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Design Focus – Esme Jumper knitting pattern and kit

When we went to the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show earlier this month one of your absolute favourite designs was our Esme Jumper. And no wonder, it is such a versatile pattern with options for a sleeveless version ideal for warmer weather. So, for this months Design Focus blog post I will take you through the design in further detail!

Esme Jumper

Cable knitting can often seem daunting, but honestly, once you have sorted out which finger holds which needle whilst knitting which stitch, it really isn’t that hard! The concept lies in stitches swapping places. See, plain and simple! You move some stitches onto a spare needle, work the following stitches before working the stitches from the spare needle. Simples.  Take a look at this informative video if you would like further advice on cable knitting.

The Esme Jumper have only one type of cable, a plait. To create the plait you will be using two types of cabling techniques, a right and a left slanting cable. In the pattern these are described as follows:

3/3 LC – Slip 3 sts to cable needle and hold at front of work. Knit next 3 sts, knit 3 sts from cable needle.
3/3 RC – Slip 3 sts to cable needle and hold at back of work. Knit next 3 sts, knit 3 sts from cable needle.

These two techniques, when worked alternately, will create a beautiful plait! If you would like to practice this technique on a smaller piece of knitting, our Diana Headband is the ideal starting point. Learning a new technique by making something small is a great confidence builder, and ripping out to fix mistakes gives you less of a heart ache when the row has 20 sts and not 200!

diana headband cable knitting

The Esme Jumper has a picot edge along the hem and this is maybe the trickiest part of the design. The hem is created by working a row of eyelet holes and then later on picking up your cast on edge to create a fold along the eyelet row. If you are finding the picking up of stitches tricky, the hem can be sewn up after the garment is finished.

The design has a beautiful peplum detail which is very flattering and the stitch pattern naturally progresses into the cable section of the body. The neckline is square, a very flattering shape for a lot of women, and the sleeves are nicely fitted. The sleeves have a cable running up them and the back has the same peplum and cables as the front. To me, the back of a garment is as important as the front, and often you will find little extra details at the back of my designs.

Esme Jumper Back

The pattern comes with instructions for both the jumper and a sleeveless top version. It also has details for the princess collar shown in the images of the brown jumper as well as a plain rib edging.  All the various options makes this a great pattern for creating your perfect garment! If you would like the kit for the sleevless top you can find it here!

Esme Sleeveless jumper

The jumper is knitted in our Fine yarn and uses mainly 4 mm needles. It never gets boring to knit though, as there are so much going on all the time with cables, shaping and design details. The body of the jumper is knitted flat so you can use straight or circular needles whilst we recommend circular needles for the neckline.

There are so many stunning finished garments over on Ravelry, take a look for yourself! One of our favourite versions is Susan Crowe’s jumper in ivory. She has done a great job of knitting it and it really suits her! Take a look at her blog for her review of the pattern and of the finished garment.

Susan in Esme

We hope you feel inspired to cast on your own Esme! If you do, the pattern can be found here, the knitting kit can be ordered here or you can head over to Ravelry and add it to your queue.

Happy knitting!

Kari-Helene xxx

 

 

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Celebrating alpaca yarn with champagne!

It’s no secret really that we are crazy about alpacas over here at Purl Alpaca Designs. We love the animals with their sweet and funny nature. We love the fibre they produce and the stunning yarn we can make with it. We love the garments we can knit from an alpacas’ proud product. However, we also love all the stunning natural colours the alpacas produce! That’s right, natural colours! All the different shades of yarn we sell are totally natural and completely undyed! Amazing, right?

We think this is worth celebrating! And what better way of doing this than with champagne?

anthony-delanoix-43718

Now, we might not be talking about the real thing here, but Champagne coloured yarn is celebration enough for us! The perfect colour for the spring and summer season, we think designs like the Olivia Coat, Sherri Shrug, Linatra Bolero and Allegro Shawl would make perfect summer items when knitted in a light and fabulous colour such as champagne!

