Narrowboat Adventures: Weeks Five and Six October 17, 2017
Narrowboat Adventures: Weeks One and Two September 16, 2017
We had an interesting and busy few days after reaching the UK: pre-boat shopping and provisioning whilst we still had a car.
I knit quite a few rounds on the Ice Dragon blanket between Heathrow, Somerset, Merseyside and Oxford. And not a stitch for a whole week after having embarked on the Queen Bee!
We arrived on QB with all our provisions and worldly goods in garbage bags (no room for suitcases on a narrowboat). Steve, Queen Bee’s owner, met us for a handover and we moved in. This felt roughly like getting a quart into a pint pot. The boat has plenty of equipment and every locker had something in it.
We sorted ourselves out bit by bit whilst heading to Oxford. The canal and homes alongside were beautiful, but without tying up and going into the city, you really couldn’t see much of the Oxford of dreaming spires, etc. We did get one brief glimpse of Jericho – familiar from Inspector Morse! Next, we started heading north, with one of our first stops just north of Banbury.
After only 4 days, it felt like we’d dropped off the planet.
Internet is tricky and I’m trying to conserve! I’m not getting much time to knit a stitch, but the journey has been nothing but enjoyable so far.
You will laugh, but never have I felt the urge to be so tidy! During the whole first week, in between steering, locks, taking on water, finding fuel and pump-out facilities, shopping for additional gear (bath mat, a few extra towels) and groceries, we sorted cupboards and lockers so that we could fit everything in (and find it again). There is plenty of equipment on the boat: 3 dustpans and their accompanying brushes are handy, but the duplicates and other things we don’t need can be stowed deep in the most convoluted of the available spaces. Tidying up reminds me of the game with 15 squares in a 16 square grid: you have to move one thing to get to another.
J has been entertaining himself by gradually puzzling all the systems out and making fixes – all four burners on the stove now work (and the radio). I’m getting unnatural urges regarding Brasso and polishing.
Having fun on the cut.
I find myself juggling taking photos on my phone while trying not to use too much data. It’s bit tricky to get lock photos and action shots with just the two of us – we are both kept pretty busy.
After an intermittently rainy morning with a bunch of locks, which run through several appealing historic villages, we entered Warwickshire. Here the canal meanders along a contour line in an apparently aimless fashion. With many 180 degree bends, it takes 11 miles to achieve 4 as the crow flies. The scenery was magnificent – too expansive for an iPhone. Next, we had a full day with many locks ahead to get through Napton.
The hedgerows are brimming with wild fruit The wild fruits are stunning: hawthorn berries, hops, rosehips, elderberries, sloes, curranty-looking springs, to name only the ones I can name or describe. One morning, I picked a basin of blackberries – they are everywhere along the canal but not often convenient to pick. There are apples, plums and pears in profusion, in canal side gardens and many gone feral. The fields all look very smart and stripey in their recently harvested condition. The smells and scents of the countryside are delightful. The Oxford canal meanders along the contour lines, so not many locks. It’s such a pleasure to get away from the drone of motorways, hooting of trains, it’s just sad to know that the new planning white-elephant high-speed train will soon be cut through this extraordinary landscape – all to save a mere 20 minutes travel time.
On September 11, I finally knit one round on my Ice Dragon DK Blanket. I’ve either been too busy, late with dinner, or the evening light on the boat hasn’t permitted knitting or any fine work. We’ve found a solution, though. There is a small rocking chair on board and, if carefully angled (in the minute available space) so that I can put my feet up, I can then knit by the light of J’s headlamp. It’s very focussed but works. I’ve got 2 x 40” needles in the work now and a third one to knit with. J has got the radio and DVD player working and the boat has an eclectic supply of discs aboard.
Of course as soon as I picked up the blanket I discovered a FTRC (failure-to-read-chart) mistake from the road travel knitting, and had to change the colour of the centre line increases from 5 rounds back in eight places on both sides. Grr. Once I had that fixed I was able to proceed. One afternoon we had enough sun, and no locks so that I was able to sit on the stern deck and make my fixes as we transited Nuneaton. However I was exceedingly careful with my short fixing needles and crochet hook not to lose them overboard.
On we go… we have found a good rhythm and are enjoying every moment!
Not Quite Round the Horn! February 19, 2016
You probably know that I adore boats, right? Long thin narrow ones on the UK canals, great big seagoing cargo ones, ferries both large and small, and especially ones with sails. Anything boat-shaped really. In spite of that, for a number of years I’ve been resisting various tempting offers to teach on cruises to appealing destinations, on the grounds that they don’t really offer enough working days for the length of time away.
But now, as part of my newly adopted life policy of “Sod it, have more fun!”, I just had to say YES to this trip. Imagine my delight at being invited to teach on a 3 week cruise from Buenos Aires to Santiago, taking the inside passage around the tip of South America! Just the names of the ports of call give me goose bumps; I recall them from my reading the many tales of the old clipper ship days.
