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Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Introducing Simone and Quin (Seamus' extended family)

Seamus the Edward's Menagerie 'alpaca' was one of the first ten things I ever crocheted. At the time the design made perfect sense, a long-necked standard form with a heavy top-knot and short spear shaped ears, I didn't really give it a second thought. But I perhaps (given my expertise in the area) I should have been more specific: Seamus is a mid-brown huacaya alpaca, and a sheared one at that! 

So in the two years since I hooked up my first alpaca, I have had having a go at a few more on the bottom of my TO DO list. Finally in the last couple of weeks that list got short enough that I could grab enough time to create two slight modifications to my original pattern. 

Meet Quin. 

Quin is a light-fawn 'elite' huacaya alpaca, and is in full fleece. He is a reflection of the quality of the cria that are being born here at TOFT this year. Our new-generation alpacas are stunning and have very full and dense fleeces that extend over their faces. 

To create this I have simply extended the ch8 loops all over his face and body. WARNING! This is not for the impatient crocheter- it does take a lot of time. This took a whole 100g ball of oatmeal DK and I worked on the standard 3mm hook tension using our pure wool oatmeal. He does have eyes in their somewhere and I would recommend sewing this on before starting to work the fleece loops over the head. 

Meet Simone. 

Simone is a light-grey suri alpaca in full fleece (possibly two years' worth of growth!). There are two different breeds of alpacas, huacaya and suri. Huacayas form 96% of the population and are the classic teddy-bear shaped crispy-fleeced variety. Suri alpacas have a straight and silky fleece and as a result have a wet-look dreadlocked appearance. Sometimes suri alpacas are only sheared every other year to allow their lustrous fleeces to grow into long curtains- this often gives them a bad-hair-day look! 

To create this I have used the standard Seamus pattern to create all the parts. Stuff and sew these together as normal. To create the suri-style fleece I have chained 10sts and then slip stitched back down that chain to create a 'spine'. I have then slip stitch traversed three sts away and repeated another spine. I simply traversed round and around the head and then down the body. EVEN BIGGER WARNING! This takes even longer than the chain loops! 

So there we have it. The trouble with making these guys is that they are highly addictive, and the idea of building your own alpaca herd in all our different natural colours really appeals. For now I've certainly not got enough time to start a fudge huacaya or a cream suri, but I'll put them back on the wish list. 

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Here come the birds...

I'm thrilled to share the front cover of my new book Edward's Menagerie: Birds.

Although a tad more advanced than my original Edward's Menagerie book, these patterns draw on exactly the same techniques and introduce a few new ones. 

Edward's Menagerie: Birds is NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER. Official publication date 17th September 2015, but we will get the book out to you as soon as it arrives with us here in the Studio.

Of course I couldn't stop with just 40 projects, so if you Purchase Edward's Menagerie: Birds direct from TOFT you will receive ten exclusive extra .pdf patterns (to be dispatched to you by email 1st June 2015 along with our technique videos and the launch of our new coloured yarn range).

"Be prepared for forty fine-feathered friends to fly off your hook and put their feet up on your coffee table. Kerry Lord’s Edward’s Menagerie was a runaway success and now she’s back with Birds.

You’ll be happy as a lark as your crochet your way through this colourful collection of birds, including a bashful Flamingo, romance-writing Owl and a politically incorrect Pheasant. Read all about these kooky characters, their adorations and aversions, daydreams and delusions, then crochet them for everyone you know.

Each bird can be crocheted in four different sizes making over 160 different pattern possibilities – so pick your first project and get started! The patterns use basic stitches, are grouped by difficulty and include step-by-step technical guides for beginners, so there’s no excuse to chicken out.

These loveable birds are quick to make using a supersoft yarn in a sophisticated colour palette, and will become your best friends as their larger-than-life personalities and easy-to-use techniques get their claws into you. "

This book includes patterns for:
Celine the Dove
Dora the Wood Pigeon
Ernest the Canary
Henry the Raven
Vince the Blue-footed Booby
Alan the Magpie
Ina the Stork
Duke the Mallard
Ethel the Kiwi
Dave the Seagull
Sophia the Flamingo
Huck the Pelican
Hazel the Hen
Barney the Owl
Elizabeth the Dodo
Mateo the Cock of the Rock
Emily the Vulture
Florian the Ostrich
Ross the Turkey
Kevin the Cassowary
Tricia the Silkie Chicken
Abraham the Bald Eagle
Kit the Rooster
Margot the Swan
Elvis the Cockatoo
Scott the Woodpecker
Gianni the Lovebird
Meghan the Toucan
Robin the Robin
Gareth the Puffin
Rohit the Peacock
Caesar the Emperor Penguin
Enid the Long-eared Owl
Jack the Macaw
Petra the Pockhopper Penguin
Ben the Kingfisher
Anik the Snowy Owl
Gilbert the Pheasant
Oscar the Penguin

The ten .pdf bonus patterns (exclusive to buying this book from TOFT are):

Camille the Canadian Goose
Julian the Doctor Bird
Bastian the Hummingbird
Agnes the Heron
Nor the Rhinoceros Hornbill
Jacob the Hoopoe
Cooper the Kookabura
Lee the Secretary Bird
Putu the Bali Bird of Paradise
Zara the Lorikeet

It's birthing season again and we're already two down (forty eight to go!)

It's a very good sign that out first cria of the season is a gorgeous dark brown little girl. 

Her mum is a first-timer and so was a little shocked by her new baby, but within a few hours mum and baby were doing well and feeding perfectly. 

Then the following day this similarly coloured handsome boy arrived on the scene. What a gorgeous pair! 

You can come and view or maternity paddocks here at Toft anytime were open 10am-5pm Wednesday and 10am-4pm Sunday. There's plenty more cria to come.