20.11.14

Purl Alpaca Designs- Where to Find Us

Here at Purl Alpaca Designs, we are committed to sharing high quality products that really does take you from field to fashion. What does that mean? For us it means working with local breeders to help produce the highest grade Alpaca fibre possible, then developing yarn with the mills, through to knitting this into an item that makes best use of the yarns properties. We want your knitted item to reflect our commitment to high quality and that means exclusive designs that are fashionable but importantly wearable and enjoyable to make. 

From her training in Fashion Design, Kari-Helene Rane develops our knitwear collections with attention to all the details that make pieces really shine and we thought it was time that we show you all the places that you can pick up one of our designs. Here is an up to date list of where to buy knitting patterns that are perfect for Alpaca yarn (All pattern images include links to Ravelry, just click the caption link for more details) 

Melody Leggings
We've just added Purl Alpaca Designs to this growing range of knitting patterns and feel very lucky to be part of the great line up of designers. 

Maddie Children's Dress
You can find all of our designs listed here from childrenswear, to menswear and womenswear designs. 

Dusty Snood
We're guessing most of you will know this but Ravelry is a pretty important resource for us and from the number of you finding us there, we think it must be for our knitters too!

Drambuie
Yes, everything you need from yarn to kits but also, just the patterns too!

Misty Turban
If you happen to be local to one of our fabulous stockists, you can also pick up patterns and have a squish of the yarn in person! 

So whether you're searching for the perfect pattern for your stashed Purl Alpaca or the inspiration (and good excuse!) for casting on something new, we hope that helps you get some Purl Alpaca into your crafting this week. Don't forget, you can come and tell us all about your knitting adventures in the Purl Alpaca group on Ravelry too!

~Kari-Helene and Tracy

17.11.14

Guardian Angel

The lovely people who attended our knitting evening on 22nd September, might remember Juno had let herself out the field and was casually grazing on the grass verge that adjoins the carpark at Burwash Manor.  Much amuzement followed when in trying to get her back in, Tracy let Happy out as well!  Kari-Helene and Tracy managed to get them both back in and received a round of applause.

Well Juno has a pechant for believing the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, so when some idiot thinks it's a good idea to dismantle the fence, she sees an opportunity to go exploring.  This time, she took her friend Isis.  Unfortunately the fence runs parallel to the road and a gateway that leads to a massive open space of over 200 acres.  Tucked away in the corner are the boys.

Tracy received a phone call to say that some alpacas were out and raced over to the farm, although only early evening, it was now dark.  In trying to coax the adventurous pair back to their own field, Tracy was dismayed to find that they kept getting spooked by the lights of cars driving past and whirling away to run off into the night.  After three attempts, plan B was put into action.  Alpacas put themselves to bed when it gets dark; they settle together in the cush position and face in different directions so they can keep watch for any preditors that might be a threat to their survival.  They are also a social herd animal and will stay with other alpacas (safety in numbers).  Although impossible to find them in the field, Tracy thought it probable they would go to where the boys live.  She let them be for about 30 minutes and loaded Bessie (the van) with electric fence paraphenalia.  She then drove round to where the boys are and sure enough, saw Juno and Isis settled down on the other side of their fence.  Whilst they were settled and using Bessie's headlights, Tracy built a fence around them so they were secure for the night.  Finishing late, in the rain, she came home and went to bed.

On waking the next morning, Tracy was horrified to see a voice message and text on her phone saying that two alpacas were out on the road.  The time showed 11.30 p.m.  It was now 5.30 a.m. and with frantic haste, Tracy drove to the farm imagining the worst.  She checked the boys' field first and Juno and Isis were missing; the new fence was on the floor.  Seriously stressed, she drove into the carpark at Burwash Manor.  On doing a cursory head count, she counted 13 females, stopping in her tracks she counted again...14.  There should be 14... Sure enough, there was Juno and Isis in with their mothers and the rest of the herd.  The fences were strong and all was as it should be.

