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Meet the Maker: TOFT
Welcome to our latest edition of Meet the Maker! We are so happy to stock so many great products from small businesses in the UK and we really want to show them off. We will be creating features on different designers, companies and crafters so you can find out more about them and their fantastic products. This time we have been chatting to Kerry at TOFT!
Kym: We love having your super cute kits in our store! Tell us a bit about how TOFT was founded.
Kerry: Today TOFT is now 11 years old and was founded on lots of hard work and a new-found love of yarn and what you could do with it. It has been an amazing journey that I’m pretty sure is still only really at the beginning as I learn more everyday!
Kym: Where do you take your inspiration for your designs?
Kerry: For my Edward’s Menagerie designs I take inspiration from lots and lots of images and videos of animals, and often a trip to the zoo to meet the real thing. For my knitwear designs I make clothes that I want to wear- and I think I’m just lucky that most of the time other people like them too!
Kym: A work trip to the zoo sounds like lots of fun! It is so cool that TOFT HQ is based on your Alpaca farm. For those who don’t know, what is Alpaca?
Kerry: An alpaca is a South American camelid know for its super soft fibre and we have over 200 alpacas at our HQ. The vast majority of my designs are worked in pure sheep’s wool rather than alpaca now and TOFT specialises in a variety of luxury natural yarns.
Kym: Other than taking care of all those amazing alpacas, what are the day to day activities at TOFT HQ?
Kerry: Our Studio HQ is always extremely busy and no day is ever dull or the same as the last. The best thing about working from HQ is that our customers pop in every single day to stock up their stash, ask a question about a technique or enjoy a coffee and a catch up with someone in our team. Our whole team can knit and crochet so we have so much in common it’s hard not to be creative.
Kym: We love to hear more about the people behind fantastic products. Tell us a bit about the TOFT team?
Kerry: I head up an amazing team of fifteen very strong and creative women who work very hard to make TOFT successful.
Kym: What do you consider to be the company’s biggest achievement to date?
Kerry: Our recent event at the Natural History Museum was amazing and one of the best moments of my career. We successfully ran a crochet whale workshop for 350 attendees beneath the bones of the newly installed central exhibit ‘Hope’ the Blue Whale. It was even better than I could have hoped for.
Kym: Wow! What an amazing event that must have been! Do you have a personal favourite animal to make? Personally I love Sophia the Flamingo!
Kerry:I am too addicted to making new ones to make any one more than once!
Kym: The super big animals you create for events are so amazing! How do you go about scaling up your patterns and how long does it take to complete one?
Kerry: I sketch the shapes needed onto wallpaper lining paper and then we crochet to match that scale and it usually takes a few of us a couple of days. This time you can actually get the pattern for the 8ft Caitlin the Giraffe in the Autumn edition of our magazine!
Kym: Amazing! Thank you so much for chatting to me Kerry!