Vote for your favourite contestant!

What a lovely time we had at Unravel! The weather was lovely (up until we had to load the van on Sunday, of course), the people are fantastic and the other exhibitors brilliant! Unravel is one of our absolute favourite shows.

This year we were running a competition. To enter you had to come to the show wearing one of our designs. 5 people have done so, and there photos are up on Facebook. You have to go to the Purl Alpaca Designs Facebook group to vote by liking the picture you think deserves to win! Here is the link to vote: https://www.facebook.com/PurlAlpacaDesigns

Here are the contestants:

 This is Kim wearing her Icon dress. We love the way she has styled it with the black top underneath, patent boots and pearls. It looks so glam!

Glynis Stephens has made Balboa Waistcoat in Taupe. We have always said how well taupe goes with purple, and here's proof! The shawl pin is a fabulous touch, Glynis!

Ingrid Hopson has made Chelsea Waistcoat. She has chosen a soft pink colour and we think it works really well! The colour really suits you, Ingrid, and so does the shape of Chelsea! 

Karen Way has knitted Isadora Jumper in ivory. She has added pretty beads at the lace edges to give it that extra little sparkle! Lovely!

Caroline is wearing a wonderful version of Balboa Waistcoat. Styling it with a t-shirt and black jeans gives the look a very grungy feel and we absolutely love it. A good example of how versatile our knitwear is!

Ready, steady, VOTE!


5 cute and fluffy alpacas from our own herd!

This week we are focusing on alpacas and although we don't really have favourites (no parent really have favourites, do they?) we have chosen 5 cute and lovely ones to feature in today's blog.

Our alpacas graze on the green fields of Burwash Manor, a great destination for a day out. Burwash Manor is a fully operating organic farm that also have a shopping village with an array of interesting shops. The Larder is fantastic and full of local, organic and tempting products and there is also a charming cafe/restaurant across the square. There is a haberdashery, a florist, a clothing store and many more interesting stores to peruse; most definitely a great place for a day out!

When you are there you can also stop by the field and say hi to our herd of alpacas. You might even be able to recognise some of these 5?

1. Champagne Charlie

A cheeky little alpaca named Charlie. When he was little he loved to pick up the bag full of apples, empty them al out and then run around the field waiting for Tracy to try catch him. These days he just eats all the apples. And all the food. He truly is a greedy alpaca, and Tracy has to push him out of the way to let the others eat in peace!
All our alpacas have given their name to one of our designs and this is the Charlie Pom Pom Scarf.

2. Helene

Any ideas how Helene got her name? Sounds familiar to someone we know? She is of course named after Purl's very own designer, Kari-Helene. Helene is the daughter of Fantasia, the first alpaca from Tracy's own breeding program. She is a lovely little girl, although now she is not so little anymore, she's expecting her own cria in a few months! Did you know baby alpacas are called cria?
Helene has provided the name for the Helene Top with cable detail at the waist.

3. Inca

This is Inca when she was only a little cria. She looks pretty innocent in this photo, but trust us she is not! We call her 'Inca, the tinker' as she always seems to come up with some sort of naughty behaviour. She and Juno are constantly up to no good, such as escaping from their paddock.

Inca gave name to one of our most popular headbands as the geometrical pattern made us think of ancient Inca designs and architecture.

4. Duchess

This is Duchess. She was the first alpaca Tracy bought when only three months old and has always had a special place in Tracy's heart. She is a lovely alpaca with a gentle temperament, unless she is pregnant. When pregnant alpacas can very often become grumpy and aggressive and Duchess is definitely one of the grumpier ones! She is a very good mum though and is now the proud parent of George, who's in the photo with her, Havana and Isis.  She is expecting again and we're looking forward to seeing the new cria in June

Duchess gave her name to one of our most popular designs and Kari-Helene's favourite. Even though the Duchess Cardigan is from our Seashore Collection in 2009, it is still a best seller!

5. Isis

When we were launching our Waterways Collection in 2012 we had left naming the designs a little late. The reason was all our new cria were being born very late that year, some not until September! A cria is usually born between May and September, so our girls left it late this year! We were just about to send the patterns to print when Tracy excitedly rang Kari-Helene to say an alpaca had been born and she had to be named Isis! This is after the Egyptian goddess of magic and fertility. This picture is taken almost right after she was born and she is sitting in the warm September sun drying a little before she got up on her feet and started bouncing around.

The design lucky enough to be named after a goddess and a beautiful alpaca was the Isis Cardigan. A very flattering design that could even be worn for smart evening wear, we think!

Happy knitting
Love Kari-Helene & Tracy


Purl Alpaca Designs events in 2015 January - March

It's January, it's windy and cold and the first storms have hit our coasts over the last few days. Here at Purl Alpaca Designs we feel the need to look forward to something cosy, fun and interesting. What better to distract us then a round up of knitting events over the next few months? We are both hosting and attending several, and we know it can get tricky to keep up, so here you go; a nice, neat and tidy list.

1. Knitting workshop in January.

This is our first workshop of the year and will be taking place on Saturday the 31st of January. Our workshops take place at Burwash Manor, a lovely, organic farm, and includes a meeting with our alpacas, the cuddly fibre providers. You can read more about the workshops here and you can book your place by clicking here.

2. Knitting workshop in February.

And just like that, here is the second workshop of the year! This one takes place on a Wednesday and includes all the lovely stuff you'd expect from a visit to a charming farm in rural Cambridgeshire. Included in the cost of a workshop is a lovely, home cooked meal and sweet treats. Some people book just for the food! Interested in a place on the February workshop?
THIS WORKSHOP IS CANCELLED. More dates can be found here. 

