Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Year End Thoughts

We hope that you all had a wonderful holiday and are enjoying this perfect crafting weather that has swept across the US & Canada. We realize the blog has been a bit quiet; we were struck by the sickies and the hustle and bustle of the holidays last week. This week we are in full-fledged TNNA & PA Farm Show prep mode. Tasha has been dyeing up a storm for the farm show. Angela has been working on the TNNA displays. Beth's mom has been working the skein winder and making up the new Paca-Peds color cards. And Beth has been working on some new patterns, new garments for display, new advertising, cool new Swizzle stuff and lots more -- it's all new-new-new! This has been a big year for us at The Alpaca Yarn Company. We added new yarns and some new colorways for our old favorites. We added Angela, our new marketing person. We've started playing on ravelry, plurk & twitter. We've made a ton of friends here on our new blog. See, all new-new-new; and it's only going to get better in 2009!

Look for us on Facebook & MySpace soon. Be sure to stay tuned to the blog for more features, more free patterns, more fun contests and more exciting new product updates. And whether your passion is spinning, crocheting or knitting, we look forward to you sharing your stories with us throughout the new year.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Name That Yarn Contest comes to a close

We want to start by sincerely thanking each and every one of you who posted color suggestions to the paca-blog over the past two weeks. It has been so much fun for us, getting to know you, reading your blogs, seeing your raverly projects and in some cases seeing how those minds of your work. Frankly, a few of you frighten us, but we suppose since you are yarn fans we will look the other way.

So, without further ado, I give you our final two winners!!!

Color number 9 will heretofore be know as.... Kaleidosock! What a colorful, expressive and all around great name! Congrats to Dana! p.s. we love your citrus peel scarf! How fun!!!

And last, but certainly not least, our final winner is OneSheep with the name My Darkest Secrets. What a deliciously naughty sounding name. That just makes me want to take a skein of paca-peds and knit up a very long, very luxurious set of lace stockings. Yowza!

Again, thank you all so much for playing. Be sure to stay tuned for more fun contests coming up after the new year as well as more patterns, profiles and general frivolity. We appreciate you!!!

FREE PATTERN: Ridged Handwarmers

Here it is, part two of our special holiday free pattern, Tasha's Ridged Handwarmers. Just perfect for the breezy office or when you need your fingers free. And when you use Swizzle, you will need just one skein to make both these and the beanie. Yay!!!

Ridged Handwarmers

Advanced Beginner

Handwarmers: 6” wide


SWIZZLE by The Alpaca Yarn Company 100% hand dyed alpaca 3.5 oz (100g) hank = approx 215 yds per 50 gm ball Shown in #03 Sugar Rose – 1 hank

Needles: US #5 (3.75 mm) 16” circular and double point needles

Notions: Stitch Markers, Tapestry Needle

Gauge: 6 st per inch in Ridge pattern

Techniques & Special Stitch Instructions:

Ridge Pattern

Round 1: * [P1, K2], repeat from * around.

Round 2: Repeat round 1.

Round 3: Repeat round 1.

Round 4: Purl every stitch.


Cast on 45 sts on DP needles. Divide evenly onto 3 needles. Join into a round. Work in Ridge pattern for 5”.

Thumb Opening

Work in pattern for 20 sts. BO next 5 sts, continue in pattern to the end of the round. Work next row in pattern until thumb opening (20 sts). Cast on 5 sts and continue in pattern until end of round. Continue working in pattern until 3-4” from thumb opening or desired length. BO all sts. Weave in ends.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

New Free Pattern - Swizzle Beanie & Handwarmer Set

As our early holiday gift to you, our wonderful customers, we wanted to give you a fun new pattern. Our fantastic color artist, Tasha Poe has come up with an adorable winter set made out of our newest yarn, Swizzle. Swizzle is a beautiful tonal alpaca that is handdyed by Tasha herself. Now I will be the first to admit, I'm not the biggest fan of yellow yarn. I'm not sure why, but yellow scares me just a little bit. But when I saw the colorway Goldenrod I think I may have swooned. It is so deep and rich with shades ranging from honey to tobacco to the warm golden shades of Glenfiddich that is sitting right here beside me as I type this. As usual, all the colors are amazing, but my favorites are Goldenrod and Sugar Rose. Tasha's set is made in Sugar Rose and knits up quickly enough that you can still whip a set up in time for holiday gift giving. One skein of Swizzle is enough for both the beanie & the wristwarmers.
Today we will post the Beanie pattern and tomorrow will finish off with the wrist warmers. And be sure to send us pics of your FOs -- we love to see them!