Just to make it even more wonderful, I’ve been given the freedom to make the subject of the classes my favourite topic: Double Layer Knitting. This is the perfect venue to learn and practice, concentrating either on the basics or taking your DK adventures to a new level. The small class size and long duration of the trip will give us lots of scope.
We will be making knitterly trips while in each port, including to Malabrigo for essential supplies. My delectable project design yarn has just arrived, and I’m hatching up two projects, one small and one larger, so we will have something for everyone!
The larger project will likely be a blanket design. I’m debating as to whether it should be flat or in the round? What do you think?
I hope you will be able to join me – this is going to be a trip of dreams!
The Fiesta Family – Flying Swallows Stitch May 7, 2015
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).
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.
Fitbitting into the Winter… October 29, 2014
Back in April, I took the pledge: I was going to exercise every day, regardless of being home or away.
I’ve done very well thus far, didn’t miss a day… until recently. My game plan was to either walk 11000 steps as monitored by my Fitbit, ride my bike, swim, paddle or do a weight routine. If hadn’t achieved my daily exercise goal, I’d gotten into the habit of walking after dinner until the necessary number of steps had been completed. This is less appealing in the dark, damp and cold, and now that the nights are drawing in, the siren song of the knitting chair by the fireside is hard to resist.
I did well on my last workshop tour. I found several like minded knitters in Colorado who, once the workshop day was done, joined me for a good long walk. We found a route away from the road, set off, and got back in time for dinner. What a great way to spend time with new friends! The range of subjects we covered was astounding.
My Kansas host lived near a park, and I walked there after class. The weather was perfect and, once I had located the pedestrian-only parts of the park, I enjoyed lovely walks whist listening to an audio book. I even discovered what Osage oranges look and smell like!
My next stop, in Livonia, MI, was at a hotel. Here I remembered that I hadn’t brought along my gym gear. The clothes could be improvised but, without appropriate indoor shoes, the indoor sports facilities were a no go. I climbed stairs between floors and walked where I could. Sadly, though, being bounded by roads and parking lots is not conducive to walking outdoors. On the other hand, owing to the bizarre design of the hotel, I frequently headed off in the wrong direction between my room and the classroom, and gained many valuable strides this way!
Onwards to Lexington, MI, right on the shores of Lake Huron. It was very beautiful there but, again, not easily suited to walking. I had hoped to walk back from the workshop to my host’s home each day, but the nature of the traffic on the apparently quiet road was enough to blow you off your feet! I contented myself with some small-scale local strolls and a thorough exploration of all the streets in Lexington.
Airport days present good opportunities for walking and, when time permitted, I avoided moving carpets.
Rather than sitting (knitting) and waiting, I preferred to pace up and down the terminal a few times instead. In a crowded airport, you never know who a FitBit knitter might bump into!
Wall of silence – now demolished! August 4, 2014
It was so hard returning from the high of filming for Craftsy.com in Denver and not being able to post any photos of the filming without revealing the subject matter. No matter how you frame it, a knit sock looks suspiciously like a knit sock.
Now I’m allowed to reveal both subject and the class title page, and in addition offer you the opportunity to win a free copy of this class! Follow this link to sign up for your chance to win.
Spring, the DK Club and a Sale! June 16, 2014
I hope you’ve been enjoying the spring as much as I have this year! My last teaching trip, which took me to Ontario and Saskatchewan, was a huge success: I knitted with old friends and new and, happily, had some time to visit with my younger daughter in Toronto. Upon my return to Nova Scotia, Holly and I headed out to the Island, armed with buckets of paint. My little Tancook home is certainly becoming a bright oasis!
In other news, I have uploaded another video to my Double Knitting Technique Club:
In Video #22: Perfect Graft of a Single DK Tube in the Round, I demonstrate a way to invisibly join two ends of a tube using my Perfect Grafting Technique and brightly contrasting waste yarn.
This is a larger version of grafting I-Cords into hoops!
As with all of the DK Club Videos, I have included an accompanying set of Notes. It includes links to two of my free Youtube Clips, which demonstrate Perfect and Imperfect Grafting in even more detail. Remember, too, that it’s never too late to join the DK Technique Club!
We have announced our online Canada/Independence Day Sale, which will run from June 29 to July 6, 2014!
This week-long event will feature our downloadable products: you will find discounts on selected Patterns, e-Books, Tutorials and more! We may even add a few special Sale Bundles to our new Bundles Section at LucyNeatby.com! Please do check in, you’re sure to find some fantastic deals.
We are also planning a second sale for later in the summer: this one will include shippable products such as yarns, paper patterns and some kits. We will keep you posted with those dates once they are finalized.
For today, I wish you Many Happy DK Stitches!