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Tuesday, 28 June 2011


At the Toft office we are never ones to pass up cake (well most of us aren't!) and today was no exception.  Alpaca owner Evelyn brought in some scrumptious french apple cake and being french herself this cake was baked to perfection.  Rob decided he should offset this cake eating with a spot of weight lifting - although with this vintage spindle that Kerry found at Woolfest we think he might have to do quite a few reps!

Woolfest was great by the way, Kerry had a very successful show and there was lots of interest in the new samples for knitting kits that will be landing very soon.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Is that Toft or the Italian Riviera?

Whilst awaiting some very late friends & wanting to keep out of the way of Toft Manor residents at the weekend, Carrie & Martin soaked up some rays at Toft overlooking what could well be mistaken for an Italian lake.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Fleece collection somewhere south of here...

On our way down to collect another trailer load of huacaya fleece this afternoon...

Glad I hadn't left it five days later. Fleece sorting Wednesday again next week and then off to Cumbria for Woolfest on Friday.
Sent from my iPhone

Fancy an alpaca muffin with that cuppa?

Our recent intern Emi e-mailed us this week detailing her plans for a summer of alpaca fun when she returns to Japan.

Firstly she'll be visiting a Mawata manufacturer who make duvets.  Mawata or hankie is a method of stretching silk cocoons over a wooden frame and drying them to create squares of raw silk.  Emi and Carrie investigated this on You Tube and the Yarn Harlot's blog after talking about hand spinning when Emi was last here.  The Yarn Harlot describes using hankie to make a pair of mittens and instead of spinning using a traditional wheel she just pulled the silk into a strand of fibre ‘something (very vaguely) resembling a light worsted weight yarn’.  Fascinating, huh?!  Emi has lots of silk pupa a home and hopefully this hands on training will allow her to use them to great effect!

Another visit Emi is making is to a Japanese alpaca farm called Nasu.  Their website is beautifully designed although their take on the healing power of alpacas is an interesting one (we used Google translate – we aren’t actually fluent in Japanese!).  The most interesting thing though has to be alpaca muffins which aren’t made of alpaca but camembert and if anyone knows the link between the two, answers on a postcard please!  The cookies look interesting too and Emi has promised us a taste when she returns – we look forward to it! 

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Damn, thought we'd escaped!

The Toft Alpaca show team were sheared on Monday evening after sweeping the board at the Kenilworth show the other week.  Their indignant expressions made it quite clear that they thought they'd escaped the shearer this year!  That said they all look much happier now that those beautiful but incredibly warm and thick fleeces are off their backs.

Monday, 13 June 2011

You won't lose that Cria wearing that jacket!

Friday at Toft Alpacas was Felting Workshop day.  As well as a few loyal customers we were also joined by several alpaca owners and some of our lovely knitters.  They all enjoyed a day of wet felting and unusually most people decided to make a bowl, Carrie had to gen-up on how to dry them as now one had ever wanted to make one before.  The thing to do is to leave it drying around your chosen bowl, once you've worked really hard to get that lovely shape of course.

The weekend was busy too with two new brown Cria's born 10 and 11 days premature, Ambria the little girl is the one with a Cria coat and a floppy ear, and the boy is Garafano.  Ambria's cria coat certainly makes her stand out in the field and should there be any on-coming traffic in her field she'll be spotted a mile off!  (Not that we ever have more than a mower or the odd tractor anywhere near that field!).

We received Central St Martin's student Ana Oqunan's photos today and immediately poured over them - we love the mood of her stylish photo shoot.  We're not quite sure of her technique, it's embroidery, but is it a crochet stitch?  We'll have to ask Ana herself, but we'd like to thank her in the meantime for the great photos.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Fancy an alpaca cape?

It's been a while since we posted and quite frankly we miss it, so here we are again!  It's been a very busy few weeks with Kerry at the Bath and West, Marie the intern has returned for Wales and the alpaca stud team wiped the board with their wins at the Kenilworth show!

Before she went away Kerry visited the Central St Martin's fashion students end of year shows because Toft Alapca Shop sponsored two students this year, both with very different takes on knitwear design.  The first was Ana Oqunan with beautiful and technically brilliant embroidered pieces, we're just awaiting her photos and the second was Katarina Benakovic who worked mainly in Toft's chunky yarn.  Katarina sent the yarn to the Natural Fibre Company to have it dyed a beautiful blue.  Here are some of the photos from her show, including an amazing floor length blue alpaca cape.

We can't wait to see and share Ana's photos with you!

Oh and have you seen our birthday party mentioned on the Simply Knitting website?  We think lots of you might have since demand for our competition yarn for 115m challenge has rocketed recently!

Thursday, 2 June 2011

A glorious morning at the Royal Bath and West Show





> > Sitting outside M & S waiting for it to open to gran some goodies to sustain me through another day of trading. Sounds ridiculous when surrounded by all these local produce food halls...but it is the only way to get some vitamins in this bacon bap and pasty lovers haven! > > Our stand backs onto the holding pen, so horse eventing from 7am. > > Our summer sale continues today, but looks like I'll have an empty tent by Saturday. Find us on the main aisle. > > >

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Make way for new knitting kits!

The office has been taken over with new knitting kit samples back from our lovely knitters - they do work hard and we love them for it.  Once the sampling process is finalised they'll go to Gianni to be photographed and new kits will include some new cable garments designs, lots more lace knits and even our first foray into crochet!  Did you know that alpaca yarn is great to crochet with and the five weights of Toft yarn give you an endless choice of projects.  Here are a few sneaky peaks of new items - can you guess what the intarsia picture is?  Look out for it at our upcoming show stands and let us know if you guessed right!

We had another cria born over the weekend, she's in the distance of this field photo sporting a little cria jacket to protect her from the wind.