Ridged Beanie

Advanced Beginner
Beanie: 16” circumference – un-stretched

SWIZZLE by The Alpaca Yarn Company 100% hand dyed alpaca 3.5 oz (100g) hank = approx 215 yds per 50 gm ball Shown in #03 Sugar Rose – 1 hank
Needles: US #5 (3.75 mm) 16” circular and double point needles
Notions: Stitch Markers, Tapestry Needle
Gauge: 6 st per inch in Ridge pattern
Techniques & Special Stitch Instructions:
Ridge Pattern
Round 1: * [P1, K2], repeat from * around.
Round 2: Repeat round 1.
Round 3: Repeat round 1.
Round 4: Purl every stitch.
Cast on 96 sts on circular needles. Place marker and join into a round. Work in Ridge pattern for 5”, ending after round 4. Change to DP needles when necessary.

Round 1: *[P1, K2tog, P1, K2], repeat from * around. (80 sts)
Round 2: *[P1, K1, P1, K2], repeat from * around.
Round 3: *[P1, K1, P1, K2tog], repeat from * around. (64 sts)
Round 4: Purl every stitch.
Round 5: *[K1, P1, K2tog], repeat from * around. (48 sts)
Round 6: *K1, P1, K1], repeat from * around.
Round 7: *[K1, K2tog], repeat from * around. (32 sts)
Round 8: Purl every stitch.
Round 9: *[K2tog], repeat from * around. (16 sts)
Round 10: Knit every stitch.
Round 11: *[K2tog], repeat from * around. (8 sts)

Cut a tail approximately 8” long. Thread yarn on tapestry needle and draw through stitches still on needles and pull tight. Bring yarn to inside and fasten. Weave in ends.

And for those of you wondering about the last two winners of the Name that Yarn contest, worry not, winning names will be revealed on Monday. That means if you haven't gotten your entries (up to 3 per person, please) submitted yet, you still have a little more time to dazzle us with your creativity. Be sure to check back tomorrow for the winners as well as for the wrist warmer pattern.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

More winners!!!

There is nothing more fun then making people happy (well, at least not here in blog-land) and I am lucky enough that I get to make two more people a little more gleeful today.

Our winners for Color #7 in the Name That Yarn contest was Carla with her suggestion of Peony Patch. I'll admit, I was secretly rooting for this one. When I was a little girl my grams had peony bushes (although she called them "pineys" -- I never understood that one) anyway, I thought they were the most beautiful, wonderfully scented flowers in the world and I desperately wanted a bouquet of them when I grew up and got married. It was only later that I discovered that they were opened by ants (ick!). And that you can't really get them in the Caribbean (where I tied the knot), so I was out of luck. But I've never stopped loving the flower and someday I'll get around to planting some in my flower beds. Congrats Carla for the great color name! We love it!!!

Not to be outdone, BlackCatYarnThief submitted the name Mermaids Go Walking. What a beautiful image this conjures up in my mind. It is absolutely perfect for this colorway, perfect for sock yarn and somehow it makes me love it just a little bit more.

If you are one of our winners and we haven't contacted you yet about where to send your prize, be sure to shoot us a quick email with your address to Congratulations to our winners and be sure to get your entries in for the last two colors before Saturday! Good Luck!!!

