"The Boys Are Back In Town!"

Referring to the lyrics of Thin Lizzy:

Guess who just got back today?
Those wild-eyed boys that had been away
Haven't changed, haven't much to say
But man, I still think alpacas are great

Well, okay, we have slightly amended the last line, but George, Charlie, Iago and Hero have just moved to Burwash Manor.  They seem to be pretty happy about sharing the meadow field and unlike the girls are not fazed by dog walkers wandering around the perimeter of their fence.  In fact, with tails up, necks arched they follow the dogs, just daring them to try and come into their enclosure!

Tracy was really concerned that the two studs (George & Hero) might try and break the fence and 'bond' with the girls.  She created a 2m wide gap between the two paddocks and apprehensively watched what would happen.  The boys ran round the field, rolled in the long grass, ate a lot and then fell asleep.  The girls however, batted their eyelashes from across the way trying to attract attention!  
The boys have been back in town for six days and, luckily, everyone seems to be ignoring eachother.



Discounted Tickets for Alexandra Palace

Twisted Thread and Upper Street Events are organising the The Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace, London and we will be there: visit us on Stand (G32).  We have organised a special discount for our customers so you can buy advance tickets for just £11 (normally £13). Simply quote EX14 when booking online here.

We will be taking part in the UK's definitive event for anyone with a love of stitch and crafts from Wednesday 8th – Sunday 12 October.   Make sure you don’t miss out on our special show offers and the launch of our new collection.

The Knitting & Stitching Show is the largest and most highly regarded textiles and craft event in the UK.  Whatever your craft passion it is the perfect place to find inspiration, learn new skills and shop for your essential supplies. 

With an extra day and late night opening on Thursday 9th there are even more chances to come and share your love of textiles with others. 

We look forward to seeing you there. 
book your tickets here now.


Knitting Workshop

Our Knitting workshop took place in July and was great fun as always.

Nina and Carol both decided to make Balboa, whilst Natalie and Rhoda chose Olivia.

Tuition is a key point for our workshops and this is tailored to individual requirements.  For many of our patterns, Kari-Helene has used the short row shaping technique which creates fantastic curves and is great for shoulder shaping too.  The best way to do this technique is clearly shown by Sarah Hatton and this video shows how to make the wrap and turn stitches invisible from the front.

This is not the only version; the German short row shaping technique works on the purl side and does not require a wrap at the turn. This is definitely a quicker method than the Japanese technique as the latter requires a lot of fiddling about with safety pins.  A clear demonstration of this method is shown in this clip with Roxanne Richardson (she does fumble a bit, but bless her - don't we all occasionally!)

If you want to learn something new, book your place on our next course or if you already have one of our kits, but have yet to start it, or if you are stuck, bring it along for the personal tuition we offer. If you already have a kit to make, the course cost is not £95.00 but £46.00.

Our last workshop of the year takes place on the 24th September; to book please click here

Anyway, back to our workshop, does this make you feel hungry?

Kari-Helene served up a delicious home made lunch


and the alpacas enjoyed their apples.

After everyone went home, Tracy went to feed 'the girls'.  Kari-Helene took these photographs, not realising she was standing by one of the food buckets.

 Alpacas move round the feed troughs and push each other out of the way - yes, they do this by spitting.  Fabyanne moved Inca out of the way and Kari-Helene's white trousers were pebble-dashed with Camelibra!



A visit from the WI

On a lovely evening in July the Mill Road WI came to visit us at Burwash Manor. The alpacas had been excited about the visit for weeks and Kari-Helene was nervous about serving home made cookies to the WI. The weather was stunning, sun was shining and temperatures soaring! The wedding marquee was laid out for a talk from Tracy and a private shopping evening followed by a visit to the alpaca field.

The lovely Claire of claireabellemakes  took some gorgeous photos on the night and has let us use them for our blog.

The evening was such as success we have decided to try a similar evening in September. If you would like to book your place on a private shopping evening with a talk about alpacas and the Purl Alpaca Designs business followed by a visit to the alpacas, please place your booking here. The evening lasts for 2 hours and there is a maximum of 24 places.