Allegro laceknit shawl purl alpaca designs knitting kit

 

Allegro knitted lace shawl purl alpaca designs knitting kit

The champagne coloured yarn is created by carefully selecting top grade white fleece, most of it from Tracy’s own alpacas, and mixing it with equally soft fawn fleece. It’s a process almost like mixing paint and Tracy has developed her own formulas for getting the colours just right. The individual fibres of the alpaca fleece we use are so fine you can’t really tell the different coloured strands apart and they all blend beautifully to create an even shade. However, our yarn will never be dull! There are subtle differences in the yarn making it interesting and unique, a beautiful result of using natural coloured fleece.

If you would like to use our Medium yarn to knit another pattern, that’s no problem! The most important thing to keep an eye on is your tension. We cannot stress enough how important this is, especially when you are not using the intended yarn for the intended pattern.

Our Medium weight is a Worsted weight, this means it lies somewhere between DK and Aran weights on the yarn scale. However, yarn weights are not always very specific and a tension square will help you work out how well a yarn will fit a pattern. Kari-Helene has written this helpful blog post on how to work out if yarn and pattern will go nicely together.

We spotted Erika’s Flaum Cardigan on Ravelry when browsing projects knitted with our yarn and we absolutely love it! It is a fabulous example of excellent use of our yarn with a different pattern and we love Erika’s photos too!

“I find that I very rarely use the yarn suggested by the pattern designer, instead I go by the weight of the yarn and then swatch, so the Purl Alpaca yarn I spotted at Unravel was exactly right for this pattern: the weight, the softness, the colour – it had everything I was looking for!” Erika

Erika's Flaun Cardigan in Purl Alpaca Designs' yarn

We would love to see your projects using our yarn. Have you made a successful substitution? Send us your photos or share them with us on our Facebook page!

Happy knitting!

Tracy, Kari-Helene and the alpacas!

5 perfect knitting kits for warmer weather!

As we have just returned from the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show we have come to think of knitwear for warmer weather. Although it still feels rather chilly out there most days it is never too early to cast on a new project! Did you know alpaca yarn is brilliant for warmer weather as well as the cold? Because the fibres are hollow it regulates temperature much better than wool and won’t feel as heavy as a wool jumper might. Many of Kari-Helene’s designs are intentionally knitted on larger needles than you might expect for the thickness of yarn and this also contributes to a light feel to the finished garments.

1. Esme Sleeveless Top

Esme Sleeveless jumper

You could make many fun variations of this design as the pattern comes with the option of long sleeves and a princess collar. The pattern is graded for 5 sizes from X-Small to X- Large. You can buy the knitting kit from £69 and the knitting pattern for £4 (pattern is for both jumper and top).

2. Bjelle Top

bjelle knitted top purl alpaca designs

A vintage inspired design with striking sleeve details and a close fitting bodice. This design is perfect for spring weather and we can’t wait to wear it with a printed skirt and flat shoes! The pattern is graded for 5 sizes from X-Small to X- Large. You can buy the knitting kit from £50.50 and the knitting pattern for £4.

3. Lady Cardigan

Lady Cardigan Purl Alpaca Designs

A cardigan is always useful regardless of season. Wear it as a layer in winter and as a light jacket once the weather gets warmer. The pattern is very simple and can easily be adapted for a novice knitter by eliminating the colour work. The pattern is graded for 5 sizes from X-Small to X- Large. You can buy the knitting kit from £87.50 and the knitting pattern for £4.

4. Masika Skirt

Masika Skirt - Purl Alpaca Designs

A knitted skirt is a different idea for spring weather. Easy to style with short sleeved tops and light weigh shirts. Wear it with thick tights and chunky boots on the colder days or barely there nude ones and plimsolls on warmer days. The pattern is graded for 5 sizes from X-Small to X- Large. You can buy the knitting kit from £41.25 and the knitting pattern for £5.5.