Cynthia's Snuggle Bunny

From time to time we want to feature you, our customers and the awesome finished objects you are making using Alpaca Yarn Company patterns and yarns. This week we want to introduce you to Cynthia, owner of Nightingale Fibers. We fell in love with Cynthia's Blanket Buddy made from Snuggle when we saw it on Ravelry. The pattern is by Mary Anne Thompson and can be found in 101 Designer One Skein Wonders. When I asked Cynthia to tell us a little bit more about herself & her adventures, here's what she had to say:
I am a nurse midwife who has been knitting since about the age of 7. My company, Nightingale Fibers, grew out of my love of knitting and alpacas. I hope one day to not only have a small alpaca farm but a “bricks and morter” store. Right now I am continuing to work full time as a midwife and to develop my business. I hope to add more products, especially more yarns and local crafts of interest to knitters and spinners.
I love Snuggle for baby/childrens things. It knits up fast and is super soft. I actually love all of The Alpaca Yarn Co yarns. Have knitted lots with Classic (I am making a Log Cabin Blanket from Mason Dixon Knitting with Classic now). I just received my first order of Swizzle that I am anxious to knit something with (as soon as we get power back on in NH!)
No power in New Hampshire! Yikes!!! Obviously Cynthia is made of that hearty New England stock. If our power went out I'd be whining for days. Wait, now that I think about it, no power would mean guilt-free knitting & crocheting time though, wouldn't it? Hmmmm, let me think about this a bit longer. No, on second thought I believe I deal with the guilt in exchange for heat & light. But more power to you, Cynthia (no pun intended) -- we can't wait to see that Log Cabin Blanket!

If you would like to have your FOs featured, be sure to give us a shout! We love seeing what you're making!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Color #10 NAMED: My Darkest Secrets

Wow, I can't believe this is it -- the tenth and final colorway in our Name That Yarn contest. I'm almost a little sad, because we've had so much fun with this over the last two weeks. This is another one of my personal favorites, although seriously, there isn't a bad colorway in the bunch, if you ask me. I'm sure you know all the rules by now, but if you are new to the blog or need a refresher, you can find them here.

So get those suggestions in to us and be sure to subscribe to our blog via our RSS feed if you haven't already (easy to do using the links on the right side of this page). Just because this contest is coming to a close doesn't mean the fun is going to stop. We will be having other great contests and giving away more free stuff. Plus later this week we will have our first customer profile, our first free pattern featuring our favorite new hand dyed yarn, Swizzle and lots more great reasons to stick around.

But for now, you've got work to do! We can't wait to see your suggestions!

Color #9 NAMED: Kaleidosock

Here we go Paca-Peds fans, colorway #9 in the Name That Yarn contest. Looking out my window the only three colors I can see are green (pine trees), brown (other trees) and white (snow & sky). Then I get to look at this pretty color burst on my monitor and I can't help but be a bit more cheerful. Just like before, tell us up to three suggestions for what you would like to see this colorway named and if we select yours, a skein of this yumminess will be coming your way. Official contest end date is 12/20, although I'll be honest, with it being the last weekend before Christmas we might cut you a little slack and push that deadline out a bit. We'll be sure to give you a heads-up on Plurk & Twitter before closing the contest out, so if you aren't following us yet, be sure to add us to your friends.

Have fun naming & GOOD LUCK!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

But wait, there's more!

More winners! Woo-hoo for winners!!! Big congrats go out to Munkiknits and KnittingDodo for their Paca-Peds winning entries.

Munkiknits came up with Pacaccino, the perfect name for the creamy brown color that I just want to dive into. Of course, now I want to name the next alpaca that's born Al Pacaccino. Something tells me I'm going to get overridden on that one.

KnittingDodo came up with the adorable (if slightly edited) name Frog & Piggy. You can't help but smile when you think of those two. Hmmm, I wonder if instead of Al Pacaccino I could get away with naming one of the alpacas Kermit or Miss Piggy??? Yeah, I know, probably not.

Thanks to all who submitted entries they were all fabulous and this job is not getting any easier. I just took a peek at the suggestions for colors 7 & 8 and you guys are an inspiration. Keep them coming and congrats again to our winners!!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Color #8 NAMED: Mermaids Go Walking

This is another one of my very favorite new colors of Paca-Peds. I can't wait to knit this one up -- I'm thinking little boy socks and mittens. Although a nice pair of mommy socks would look pretty good too. Hit us with your best skein names between now and Wednesday.

