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Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Edward's Menagerie: big thanks to the little man but a plea for some time to crochet.

It's been a shockingly long time since I posted. That is in part due to life at Toft being chaotically busy at the moment as the business goes through another period of growth and transformation, and in part down to being Edward's mum. 

Now I can't thank him enough for all the inspiration he provides, but the growing success of Edward's Menagerie has oddly left me with less and less spare time to crochet anything at all. I miss crocheting. 

It's shaping up to be another very big year for Toft and for me, 'Kerry Lord', as the Edward's Menagerie book is signed off and goes to print. It looks like I'll no longer be able to hide so far behind the 'toft' banner, and instead 2014 will see me have to take the mic and step into the spotlight a bit more. Let's hope my skills are up to it! 

Teaching, publishing and TV demonstrating weren't things that I thought I'd be doing in the first two years of Edward's life- but then until the last week of pregnancy I could crochet either, so what did I know? 

As the next few months unfold and I start to see the true size of the wheel I've started rolling I sincerely hope I can find a bit more time with my hook (and to post at least once before Christmas!).


Sunday, 20 October 2013

Celebrating Toft's first official Wool Week

This Wool Week I have enjoyed joining forces with The Campaign for Wool and John Lewis to take part in a 'live' yarn bombing of an Oxford Street window display. 

On day one we began with a blank canvas and gradually as a team covered the furniture within the space. My responsibility was the sofa, a giant ram's head trophy for the wall- and then a whole flock of sheep were thrown in at the end! 

I cannot take the credit for the 322 grant squares on that sofa. I was backed up by a brilliant team and would like to thank Emma Brown, Coral who is currently interning with us, Anja of 'I am snowfox' blog and...  last but not least my mother in law. 

I met some fabulous people and although it was hard work I thoroughly enjoyed the commute to the sofa behind the window. Ed even got the chance to join me for a quick snap. 

So why all this effort for Wool Week 2013?

Alpacas are not sheep, and therefore the fibre they grow on their backs is not wool. Well now that's all clear it's time to explain that very soon Toft will be announcing our first 'non-alpaca' yarn range. 

It's been a long time in development to get the yarn perfect, and sadly this is why we missed our Wool Week delivery deadline by a week. It would have been brilliant to have launched this yarn at our Wool Party, but oh well- there's a good excuse for another one! 

In the meantime I have been kept pretty focused on Toft's wool projects with these ten crochet dudes (I am officially a sheep geek). You can get the patterns here:

Friday, 18 October 2013

The busiest fortnight there ever was!

The last two weeks at TOFT have been very exciting and with that inevitably comes complete exhaustion after the adrenaline has gone! 

We had the best Ally Pally ever with so much interest in our Edward's Menagerie collection that it totally blew me away. I truly had no idea how popular these little crochet animals were going to become. In the first month of the eBook being in sale we have sold thousands of copies and I am excited to see the pics once everyone has got hooking. 

It was hard to get in TGH3 for most of the show and the numbers of photos on Facebook of our stand shows what a hit the hanging animals were. I looking forward to setting it up again at both Dublin, the NEC and Harrogate soon. 

A big thanks to all our loyal customers who came to show their support. It's so lovely to hear how much you enjoy our yarns. 

My head hit my own pillow for a few hours and I was back off into the smoke for Wool Week. More to follow soon... 

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

All in a week's work...

My job has always been varied and demanding and this month has been no exception with everything from crocheting a giant rhino head to spray marking neon alpacas for our Kaffe Fassett Seminar day. This summer has been very busy for Toft despite the heat and we're hoping for a record turnout for our next Open Day on Saturday 3rd. 

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

'Pacas get nekkid! Ed's first shearing week at Toft.

The highlight of the year here at Toft is shearing week. Tonnes of gorgeous fleece comes rolling out of the field and into the Studio ready to head off to the mill. 

Everyone is roped in to help, and this year was a particular challenge due to the less than kind weather. It was both Claire and Harriet's first year in the shed and they certainly stepped up to the mark. 

Our knit night attendees joined us late Tuesday to see the beginning forge yarn process themselves- I think many began quite shocked but left with a far greater understanding of where their knitwear comes from. 

This year was a hard task juggling an increasingly toddling baby with one of the most demanding work weeks of the year.   Still. It was worth the bags under my eyes to see pure Toft batches head off to be spun into yarn. 


Sunday, 24 March 2013

A woolly day out in the big city

Today I did something that I don't do as often as I should. I took a day off, got on a train into London and went to see an exhibition with colleagues Claire and Harriet.

So admittedly this was no ordinary exhibition, it was the Campaign for Wool 'Wool House' (and to some this may seem a bit too much like a bus man's holiday), but work chat was kept to a minimum and we enjoyed a Sunday in the city.

Following a very chilly and early start we battled snow and bad coffee to make it down to London just after 10am and headed to Brick Lane. We had enough time for a touch of browsing so started at Tatty Devine and worked our way via the Sunday Up Market through to Spitalfields.

The Wool House was inspiring. So much to see, feel and admire. Wool is such a diverse material and it was in show at its best. It was a pleasure to visit and we had a thoroughly enjoyable day.

We return to the office tomorrow with renewed admiration for sheep and a pact to do another day out soon.

Great day, lovely company and a big congratulations to everyone involved in giving us the Wool House.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Back up and writing again, but with a few changes for a New Year.

It looks like 2013 is going to be another one of those years where it's all change again and TOFT undergoes a growth spurt. Already in the few weeks of this new year we have rebranded the company to a much shorter, sharper TOFT.

In line with this (and the ever- expanding number of social media channels we are now managing) this blog will become Kerry Lord's words and thoughts from behind the scenes.

It may sometimes be about alpacas, occasionally about knitting, perhaps about being a new working mum, but most often it is likely to be vary varied and all about life at the helm of the TOFT empire.