Almost sobbing with relief, Tracy bought a bottle of wine from the wine merchant and sent a text to Mike and Sue Radford (the owners of Burwash Manor) saying thank you.  She then came home to start work on Purl Alpaca stuff.

On returning to the farm that afternoon, Sue told her that she and Mike had driven around the big field (called Bael's Acre - not sure who Bael is, some sort of giant?) but that they hadn't been able to find them.  She felt a bit guilty about taking the wine under false pretences as it wasn't them who had rescued Juno and Isis.

Tracy contacted the local paper's letter page and asked them to put in a letter of thanks.  The newsdesk phoned to say they would like to do a feature of the story.  This they did and here we are, a week later with still no idea of who the stranger is who rescued Tracy's alpacas and put them back in the right paddock.  They haven't answered any of the appeals and in our view, truely an ultruistic hero.  Having rebuilt fences, then built fences for the new paddock, our girls have moved and to see their reaction, a short clip is on YouTube.



Richard the photographer.



13.11.14

5 Knitting Kits Perfect for Gifting and Making This Christmas

We are so excited! We just sent out the newsletter with a special code for 15% off our knitting kits because we know that this time of year how popular these can be for gifting and making. To help you decide which kits might work best for you, we thought a little summary of a few favourites might help. 

Still can't decide? Don't worry, there's free shipping for orders over £50 making things a little gentler on the purse this time of year. Here's a rundown of 5 knitting kits we'd recommend for every knitter to make this Christmas. 

Adie
The perfect project that will keep your ears warm this winter – the pompom hat! Adie matches the Charlie scarf and makes a great unisex set for handmade gifts. This hat is quick and fun to knit, uses short row shaping and is worked sideways in segments so it is different and exciting to make! Wear it rolled up with the pompom in a point at the top or with the pompom dangling loosely; it’s cute either way!

Inca


This is a perfect kit for the improved beginner starting to experiment with variations on the knit and purl theme. The diamond shape makes a decorative and textured pattern and definitely looks more impressive than it is difficult! Headbands are ever useful, keeping ears warm without flattening the hair!

Florence Cowl
Florence is a beautifully shaped, roll-necked cowl combining a leaf motif with eyelet rib. This detailing creates a statement whilst keeping your neck, throat and upper chest really cosy and warm. A stylish autumn accessory which is easy to wear over shirts or jumpers and then a winter layer worn under jackets and coats. Florence is the sort of garment that makes you feel snug and cosy, reminiscent of open fires and hot chocolate!


Holly
Holly is a wonderfully warm and stylish hat, with lace detail stitching and enough fabric to tease into a beret shape (like on the image) or a casual, baggy beanie. Effortlessly elegant, Holly will be a delightful accessory for any age.


Darcy
Chunky knits have been a favourite on the catwalks this season and Darcy is a great way to experiment with thicker yarn, big needles and a textured pattern. Imagine knitting with 3 strands of 4-ply or 2 strands of an Aran weight yarn, this is the thickness of our fabulous new Chunky yarn which has been made with a crepe twist, adding an extra texture to the final garment. Darcy can be worn around the neck or over the head becoming a definite ‘must-have’ for those who live in colder climates with the lazy winds that go straight through you!

So which would you choose for your favourite knitters? Which would you keep for yourself?



Don't forget, orders over £50 receive free shipping. If you missed out on our newsletter code, don't fret! Sign up for exclusive offers (and the latest news from 'The Girls') and keep an eye on Facebook because we'll be sharing some pattern codes very soon...!

~ Kari-Helene and Tracy x

7.11.14

An Icon for Elena

Remember our knitting workshop in May this year? We had a fabulous time with a lovely bunch of ladies. Elena chose to start on the Icon dress and today we got an email form her to say she has finished it! She says she has made a slight alteration and raised the neckline and we think it suits her brilliantly. She also tells us she has been getting plenty of compliments since finishing the dress and we are not surprised. Elena, you look fabulous!



