9.2.16

All you need is love, and yarn, lots of yarn...


Pure alpaca yarn in totally natural shades


"Money can't buy happiness, 
but it can buy yarn and that is 
kind of the same thing."

Especially if it is soft and cuddly and made from pure, undyed alpaca fibre! We've heard all sorts of fancy descriptions of our yarn over the years; "like running your hands through soft soap suds" and "like spun unicorn fluff"!
Kari-Helene was knitting a pair of Happy Cuffs last weekend and this reminded her of how much she loves our yarn in the colour Dew. This specific batch was made using exquisite black fibre from New Barn Alpacas in Cambridgeshire and we are knitting alpaca breeder Dawn a pair of the cuffs as part payment for her fleece!

Happy Cuffs in the making whilst Kari-Helene tried to ignore all the emails she had to reply to...







The colour Dew is made mainly from top quality white alpaca fibre mixed with a small amount of Dawn's amazingly fine black fibre. Each individual fibre is so fine you can hardly see them with the naked eye, they range between 18-25 microns. To give you something to compare that with; a human blood cell is 7 microns! This means that when two colours are carded together, it is almost like mixing paint and you end up with a beautiful shade of pale grey that is uniform without being flat.






Katherine of the blog Knitting with Katherine is currently working on the Isis Tailcoat that she bought at Edinburgh Yarn Festival last year (we're going again this year! Yay!) and she posted this fabulous photo of her work in progress on Instagram yesterday.

Katherine is knitting the Isis Tailcoat in the colour Alpaca Dew




Katherine said this about working with our yarn:

"Every opportunity to handle the alpaca is a delight: It's so light and so smooth to work with, has the most pleasing drape when knitted and, when it catches the light, it gives off a sheen. The subtle variation in colour gives the fabric warmth and interest. I cannot wait for my Isis to find its home in my wardrobe."

Tempted to treat yourself or a loved one with a gift of yarn? 
We can't promise happiness, but this yarn is pretty close!

Tracy & Kari-Helene xxx

8.2.16

Errata to Juno Cardigan v.1.0

Even after careful proof reading and test knitting technical errors can still occur. Version 1.0 of Juno Cardigan has two charts for right front and none for left. Here is the chart for the left front. If you have any questions, do get in touch!













We apologise for any inconvenience caused!


Juno Cardigan by Purl Alpaca Designs

1.2.16

The start of something new - my Fair Isle journey!

I have long been thinking of introducing some Fair Isle patterns to the Purl Alpaca Designs collections, but years have come and gone and it has never really happened. I have pushed myself to do stripes, like in the Honesty Cardigan, mixing two strands like in George Hat and Scarf and even a few triangles in last years Journey Collection's Lady Cardigan, but have never really gone "all in"! Why?




I have come to realise I have been scared! There aren't many things that scare me, but I do have a fear of being terrible at something. So instead of diving in head first and embracing a challenge, I am happier when I lean back and do something I have already proven myself good at. Silly, really.

Lovely shades of pure wool yarn from Hos Jette



In November I was given some beautiful, pure wool yarn in stunning colours by our Norwegian stockist Hos Jette, to experiment with, and they were screaming for Fair Isle, I realised I had to stop being scared and really go for it. I decided I'd knit my mum a present. Whilst thinking of my mum and working on the Fair Isle beret I recalled when my mum knitted Fair Isle for me. I was 14, the winter Olympics were held in Lillehammer in Norway and I really wanted the official Olympic sweater! It was a huge project, all in colourwork, but my mum agreed to knit me one. I remember well how difficult she found it, but she stuck with it and I had my stunning jumper! Thank you, mum! I think it was a fitting present to return something in colour work to her after all these years!

Photo from Dale of Norway

Do you know what else? I found I could do it! And I wasn't terrible at it! Who knew??

Around this time I watched an amazing video on how children learn and how we can help enhance their learning skills. I found this video incredibly interesting and helpful and think it doesn't only apply to children but to anyone open to learning. I applied this thought process to my Fair Isle knitting, and off I went!



I started swatching with my left over bits of yarn (believe me, I have a lot of left over yarn) and really enjoyed it. I experimented with different patterns both in the round and flat and have found lots of inspiration in the lovely patterns and colour combinations that appeared. I feel inspired to design using my new skills and are excited (and maybe a little nervous) to learn about pattern writing for Fair Isle.




Our wonderful undyed yarn work perfectly in Fair Isle patterns!


One thing is sure though; whilst I previously may have said I couldn't do it, I now add the words "not yet" and look forward to the challenge!

Kari-Helene xxx



29.1.16

We're going to Unravel!

http://craft.farnhammaltings.com/portfolio/unravel/

Will you be joining us? Come wearing your finished Purl Alpaca Designs knitwear to be featured on our customer gallery! Buy tickets online here.

Tracy & Kari-Helene xxx

25.1.16

On keeping knitters fed and happy.

You may know that we do knitting workshops and that we make yarn and knitting patterns, but did you know that Kari-Helene does all the cooking for our workshops? And did you know it is all homemade and from scratch?

Fresh fruit and herbs from Tracy's garden.

