What can you make with fabric?

Posted by Amy Dagger | Posted in Customer Projects | Posted on 23-05-2016

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Did you watch the first episode of the Great British Sewing Bee this week? Watching the contestants getting to work sewing makes me feel all inspired to dust off the sewing machine. The problem is, sometimes you just don’t know where to begin, what can you make with fabric? Fabric is very much like yarn – there are endless possibilities of what you can actually make and create. Whether you can hand sew or prefer the sewing machine there is a project for you out there. There are even fabric projects that involve no sewing at all, such as a no sew cushion cover and gift wrap, how good is that? Showing off your beautiful fabric choices with very little effort!

Our customers are never short of inspiration and often pop in with their latest sewing delights. It is nice to see such a varied selection of things that you can make with fabric.

A lady called Chris, who attends Knit & Natter made a pretty purse / wallet for her friend Joan’s birthday (also a member of Knit & Natter). The purse is made up of teeny patchwork hexagons all sewn by hand. Chris chose Tula Pink fabrics and followed the pattern by Kristyne Czepuryk from Cherry Heart’s blog.

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The inside is so pretty too with slots for cards and a magnetic fasten.

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Glenys brought in an adorable fabric sausage dog she had made using Tanya Whelan fabrics, following a pattern by Debbie Shaw designs. Not just any sausage dog though, this little lady can keep all of your sewing tools in one place. If you would like to make your own accessory case, why not take a look at the ‘Ready to roll‘ accessory case by Cherry Heart.

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On to clothing now…..a customer called Linda brought in a selection of tops she has made using various fabrics. The pattern Linda has used for the short sleeve tops is a Simplicity pattern 8523. The sleeveless top is from another pattern she had in her stash. The cotton fabrics are so beautiful and lightweight, perfect for a summer top.

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Tina Givens Riddles & Rhymes – Castle Row – Blue

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Nel Whatmore Sketch Book Botanical – Geranium

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Michael Miller Sashiko – Midnight

One more project to share from a customer called Ann. Ann attended Barbara’s log cabin patchwork workshop in April and caught the sewing bug. After completing a couple of blocks in the morning workshop, Ann went on to purchase new fabrics to make a quilt.

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In amongst the beautiful design Ann has used Victoria & Albert Museum, Nel Whatmore Sketchbook and Guess How Much I Love You fabrics.

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Will you be watching the second episode of the Sewing Bee tonight? If you have been inspired to make something new don’t forget to check out our fabric selection before you begin. When you have made something new please share your makes with us. Email any photos to amy@blacksheepwools.com.

Sara’s Project Update

Posted by Sara Mulvey | Posted in Sara's Blog | Posted on 20-05-2016

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Take a look at my latest video blog on our YouTube channel. Below are photographs of the projects up close.

Baby blanket in Debbie Bliss Rialto 4ply

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Stylecraft Special Dk granny square blanket

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Debbie Bliss Lolli top

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Juniper Moon Findley Dappled  and Debbie Abrahams beads

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Craft Barn Sale 2016

Posted by Amy Dagger | Posted in Company News | Posted on 17-05-2016

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The annual Craft Barn sale is in full swing here in Warrington. We have lots of exclusive offers to share, which are only available in store, while stocks last! There are fantastic deals on yarn packs to be un-earthed in our yarn dive too, find brands such as Rowan, Sirdar and Sublime to name but a few. If you are wondering where we are in the UK then you can find us on the helpful Google map on our Craft Barn page. We are very close to junction 22 of the M6 and junction 9 or 11 of the M62.

Craft Barn saleTake a dip into our £1 baaargain baskets where you will discover scarf yarn, cosy chunky yarns and pretty baby yarns. It could be time to top up your stash ready for winter and start burrowing away some superb baaaargains.

Craft Barn saleIf fabric and sewing is more your thing, then don’t forget to take a peek in our fabric room, we have dropped prices on a selection of discontinued fabrics up to 50% off RRP.

Craft Barn saleIf you are looking for a new needlecraft kit, then be sure to browse our extensive range. All kits have an extra discount throughout the 10 day sale.

Craft Barn saleThe Craft Barn sale is on from 13th May until 22nd May. If you can’t make it to our Craft Barn sale then take a look in our clearance section online. Take a further 15% off the price shown with code BSC15, expires 23.03.16 9am BST.

How to crochet a granny square

Posted by Amy Dagger | Posted in How to....... | Posted on 12-05-2016

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Would you like to learn how to crochet a granny square? We have created this very helpful step by step guide for you to follow. With the skills you learn from making just one granny square the options are endless. You could crochet small granny squares, change colour, make one huge granny square, join lots together to make a blanket, scarf….anything you fancy. Once you have got the crochet bug why not tackle a more complex crochet pattern? Take a look at all of our books and patterns here. Plus there are some lovely crochet designs on our free patterns page.

