Living on a boat has its challenges. Storing and fetching water is one. Every two weeks or so we must replenish our water supplies and also move to comply with licence conditions. Keeping warm is so important and my crochet essentials are always with me. I am not the most organised of people but I have learnt the hard way from not wrapping up properly!
We travel for a few miles minimum, this doesn’t sound very far but it is at a speed similar to walking with each lock taking around 20 minutes or so. Some stretches are lock free whereas some are a lock every mile. It is the perfect way to enjoy the countryside , I always feel so free travelling along, it is a wonderful feeling.
During winter it is especially important to wrap up well. Standing still for around 5 hours means that your body temperature drops very quickly and can be extremely painful. Hands and feet need to be kept warm and mobile for safety and comfort. My crochet essentials for move day are…
•A thick cowl. This doubles up as a hood and can’t fall off or get wrapped around canal lock mechanisms or ladders. Much safer and more practical than a scarf. There are many patterns out there and they are quick and simple to make. I dont always use a pattern and my favourite is just to chain 100 and then puff stitch around until it is the required length, adding tassels or buttons when finished. It is super warm and comfortable. A nice variegated or tweed yarn adds detail to this crochet essential.
•Fingerless mittens / Wrist warmers. They are perfect for keeping hands warm and fingers free. I like to take lots of photos of my journey with my phone so my fingers need to be at the ready. Often I will spot a fox, swooping Heron or pretty boat so I have to be quick! It is not easy juggling a tiller and a camera and I frequently end up veering off course but I love to capture the incredible images along the journey. It is such a vivid record of our adventures.
•There are lots of glove patterns which can be whipped up in an hour or two. Buttons, crochet flowers and ribbons can be added to jazz them up if you like a bit of detail. My go to pattern is Ups and Downs Fingerless Gloves, a free pattern by Tamara Kelly which you can find in the link below .It is quick to crochet and doesn’t use much yarn. https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/ups-and-downs-fingerless-gloves
Each journey is different,even on the same route, the lighting and colours change. The seasons are such a big part of my life now, they affect so many parts of narrowboat life. I feel much closer to nature and it inspires so much of my creativity. Not just the practicality of needing warm clothing but the colours and textures I see. Living on water has brought out an urge in me to create everything I need !
After spending the last year learning to crochet and honing my skills I feel confident enough to try some better quality yarns. Small items such as these make great one skein projects so I can try some of the alpaca yarns or pure wool without worrying about spending a lot of money. There are some great independent yarn suppliers out there and I can’t wait to check out some of the hand dyed and spun ,beautiful yarns I see online. I believe in shopping small and supporting local business, the perfect excuse to go out and buy lots of lovely new yarns! If anyone has recommendations I would love to hear from you.