 

5. Breeze Top

Breeze beautiful knitted garment purl alpaca

This stunning design includes a fitted, ribbed waistband in contrast to the oversized and draped body. The cable running up the sleeve openings add interest and breaks up the bulk of the stocking stitch knitting. The pattern is graded for 5 sizes from X-Small to X- Large. You can buy the knitting kit from £59.75 and the knitting pattern for £3.

We hope that gives you some inspiration for lovely warmer weather knits and look forward to seeing your photos of how you were your Purl Alpaca Designs’ in the spring! Check out the photos other people have sent us on the customer gallery over on Pinterest!

Tracy & Kari-Helene xxx

 

5 crafty ways to treat you mum for Mother’s Day!

With Mother’s Day only a month away we thought we would give you some ideas for gifts you can easily knit up in time for the day, popular knitting kits to buy for your mum and lovely days out for you and her together!

1. A set of Knitting Needles

Addi Click Bamboo set 550-7 (1)

 

This luxurious set of bamboo needles from Addi are interchangeable circular. This means the set comes with 3 cable lengths and all the needle sizes from 3.5mm to 8mm and that you can swap and change which needles you attach to the cables. Ones you have got this set you won’t be needing anything else in terms of knitting needles, unless you are knitting really fine or really chunky stuff! It’s the ideal luxury present for a dedicated knitter. Buy your mum a set of Addi needles by clicking here.

2. Knitting Workshop

Small workshop 8

A knitting workshop from us is a great present for Mother’s Day. The day is ideal for you to come along with your mum or to send mum along to on her own. The day is tailored to individual skill sets, so even if your mum is a knitting guru and has knitted for many years, we will make sure she comes away from the day having had a fabulous day! You will pick the project you would like to make on the day and we have kits that suit beginner and experienced knitters alike. Read more about the day here.

We currently have two dates available for booking. 25th of March and 29th of April!

3. Fantasia Cowl

fantasia knitting kit cowl purl alpaca

This superb knitting kit works up really quickly and is definitely something you can finish in time for Mother’s Day next month. The design is worked in the round using a chart to explain the stitch pattern. The pretty leaf-like motif is created using a drop stitch method. The Cowl is worked using 5mm circular needles and our Fine yarn. If you have a ball of our Fine yarn lying around, why not pick up the pdf pattern here?

The complete knitting kit can be bought here.

4. Olivia Coat Knitting Kit

Olivia Back knitted beautiful coat purl alpaca

Is your mum a dedicated knitter? Why not treat her to a knitting kit from us? The pattern is printed on thick paper and contains beautiful images and clear instructions on how to make the chosen design. Each pattern includes instructions for 5 sizes from X-Small to X-Large. The kit includes our fabulous alpaca yarn, sourced and produced right here in England as well as a cute alpaca photo and story. The Olivia Coat is a popular design for women of all ages. Difficulty level is advanced beginner/intermediate.

You can purchase the complete kit here!

5. Gift Voucher

Gift voucher image

Still not sure what would be the perfect present for your mum? Then fear not, we have the perfect solution! Purchase a gift voucher from us and your mum can choose her own present. The gift voucher can be redeemed on our website or she can bring it along to one of the many shows we attend. The voucher can be issued in any multiple of £5 or £10 and we will post out a nice printed voucher for you to present to her on the day. Get your gift voucher by clicking here.

 

We hope you found something useful here and that you will give your mum the perfect gift!

Tracy & Kari-Helene xxx

Design Focus – Lorelle Jumper knitting pattern and kit

Since we posted it on our Facebook page yesterday, so many of you have told us how much you love Susan’s Lorelle! Take a look at her blog post here if you didn’t spot it yesterday. Lorelle is a super useful jumper and a great knit for those who despise seams, and here is a little look at the pattern in closer detail.

