The canals of England and Wales are some two hundred to two hundred and sixty years old. They revolutionised the transport of goods before being largely superseded by the faster railways and have become a monument to a way of life harder and more frugal than those who now use the canals for their leisure pursuits would choose. However, the boaters who lived and worked on the narrow boats of these canals were, like the rest of mankind, people who tried to make their homes as comfortable and decorative as they could. The boat cabins were small but were bright with paint, and the 'roses and castles' decorations of the canal boats are a true English folk art. The boatwomen, like many other working-class women, were competent at needlework, embroidery and crochet and used all of these to embellish their families' clothes and surroundings. This book reflects the author's continuing interest in the life of the boaters on the canals and includes her researches into the handicrafts of the boatwomen and their families.