Happy Stitches

Keep your stitches smiling!

Narrowboat Adventures: Weeks Five and Six October 17, 2017

Filed under: Canal boat,General Musings,Knitting Travels,Narrowboating,Sale — happystitches @ 21:07
coffeeonthellangollencanal

We offered our guests an unparalleled experience on the canals

My friends and I had a happy reunion at Heathrow Airport after my brief sojourn in British Columbia, Canada (see my October Spun Yarn for details).  They joined John and me for a most enjoyable week on the canals before continuing their own UK adventure. We offered them an unparalleled guest experience: sleeping together in maximum intimacy, strenuous exercise, lock wheeling, floor sweeping and learning the art of living with a sewage holding tank…
workingthelocks

A working holiday!

…On a narrowboat you have to unlearn everything your mother taught you about always ‘going’ before you leave the house. We have quickly learned to visit the facilities both on arriving and departing a pub, the supermarket or any other designated place in order to save room.
Queen Bee has a fairly large waste tank, hardly situated under the fixed double berth. We have been carefully monitoring the level and pumping out as needed.  While the tank  does have a gauge, we were warned of its sudden leaps from empty to the red zone – with no interim progression.
stockinguponcoalfromthefuelboat

Stocking up on coal from the fuel boat

We were very organized, stopping for fuel and a pump out on our first day out from Ellesmere.  Chugging along the Llangollen canal just a couple of days later, the gauge suddenly took off. A visual inspection of the tank was immediately undertaken – it was 7/8 full. Evidently we were short-pumped at the last stop. A swift consultation of the nav book and we found a hire base, just 2 hours away.  Off we went.  Imagine our predicament when we arrived and found it to be long-since ceased operations!
Our next possibility was another 3.5 hours away and we couldn’t make it that day. We took our chances and made an early start next morning.  All was eventually well – we checked the tank visually this time. It’s amazing how rapidly boat conversations sink to plumbing and electrics. 
knittingafteralongdayofboating

We didn’t find much time to knit, but made the best of it when we could!

Despite the more “back-to-the basics” elements of our time together, we had a most enjoyable visit.  On our last day together, we coasted into town on fumes, dropping our visitors off in Llangollen 
captain

Starting to feel a chill in the air

Autumn is setting in seriously now.  The air is a confetti of leaves with each wind gust, we see skeins of geese in the sky daily. I’ve been finding myself thinking  about gloves whilst on the tiller in the mornings.
The canals are becoming leaf drifted and we have to stop the engine and reverse to shake them off the prop from time to time. The weather continues to be intermittently showery, we try to shelter the flowers in the worst winds – nearly lost the parsley overboard. The hydrangeas on the foredeck are very popular with passing boaters and walkers, we’ve received many compliments. John says hydrangeas are the new orchids!
aqueduct
We have established what passes for a routine to our days – up early before first light and underway. By  0730 we are quietly having breakfast (or even tea in bed) and one of us suddenly leaps up starts the the engine, lets go the lines and we are off. We generally travel all day, apart from necessary stops for groceries, water, fuel and pump outs every few days. It’s definitely about the journey; the destination is largely academic.
I find it very hard to be below once we are underway. Although you still have a great view, you can rubberneck better from on deck.
stowawaysockfromNelson

We seem to have brought a stowaway with us–all the way from Nelson, BC!

Equilateral Hat

This week’s half-price pattern is my Equilateral Hat! This highly unusual but easy construction for a hat may be made from oddments of wool or out of a variegated yarn with a long color gradation. Work a strip of triangles, fold, and mattress stitch into an amazing hat. The Equilateral Hat pattern is half-price ($3.75) until October 19!

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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…

approachingChester

approaching Chester in the fog

 

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! 
LastDayonQueenBeeWorkingTheLocks

my last day on the Queen Bee, working the locks

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.
canaltochesterlocks

Chester Locks

 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.
tiedupEllesmerePort

all moored up, Ellesmere Port

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! 
train:tubetoEustonfromChester

Chester Train Station

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.
PlanesTrainsAutomobiles

All my connections worked and I had a really good journey to BC, using boat, car, train, tube, taxi, plane, feet for transport!

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!

lucybctea

I felt like I’d just taken part in Planes, Trains and Automobiles, but here I am in Nelson, BC!

An afterthought…

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!

almostsaintly

Half-price pattern of the week!

