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Wednesday, 24 June 2015

A bright holiday wardrobe pattern modification for your #edsanimals

Our NEW super cute 25g mini-balls of coloured yarn have been sitting on the corner of my desk for a few weeks now, and have proved pretty inspiring.  

For the first time TOFT will be introducing bright coloured yarn into its range to accommodate the bright orange, yellow, blue and greens needed in my latest bird collection (book now on pre-order).  At the moment we have yellow, orange and pink available to purchase and the blue and two greens will arrive on a couple of weeks. 

It was only ever going to be a matter of time before I had some fun with these brights and the classic Edward's Menagerie standard form. So here we have it: simple pattern modifications to give your #edsanimals a T-shirt or shorts. 


I selected Austin the Rhino and used my favourite colour to give him a fetching pair of swim shorts. 

Starting in your shorts colour work the standard body up to the start of Rnd 14 where you colour change to your animal's colour. 

Work your bottom legs as normal in your animal's colour and change to your shorts colour at the start of Rnd 14. 

T- shirt 

Here's Piotr the Polarbear and our NEW orange. Start your standard body as normal in your selected animal's colour and colour change to your t-shirt colour at the start of Rnd 16. 

Work your two top legs as normal until colour changing to your t-shirt colour at Rnd 14. 

You'd just need one 25g ball of our NEW yarn to add your shorts or t-shirt to your animal (and still have plenty left for a beak or two!). 

Looking forward to seeing your pictures- I have already had an elephant with a pink T-shirt request from Edward so I had better get back to my crochet! 


Monday, 15 June 2015

A holiday with far more hooking than expected.

Life here at TOFT can be a bit hectic. Running the business, writing new patterns and all while looking after a cheeky toddler can be a challenge. That's why I was thoroughly looking forward to a break away for a while to soak in some sun and think about nothing.

As ever once I step back from the day-to-day parcel packing, workshop teaching and cake serving there's not a chance of any downtime as my brain runs into overdrive as I'm flooded with new ideas. It's hard not to get inspired when you can crochet with a view like this (Lake Kourna, Crete): 

And wander the Old Town in search of yarn: 

This holiday with my family has been no exception and I am returning with a fully formed mini-collection of dinosaurs to be released in the next couple of weeks. 

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Shearing time again and the fleece is already in the mill.

It's that time of year again where the herd get a short back and sides and the whole team get a chance to be hands-on with these gorgeous animals and their fleece. 

The process is very labour intensive as we skirt, grade and sort every fleece as it comes off the animal. An initial separation of the coarser leg and tummy hairs from the premium 'blanket' fibre is done on the shearing table as the fibre is coming off. The fleece is then carried across to a wire mesh table upon which the really important job begins. Handful by handful we separate and marginally coarser fibres out to ensure that only the finest fleeces go into our yarn bactches. All fleeces are also checked for strength and condition (but I am proud to say every fleece from our herd passed this one with flying colours, so the animals are obviously in tip-top condition). Any foliage contamination is also removed by hand at this stage and lots of care is taken to ensure that all fibre is over 5cm in length as shorter fibres can cause inconsistency in the yarn. Following all of this fibre is weighed into one of four grades which will determine the yarn weight that he becomes. Until now most of this process has been relatively scientific, but the colour blending now required can only be described as artistic. 

As TOFT do not use dyes on their alpaca yarns the ten shades we offer need to be achieved through colour blending. Greys are made of black and white fleeces combined (there are not enough grey alpacas to go round), an our most complex colours are mushroom and stone as these involve every colour combined together. 

Thrilled to say that the first three batches of yarn are already in production down at The Natural Fibre Company. Back on the shelves soon.