3. Unravel.

This is one of our most favourite shows of the year. Unravel is held in the charming town of Farnham in Surrey. The surroundings are pretty, we usually see the first signs of spring and we get to hang out with a whole bunch of talented and lovely knitters! This year the show is open for 3 full days, Friday to Sunday, and we think it will most likely be better than ever! Want to book your ticket? Here is the link to the website.

4. Olympia

In March we will be attending what is fast becoming one of the most important dates in the knitting diary; The Spring Knitting and Stitching Show at Olympia in London. This will be the 3rd time we are attending and we have seen it get better and better every year. We are excited to see what the team behind the show comes up with this year to make it even better! Want to come see us there? Here is where you can buy tickets.

5. Knitting workshop in March.

Here is the March edition of our workshops. By this time the alpacas should have a lovely thick coat of fleece and spring should be in the air. Tracy will talk you through how we produce our yarn, right from the alpacas you meet to the yarn you will be knitting with! It is the true Field to Fashion process. Would you like to take part? Book your place on the March workshop right here.

6. Edinburgh Yarn Festival.

Last on the list in this round up is a brand new event for us. This will be the first time we are venturing into Scotland, and we are very excited about it. The Edinburgh Yarn Fest has its launch in 2013 and after a year to regroup they are coming back bigger and stronger in the 2015 edition. Edinburgh is a fantastic city and we can't wait to meet lots of fabulous knitters there! We are ready, the question is, is Edinburgh ready for us?

That takes us to the end of March and to be honest we can't quite grasp thinking about what lies beyond that just yet. One step at the time! We look forward to seeing you soon!

Kari-Helene and Tracy xx


Knitting workshop in winter

The knitting workshops are a lovely highlight for us, and we were very excited to welcome 8 wonderful knitters to a wintery Saturday full of yarn, knitting, chatting, tea and coffee, alpacas and even some snow!

We started the day trying on garments, discussing yarn colours and deciding on which project to go for. We had a few people choosing accessories and some deciding on slightly bigger projects. Everyone quickly made their choices and cast on for their project.

After a couple of hours of hard concentration it was time for a break. We managed to time the alpaca visit with the heavy snow fall and although this has created some lovely photos, it was very cold and in hindsight maybe not the best choice! Lesson learned for future, see the alpacas when weather is good! 

After the visit to the alpacas, we made our way back inside where lunch was ready. Home made bread, onion quiche, roast potato salad, quinoa salad and green salad gave everyone plenty of options. Sweet treats were chocolate and cranberry cookies and coconut meringues accompanied by plentifull of coffees and teas.

After lunch we got back to the knitting and everyone were making excellent progress. Everyone receives individual attention to suit there level and we aim for everyone to leave the workshop feeling like they have gained new skills and hopefully new friends too! 

Gillian even finished one of her wrist warmers! This might be the first time ever someone has finished something at the workshop. We were most impressed!

The next workshop date is the 11th of March and we have still got a few places available. You can book your place by placing your deposit online here. You can see the full list of available dates on our news and events page. We have recently added dates for April through to June.

See you at a workshop soon?

Tracy and Kari-Helene x


Feeling inspired to knit

It is January, it is 2015 and it is time to think about the year ahead. I have started by looking at what inspires me this year. I usually get inspired by vintage fashion, the 40's and 50's always being important sources of inspiration for me, but this year I wanted to delve into the fashion archives a little deeper.

The androgyny of the 1920's has always intrigued me. The glorious rebellion of fashion against the constrictions of traditional female dress taking on the toned down silhouette of a flapper girl. The straight up and down, the loose and flowing; how can something so easy going carry such a strong message?

 I'm unsure of the original source of these images, 
if anyone can help I would be very grateful!

We are talking of an era were women started redefining their roles, taking on different tasks, playing sports, having opinions, being heard. Although this was only the beginning of a revolution, it has to start somewhere. This picture of two ladies playing tennis, wearing practical clothing brings me joy. Fashion has a purpose. I enjoy designing clothes that will mean something to the person making and wearing them. 

Through my research I have gathered some images on Pinterest, you can take a look by clicking here. These images have in turn inspired me to knit. And my samples inspire me to draw. We will have to wait a bit before we see what garments will come of it. I really have no idea at this stage! But that is all part of the fun! 

Stitch samples

I shall return with further updates soon!

Happy knitting! Kari-Helene x


"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?"

Well no, actually, more a storm tossed sea which, lets face it, is more in keeping with the current season. We are of course referring to our fabulous darker grey yarn which has just arrived from the mill.  Storm is as sleek and sumptuous as you'd expect from us.  It has a beautifully soft handle to it and has been described as feeling like spun unicorn fluff!

Alpaca yarn in Storm Grey

To continue the theme of Shakespeare's sonnet, (which incidentally rhymes with bonnet and the reason for our selection below,) the colour is similar to the Coco Hat.

Coco Hat
Which in turn matches the Hero Boot Cuffs (also in Storm Grey)

Hero Boot Cuffs
Whereas Ophira is more of a bonnet... alright, it's knitted in Dew, but work with us on this one

Ophira Hat
A large knitting project can feel like a daunting task, but as the final words of the Bard suggests: "When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st."  Yes, keep going and it will get done!

One of our knitting projects that is a garment, but still not too daunting, is the Bonnie Bolero. It only takes between 4 and 7 balls of yarn depending on size and at the end of it you have a knitted garment you can wear!

Bonnie Bolero

Bonnie was named after Bonnie the alpaca, a price winning female alpaca whom we encountered in our very first year in business at Scotland Farm, Dry Drayton. Isn't she gorgeous?

Happy Knitting
Love Kari-Helene and Tracy