Merry Christmas and Happy New Year


Howdy folks, how are you all? Are you alright? Have you had a nice Christmas break?

It’s been a bit odd at the KCACO.UK house as on the first day of the holiday break we were woken up by my six year old running in to tell us that she was going to be sick…and then her promptly being sick all over the floor! That certainly wakes you up quickly! Since then we just haven’t been able to shake this sick bug but I hear there’s a lot of it going around. Either the baby or, more so, the big one has been sick (usually at 3.30am – what’s with that!) so it’s been a bit of a subdued Christmas and we’ve had to cancel quite a few of our plans which is a shame. Even I haven’t been feeling great – the only one with immunity seems to be my husband, which I’m very thankful for because it would be even more horrendous if all of us were ill at the same time.

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That said even though we may not have got dressed on Christmas day, Santa came and brought LOADS of presents for the little ones and some nice stuff for us grown ups and we did manage to have a semi nice day. And luckily we happen to handily have lots of crochet blankets around for snuggling under and some new Christmas movies to watch so we’ve taken some time to rest and try to recuperate.

Looking on the positive side of things I got some FABULOUS yarny gifts! Anyone would think I like crochet or something… 

Firstly I got this absolutely gorgeous Scheepjes mango wood yarn bowl which is just sooooo lovely. I absolutely adore wooden things and really wanted a wooden yarn bowl so I was very pleased with this. It’s so smooth and tactile and just super yummy! I love it and I’ve already been using it.

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I also got the new Scheepjes Yarn Bookazine ‘Dutch Masters‘ which is also gorgeous (I need more adjectives for gorgeous don’t I; splendid, sublime, delightful – they all work!).

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I shall have to do a review of these bookazines for you at some point because after I had my first one from the lovely people at Black Sheep Yarns (the Tropical edition) I had to have them aaaallllll! Glorious patterns, stunning photography and really interesting articles – what’s not to love! So I was really pleased to add the Dutch Masters edition to my collection which came out in October this year.

My other yarn related gifts were some really useful retractable snips, a Stylecraft Batik Swirl in colourway Poppyfields, which is super pretty and not something I’ve used before, a James C Brett Fairy Cake, in colourway FC03 which is lots of blues, very fluffy, and again something I’ve never used before. I was also lucky enough to get the Beetles, Bugs and Butterflies book from Lalylala which I reallllllyyy had wanted so I was super happy to find that under the tree – so look out for reviews of all these once I get round to using them. 

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And finally I got a joint present for my wedding anniversary and Christmas present; a days pass to visit the Crochet Sanctuary in Cheshire (not that far away from me) in February which I can’t WAIT for! A day off to relax, unwind and crochet – hooray!!! Haven’t I been a very lucky girl! 

I have been crocheting off and on throughout the holidays but I can’t show you any of my finished objects as they are Christmas presents still waiting to be given in the main. Though I can share these… I had this idea that I really wanted to make a special amigurumi for both children using the TOFT DK yarn I bought at TOFTfest. If you remember when I went to TOFTfest then you’ll know I started these amigurumi’s back in 2016 so it’s rather disgraceful that it’s taken me this long to finish them but I actually kicked myself into gear and finished them off for Christmas. I made Little G Jack the Macaw from Edward’s Menagerie: Birds and I made Little Miss; Georgina the Hippo from the original Edward’s Menagerie with a tutu accompaniment pattern I got at TOFTfest.

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I love how they came out and both children loved their special present from Mummy. I’ll try and do a review of both of the TOFT books in the new year too for those of you that are thinking you might like to make either some animals or birds (or both) of your own.

I’m already busy working on some secret commissions for 2018 – there’s some really exciting projects coming up in the new year that I can’t wait to share with you all.

Until then I’d like to wish those of you that celebrate it…

A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Crochet Book Review | Edward’s Crochet Doll Emporium


Disclaimer:  I received a sample copy of the book to write this review however I have not been financially compensated by the supplier, book company or the designer to write this review. All opinions expressed are my own and based on my own experiences of using the book / pattern.

When the lovely folks at Pavilion books asked me if I’d like to review Edward’s Crochet Doll Emporium I didn’t need asking twice! I’d already got the book on my wish list, as I’m a big fan of Kerry Lord’s, and have all of the other ‘Edwards crochet’ books so was extremely eager to have a peep at the new book.

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Edward’s Crochet Doll Emporium by Kerry Lord is published by Pavilion. Photographs by Kristy Noble

Ed’s dolls is a wonderfully innovative book where you can design your own doll using mix-and-match crochet patterns. Cleverly each pattern is contained within flippable pages which means, like a child’s flip book, that you can make hundreds of different doll combinations each with amazing wardrobes! 