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Frida’s Flowers Crochet Along

Posted by Amy Dagger | Posted in Staff Projects | Posted on 09-05-2016

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We all couldn’t wait to see Jane Crowfoot’s latest crochet along when it launched back in April. Even before the design was unveiled, we knew Jane’s shade palette and yarn choice (Stylecraft Classique Cotton Dk). After this came inspiration and the actual blanket. Jane took inspiration from Frida Kahlo’s traditional Mexican dress, her paintings and floral garlands. Lots of rich colour all worked with a combination of black, blue and purple base colours. Part 3 of Frida’s Flowers CAL launched last week, all of the patterns are available to download for free from the Stylecraft website.

Although the original design is made in Stylecraft Classique Cotton Dk, Stylecraft have also come up with 2 other yarn alternatives – Stylecraft Special Dk and Stylecraft Life Dk. We were lucky enough to have all 3 variations in the Craft Barn, kindly on loan from Stylecraft Yarns. Here they are all laid out together.

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When I heard that Sally was making the Frida’s Flowers blanket I thought it might be nice for us all to take a peek at her progress. Sally works here at the Craft Barn and is an avid crocheter, who could quite possibly be Jane Crowfoot’s biggest fan, Jane is her favourite designer. She has always enjoyed keeping up to date with Jane’s designs and absolutely adores all of her work. When I spoke to Sally she began reeling off all of the projects she had made – various mystery blankets, Lily Pond blanket, Nordnorge knitted bag and a Lantern scarf to name but a few.

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The above photo is from part one.

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It was then onto the blue yarn for part two. Sally is joining as she goes to keep on top of it all.

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Part three is a selection of bright colours. Sally brought them all in a basket, they looked so pretty for a photo.

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Sally is really enjoying using the Stylecraft Classique Cotton Dk for the first time; she finds it moves through her fingers easily when crocheting. Part three is her favourite part so far, as she just loves all of the gorgeous bright colours. When I was chatting to Sally she spoke fondly of Jane’s colour choices, something that she especially admires about her designs. Sally is keeping up with the fortnightly pattern instalment so far, even though she already has many projects on the go. I was finding it hard to scribble them down as she said them, here goes – a Debbie Abrahms mystery knit along, a jumper, 2 shawls and another blanket, phew! That is a lot of knit and crochet. Sally’s response ‘It keeps it interesting’, which is so true I guess, just as long as you write down the last row of the pattern you are working on. There is no chance to get bored of a project working like that.

Sally is going to bring in more of her Frida’s Flowers bits and bobs as she continues with the project. Keep an eye out for more pics on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

 

Yarn Shop Day 2016

Posted by Sara Mulvey | Posted in Sara's Blog | Posted on 06-05-2016

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Saturday 30th May saw the third ever Yarn Shop Day come to life. Created by Let’s Knit magazine in 2014, Yarn Shop Day is a really important event in our calendar.
It is designed to showcase all that is amazing about your local yarn shop and encourage people to come in store rather than shop online. We are the proud recipients of ‘Yarn Shop Day Of The Year’ award 2014 & 2015 so the pressure was on to create a superb 2016 event.

Our ethos behind the day is to show people why shopping in your local yarn shop is different. Where else can you get expert advice, squish hundreds of beautiful yarns and ooh and ah over their beautiful colours? You certainly can’t do all of that online. No don’t get me wrong, I internet shop a lot and I’m sure you do too. It’s fantastic and a really important part of our business. But nothing beats buying yarn in person.

The day was incredible. We were lucky enough to entice a couple of our most loved bloggers to join us. Winwick Mum, a big Black Sheep favourite joined us in the morning. Her passion for socks is infectious and she drew a real crowd. We also played host to Crafternoon Treats, who has done for bags what Christine has done for socks. Her display of crocheted bags elicited lots of oohs and her patterns are so fresh and exciting.

Photo credit - Winwick Mum http://winwickmum.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/yarn-shop-day-2016.html

Winwick Mum and her sock knitting clinic.

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Crafternoon Treat – Kathryn Senior and her friend.

Photo credit - Captain Crochet https://captaincrochetblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/30/yarn-shop-day/

As well as bloggers we were also visited by top crochet designer Sue Pinner. Author of Granny Squares 1 & 2 and lead crochet designer for Stylecraft, Sue is a crochet genius and all round lovely lady. I came away from spending time with her with lots of ideas of future projects – obviously when I’ve finished some others!

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Photo credit - Captain Crochet https://captaincrochetblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/30/yarn-shop-day/

Every Yarn Shop Day we try and feature something different in our workshop room. Previously we have done dying & spinning and this year weaving was the new skill to learn. Beryl, one of our regular workshop tutors, joined us for the day. She is an incredible teacher and produces lovely work. So many people had a go and enjoyed the experience. This is certainly something you couldn’t do online!

