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Q&A with Toft

If you visited London during Wool Week 2013, and you were wandering along Oxford Street, then you may well recognise the brilliant Kerry Lord from Toft Alpaca. Kerry spent the majority of the week in the John Lewis store window turning a blank canvas into a knitted paradise with the help of a team of woolly enthusiasts. For those of you who didn’t see the final window click here, to marvel at the beauty that is Kerry’s crocheted sofa cover.


Kerry Lord is the founder of TOFT. Although originally specialising in British alpaca fibre TOFT has in 2013 expanded their range out to release their first six 100% luxury British wool yarns.


1, Tell us a little about why you choose wool over other fibres?

Because Toft’s all about DIY fashion we are encouraging people to spend their time making their own knitwear. In the modern time-poor lifestyle it seems crazy to spend hours making something in a fibre lacking quality and without a story.


2, What was your favourite moment from your Wool Week experience?

I had a fabulous week crocheting in the John Lewis window, but the highlight for me came when our first TOFT 100% wool yarn batch samples arrived in my hand the week before.  I knew as soon as I cast on the first ball that we had made the right decision moving to a 100% wool yarn.


3, How do you source your wool?

We source only the finest and softest British wool to ensure that our yarns become luxury knitwear. British wool has got a bad reputation for being rough and we’re challenging that head on with our new Ulysses yarn.


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4, What does the Campaign for Wool mean to you?

Getting people to check the label: an increased consciousness of what their clothing is made of.


5, What does the SS14 season hold for you?

Lots of new designs in our new wool yarn despite the ‘summer’.  We’re in the UK aren’t we!


6, At what age did you first start knitting/crocheting?

Neither my Mother or grandmother knit. Setting up TOFT has been about defining craft for a new time-poor generation. I have knitted for six years now but am not ashamed to confess I have never made anything that takes longer than a week to complete.  I am motivated by wanting to wear the thing on my needles so it being quality and quick to make is essential. I am a self-taught crocheter of only 12 months and will warn anyone new to it that it’s highly addictive!


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7, Technologies to further the potential of wool are advancing all the time, i.e. wool velvet, how do you think this will affect the wool and clothing industries?

Development will continue to prove the infinite versatility of wool.


8, How does using woollen cloths differ to other man-made materials?

No one likes knitting in acrylic- it makes your needles squeak and there’s always a risk of mild electrocution! Wool is a pleasure to work with and to wear.


9, What is your favourite woollen item of clothing and why?

My brand new Pom Pom hat. This is a TOFT classic design that works really well with the new wool yarn. It takes just 200g of chunky yarn and knits up in just a couple of hours and is a total beginner project suitable for anyone. It’s just the item of clothing that I reach for to walk the dogs as soon as the frosty mornings arrive.


Find out more about Toft and their woolly offerings on the website

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