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Edward’s Crochet Doll Emporium by Kerry Lord is published by Pavilion. Photographs by Kristy Noble

The book is split into sections with instructions on how to make the main doll, then there are two flip sections:

  • First you choose a ‘head’ – there are beginner and advanced heads to choose depending on the hair style (or facial hair).
  • Next you choose what they are going to ‘be’ with the bottom ‘outfit’ flip – with costumes for an astronaut and a princess, a ballerina and a footballer, a mermaid and a pirate, a surgeon, a punk and more.

You can make so many different variations of doll! As always I like to make something from a book before I review it and I was inspired by the doll Kerry made of herself – so I thought that it might be really fun to try and create a mini me.

I used TOFT DK yarn to make my doll (as I already had some in my stash from last years TOFTfest and my recent visit to The Knitting & Stitching Show). TOFT DK yarn is pure wool, seriously soft and gentle on the hands – lovely to crochet with. It also has a really great colour range to represent skin tones. I went for ‘Oatmeal’ skin and ‘Chestnut’ for my hair.

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All the patterns are in UK terminology and come with detailed instructions and accompanying photos for stitches. In addition the book includes step by step instructions for stuffing, sewing together and adding the dolls features. The patterns are also arranged in order of difficulty so their’s something for beginners and for people with more ‘advanced’ crochet skills. 

The body for my doll worked up easily and I chose to give my little doll pants and a boob tube (instructions included in the book for the advanced dolls) so I would be suitably attired underneath my clothes…it seems more than a little weird to be sharing a photo of me in my underwear with the world – but here I am…

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I had great fun styling my hair using a spare hair clip and just a normal hair band to tie it back as I usually would my own hair.

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The hands are some of the cutest things I have ever made! Like ever! There are options for beginner or advanced hands (these are the advanced) and whilst any doll would look cute with either I do love the little digits.

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Next came the clothes….I used the C:1 flip dress option which I made in blue upon which I embroidered yellow and grey flowers (to symbolise the pattern on my dress). I then teamed up my dress with a slightly smaller and longer C:2 yellow scarf and some C:10 black boots.

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There weren’t any real accompaniments for a crocheter doll so I improvised and made a little work basket, complete with mini balls of yarn and a WIP. I also cut to size an old 3mm hook I had to fit the dolls hands.

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TOFT have started to make some amazing little accessories for the dolls; aside from a range of different coloured dolls eyes (I used the brown) they have the cutest little glasses! However these have proven so popular that they sold out quickly so I wasn’t able to get some – until then a bit of floral wire had to suffice for my specs.

I finished off my doll with a bit of blusher on the cheeks (this isn’t something suggested in the book but something I added as I pretty much always have rosy cheeks!) and with that voilà I was finished…want to see me?

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I think there is a definite likeness between me and my mini doppelganger!  What do you think?

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I had great fun making this doll! And I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys making dolls or amigurumi, or to anyone that fancies making a mini-me. The only problem I envisage is that everyone will want one! 

Edward’s Crochet Doll Emporium by Kerry Lord (Pavilion Books) is priced at £16.99 and  is available to buy now from the TOFT website and via many brick and online bookstores.

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If you enjoyed this crochet book review you may wish to check out some of my other crochet book reviews.

Until next time folks! Happy hooking, keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Designer Interview | Kerry Lord from TOFT / Edward’s Menagerie


I’m thrilled about my next designer interview because I actually had the pleasure of meeting her in person!!  Kerry Lord is the author of the extremely popular Edward’s Menagerie series which feature her designs of extremely cute animals, Birds and, in her new book: Imaginarium, all sorts of fabulous creatures.  She is also a busy working mum and the founder of British luxury yarn brand TOFT which specialises in alpaca yarn.

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Recently I attended TOFTfest, which celebrated the 10th birthday of TOFT yarn (which I blogged about here), where I met Kerry and I thought I would see if she would kindly let me find out more about her designing process – to my delight she said YES!  Here’s what we chatted about…

How did you first discover crocheting and amigurumi?

When very pregnant with my first child Edward I decided to teach myself to crochet in order to distract me from going back to work. As soon as I had mastered the double crochet stitch an elephant flew off my hook and into existence. I think the Edward’s Menagerie shape had been living in my head for a while but my knitting skills didn’t allow me to achieve them.

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How did you become a crocheting designer? Is it your real job?

My real job is running the company TOFT and everything that this involves. Designing crochet animals and clothing patterns is part of this role, but by no means all – I have to source and design the yarns first!

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I get lots of my inspiration from feedback, both from my family, colleagues and customers.

Tell us a bit about your design process…

I usually just pick up my yarn and start making when designing amigurumi. If designing something to wear it’s a far longer process as I sketch and swatch first before doing calculations to work out the pattern.

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Many of your animals, birds and creatures have names (like Georgina the Hippo), how do you come up with them? Do you get people requesting names?

Some of them are people I know, whereas others are truly fictional characters. This is the most fun part of my job!

Do you have a favourite creation that you’ve designed?