I don't know about you guys, but I can't believe we on have one more set of colors after these two. This contest has been so much fun and we have loved getting to know so many new friends. And for those who have asked, the new colorways are shipping out to your LYSs next week. If they haven't gotten them in yet or if your LYS doesn't carry Alpaca Yarn Company yarns (gasp!), let us know and we will be sure to contact them. You can always reach us by email, or here on the blog. Happy naming!!!

Color #7 NAMED: Peony Patch

Okay, as much as the big haired 80s girl in me wants us to name this one "Raspberry Beret" and roll with a whole Prince theme, I'm sure one of you crafty-creative types can come up with something sensational. You have until Wednesday, December 17th to post your entries in the comments section of this post. Remember, up to three suggestions per person and the first one to post it gets the win in case of a tie. Winners will be announced either late Wednesday or (more likely) Thursday afternoon.

Have fun and GOOD LUCK!!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

We have more winners!!!

Big time fibery love goes out to Kitten With A Whiplash and MsKnottyKnits, the winners of this round of the Name That Yarn contest!!!

Kitten came up with "Teal for Two", which we thought was cute and fun and worked perfectly because there is enough yarn in one skein of Paca-Peds for two socks. And for the record, Kitten had our second favorite name, "Let's Make a Teal" as well! Wow, what a great namer!!!

MsKnottyKnits entry of "Purple Rain, Purple Rain" had Tasha singing pretty much all afternoon and has insured that I will now have that earworm every time I type it, for the rest of my natural life. I'm convinced that the four straight days of rain that we have just lived through here in SouthCentral PA might have influenced the decision just a little bit.

If you haven't won yet, don't give up! We've got six more colors to name and we're counting on you guys to keep the creativity flowing. If you've already submitted names for colors #5 & #6 be sure to check back on Sunday when our next two colorways are posted. If you want to be in the know before anyone else, be sure to add us as your friend on Plurk! We will be sure give a shout out there when we do stuff here.

Until then, I'm going to do dig up my Prince CDs, put on a headband and some shoulder pads and sing shamelessly (at least until my teenager gets home from school!)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Color #6 NAMED: Frog & Piggy

I will now freely admit, this is my favorite of our ten new colorways, so I am counting on you guys to do an extra-special good job of naming this one. I'm a certified pink & green junkie. If you don't believe me, check out my personal ravelry about me page. See there where it says "Favorite Colors" yeah, see, I told you! So when I first saw the new colors, this is the one that made me go, "Ooooohhhh!"

I can't wait to finish my holiday knitting commitments so I can get some of this on the needles. I'm thinking a lace shawlette, but maybe socks. Or maybe another pair of wristwarmers, since I always seem to be giving mine away. I'm not sure yet, but I do know that it is destined to be added to my knitted wardrobe in the very near future.

So, have at it -- up to three suggestions per person, added to the comments of this post. See below for the rest of the rules and most important of all, have fun!

Color #5 NAMED: Pacaccino

I know I keep saying this, but dang, we've got some amazing participants in this contest! Not only have you made us laugh with your puns -- those teal names were AWESOME -- but you've thrilled us with all of your creative suggestions. And we've been checking out your blogs & ravelry projects pages and not only are you guys killing it in the naming department, but we are loving the things you are knitting and crocheting as well.

Winners for colors #3 & #4 probably won't be announced until tomorrow but we wanted to let you get started with this new set of colors. This first one is one of my favorites. I've had a passion lately for the subtle semi-solid sock yarns because I've been a bit cable crazed. This one is perfect for cable socks for him or a gorgeous lacy pair for her. Naming for this colorway will close on Sunday, December 14th. All the same rules apply. Have fun & good luck!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Our first two winners!!!

Big huge congratulations go out to our first two winners, Cdnbull and Yarnpiggy!

Cdnbull came up with Color #1, Vampire Kiss; we thought it was the perfect mix of black vampire cape, pale white skin, succulent red... oh, ah, oh my, okay, I better just stop there. Suffice it to say we really, really liked the name.