The Lorelle Jumper is knitted completely in the round which means there are no side seams, no underarm seams and no shoulders to join up! The only stitches you will have to join once the knitting is complete are the tiny bit under the arms. That’s it! Ideal for those who just can’t stand the finishing part of their knitting.

Lorelle Jumper Purl Alpaca Designs

Knitting in the round is done on 5mm circular needles or on DPN’s (double pointed needles). Usually circular needles are used for working larger amounts of stitches, such as on the body of Lorelle, and DPN’s are used on smaller amount of stitches, such as the sleeves. You can also use the Magic Loop technique to do smaller amounts of stitches, hence eliminating the need for DPN’s. Magic Loop can seem daunting at first, but here is a good video to show you how it works.  If you are new to knitting on circular needles we have the perfect set of needles for you. The Addi click bamboo gives you all sizes from 3.5mm to 8mm and three different cable lengths. All you need to start knitting in the round!

The needle size is intentionally quite large for the yarn thickness (equivalent to a Sports weight) to create a lightweight and open textured fabric. This means you end up with a jumper that is warm but won’t feel heavy.

Lorelle jumper sleeve Purl Alpaca Designs

The edge of the Lorelle jumper is knitted in reverse stocking stitch. When knitting in the round this means you will be purling every round. The bulk of the jumper is knitted in plain stocking stitch and when knitting in the round this means you will be knitting every round.

The zig zag detail of Lorelle is created using a 2 stitch cable method. This means that by purling certain stitches, knitting other stitches and swapping some stitches over you can create this really pretty and effective detail really easily.

Once you have made both sleeves and body, you will join the three pieces to make the yoke of the jumper. This may seem fiddly at first, but stay with it, it will become easier. Having a longer cable on your circular needles and using the magic loop technique can also help as you can create more movement in the needles if needed.

Lorelle jumper yoke Purl Alpaca Designs

In v.1 of the Lorelle jumper there was a misprint in round 2 of the yoke. Some of the numbers for the graded sizes were missing. Here is the correct round 2 for those working to v.1 of the pattern.

Round 2: Place stitch marker, k1, ssk, k38 [40, 43, 47, 51], k2tog, k1, place 2nd stitch marker, k1, ssk,
k56, [68, 75, 85, 91] , k2tog, k1, place 3rd stitch marker, k1, ssk, k38 [40, 43, 47, 51], k2tog, k1, place 4th stitch marker, k1, ssk, k56, [68, 75, 85, 91], k2tog, k1.

At this point you will be doing another set of zig zag patterns before you finish of the jumper working in reverse stocking stitch whilst making the decreases for the shoulder shaping. The neck on Lorelle is a boat neck, this means it cuts straight across both the front and back of the neckline.

Lorelle jumper front Purl Alpaca Designs

We’ve seen some fabulous finished versions of Lorelle, such as Susan’s and also this fab version by Kate from Fabrickated as well as a few lovely ones over on Ravelry! If you are working on Lorelle, please share your project with us! We love to see what you’re up to!

Lorelle Jumper knitted by susan Crowe

Susan Crowe wearing her version of Lorelle

Lorelle Knitted Jumper made by Kate Davies

Kate Davies looking fab in her Lorelle Jumper

If you feel inspired to cast on for your own Lorelle, the project takes between 5 and 8 50g balls of our Fine yarn. The price range is from £50.50 to £78.25 and there is free postage for all kits over £50! Should you wish to knit Lorelle but would like to use a different yarn, here is a link to the pattern only.

Happy knitting!

Kari-Helene xxx

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Knitting Workshop 25th of March 2017

We are holding our popular knitting workshop in the picturesque village of Bourn in Cambridgeshire.
Meet alpacas, do lots of knitting, learn new techniques and eat delicious food. It can’t get much better, really.

Book your place here!

Knitting for Valentine’s Day – hand made with love!