 

 

 

 

Domino Baby Blanket June 25, 2017

Filed under: Pattern highlight,Patterns,Sale — happystitches @ 09:51
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Lucy’s Domino Baby Blanket

 

Have you checked out this week’s sale pattern? Lucy’s Domino Baby Blanket is a straightforward project, resulting in a practical gift with serious heirloom pretensions, suitable for treasures of all ages, newborn to sage.

Perfect carry-around knitting, this blanket may be worked from a single yarn, several yarns or from small quantities of many colours of similar weight yarns. It looks ten times as much work as it is, making it one of those high-yield-of-elegance-per-unit-effort projects. This versatile pattern can be knit using any yarn weight.

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The Domino Baby Blanket pattern is half-price ($4.50 CAD) until June 28!

 

Special DVD Offers: Have your cake and eat it, too! August 4, 2015

Filed under: DVDs,General Musings,Patterns,Sale,Teaching — happystitches @ 10:19
Filming the

Filming the “Learn With Lucy” series came with a unique set of Challenges and Joys!

When we first started filming the “Learn with Lucy” DVD series, we never thought there would be more than two or three titles, certainly not the eventual sixteen action-packed titles!  Though the process was sometimes grueling, and we did have obstacles to overcome (The great DVD disaster, Spunyarn 27),  the project has been a great success.

The dream team!

The dream team!

We have been selling the DVDs for 9 years now, as one title at a time or through our subscription service.  DVD subscription customers  sign up to receive one or two titles monthly until their collection is complete.  This, too, has been a wonderful success from the start.

My longtime friend, and now committed tech nerd, Corrie, foresaw that physical DVDs, as a means for sharing large amounts of video content, were on their way out. Computers, in happy homage to Moore’s Law, were getting faster very fast, and the price of computer memory was dropping like a stone (or a feather in a vacuum). She took on the challenge of finding a way to convert the information on the DVDs into a video format that could be used for on-line streaming and downloaded for off-line viewing.

Suffering for my art!

Suffering for my art!

This was a nasty exercise, but had to be done, since we did not have the original filmed production tracks. Did you know that web browsers are not in any agreement with each other as to which video format they will show or dis-allow?  After the pain and suffering, all 16 titles were completed, and tested on many browsers (!), so we could now provide knitters with a choice of medium.

The great thing about the video versions is that, once purchased, your videos are stored indefinitely in your Notebook at LucyNeatby.com.

Lost all your downloaded Lucy videos in your Great Computer Crash of 2013? No problem! Login on your new computer: all your things are still in your Notebook and ready to be downloaded anew.

For the above and other reasons, our Video Download versions have become very popular, their sales increasing  all the time. Our Video subscription customers make up about half of those sales now, as well.

While some knitters still do prefer the benefits of a physical disc (can be played on computer and tv screen, better image quality–we are still waiting for less expensive server storage space to happen, so we can afford to store the MUCH larger HD files for you), the trend is towards downloadable products.  This is something that has happened everywhere: to patterns, books, movies and educational courses. Just look at Youtube videos and newer Video Blogs, and the hugely successful courses offered through Craftsy, Coursera and others. Instant gratification is lovely.

Knitting Essentials 1

Knitting Essentials 1: our first monthly DVD Special!

In the wake of this technological tsunami there has been an inevitable decline in our “real” DVD sales. We have not ordered a new crate of “Learn with Lucy” DVDs in quite some time, yet we still have plenty of the titles in-house.  In our ongoing mission to downsize the brick-and-mortar aspects of the company, we have decided that a DVD sale was in order!

  For those of you who want the best of both worlds, we have launched a monthly DVD special, whereby you can get a DVD title with its accompanying Video Download version, for a specially reduced rate.  Our first title is Knitting Essentials 1.  Through the month of August 2015, this real-DVD-plus-video-Download pair will be on sale for $19.99 (plus shipping and tax where applicable)!  

A new sale title will be announced in the Newsbox at the beginning of every calendar month. (Is it too early to think about stashing holiday gifts?) If you already own the disc but would like the virtual version too, this offer will give you a present to bestow on a friend, or guild gift exchange, for the same price as a virtual disc. You’ll just have to watch the offers to complete your set!

Happy Stitches and enjoy Learning with Lucy!

We’ll be back to the narrowboat chronicles next time. (I’m loving reliving the trip for you.)

 

The Storm Mountain DK Hat March 19, 2015

Storm Mountain DK Hat

The Storm Mountain Hat features built-in insulating air spaces!

Nova Scotians are digging out after yet another massive storm, with some parts of the province having received upwards of 50cm of snow.  Add to that the 70km/hr winds, and most of us  are now tunneling through drifts much taller than ourselves!