Yarnpiggy submitted the winning name for Color #2, Spring in my Step; we felt it was a great blend of highlighting the springtime color palette and since it is sock yarn, the 'step' part seemed just perfect.

Again, please know how much we loved so many of your suggestions. And we are already feeling the pressure reading the great names you have suggested for colors #3 & #4. You have until Thursday to let us know your thoughts and sometime Thursday afternoon colors #5 & #6 will be posted. I don't want to promise an announcement time (we all saw how I missed the mark with round one) but as soon as we know, you'll know.

Have fun, good luck & happy naming!!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Too close to call

I know, I know, I promised...

Remember when I said you can't imagine how tough it is get those alpacas to agree on anything, well, little did I know that rival factions would spring up, that the vote would go down along party lines and that the chair of the ways & means committee would start a filibuster!

Okay, seriously, you guys just hit us with way too many amazing choices and a decision couldn't be reached before it was time to go home from the office to feed the fur-babies, the teenagers and maybe even a husband or two. We have the list narrowed, but we need just a little more time before naming our winners. We will NOT be accepting any further entries for yarns #1 an #2, so your odds of winning have not decreased, we just need you to bear with us a little bit longer. And, as an extra thank you for your patience, the winners from this round will get a special little surprise from me along with their prize yarn.

So, be sure to check back tomorrow and again, I can't thank you all enough for making this such a tough decision.

Color #4 NAMED: Purple Rain, Purple Rain

Isn't this one just perfectly purple? Hey wait, maybe that would be a good colorway name! Just kidding -- I'm not going to take away your fun. Same rules as listed below -- I trust you guys to have read them at this point, so I'm not going to bore you with them again. Go forth and have fun!

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you! Winners for colorways 3 & 4 will be announced on Thursday, December 11th, so you have until then to get those great suggestions posted.

Winners for colorways 1 & 2 will be announced later today, I promise! (really, you can't imagine how hard it is to get those alpacas to agree on anything!)

I'll be back soon with the news you been waiting for, until then, have fun naming!

Color #3 NAMED: Teal for Two

Get your creativity caps on... here we go! Same rules as before. Be sure to post your suggestions in the comments section of this post. Up to three suggestions per person, in case of a tie the first person to suggest is the winner. Don't forget, in addition to fame, your prize is a skein of this completely gorgeous colorway of Paca-Peds.

Good luck!

You've knocked off our socks!!!

Wow! Just wow!!! You are amazing! Thank you so much for the fantastic entries in the first round of the "Name that Yarn" contest. We were thinking maybe a few dozen entries, but you guys have outdone yourselves. We have hundreds of wonderful suggestions and the fun is just beginning. Thank you ALL for your input. Beth & Tasha are discussing it with the alpacas now (because you know, they get a vote too) and we should have an announcement on the winner very soon.

In the meantime, I thought I would answer some of the questions that have come up over the past three days.

Q: What exactly is Paca-Peds made from?
A: Paca-Peds is a blend of 20% Alpaca, 65% Superwash Wool and 15% Nylon for a little extra durability.

Q: Will it felt?
A: Although Paca-Peds consists of a majority of Superwash wool & Nylon, we recommend hand washing or washing in a zippered bag on a delicate cycle.

Q: When will the new colors be available?

A: All the newly named colors will be available for purchase in January, 2009, although they are available for pre-order right now!

Q: Are any of the old colors going to be retired?

A: We have no plans to retire any of the original ten colors of Paca-Peds.

Q: Will the new colors be available in the Paca-Peds Heels & Toes?

A: Yes! They will be available the same time as the traditional Paca-Peds are released.

Q: Where can I buy Paca-Peds?