I am very fond of Blake from Edward’s Menagerie, but Kerry the Chameleon from our recent hand-dyed project makes me feel very proud.

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Do you have go to hooks and yarn? I’m guessing TOFT yarn is your favourite; but can you pick a favourite TOFT yarn?

I am lucky enough to design my own yarns and hooks, so of course I choose our own ones. My favourite TOFT yarn to make things for myself to wear is our DK Silver.

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Who gets your creations; you, your family, your friends?

The studio!! Most of my crochet goes on display, but every now and again I find the time to make something for my children.

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Now we’ve had animals, birds and imaginary characters can you tell us what might be next for Edward’s Menagerie?

I can’t let that secret slip just yet, but book four is well underway!

Where do you work? Do you have a studio space or do you work from your living room chair?

I do have my own room of yarny chaos (and lots of cacti), but more often than that I’ll work from the sofa.

Tell us a bit about yourself – what do you do when you’re not crocheting?

When not at work or crocheting I am having fun with my family. We enjoy muddy walks around the farm and plenty of messy crafts.

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Finally finish the sentence … I love crochet because…

It makes other people very happy.

I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank Kerry again for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer these questions. I’ve really enjoyed getting a better understanding of what’s involved with in her designing process and hope you have too.

Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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TOFTfest 2016


So flicking through my latest copy of Inside Crochet magazine I saw that yarn company TOFT were celebrating their 10th Birthday and to mark the occasion they were to host TOFTfest.  The day was billed as fun for all the family and as they are based in Warwickshire, which is a couple of hours away from me in Staffordshire, I thought I’d take the KCACO.UK clan along to find out about all things TOFT.

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I’ve got a golden ticket! (Okay peachy coloured ticket…)

If you haven’t heard of TOFT yarn before they manufacture high quality alpaca and wool yarn and knitwear here in the UK from British sourced luxury fibres.  And even if you aren’t familiar with TOFT yarn as a crocheter you may very well recognise the name of the founder of TOFT, Kerry Lord, who designs (almost other things) the fabulously cute amigurumi book series Edward’s Menagerie.

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So back to TOFTfest…There were alpaca themed craft activities for adults and children, a NEW book launch and talk by Kerry Lord and alpaca walking for those that fancied it (which Little G certainly did!). Unfortunately my camera broke on holiday (sad times) so the only photos my husband and I were able to get were on our phones so not of the best quality…

We were really lucky with the weather on the day we went, the sun was shining, the birds were singing, the alpacas were doing alpaca type things and looking cute and everyone seemed to be in a good mood (that’s the British weather for you!).

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TOFT Alpaca Farm, Warwickshire

I just loved the TOFT farm studio.  It’s pretty much a heavenly place filled with yarn and little amigurumi hanging from the ceiling…

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Blake the Orangutan says hello!

I say little amigurumi; one of the most amazing items we saw was a gianormous flamingo (called Sophia) which is used as a show piece. In her talk Kerry explained that Sophia had been completed in only 72 hours (by several crocheters) and that they were literally sewing up the head before their stall opened – just an amazing piece of work. Below you can see Little G, for scale, sorting out Sophia’s feet which had been scrunched up and she thought she should put them right again! 

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Sophia the Great getting a pedicure by Little G

My highlights of the day were listening to the talk from Kerry about her new book..

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Avid listeners! I’m somewhere in the middle…

and having the pleasure of meeting her where she was lovely enough to sign a copy of her new book. 

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The lovely Kerry kindly signing her (my) new book for me.

The alpaca walking was definitely a highlight of the day for Little G.  She made friends with Tornado.  Alpaca’s always look as though they are smiling to me they are just so cute and fluffy! 

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Little G and the most fluffily cute Tornado

I obviously couldn’t leave TOFT without buying some goodies – that would have just been rude!  

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Oooo look at all my lovely goodies!!

My lovely husband treated me to some of TOFT’s pure wool range which is scrumptiously lush. For those that like the look of this yarn it’s definitely a luxury item; perfect for a special gift for someone (or you!).  With it being wool yarn, rather than say acrylic, it’s not cheap but it is so nice for crochet as it has great stitch definition.

The wool yarn comes in 17 different colours, 10 naturals and 7 colours.  I chose the coloured palette initially (though I have purchased more hues since!) as I have decided I want to make a special amigurumi each for my girls for Christmas.

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DK Colour Bundle from TOFT Alpaca Shop

Little G loves parrots so Jack the Macaw from Edwards Menagerie: Birds will be project 1, and I think I’m going to make Georgina the Hippo for Little Miss as project 2 (as I already have the Edwards Menagerie book) – but more on that once I’ve hooked them up.  

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Seriously how cute is Georgina the Hippo!!

Plus I need to have a go at making up something from the Imaginarium…always so much to crochet and so little time!

We all had a great day out at TOFT and as you can probably tell I can’t wait to have a go at making up some of the menagerie – in fact I may go and start something now!

Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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