6.11.14

Purl Alpaca Designs goes on overseas adventures

It has happened! Purl Alpaca Designs is now officially an international company. Sure, we have been sending post to the far flung corners of the worlds for years already but this was the first time we moved our van, stock and ourselves across borders and seas to reach distant shores. We had been brushing up on our language skills and read about foreign cultures only to realise we were only going to Ireland. However close Ireland might be in culture, language and proximity it still felt like a huge step for our little business. You can read about our journey there in a previous blog post. The journey home was of a different caliber all together with missed ferries, 8 hour waits, closed roads, diversions and almost running out of fuel, but that one is best forgotten, so we shall leave it at that.

Dublin, however, was lovely. We arrived to a city bathed in sunshine, and every morning we woke up to blue skies and glorious weather. Every evening was a different story with heavy wind and rain, but that was all forgotten next morning when we woke up with the sun shining through the curtains.

The RDS hall was buzzing with exhibitors when we arrived and setting up the stall was done without problems. Then Kari-Helene dragged Karen through Dublin on a hunt for our flat for the week. We had rented a lovely place for the duration of the stay and was greeted by Wayne on arrival. His flat was perfect for us as a home away from home, he had even stocked up the fridge with a few essentials such as egg, milk and Guinness. Kari-Helene felt obliged to try one. She left it at the one.


The 40 min walk in the mornings were perfect. We got a little insight to Dublin seen from a commuters point of view, and our walks were full of sunshine, swans, canals, gorgeous buildings and scones. Perfect.








The 4 days of the show were full of lovely meetings. We chatted to stall holders and customers and all were very welcoming. We felt right at home. We hope that we have spread the word about Purl Alpaca Designs to a new group of potential customers and friends and really look forward to seeing the first finished projects appear on our social media. Get sharing, everyone!







29.10.14

From Brighton to Dublin

Purl Alpaca Designs have just landed in Dublin. For the first time ever we have left the shores of the UK behind and headed overseas. Over the Irish Sea, to be precise.

Kari-Helene's journey started in stunning sunshine in Brighton Tuesday morning with a bus journey to the station. From there she got on the train to London. The journey continued from King's Cross to Cambridge where Tracy picked her up from the station. Tracy had to stay at home to look after the alpacas this time, so Karen got behind the wheel and of they went on the drive to Liverpool where they stayed overnight (of course not without two hours of super slow traffic on the M6).





The journey continued from Liverpool in the VERY early hours of Wednesday (5.30am to be precise) with the beautiful drive through lovely Welsh countryside to Holyhead to catch the 9am ferry.
Both Kari-Helene and Karen were a bit nervous about the journey across the sea, but didn't have to worry! The sea was calm, the sun was warm and there was knitting taking place on deck. Perfect.



Bessie enjoyed being put on the freight deck with the enormous trucks and Karen and Kari-Helene enjoyed their trucker's privileges. Did you know there is a dedicated lounge for truckers on ferries? We certainly didn't. Now we know there is really only one way to travel. We enjoyed a proper, greasy fry up in the company of burly, tattooed, swearing and farting, middle aged men, and you can believe a couple of eyebrows were raised when after breakfast knitting commenced!






We arrived in Dublin in glorious sunshine and started driving towards the Royal Dublin Society Showground. On one of Dublin's bridges we came to a stand still from what looked to be an accident. We sat in a queue for a little while before we got a clear route through and could see that a car had hit a swan. The swan was a bit dazed and sitting on the pavement when we drove past. Fingers crossed it was not too badly injured and will get nursed back to full health!
We arrived at the RDS without further ado and got the stand set up. Now, the rain is hammering against the windows, but we are warm and cosy in a lovely flat by the canal.

So, where did we put the Guinness?

















23.10.14

Errata to Venus Coat v.1 Oct 2014

We have had to rework the numbers on the Venus Coat to make sure the ribbing at the shoulders match beautifully in all sizes. There are changes in the top half of the coat only, so if you have already cast on and started working on the skirt, fear not, you won't have to undo it all!

Click here to access the errata page.