The day of my granny square workshop at Toft Alpaca farm finally arrived on Saturday. I have been looking forward to this since reading about Toft Alpaca Farm in Simply Crochet magazine way back in the Summer.
I had to drive two hours to get to the farm, but it was so worth it. Hubby asked, and you are probably wondering as well, why would I want to attend a workshop, two hours away, on making granny squares, when I already can make granny squares (and much more)? Well, you see, I taught myself to crochet so I’ve always wondered whether I could (should?) be doing things differently. I think I wanted reassurance that what I’ve been doing is right, but at the same time I’m open to new techniques and different takes on the same thing. Seeing as I’ve never attended a crochet class of any kind I felt I’ve missed out on that aspect as well: the group of women sitting together, following the instructions of our teach and making something together.
I’m so glad I decided to go because the workshop, in fact the whole day, was everything I hoped it would be.
The day started at 10 am with coffee, having a nose around the beautiful shop and “where did you travel from?”, “have you crocheted before?” chat amongst the nine ladies and one gentleman. Everyone seemed really nice and we were a good mix of ages which made for interesting conversation.
We found our seats at the huge table in the beautiful workshop of the Toft Alpaca Shop and then Carrie started the lesson. We started with instructions on how to hold the crochet hook, how to wind your working yarn so that the tension is consistent and then the hooking began.
By 11 am everyone had made two rounds of the granny so we took a break to walk around the farm.
Wellies on, and off we went. It was great seeing the alpacas out there in the field, knowing that by the end of the day I would have made granny squares from their fleece.
My absolute favourite animal is a giraffe. I’ve never seen one in real life, but I’d like to think I spent a morning with their smaller wooly cousins. Those long necks are so wrong, they’re right. Right?
Carrie provided a wealth of information and interesting facts about alpacas and the farm. She told us things such as; alpaca’s will obey straight lines, that they have excellent peripheral vision, baby alpaca are called cria, they making a humming sound when content and will spit if they feel threatened. There are officially 22 shades of alpaca fleece but early British importers were told to import white alpacas as the yarn can be dyed different shades. Luckily Toft don’t dye or bleach their wool. Why would anyone want to dye alpaca wool if you have 22 natural shades?
When we got back from our walk it was time for lunch, coffee and cake and more crocheting. Just heavenly.
I opted to make the granny square scarf which means I had to buy an extra “goody bag” of chunky alpaca wool on top of the pack already included in my £60 workshop fee.
I’m so glad I decided to make the huge granny square scarf. I love it! It’s incredibely warm and snuggly.
I made my scarf with 8 squares of 4 round granny squares and finished it on Sunday evening. Chunky yarn + 12 mm hook = super fast finished project!!!
What I found the most interesting (apart from all the alpaca facts) about the workshop was how quickly people can pick up crocheting. I sat between two knitters who had never crocheted, but by the end of the day, one had completed a granny square in chunky alpaca, and Sue was making Russian Square wrist warmers in DK. In one morning Sue had progressed from learning to crochet by making granny squares, to actually reading a pattern for Russian Squares! She emailed me on Monday to say that they crochet bug had bitten her big time and she loves crochet now just as much as knitting! Nevermind wrist warmers, she’s going to make a blanket! How great is that?!
It was probably inevitable that a day on an Alpaca farm, learning to crochet granny squares with a group of other students in a beautiful setting with amazing natural fibres, can make anyone addicted to crochet. Then again, if you’re following this blog and have read this far, you already know how addictive crochet can be and you don’t need a furry miniature giraffe to inspire you (but it helps).
P.S. The next crochet workshop at Toft is an Amigurimi workshop on Saturday 16 February. If you can, go!