Good morning! Beautiful wild roses on the towpath.

Our days are full, and we are usually underway by 0700. Tying up at the end of the day depends on conditions and objectives.

 

Once the engine has been started, one of us heads out and prepares the first lock, and we are off.

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a beautiful day, swing bridge in the distance

Apart from a couple of notable flights the locks have been about every 20 mins, with another 20 spent negotiating the upcoming one.

Between locks we: eat breakfast on the deck. Boil the kettle. Make a cup of coffee.  Clean teeth. Wash up the dishes. Put away the dishes. Clean the bathroom- it needs regular maintenance!  Make another cup of canal coffee. Tend to the plants. Dead head and water the flowers (feed on Fridays). Plan and make water/sanitary/ garbage stop.

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our bed doubles as the charging station!

Tidy up the bed and prep the items for charging (we only have a cigarette lighter adapter to a small inverter- that can only be run after the engine has charged the battery for the engine start for an hour.)

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 We can only charge devices whilst underway. Part of the daily routine. Works surprisingly well.

The one battery is reserved entirely for starting the engine, and we always ensure that it is fully charged before charging the domestic ones or the plug in the inverter to charge the devices.

 

Usually only one item can be achieved between locks or swingbridges. No wonder it takes all day!

 

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dinner prep

By 4 or 5pm we are ready to stop, eat, drink and fall asleep. The sun insists on staying up later than we do!

 

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we enjoyed dinner with our friends, who generously shared their laundry facilities. A nice evening for drying, as well!

We had a lovely invitation from friends in Woolhampton. They offered us both dinner AND a washing machine. We couldn’t resist, and luckily caught an excellent drying evening, too.

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lovely temporary mooring stop at Tesco–we were able to shop and load our groceries easily!

 

 

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Still looking down at the water and continuing along our way.

And hardly a stitch knit!

 

 

 

This week’s sale pattern

#662 Celestial Baby SwaeterMy Celestial Baby Sweater is a lovely gift for the newest addition to your family! An easy-fit, easy-knit sweater with button-shoulders for a baby or toddler. Knit yours out of machine-washable yarn, and it will become a treasured garment!
The Celestial Baby Sweater is half-price ($3.75CAD) until June 21,
Happy Stitches!

 

 

 
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