Sometimes the best solution to life’s little problems is to sit back, pull out some yarn and needles, and start a new knitting project. With that in mind, and as a small consolation to our Nova Scotian friends, we’ve decided to offer the aptly named Storm Mountain DK Hat for only $3.50 (half-price) this week!

This warm double-layer hat has built-in insulating air spaces between the layers. The hat uses two yarns: the inner yarn is the only one that touches the head and occasionally appears on the public side of the hat. The exterior colour only ever appears on the outside of the hat. The air spaces are created by working more rounds on the exterior fabric than on the interior layer.
We added a bonus to the updated pattern a few months ago, which features an alternate top I like to call the Space Cadet option!

The Space Cadet Topper option will work for any size Storm Mountain Hat you choose to knit: here it is on a baby-siazed version, knit with my Cat's Pajamas Yarn

The Space Cadet Topper option will work for any size Storm Mountain Hat you choose to knit: here it is on a baby-siazed version, knit with my Cat’s Pajamas Yarn

Wishing you Happy Stormy Stitches!

 

Happy December! December 1, 2014

Filed under: Patterns,Sale,Yarn — happystitches @ 09:56
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This year's Christmas Tractor has arrived!

This year’s Christmas Tractor has arrived!

We enjoyed a lovely Open House for our local knitters on Saturday afternoon.  I was happy to see some familiar faces, and loved meeting several new-to-me knitterly friends.  All in all, a huge success: the BOGO sales were enthusiastically embraced, Holly’s cookies greatly appreciated and many of us took the time for a bit of knitting around the kitchen table.

Farmall Super H

 

John had started decorating the Christmas Tractor, which was greatly admired by all.

 

We didn’t forget our Online Knitting Community and, with all of you in mind, have baked up a few low-cal Holiday treats at the website, as well!

From now until December 14, check out our Holiday Sales Bundles!  Most of these include two of my “Learn with Lucy” titles at 40% off  paired with an appropriate free pattern.  We’ve also included an eBook special, featuring my three digital titles: Cool Socks Warm Feet, Cool Knitters Finish in Style and A Little Book of BIG Holes for HandKnitters!

The Clearance Section is filling up with BOGO yarns, knitting needles and jewelry.  They’re going fast and we’ll be adding more products throughout the month. (Please remember that the items added later in the month may require express shipping if they are to arrive in time for the Holidays!)

Fiesta Stocking

a beautiful Fiesta Stocking knit by Susan, using our locally dyed BFL Aran yarns

 

And finally, I’ve introduced a new Sale Concept this year: my Online Advent Calendar will feature one of my downloadable products every day between now and December 24th.  Please note that each Daily Advent Calendar Deal will be available for 24 hours only, so check the Newsbox often.  To start the month off right, today’s item is my Fiesta Stocking pattern: you’ll have plenty of time to knit one before Christmas if you start now!

Wishing a Happy Start to the Festivities to you and yours! I’m looking forward to a busy month preparing for family visits and all of the Holiday excitement.  The countdown has begun!

Lucy

PS Poseidon the cat will be choosing a winner of Holli Yeoh‘s new Tempest Knits book later this week.

 

Summer Sale! August 25, 2014

Filed under: DVDs,General Musings,Sale,Uncategorized — happystitches @ 12:00
Hot Pink,Mango, Buttercup, Lime, Turquoise and Pansy (purple).

Hot Pink,Mango, Buttercup, Lime, Turquoise and Pansy (purple).

There are  just two more days of our super Sumer sale to go!
There are bargains on plastic DVDs, books, Addi Turbo needles, Kauni bargain bundles, to name but a few items. For full details please see my latest Spunyarn newsletter.

This is an ideal time to fill in the gaps in your plastic DVD collections. Treat yourself to some of the more esoteric titles that you might have skipped at full price!

I anticipate that once current stocks are gone that we will no longer be carrying the plastic discs. Many of our customers have moved to the digital no-postage-required versions.

I’m often asked what the differences are between the virtual and plastic discs:

The content of the discs are the same, but formatted slightly differently to accommodate their respective medium.

Plastic discs are ideal for playing on bigger screens and televisions , the content is accessed by clicking on the index.

The virtual DVDs are designed for downloading or streaming and viewing on a laptop or tablet. The topics can be accessed individually or in chapters.  We archive your virtual DVD purchases for you in your Notebook on our website. They may be downloaded or streamed.

The choice between them is dependent on how you plan to view them.

I’d like to know if you have any favourite techniques that you discovered from the DVDs?

 

LN DVD Venus1

 

 
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