Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Regarding boats, knitting, and sleep

I am back again.

Yes, we had a good time - although no, the sun didn't shine very much at all, and yes, we did get rained on rather thoroughly, particularly today. If I hadn't needed to get back for work tomorrow, I think we'd have stayed put at Bradford. Instead, we got soaked, waterproofs notwithstanding.

The first few days were just lovely. Warm sunshine, and I was wishing I had remembered to pack some sandals rather than just my boat shoes. We meandered down to Bath, which is such a beautiful city that it is actually quite hard to believe.

We had been intending to go down onto the Avon and go upstream - the river is navigable in that direction as far as the weir by Pulteney Bridge - and hopefully moor in sight of the bridge.

It is a truly spectacular view with that beautiful architecture - and no, that isn't us moored on the right, although it could have been - instead, we walked down here. At this point the boat was moored a few locks up, between Wash House Lock and Abbey View Lock - both of which are every bit as picturesque as they sound.

But the weather changed, as it always does. It became very wet indeed, and very windy as well, which is not ideal when you are trying to manoeuvre a 16 1/2 ton narrowboat. So we stayed put above Wash House Lock, and hoped it would brighten up, which it didn't seem inclined to do. Eventually we decided that the Avon could wait until another day, and headed back up the canal again during the brief intervals when it wasn't pouring with rain.

We spent a couple of days just above Bath Top Lock, with spectacular wet and windy views across the stone-built city - then we moved on to Bathampton - and so to Bradford-on-Avon. That's another really lovely place, very like Bath on a much smaller scale. And the canal is endlessly interesting- you never know what you'll come across around the next bend.

This boat looked almost organic, as if it had grown there. And yes, that is turf on the roof. Good insulation.

Look at it from the other direction...... amazing!

In Bradford we visited the Tithe Barn, which is something we've been meaning to do for a while. This is a huge medieval barn, something more than 50 metres long - you can see part of it here.

Inside, it is almost like a cathedral. Quiet, empty, beautiful, and incredibly atmospheric.

And then home today, in absolutely pouring rain.

What have I been doing? I think I have actually spent most of the last week asleep. Yes, really. I've been sleeping around 11 or 12 hours a night, every night, and having a 2 or 3 hour nap in the afternoon as well. I still don't think I'm caught up, but I'm certainly feeling a whole lot better than I was when we left.

However, I have done at least some knitting. The Cobblestone Pullover is nearly finished. When I picked this up, I was some inches away from the top of the first sleeve. Now, it is all in one piece, and I'm nearly at the third set of decreases in the garter stitch yoke, and it is going quite fast now that the stitch count is getting less.

And yes, I grafted the underarm stitches without a yarn needle. Just three dpns. I like this method a lot, I think it is actually easier to get a good tension this way.

I am less than pleased with the finish on the short rows in the yoke, by the way. I've heard that other people have had problems with them as well. The difficulty is not the wraps - this is garter stitch, and the wraps really are best left alone, they don't need to be hidden at all. The problem is quite simply that there is a tendency for a hole to form, on the purl side short row. Not the knit side - the knit side is absolutely fine. Just the purl side. I'll post some pictures tomorrow so that you can see what I mean. I think the finish is ok - I mean, there aren't any gaping holes - but it could definitely do with improvement. I'm thinking of using the Japanese short row technique for the second set of short rows, with no wraps at all - there are less stitches to deal with at that point so if I don't like the results then frogging won't be such a nuisance.

And now, I think I need to sleep some more......


Anonymous said...

Sounds as if you really needed some extra rest and were able to get it.
Your photo's are lovely and make me quite envious.
Barbara in CA

Queen of the froggers said...

That boat is amazing isn't it! Welcome back. :)

Heather said...

Hope you are nearly caught up on your sleep now. It all sounds exhausting! The photos are lovely and the tithe barn looks really interesting.

I have tagged you for the Five Things Meme if you feel like doing it.