The ladies of the WI getting busy trying samples on!

Yarn and samples on display

'and then I had to shake my hands like this to make the nail polish dry...'

 Tracy showing how to feed the alpacas apples

The alpacas are friendly. We promise! 

All images are ©claireabellemakes


Unwinding in the Brighton sunshine

A new yarn show has appeared and we love it when this happens! Brighton has finally got its very own knitting festival in the lovely Unwind.
Dani Sunshine has been doing a fabulous job with the organising and we were really looking forward to the show.

We had a set up slot for 10pm and were a bit worried this was going to leave us short of setting up time, but with no waiting time to get unloading and with two handsome fellas to help us carry it was done in no time at all.

The show was full of colourful yarn from companies we haven't seen everywhere else. It's great to see newcomers to the scene, and especially when they provide such a fabulous selection of goods. There was a wonderful vibe all weekend and the customers we spoke to thoroughly enjoyed their time at Unwind.

Can you spot us on the map?

We hope the show will make a reappearance next year and hope to see more of you there!


Adventures in Cumbria

We never have an uneventful stay in Cumbria for Woolfest. This year was no exception. With Tracy away at the moment, it was Kari-Helene and Karen who got behind the wheel of Bessie and drove to Keswick where we were staying in a rented apartment. The apartment turned into a little adventure as amongst other things we had to deal with two giant spiders in the bathrooms and a little mouse.
This year the weather was beautiful and we got to go for a wander around Keswick market and do a little sight seeing. Cumbria is a really beautiful place!

The Woolfest went without any issues, everything was lovely! Here are a few photos of the stall, and the happenings around the mart, including the sheep shearing demonstrations, our favourite sheep, Cluny showing us her fabulous Icon dress made from yarn from her own Shetland sheep and Louise, Karen and Kari-Helene at the stall.

Whilst packing up the stall at the end of the last day one of the rams broke free and went on a speedy trip past us. Most of us jumped and squealed a little (it was quite exciting), whilst Louise showed her true colours and without hesitation walked up to the runaway ram and grabbed him by the horn leading him back to his owners. We were all highly impressed. This might be everyday stuff amongst Cumbrians, but for us city folk, this was top stuff!
We left Cumbria in glorious morning sunshine, as lovely as it was when we arrived. We hope to return again next year!


The Mollie Makes Handmade Awards 2014

The Mollie Makes Magazine is in their 3rd year and has quickly become a firm favourite amongst crafters. This year they arranged the Handmade Awards with 5 nominees in 5 categories. Over 400 businesses entered and Purl Alpaca Designs was shortlisted for the Established Business Award. Although Tracy and Kari-Helene both find it hard to believe the business qualifies as established, we were honored and excited to be shortlisted.
The awards took place in London on the 11th of June on a hot and sunny day in the lovely Proud Archivist' cafe and library.
There was a fabulous gathering of crafty professionals and students alike, and we all had a great time getting to know each other and finding out what everyone's ideas and businesses were. We were also joking about how easy it was to spot one of us in a crowd - look out for the bold prints and bright colours!

Everyone got to talk in front of the panel of judges consisting of knowledgeable people from the creative industries, with entrepreneurial backgrounds, buyers and banking professionals. You can see the full list of judges here.
We were given very useful advice by the panel and loved every minute of it! They liked our product and were very enthusiastic about what we do. It was wonderful to get such precise and useful feedback and we left feeling excited and inspired! It was a lot more useful to us than meeting the Dragons! 

The winners were announced in a proper awards ceremony fashion, with bubbles, plaques, handshakes, photos and applause! It felt very special to be a part of it. Although Purl Alpaca Designs didn't win, we had a lovely day, met some great people and got invaluable advice from a knowledgeable panel of judges! Thanks for a fabulous day!

The winners were -

The Start Up AwardSarah-Jane Brand of Hejsan Goods
The Established Business Award - Jane Foster

The Social Enterprise Award - Emily Whitesmith of Weaversmith 

Creative Idea Award - Hannah Cox of Crafternoon Cabaret Club
The Youth Award - Carmen Jorissen of Crafty Queens