Search This Blog

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Alpaca Farm Workshop-tastic!

Carrie took a morning workshop with two of our lovely Toft Knitters, Margaret and Kate on the finer points of Circular Knitting a week or so ago. Some of you might be thinking 'what on earth?', whilst some may think, easy. Either way there is a bit more to it than just knitting in the round and making a tube - because lets face it, unless it's a cowl neck or a snood it's not much use! Kate and Margaret learnt several ways to join in the round, how you're always knitting the right side when your working in the round and also the Magic Loop Method. After several hours of knitting, nattering and tea and biscuit consumption they had it down and were looking forward to working up some circular Toft patterns in the near future. For everyone else we'll be putting some videos on the website detailing some circular knitting point - it'll be the first of many Toft Alpaca Shop mini-demos available on the website, including Katie's snood demo and Kerry's Net and Flower Scarf demo!

After the fun we've had recently at our workshops, we're really looking forward to the Cable Workshop on Saturday 13th November (where you could make this Cable Beanie) and the Festive workshops on 3rd and 17th December (where we'll be making Toft's Felt Baubles)- there are still some places left on these workshops and gift vouchers for all of our workshops are available. If you're wracking your brains for gift ideas, they make a great and unusual present for that crafty person in your life.

We just love showing people around the farm, getting them excited about British yarn production and best of all scrummy alpaca yarn and gorgeous luxury fashion products. So much so that we've added new dates and workshop topics for next year, the new workshop dates are;

*Sock and/or Glove Workshop on 21 January 2011 - learn techniques and tips on how to knit these items that people often find needlessly scary.

*Introduction to Knitting on 12 February 2011 - Toft's infamous beginner knitting workshop where we'll teach all the basics to newbies and offer advice to intermediates - usually we knit the gorgeous Toft Knitted Necklace.

*Felt Workshop on 4 March 2011 - learn the various felting techniques so suited to alpaca knitting or fleece, including wet felting, needle felting and knitted felting.

*Next Step Beginner Course - Pattern Reading on 1 April 2011 - If you've loved the Introduction to knitting and want to start that next challenge this is the workshop for you. We'll de-mystify all the pattern jargon that probably looks like a foreign language just now!

*Alpaca Jewelry and Shearing Workshop on 17 May 2011 - To coincide with our shearing week, come and join us to learn more about the process of field to fashion and make some gorgeous knitted or felted (or both) jewelry using alpaca yarn and fleece. A fantastic opportunity to see the inner workings of Toft Alpaca farm!

More details can be found on the website and you can book there for yourself or to give as a gift, alternatively give us a call at the Toft office on 01788 810 626.

For any Toft Alpaca fans in the south of the country Carrie will be visiting National Trust property, The Vyne nr Basingstoke in Hampshire on 17th November to run a version of Toft's Festive Workshops, one AM and one PM. We'll be making 3 baubles using knitting and felting techniques, and Carrie will be teaching knitting from the beginning if necessary so all are welcome. A roaring fire and refreshments are included all for £35 pp. Call National Trust Box Office for bookings on 08442 491 895- they're filling fast!

For Toft Alpacas on the road team there is no let up now until December, we'll travelling around the country again with lots of alpaca goodies, yarn, and luxury garments for the discerning shopper and alpaca fan! This weekend the team can be found in Dublin for The Knitting and Stitching Show (29 October), then Birmingham for the ICHF from 4-7th November , Country Living London from 10-13th November, Glasgow for the Country Living Show from 18th-21st November, The Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate from 25-28th November and lots more to follow in December! Phew - an exhausting schedule but we love meeting you all so come and see us if we're in your area!!

Oh and don't forget to visit us for the first Toft Knitter's Group on 1 November at 4pm!
We've more exciting news about late night Christmas shopping, a sample sale and Christmasy events coming soon...

Friday, 8 October 2010

October Alpaca Adventures

We've had a couple of misty mornings here at the farm this week, the day then clears to reveal the warm autumn sun and a glorious view over Draycote water - we are so lucky to work in such beautiful surroundings! Why not come and visit the shop during this gorgeous time of year and see what we mean?! And if it gets too cold there's always lots of alpaca goodies to keep you toasty!

The past few weeks have been super busy at Toft Alpaca Shop and Stud Farm. Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd October were workshop days- we had two lovely groups of ladies who joined us for a tour of the farm (a rather wet and blustery one on Friday) and then tuition in Felting techniques and on Saturday an introduction to knitting.

All the felt bag designs were marvelously creative and everyone surprised Kerry by enjoying wet felting more than needle felting, usually it's the other way round.

After their two walks adventure dogs Ace and Harvey were too tired to even eat fleece- a favourite pastime during felting workshops!

Saturday's knitters all gave the craft a real shot and were so engrossed with their chosen projects that the snooker room was unusually quiet! Tongues were sticking out with concentration and there were frequent shrieks of either joy at a finished row or horror at a dropped stitch! Everyone went home well on their way to a finished item whether it was a necklace, cowl or wristwarmers - there were a few twisted pearl stitches but it all added to the fun of the day and the uniqueness of each item.

Kerry set off to Ally Pally last Wednesday with a new set of shelves 'hand crafted' on the farm by Rob, which made the stand look even better than usual- showing off Toft's 100% baby alpaca garments and natural colour yarns to their very best. The show was a great success with lots of newbie knitters visiting the stand to buy knitting kits. Ally Pally gave us the chance to debut lots of new knitting kits and the large Toft Cotton Totes- and as usual we sold out of buttons!

Talking of new knitting kits, Gianni, photographer extraordinaire, will be photographing all the new items for inclusion on the website soon, including these two beautiful scarf patterns, the Bobble Scarf and the Chunky Cable Lace, which were big hits at Ally Pally.

In other Toft Alpaca news, Kerry visited a sock factory recently and despite expecting something out of Wallace & Gromit she came away raving about the factory and the process. Here you can see some of the yarns they had going at the time and this next photo is not a piece from the Tardice but it is in fact a sock knitting machine - the yarns run along the top and feed down, knitting a kind of complex french knitting style tube that pops out of the bottom as a perfect sock. So coming soon will be a new range of Cream and Black Alpaca socks to replace our current Knee High
and Walking Socks, with Charcoal and Silver coming in the new year. We can't wait here at Toft Alpaca Shop Office!