roving canal traders

roving canal traders associationThe Roving Canal Traders Association is the collective voice of roving canal traders. It aims to give advice to old, new & would-be traders, and holds frequent events giving increased opportunities to all floating traders.

A different floating trader - every one a 'character of the cut' - will be presented in each edition of this magazine.

For more information on the RCTA, or to join, please see Website


lorraine stevenson - the mad hatter

mad-hatter - Lorraine StevensonI first started boating in 2003 when I sold my house for a killing, bought my first boat and
went boating as a single handed woman.

For four years I cruised the network of canals, every week in a different place with different people. It was a wonderful life. I did all the locks myself and went from one end of the country to the other.

I had loads of adventures, but especially remember getting stuck in the floods on the River Thames in 2007. I was there for two weeks, along with a friend on their boat, and I kissed the ground at Oxford when I eventually got on to dry land!

It was around this time that I realised my bank balance was depleted and I needed to get back to home turf and work for a living. I don't regret a single moment, and the experience I gained from the canals you just could not buy.

mad-hatter Mark Stevenson-WoodMany years on, I got married to Mark, sold my boat, and now we both live on our boat The Mad Hatter.

So how did my crocheting begin?

mad-hatter Lorraine StevensonIt all started when we were moored at Sawley Marina back in 2012. One of my friends, Lucy, showed me how to crochet a copy of my first hat. It was lovingly called my Ermintrude hat (off the Magic Roundabout). I'm wearing it in the photo below!

It took me around two years to perfect the hats, and as soon as I finished one it was purchased - so I never got to keep them long.

A few more years went by, and I started to put millinery wire in the brims, and my creativity went from strength to strength.

mad-hatter Lorraine Stevenson hatsI applied for my roving traders licence in 2016 to allow me to sell my hats, bags, bracelets and other crochet items. Everything is made on our boat - I have a wonderful workshop that my husband built for me on the towpath.

Mark and I now travel the waterways system together. I sell my hats, while hubby goes fixing boats. It's still a wonderful life, and one which we would never change.

So HATS OFF to all my lovely customers for supporting me on our travels!

The mad hatter { Lorraine Stevenson }

 


mad-hatter-2.jpgLorraine StevensonLorraine Stevenson, trading as The Mad Hatter, has been a member of the Roving Traders Association since 2016. She creates imaginative and quirky hats for any occasion. They are very distinctive and are easily spotted amongst the waterways community and festival goers.

Follow The Mad Hatter on Facebook to find out where she is trading, or to contact her if you would like a bespoke hat uniquely created especially for you.