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Photo credit - Winwick Mum http://winwickmum.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/yarn-shop-day-2016.html

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All in all we had a superb day, customers travelled far and wide to visit to us. Two girls even travelled down from Hull to spend the day with us. If you couldn’t make it to Black Sheep Wools I do hope you spent some time in your local yarn shop. Now to plan next year!

Woollen Woods – Devon

Posted by Amy Dagger | Posted in Miscellaneous | Posted on 04-05-2016

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Have you heard of the Woollen Woodlands project? It is project in association with the Voluntary Arts and National Trust. This autumn there is going to be a magnificent array of yarny creations on display at Arlington Court in Devon. All of the items on display will be knitted, crocheted or felted. Woodland themed bits and bobs all made of one of our favourite things – yarn!

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The creations to be displayed are all kindly donated by members of the public. As knitters and crocheters we all have plenty of yarn oddments dotted around our homes ready for this type of stash busting projects. The Woollen Woodland was extremely successful during the summer months of 2015 and encouraged lots of visitors to explore the area and follow a trail to find various creations along the way.

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Woollen Woodland organisers at Arlington Court are looking for new makes to add into their display for autumn. Natalie Savage, Visitor Services Manager for the National Trust at Arlington Court said, “All the creations from last year have been gently washed and stored over the winter, ready to begin the display in 2016. However, with this year’s exhibition taking place over September and October, we’re keen to have some more autumnal entries, such as acorns, fungi and dahlias.”

Woollen Wally Squirrel

In 2015 wolllen items were sent to Devon from all over the UK, the youngest contributor being seven years old and the oldest well in her nineties. Each crafter is asked to send in their name, age and town where they live with their creation, to show who has contributed and how far they’ve been sent. All items should be sent to ‘Woollen Woods, Arlington Court, Barnstaple, Devon EX31 4LP’ by 1 August at the latest.

Find more information on the National Trust website and on the Voluntary Arts website.

We have gathered together a couple of patterns that fit the brief -

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Knit a squirrel or hedgehog with this King Cole pattern.

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Perhaps a crocheted Ollie Owl?

Black Sheep Craft Barn SALE!

Posted by Amy Dagger | Posted in Company News | Posted on 29-04-2016

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Would you like to know a secret? Well, it’s not really a secret, as some of you may have heard through the grapevine our annual Craft Barn sale is returning this May. The sale dates have been confirmed and the sale will be taking place from 13th – 22nd May 2016. This sale is only in store, at the Craft Barn in Warrington.

There will be lots of incredible bargains, including yarns with up to 70% off RRP! We will have special offers on fabric and needlecraft too. All of these offers are only available in store and are not to be missed. If you are thinking of making the journey to Warrington, don’t forget that we have a lovely little tea shop where you can grab lunch, a coffee or a slice of scrumptious homemade cake.

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For those who do live further afield we always have amazing deals in our clearance section online. Plus, be sure to sign up to our newsletter where you will get all of our latest offers delivered to your inbox.

Designer Q & A’s – Susan Pinner

Posted by Amy Dagger | Posted in Designer Q&A's | Posted on 27-04-2016

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In the run up to Yarn Shop Day 2016 we caught up with crochet designer, Susan Pinner to ask a few questions about crochet. Susan will be here on Yarn Shop Day sharing all of her crochet treats and doing a book signing between 10.30am and 2.30pm. Along with two books full to the brim of her own fabulous designs – ‘Granny Squares‘ and ‘Granny Squares & Shapes‘, Susan also designs crochet patterns for Stylecraft.

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There will be many more talented crafty folk to see too, including demonstrations of weaving from Beryl Weir, sock knitting with Winwick Mum and even more crochet with Crafternoon Treats! Read our Yarn Shop Day blog post here.

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Who taught you to crochet? What was the first thing you ever made?

My best friend’s Gran when I was about 8 or 9, but I never made anything until my early teens and it was a gold, orange, brown, oatmeal rug in RUG WOOL that someone had given me……very hard going with huge tassels on each corner.

What projects do you have on the go at the moment? Any top secret snippets of crochet you can share?

Nothing TOP SECRET I wouldn’t get paid lol! But I’m doing some felting projects some free form projects and researching some new stitches that always leads to a variation on a new stitch in one way or another.

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Have you ever made something that you will treasure forever? A project that took a little longer than expected, a labour of love or perhaps a beautiful piece that you just cannot part with. 

Almost everything I make…I find hard to part with. Two of my favourites are these and old, old freeform flowers on stripes, a felted hat that made it to Knitting Vogue Knitting magazine anything I do from real life like the primsoes and the Chunky Monkey CAL I did last year.