Whenever possible we try to incorporate local, homegrown or farm produce whether it means a harvest from Tracy's garden, the results of Kari-Helene's foraging or buying from local shops.
In Tracy's garden there are apples, pears, damsons and greengages, mint and rosemary. Kari-Helene forages for blackberries, wild cherries, sloes, nettles and other seasonal leaves and berries.

Nigella's Chocolate Cake with Kari-Helene's "drunken blackberries".
We cater to all diets. All our meals are vegetarian and we can do vegan on request and over the years we have had gluten, lactose, and sugar free diets and all have been fed! Kari-Helene quite enjoys the challenge of coming up with interesting recipes to make sure everyone can eat and enjoy what's on offer. We try include lots of fresh and healthy produce, but we do like to be naughty and love a treat or two!

Ingredients for a mushroom stroganoff.


Spring greens and home made bread!

Kari-Helene loves baking and have over the years improved as a bread baker, makes mean cookies, biscuits and flapjacks and have recently started experimenting with cakes too. Quiches and tarts are always very popular and Kari-Helene's Norwegian style bread is delicious!


Home made whole grain bread.

Just one slice with butter on whilst it's warm...
 Although the alpacas like to think they are the centre point of attention and the main reason for people coming to the workshops, we have heard rumours some might be coming for the food. Looks like knitting is taking a backseat!

Would you like to come to one of our knitting workshops? We have plenty of dates available for the coming year and would love to meet you! 

Love from

Tracy, Kari-Helene & the alpacas xxx



17.1.16

yup, it's still winter...

This morning we woke up to snow!

Photo credit Hide Obara


It has definitely reminded us that although in our heads we are swiftly moving towards lighter and warmer days there are still a good few months of jumper wearing weather ahead!

What better to knit with than some winter white alpaca? Did you know that all our ivory shade alpaca yarn is totally undyed? We never put any harsh chemicals in touch with our fleece, no dyes, no bleach, we think the alpaca fleece is stunning just the way it is! Our fleeces are all sourced in the UK and spun here too! This is a product you can wear and feel fabulous inside and out!

http://www.purlalpacadesigns.com/product/alpaca-light-ivory/


http://www.purlalpacadesigns.com/product/alpaca-light-ivory/

There are so many projects to choose from that look stunning in our ivory coloured yarn.
Here are a few of our favourites:


http://www.purlalpacadesigns.com/product/camilla-hat-knitting-kit/

 The Camilla Hat looks stunning in our ivory yarn. The hat has so many different stitch patterns and texture and the light coloured yarn really shows this off! If you love cables, lace patterns and other intricate stitches; Camilla is the perfect project for you!


http://www.purlalpacadesigns.com/product/glacier-cardigan-knitting-kit/

 Wearing the Glacier Cardigan is just like wearing your own personal blanket! The second benefit is that it keeps you warm whilst knitting too! Knitted from our Chunky yarn and on big needles, this is a quick and easy project with a stunning end result.

http://www.purlalpacadesigns.com/product/dilly-snood-knitting-kit/
























The Dilly Snood is an open and lightweight neckpiece. Warm enough for snowy days yet lightweight enough not to be claustrophobic. Dilly is knitted on circualr needles and you get a lot of warmth for only 3 balls of wool! Perfect for thos who just can't be bothered with scarfs flapping in the wind.

So, what do you think? Is ivory the colour for you? Our alpacas have decided that it definitely does the job for them!



Stay warm!

Tracy, Kari-Helene & the alpacas! xxx

11.1.16

Customer gallery - focus on the Esme Jumper

One of our all time favourite designs is the Esme Jumper. A wonderfully flattering jumper based on traditional aran knitwear using flattering features sucha as a square neckline with a princess collar and a fitted waist with a peplum.
Esme is one of our favourites and also one of yours! We get so many pictures of you wearing your beautiful versions of this designs and we thought it would be nice to share some of them with you!

http://www.purlalpacadesigns.com/product/esme-jumper-knitting-kit/

Tatiana lives in Belarus and has knitted Esme in a fantastic teal colour. We are loving the fabulous styling too! Is that a knitted belt?


http://www.purlalpacadesigns.com/product/esme-jumper-knitting-kit/

Elena has knitted Esme for her mum. Her mum made it first but it came up a little on the small side, so Elena came to the rescue and knitted it again! This time it fits really perfectly! Great job. Elena has knitted the Esme Jumper in Purl Alpaca Designs ivory yarn.

http://www.purlalpacadesigns.com/product/esme-jumper-knitting-kit/

Here is a fabulous version knitted in our yarn in the colour Champagne. We think the colour and the style really suits Eva! We also love the bracelet length sleeves Eva has made when she found out she was going to be just a tiny bit short of yarn! It's always amazing to see what alterations you make to our designs!

http://www.purlalpacadesigns.com/product/esme-jumper-knitting-kit/

Susan has also made Esme in ivory. Susan always writes really informative blog posts on her knitting adventures and here is her story about knitting Esme!

Esme is a fabulous winter project to be worn in spring when it is just getting too warm to wear a jacket! Are you planning on casting on for one?

Tracy & Kari-Helene xxx