Valentine’s day is coming up rather quickly! Are you giving your loved one a home made present? There are of course lots of traditional presents you could get them; flowers, chocolate, perfume, but how about something a little more hand made? We have a few ideas for really quick knit ideas that might just be the perfect gift for your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day.

1. Misty Wrist Warmers Knitting Kit

So quick and easy to make and so warm and cosy to wear! These fabulous garter stitch wrist warmers are great for men and women and a perfect speedy project even a beginner knitter.

To make just the wrist warmers take only one ball of yarn and is done on 5 mm needles.  The kit includes yarn, pattern, care instructions, alpaca biography card  and a handy project bag. The kit costs £13.50. Should you wish to make the matching turban as well you need two balls of yarn and price is £ 22.75.

misty turban and wristwarmers kit purl alpaca

2. Alfie Hat Knitting Kit

The Alfie Hat is a wonderfully easy and fast knitting project made in our Chunky Yarn. It’s knitted in the round, so requires no other finishing than fastening your two yarn ends. It’s a unisex pattern that is incredibly warm and lovely!

The kit needs one 100g ball of our Chunky yarn and is knitted on 7 mm needles. The kit includes yarn, pattern, care instructions, alpaca biography card  and a handy project bag. The cost for the kit is £17.

Alfie Hat

Alfie Hat man

3. L’Automne Cowl Knitting Kit

The only design from Purl Alpaca Designs that contains an actual heart; the L’Automne Cowl is a fun Fair Isle knitting project that can be made in as many colours as you would like. It’s perfect for using up any scraps of yarn you might have too! If you are thinking of using scrap yarn, a sport weight or DK yarn should work well.

The kit is listed as a 2 ball kit, but you can of course add individual balls should you wish to add more colours.The kit includes 2 balls of yarn in your choice of colours, knitting pattern, care instructions , an alpaca biography card and a handy project bag.  The cost for the kit is £13.50.

L'Automne Cowl flat image

L'Automne Cowl - purlalpacaclaptontram639

4. Crochet Necklace Kit

If your preferred craft is crochet, fear not, we have a perfect quick gift kit for you! This stunning flower necklace is made in no time at all and consists of a central flower with soft beads stuffed with fluff or yarn craps on either side.

The crochet kit consists of 1 50g ball of yarn, the instructions, care instructions and a handy project bag. The cost of the kit is £13.50.

crochet necklace

5. Darcy Cowl Knitting Kit

The Darcy Cowl is another unisex knitting kit and is made on 8mm circular needles using our chunky yarn. It knits up in no time at all and you can easily finish this in time for Valentines Day! This kit is perfect for someone who wants an uncomplicated knit with some texture and stitch variation.

The kit includes 2 100g balls of chunky yarn, the knitting pattern, care instructions, an alpaca biography card and a handy project bag. The cost of the kit is £27.50.

Darcy Cowl ivory

Darcy Cowl Knitting Kit Man

We hope this has given you lots of inspiration for some speedy gift knits!

Happy Knitting!

Tracy & Kari-Helene xxx

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Make Do and Mend – the era of New Materialism

Last week I finally got my act together and dug out my favourite Purl Alpaca Designs garment, the Duchess Cardigan, from the mending pile. Long neglected due to wearing thin under the arms it had been left in the to-do pile for a long time. Loved and worn for at least 7 years it was to be expected some wear and tear would appear in the end. In the spirit of Make Do and Mend I got my darning needle and got to work!

pa14kids1708

Wearing my favourite cardigan, Duchess!

Luckily I had a small amount left in my remnants bag of the exact yarn my Duchess was knitted in. It’s in the colour Mist and both yarn and colour is truly stunning! I decided on invisible mending as however much I love Tom of Holland’s Visible Mending program, I am not sure I could quite carry off contrast colour, under arm patches. I used Swiss darning to mimic the original stitches of the stocking stitch fabric and carefully worked over the existing stitches. If you are curious as to what Swiss darning is, take a look at this helpful article from Women’s Weekly.

make do and mend - swiss darning - blog

Swiss darning to to mend worn patches.

