The alpaca farm that has got the craft world hooked

The Telegraph     
By: Boudicca Fox-Leonard
Photo: By Andrew Fox  
Photo Caption: Kerry Lord with Toft Manor's Alpacas

Original content from The Telegraph.

Christmas Eve, and devotees of cult crochet brand Toft will be putting the finishing lines on their mystery animal. When the limited edition Advent Calendar went on sale in November, all 1,000 sold out overnight.

With 47.5k Instagram followers, Kerry Lord’s super soft toy animal designs are catnip to crafters. Having produced hundreds of designs, everything from a labrador to an axolotl, one fluffy creature remains at the heart of the company: the alpaca.

Lord was 13 when her parents, retired theatre director Rob Bettinson and wife Shirley, moved to Toft Manor in Warwickshire in 1997 and bought their first four alpacas. Prized for their silky fleece, the South American natives started to be imported into the UK a year earlier, and when the Bettinsons acquired theirs there were only around 200 in the UK.

Today that number has mushroomed to 50,000, with people drawn to their sweet personalities and hardy nature. Smaller than llamas, they are descended from wild vicuñas. At Toft, the herd hovers around the 150 mark.

Read the rest of this story and view the photos at The Telegraph.