A: We partner with Local Yarn Shops in your area to bring all of our yarns & patterns right to your door. Visit our online shop and your order will be filled quickly and efficiently by one of our retail partners. You can also find our yarns at many fine online retailers including your favorites like The Loopy Ewe, My Knitch, Uncommon Threads and many others. Visit our retailers page for more info. Link


Okay, so I know you guys are dying to know who the winners are, but until the votes from the herd are counted, I figured I would let you start thinking about the next two colorways up for naming. Look for a new post in few moments where you can begin putting in your contest entries for colors 3 & 4. Thank you & GOOD LUCK!!!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

We be Raveling

So we know that you all know about Ravelry, one of the coolest things to happen in the fiber world since drum carders. Well, now not only are we a proud member of the Ravelry community, we even have a new group for our fans & friends! We hope you will come join us.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Color #2 NAMED: Vampire Kiss

Okay, so now you know the drill. Have fun with colorway #2. Suggestions for this colorway must be posted in the comments for this blog entry only! Don't make me crazy by putting suggestions for this one in the other thread, please, I'm not sure my over-taxed brain could handle that!

Official rules and other gobbledygook can be found in here.

Have fun -- we can't wait to see what you guys come up with! GOOD LUCK!!!

Color #1 NAMED: Spring in my Step

Okay yarn-fans, here it is, put on your thinking caps and help us come up with a name for our first of ten new Paca-Peds colorways.

Just comment to this thread with up to 3 suggestions. The winner for this colorway will be announced on Monday, December 8th and two new colorways will be unveiled and the fun will start all over again.

I'm going to toss in some 'fine print' now, so bear with me.

You can win more than once (we aren't going to penalize you for having mad-yarn-naming-skillz); all prizes will be shipped by January 9, 2009; The Alpaca Yarn Company withholds the right to discontinue this contest at any time; TAYC is not responsible for any technical issues that blogger or blogspot may have with your ability to comment; in the event that two people suggest the same name, the person who suggested first will be declared the winner; Winning names become the property of TAYC to use and distribute as they see fit. Scheduled contest end date, December 20, 2008.

Okay, that's it, have fun, name lots, tell your friends & be sure to check back here often for updates!

Name That Yarn Contest!!!

We are so excited about our ten (yes, I said TEN) new colors of Paca Peds sock yarn we can hardly stand it any longer. We've been dying to show you the yummy new sock-tacular stuff that Tasha has been whipping up for you, but we had a little problem here at Paca-Central. None of the new colors had names yet, and as scrumptious as it is, I just don't think you are going to be blown away by the name "Color #611". Tasha is up to her elbows in the dye kettles, I've been getting to all the fun things like blogging and ravelry-ing and plurking and Beth has been busy getting our newest patterns ready, feeding the fuzzy babies and the 10,000 and 2 other things that Beth juggles on a daily basis. At any rate, none of us has had a spare second to sit down and come up with names that could do these colors justice. So, dear blog-readers, we are foisting off the responsibility on you --- um, I mean, um --- we are giving you a chance to win socky goodness in exchange for using a tiny fraction of your considerable brain power.

Welcome to our Name That Yarn Contest!!!

It's simple really, we'll post a photo of a colorway, you'll comment back with what you think is a good name (limit 3 per person, please) and if your suggestion is selected, you get a free skein of the Paca-Peds that YOU named! How cool is that?!?!!! You get to go to your knitting group, whip out your socks-in-progress and casually drop, "oh yes, I came up with the name for this particular colorway" and then watch them drool.

We will be posting two new colorways every 3 days and the contest will wrap-up on December 20th. Our first colors of Paca-Peds will be posted in just a few minutes and our first two winning names will be announced on Monday, December 8th when we will post the next two colorways. To get an idea of our current color names, be sure to visit the Paca-Peds page on our website.

Remember to say who you are in your comments and be sure to link your blog too -- we would love to get to know you better. Oh, feel free to post this contest on your blog and tell your friends (unless you don't want the competition, we understand the overwhelming desire to keep all the good stuff for yourself, imagine how we feel everytime we walk into the warehouse!)

Check back soon for our first two colorways & GOOD LUCK!!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Introducing our newest yarn - Swizzle

Swizzle is our newest yarn for the 2009 season. Swizzle is a hand dyed 100% alpaca. The colors are very tonal and very pleasing when knit. Not too much variation, but enough to keep it interesting.
Swizzle comes in 100g hanks of approximately 215 yds. Currently it is offered in 6 colors. Available on line at or at your favorite LYS.