I am very happy with the result and feel like the idea of mending your favourite knits go hand in hand with the idea of New Materialism. In this article in the Guardian they talk about buying less stuff and loving and caring for the things you do buy to give them a longer, more appreciated life. This resonates with us at Purl Alpaca Designs. One of our knitting kits is put together by us for you to enjoy the process of making it followed by a long life of wearing and loving your finished garment. So if that means you have to Swiss darn under the arms, then so be it!

INF3-225_Make_do_and_mend_(Stuffed_doll_figure_patching_cloth)

Happy knitting (and darning!),

Kari-Helene xxx

 

 

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Knitting event calendar – February to April 2017

We’ve got some exciting events for you over the next three months, both in terms of three new workshop dates and also three of our most favourite knitting shows! We’re visiting Scotland for the Edinburgh Yarn Festival, Wales for Wonderwool and we’re attending Unravel a little closer to home.

The three workshops we have lined up for you will be the three last workshops of this set up for this year as Kari-Helene will be taking maternity leave from the end of April.  They will take place at Bourn Village Hall which is a short drive from where the alpacas now live.  Bourn is a lovely village, about nine miles west of Cambridge and even mentioned in the Doomsday Book!

So without further ado; this is what we’re up to for the next three months!

1. Knitting Workshop 4th February

We’re preparing a lovely day at Bourn Village Hall located in the cute and picturesque village of Bourn. The alpacas are thriving here and they look forward to welcoming you all to their new home. Choose your project at the workshop after trying everything on and we will give you individual tuition on any questions you may have regarding the pattern. Book your place here by paying a £25 deposit.

Small Purl Alpaca Designs - teaching knitting

2. Unravel

We’re back in Farnham for this 2 and a half day long show on the 17th to 19th of February. The show is held at the Farnham Maltings, a wonderful maze of small rooms making this an intimate and charming show. The town itself has a lovely atmosphere and makes this a perfect knitting destination!

Final Unravel 2016 poster to print A4

3. Edinburgh Yarn Festival

EYF takes place on the 10th and 11th of March this year. This fabulous yarn show, now in its fourth year, has gained an excellent, international reputation and attracts visitors, exhibitors and workshop holders from all over the world. We think it’s a must for any serious knitter to visit and hope to see lots of you there this year! You can buy advance tickets on the website as this is likely a sell out event.

eyf2017

 

4. Knitting Workshop 26th March

At our workshops we serve home cooked lunch and treats. Kari-Helene loves cooking and takes great pride in serving a delicious, nutritious and maybe ever so slightly naughty lunch. There are treats served throughout the day as well as the two course lunch, so we sure hope nobody will leave hungry. We also supply constant tea and coffee. Come give it a try at the March workshop!

Small Purl Alpaca Designs - food served at workshop

5. Wonderwool

This charming wool show takes place on the 22nd and 23rd of April in a sheep auction mart in rural Wales and we love it here! The drive to Builth Wells is always charming and takes us through some stunning scenery. The show is one of the larger knitting shows we attend but they still manage to keep an intimate atmosphere and they always provide excellent food stalls. Kari-Helene highly recommends the amazing sweet tarts!

6. Knitting Workshop 29th April

If you are unsure if there will be anything for you to learn at one of our knitting workshops why not have a look at this blog post Kari-Helene wrote on just this topic.
This will be our last date for 2017 in this format as after this date Kari-Helene will be taking maternity leave, so make sure to book onto this one as we are expecting spaces to fill quickly!

Small Workshop 7

So that takes us to the end of April. We look forward to seeing you at one of these events!

Tracy and Kari-Helene xxx

5 cosy knitting kits to make and wear in winter

Watching the weather forecast this morning we realise that although the days are getting every so little brighter and longer winter is still very much upon us! Snow has fallen in Scotland and the forecast is threatening to bring us some of the white stuff down south too! But fear not, if you haven’t already knitted and wrapped yourself up in some of our wonderfully warm alpaca knitwear we ave made a list of our top 5 cosy knits for winter!