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SILVER LACE BLACK PRIMROSE

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When designing something new, where do you begin? Is it a sketch, with a colour palette or sampling?

How long is a piece of string? Sometimes from a sketch, sometimes from a colour combo, a new stitch or a new yarn. When working with yarn companies you have to be able to adapt your style to their wants and new yarns and sometimes restricted colours

This one was from a sketch…

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You now have two books full of your designs – Granny Squares and Granny Squares & Shapes, plus you do lots of fabulous crochet designs for Stylecraft. Do you have a favourite design?

The latest designs are usually favourites but if you push me to pick one for Stylecraft…..the new Tartan blanket and cushion.

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And the bead and bezel I did for Stylecraft blog tour…I’ve made them up in lots of colour combo’s since.

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Your books are full of really lovely designs, are they suitable for a beginner? Are there any designs in particular you would suggest?

This daisy pattern so versatile, easy to make and can be made in so many colour combo’s and sizes from 3ply sock yarn to Aran, this picture is from a 1950′s colour chart as a box cushion for our 1975 camper.

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And the blanket motif…again its versatile.

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Do you do any other crafts?  

Not really, these days crochet fills my time, a bit of paper crafting especially at Christmas time.

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If my crochet time was my own I would do far more free form crochet, I have  bags of crochet circle waiting for me to join them together and tapestry crochet too, like this one.

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Do you have a favourite place to crochet?

My craft room the light is fabulous and I have a double sofa unit like a bed in there, but any where that’s comfy, the sofa, in bed…lots of space to spread out all the yarn and 4 cats and bury myself…..a tidy moment doesn’t look like this often!

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Staff Makes

Posted by Amy Dagger | Posted in Staff Projects | Posted on 21-04-2016

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Black Sheep Wools staff are always busy making one thing or another. If we aren’t making something, we also enjoy thinking of what we could be making. So many projects get planned and changed during a day at work. No matter what part of the company you work in, whether you are packing an order, putting new stock on the shelves in store, adding new products to the website, you really can’t hide from the continuous flow of temptation that catches our eye on a daily basis.

I have gathered together a selection of projects made by our talented staff. These are really only a snippet of the projects that do get made; many are eagerly given to the recipient before having a photograph.

Yvonne has been knitting away for her super cute grandchildren. Here is her grand-daughter wearing a cabled jacket, knitted in Debbie Bliss Rialto Chunky using Hayfield pattern 4534.

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Yvonne has also knitted a jumper for her grandson using Schachenmayr Extra Merino. She spotted this stitch pattern being used on a different design and adapted it to a trusty pattern she had in her collection.

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Yvonne’s flower decorations are a great stash buster. She has been crocheting pretty flowers from Search Press Crochet Flowers book to adorn straw sun hats for her granddaughter.

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Lesley has been making lots of crocheted hats for new born babies. The photo below is of her friend’s little one, sporting his new hat in Hayfield Baby Chunky, complete with a huge pompom.

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Sally loves to crochet and couldn’t wait for Jane Crowfoot’s Frida’s Flowers crochet along to begin. She had her hook poised and ready for the pattern release from Stylecraft. It only took her one evening to do the first two pieces. Sally opted for the Stylecraft Classique Cotton dk colour pack.

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In preparation for the CAL, Crafternoon Treats blogger Kathryn designed a ‘Frida’s Flowers’ inspired project bag. This pattern is available as a free download and you can find the colour pack at Black Sheep Wools. Sally chose to crochet her bag with a variety of oddments, including shades of Stylecraft Special Dk that she has used double to create a chunky yarn.

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Although Maria no longer works at Black Sheep Wools she will always be an honorary  member of the team, often popping in for the knit and natter group and to stock up on new yarns. After attending the Arne & Carlos workshop, Maria went on to make a second pair of mitts using another of their patterns. She chose a lovely selection of yarns from her stash. Find the free pattern on Arne & Carlos website.

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Emily has finished her Spice of Life Croceht Along blanket, using a selection of Rico Baby Classic Dk and Sirdar Snuggly Dk. A gorgeous colour combination!

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Lucy had been searching for the perfect pattern for a double knit yarn for a while. When she spotted the new Rowan Summerlite Dk book she could not resist, so many beautiful patterns all in one book. Lucy is using a forest green shade of Schachenmayr Extra Merino, following the ‘Bronte‘ cardigan pattern. She also took on the task of adapting the pattern so that she can knit it in the round, eeeek! The cuff of the cardigan is so pretty with the cable detailing.

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Stacey attended the weaving workshop at the Craft Barn last week and has truly fallen for the craft. She bought a loom and was off making a pretty woven scarf.

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Finally, take a peek at Janet’s latest project. There will be a fabulous pattern for this one coming very soon!

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