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Tuesday, 10 August 2010

A Busy Summer!

Within the last few months things at Toft have been super busy - some might say chaotically so - but we just love it! Kerry and Katie have literally been touring the country setting up stands at shows with almost military precision- if there was a chic, alpaca clad, military knitting division of course! They've visited Alcester, Stoneleigh, London, Bakewell, Stirling, Harrogate, not to mention Paris and Dublin too with more venues planned!

Kate and Kerry spent a rather hot and humid weekend at the CLA Game Fair in Alcester in July. The show was attended by 144,000 people over three days and the Toft Alpaca stand greeted new and familiar faces. Our newly delivered Baker Boy hats

made with an alpaca tweed fabric each with unique vintage linings went down a storm with the country set. We were witness to some fantastic goings-on including ladies dancing on horseback, a pen of camels from Dubai, lots of gorgeous doggy shows, as well as some very interesting fashion choices (the mustard lady to be found on our facebook page)-especially given the humid weather!

Those who have visited the website will know that last month we gained a new team member in Carrie who can now be found most days surrounded by yarn and patterns at the Toft Alpaca Shop and 'office'. On her first day at Toft she was well and truly welcomed with the birth of a Cria - one of the 50 we've had at Toft this year. As well as managing the shop Carrie will be extending Toft Alpaca Shop's schedule of workshops expanding on the popular introduction to knitting and felting and offering sessions on Cable and Circular knitting.

The last weekend of July saw Toft Alpaca at the first Knit Nation held at Imperial College, London, organised by Alice Yu and Cookie A and attended by Ravelry. It was Carrie's first show and although she left with tired feet there was still a spring in her step from an even greater enthusiasm for Toft yarns. She shares her thoughts of Knit Nation below:

"So it was my first show with Toft and what a brilliant day we had. Imperial College was a great venue and having arrived early I managed to catch up on some knitting magazines over breakfast on Thurloe Road. As the doors opened I met some Toft Alpaca regulars as well as lots of new faces - although they were all new to me! I really enjoyed sharing my new found knowledge of the products and the yarn, offering some knitting know-how when necessary. It was great to have the chance of being part of 'Toft on the Road!'. For the knitters amongst you I noticed that we had the most interest in our laceweight yarn and indeed this was a running theme for most exhibitors, so much so I've started a topic titled 'For the Love of Lace' on our Ravelry page. Knitters it seems still want to spend their pennies on sumptuous yarns to create beautiful items, but they also want even more value for money, and with the great yardage you get from lace it gives just that! Currently on my needles are some double strand lace weight gloves that will hopefully become a knitting kit in the new year (picture to follow!). In the meantime I'm looking forward to my next show already…"

Carrie has also been setting us up on Facebook, Twitter and Ravelry - we plan on our pages being regularly updated with news, photos, offers and free patterns from the Toft Alpaca Shop. We've also been featured monthly in magazines ranging from Vogue Knitting US, to Good Housekeeping and The Knitter which has led to lots of websales especially from our US fans.

You may have noticed the uber stylish new photographs from our latest fashion shoot by the fabulous Gianni Diliberto which are appearing on our website. We are so pleased with the way his photography has brought out the very best of our alpaca products. Kate and Kerry had a fun filled day kitting out our gorgeous model in head to toe alpaca - luckily she was a consummate professional and didn't pass out in the surprising July heat that day! A highlight of the new collection is the stunning Ribbed, fine knit cardigan jacket - it's been so popular in fact we've re-order it already.

Of course we've been wearing alpaca on all but the hottest days of summer, whether it be our Bulb Bags, Toft necklaces or the versatile fine knit snood - which, as Katie will demonstrate at the drop of a ball of laceweight alpaca, can be worn not only as a snood but as a summer evening shrug or pashmina.

Carrie nearly fell off her chair this week with excitement after thinking she'd spotted a pair of Toft's legwarmers on a Christian Dior catwalk! So a quick fashion forecast (to be found in all the fashion magazines littering the office) our legwarmers are one of the must have autumn/winter 10/11 items - wear them over boots for a statement or with your lounge pants at home. Kerry is even working on a pair that will be perfect for your yoga or pilates class with bare toes and heels. Not that we're wishing away summer at all you understand!!

This week Toft have visited the Bakewell Show and will be heading to UK Knit Camp in Stirling in a few days. Updates to follow...