Cyrene Jacket

Cyrene Jacket by Purl Alpaca Designs (front view)

First up we’ve got our popular Cyrene Jacket! Knitted on 4.5 mm needles, our Medium yarn creates a thick and warm fabric perfect for this jacket imitating a classic tweed hunting jacket. The shaping at the back waist and under the bust creates a beautifully fitted shape and the clever construction makes this a fabulous garment to make and wear! The body is knitted in one piece and the added benefit of this is that you have an automatic blanket on your lap whilst knitting!

Buy the knitting kit by clicking here. Price from £106 – £152.25

Glacier Cardigan

Glacier Cardigan by Purl Alpaca Designs (front view)

The Glacier Cardigan is knitted in our luxurious Chunky yarn and it is so incredibly warm! Due to the Chunky yarn and the big needles it knits up very quickly and you’ll be able to wear it in no time, a big bonus now that the cold weather is very much upon us. Treat yourself to a wearable, warm hug!

Buy knitting kit by clicking here. Price from £127.50 – £190

Alfie Hat

Alfie Hat ivory knitting kit

When leaving the house (although it’s tempting not to these days) a warm and soft hat is the best friend you can ask for and the Alfie Hat ticks all the boxes! Knitted in the round, there are no seams and only two yarn ends to fasten to finish the project. It’s knitted in an easy 1 by 1 rib and is a perfect pattern for someone starting out with circular knitting. It’s equally perfect for men and women and it is one of Kari-Helene’s favourites for those cold days when we exhibit in animal auction marts!

Buy the knitting kit by clicking here. Price £17

Geronimo Jumper

geronimo jumper for women purl alpaca

Originally designed as a man’s jumper, the Geronimo Jumper has proved equally popular for ladies! The beautiful cable details inspired by traditional Aran jumper designs are complimented by the modern touch of contrast collar and cuffs. Should you prefer a more traditional look, opt for the same colour for both the body and trims. The collar is nice and cosy around the neck and the texture creates a thick and warm fabric, perfect for winter!

Buy the knitting kit by clicking here. Price from £115.25 – £143

Miko Dress

Miko Dress - Purl Alpaca Designs

From our latest collection come this beauty, the Miko Dress; a knitted dress complete with long sleeves, pockets and lots of interesting cable details. The shaping through the cable detail creates a very flattering line without being too fitted and clingy. The pockets can easily be omitted should you want a more streamlined look, but we’re totally obsessed with pockets on dresses and love the warm feeling of these knitted ones!

Buy knitting kit by clicking here. Price from £133.75 – £198.50

We’re hoping you have found some inspiration in these warm and stylish knitting kits and will be cosy and comfortable for the rest of winter!

Happy knitting,

Tracy and Kari-Helene xxx

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Design Focus – Venus Coat Knitting Pattern and Kit

Happy New Year, everyone! We hope you have had a fabulous holiday and are springing into the new year feeling refreshed and energised.

Did you get any yarn related gifts this year? Any Purl Alpaca Designs’ products under the tree? We hope you have a long list of knits lined up and that at least some of them are for you to wear and love!

One of our most indulgent knits is the Venus Coat knitting kit. Since its launch it has become one of our most favourite designs, it always does well at shows and workshop were knitters can try the coat on and see the beautiful fit and flare for themselves. The design might look daunting, but in this blog post I will go through the pattern in detail and provide you with some handy tips to make it more manageable.

venus-coat-by-purl-alpaca-designs-front-view

The cast on for Venus Coat ranges from 353 sts for X-Small to 543 sts for X-Large. We recommend using very long circular needles of at least 100 cm, and potentially two lengths put together if you are working on an interchangeable set such as the Addi Click Bamboo. to deal with the amount of stitches and ultimately as you knit, the weight of the work. Using stitch markers for your cast on is a great idea. Inserting a marker every 50 sts prevents the need for going right back to the start every time you lose count.

Once you have started working on your edging it can also be a good idea to go back and check your stitches on the first row every once in a while to prevent having to go right back to the start again once you realise the stitches don’t add up!

venus-coat-by-purl-alpaca-designs-back-view

When you have completed the border you go onto setting up the stitches for the lace pattern. At this point it can be helpful to move your stitch markers to the points in between the pattern repeats. This way you can easily spot if you have gone wrong somewhere and hopefully not have to go back a row or two. Ripping out your knitting can be heart breaking, especially when we are talking hundreds of stitches!

One of the most common mistakes made in the lace pattern of the Venus Coat is forgetting a yarn over. Don’t worry, this is actually very easy to fix without having to undo any stitches at all! Check out this really useful video from Knit Purl Hunter on You Tube.

The skirt of the Venus Coat is knitted in three main sections. After each section you work a row of decreases to reduce the flare of the skirt. Should you wish to shorten the coat, the ideal way to do it would be by removing one or more repeats from each of the three sections. This way you would still keep the beautiful flare of the skirt and not disturb the balance between them.

After the lace section of the coat is finished you move on to the 3 x 1 rib making up the top section of the coat. The waist line on this design sits just under the bust to create an A-line shape. Should you wish to have a more fitted waist on your coat, the easiest way to do this would be to work a longer rib section before splitting for the armholes. This way you would move the waistline lower and because of the rib it would naturally pull in to fit. Remember that this would make the coat longer overall, so it may be an idea to do this in addition to shortening the skirt slightly. Isn’t it marvelous how you can alter the design to make it just right for you when you knit it yourself?

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From here on the design is pretty straight forward. The sleeves are knitted in the same 3×1 rib and have a slight gathering at the top to create a puff sleeve. The front bands are knitted in one with the rest of the coat so there is minimal finishing.

One popular design hack with the Venus Coat is to make it sleeveless. You can take 3 balls of yarn of the total amount needed for a coat with sleeves and to finish off the armholes, add a row of single crochet. This creates a lighter garment, ideal for wearing in summer or spring. Check out Karen’s version on Ravelry!

Knitting the Venus Coat using our luxurious alpaca yarn creates a warm yet lightweight garment. Our alpaca yarn is woollen spun which makes a lighter and loftier yarn ideal for big garments. The coat will have drape, yet it will not be so heavy you will end up with it draping on the floor behind you after a few wears! You can buy the complete kit with yarn by clicking here.

If you have a different yarn in mind for knitting the coat, you can buy the pattern only by clicking here. You can also buy the pattern over on Ravelry. I have also written a handy blog post on substituting yarn. There are a few things to take into consideration but I do not see why it wouldn’t turn out just as lovely if you make the right choices! You can also check out which yarns other people have knitted the coat in by clicking here.

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If you are not a knitter, fear not, there is an option for you too. We have a team of experienced knitters ready to create your perfect garment. If you would like to go for this option, click here to place your order.

I hope you have found this post informative and maybe through reading this you have found the confidence to cast on your own big project, whether it is our Venus Coat or another daunting design, and do remember; you are not alone, we are only an email or a phone call away and are always happy to help you back on the right track!

Do make sure to tag any photos on social media using #purlalpacadesigns. We love to see what you are up to!

Happy knitting!

Kari-Helene xxx

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Last post dates for Christmas!

December is disappearing fast and some of the last recommended postal dates for parts of the world has already past!

Here are some of the important ones to keep in mind! Please also place your order in some time before the actual date so we can make sure it is packaged and in the post for the right dates!

Last day for post to most of Europe and USA – 15th of December

Last day for post to the UK – 21st of December

Get your orders in soon to make sure they arrive in time!

Tracy & Kari-Helene xxx

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