Knitting Needle Conversion Chart

Posted by Amy | Posted in Knitting, Knitting Essentials | Posted on 23-02-2017

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When learning to knit one of the first hurdles is understanding knitting needles. There are so many different sizes to choose from for various thickness of yarn, it is important to clarify this before you even begin choosing yarn. Knitting needles can come in many different guises from many lengths of straight pins to double pointed needles (DPN’s) or circular. Have you been given someone’s old set of knitting needles and can’t quite fathom what all the numbers mean? We are here to help!

In the UK and Europe most modern knitting patterns now use metric terminology for all knitting needles. Therefore all knitting needles are sized in milimetres (mm).  This is quite easy to understand as the higher the number in mm, the larger the needle thickness will be.

If you were to find yourself a vintage pattern then you will notice a big difference. Needles were once sized differently, the higher the number, the smaller the needle size, e.g. what we now class as a 2mm knitting needle was actually a UK 14. A UK 14 was the smallest available, with the numbers decreasing all the way down to a 10mm – UK 000.

To add another spanner in the works there is just one more set of needle sizes to keep an eye out for, US sizes. On US knitting patterns you will see needle sizes listed from 0 upwards. Zero is the smallest size knitting needle, in metric a 2mm.

It is always helpful to have a quick reference tool to look back on, so we have created this useful knitting needle conversion chart.

Knitting Needle Conversion Chart

Metric UK US
2mm 14 0
2.25mm 13 1
2.5mm    
2.75mm 12 2
3mm 11  
3.25mm 10 3
3.5mm   4
3.75mm 9 5
4mm 8 6
4.5mm 7 7
5mm 6 8
5.5mm 5 9
6mm 4 10
6.5mm 3 10 ½
7mm 2  
7.5mm 1  
8mm 0 11
9mm 00 13
10mm 000 15
12mm   17
15mm   19
20mm   36

Valentine Craft Ideas

Posted by Amy | Posted in Crochet, Knitting | Posted on 14-02-2017

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This Valentine’s Day why not break with tradition and give yourself a gift of love. We are thinking a crafty gift, whether you knit, crochet or cross stitch why not put aside your current project for a day or two and make yourself a Valentine themed treat. Some of the mini projects make great stash busters too, so there are no limits when it comes to colour choice. No need to stick to traditional pinks and red for these Valentine craft ideas. You are making a little something for you, so go and have a rummage through your stash or treat yourself to a new ball of your favourite shade of yarn.

Valentine Craft Ideas

Mini Crochet Hearts

These teeny crochet delights are a quick and easy make. Why not attach a loop of crocheted chains and add to a key ring? Make lots and lots of mini crochet hearts and thread onto a pretty ribbon to make a Valentine garland. Share your pics with #blacksheepwools on Instagram or tag @blacksheepwools. We will keep an eye out to see what creative ideas you come up with.

Knitted Love Heart

This knitted love heart can fit in the palm of your hand. It is once again a mini make that requires just a small amount of DK yarn and toy stuffing. If you wanted to make a bigger version you could adjust the needle size accordingly and use a chunky or super chunky weight yarn.
Wondering what you would do with a knitted love heart? Why not pop a spot of dried lavender into the stuffing before sewing up, attach a loop of ribbon to the finished heart and hang it in over a coat hanger in your wardrobe.

Heart Dishcloth

Black Sheep Lucy came up with this fun dishcloth pattern shaped like a Valentine love heart. The crochet pattern is easy to follow and can be made up in soft cotton yarn such as Rico Creative Cotton Aran.

Cherry Heart’s Valentine Hottie

Sandra Paul aka Cherry Heart designed this exclusive Valentine’s hottie for us a couple of years ago. It is still a fun make and with a warm hot water bottle inside you can snuggle up and stay cosy this winter. Make it in the shades of Rico Creative Twist Super Chunky as seen here.

Live Laugh Love Cross Stitch Kit

Live Laugh Love cross stitch by Historical Sampler Company is a modern take on a sampler cross stitch design.  Stitched in a vibrant shade of aqua this kit will light up any room in your house with a cheery message.

 

Craft exhibitions for your diary

Posted by Amy | Posted in Shows & Exhibitions | Posted on 10-02-2017

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Show season has already begun here at Black Sheep Wools. In fact our van of goodies trundled off to Event City, Manchester last week for the ICHF Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts show. This is our most local show to the Craft Barn in Warrington, so it is always nice to see familiar faces and many new customers who our pleased to discover what Black Sheep Wools have to offer.

A visit to a craft show is a great day out. There are many events going on throughout the day including workshops and demonstrations. Plus, when we are exhibiting too it is an excuse to visit the Craft Barn without the journey to Warrington! Browse our exhibition stand and be bowled over by the stunning array of crochet blankets, garments, yarn and needlecraft to get your crafty fingers twitching. Not forgetting the much loved ‘yarn dive’ where you will find some superb bargains of yarn in packets, including brands such as Rowan, Debbie Bliss and Sublime.

We are going on a tour of the UK over the next few months, I’m sure we will be breezing by a city or town near you. Get your diary and pen at the ready……….this is where we will be. More dates for autumn will be added to our exhibitions page later in the year. Details are yet to be confirmed –

Baa ram ewe at the Craft Barn

Posted by Amy | Posted in Company News | Posted on 30-01-2017

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A new year, and there is so much going on already. Now is the time for lots of dates to be added to your shiny new diary, making lots of crafty plans for the year ahead. We are doing our best to keep your diary filled at the moment, with all sorts of exciting events coming up at the Craft Barn.
Today it is all about the yarn brand ‘Baa ram ewe‘. Pull out your diary and pop in this date…..1st February | 12pm – 3.30pm at the Craft Barn. The Baa ram ewe team will be in store sharing the story of the Yorkshire yarn brand – Show & Tell with Baa ram ewe. They will have yarn samples to play with, garments to try on and lots of interesting facts to share.
Plus they will have new season shades of Titus and Dovestone Dk yarns and their new season patterns. All of which will be very much hot off of the press, as their new season products only launch at the end of January. I have had a little peek and already have new shades of Titus on my wish list. I can hear my knitting needles clicking in anticipation.

New shades of Baa ram ewe Titus & Baa ram ewe Dovestone Dk

The event is set to be an informal affair, with the baa ram ewe team in the Craft Barn where you can drop in and say hello or sit down for a natter and listen to their story. If you are very much an advocate of the yarn brand and have enjoyed making many projects previously, why not bring them in on the day to show everyone. If you can’t make it to the Craft Barn on 1st February you can feel like you are in store by following our Instagram. Baa ram ewe will be taking over our Instagram profile for the day. See behind the scenes of them prepping and then photos they take whilst at Black Sheep Wools. If you have a baa ram ewe garment that you would like them to see, post a photo on the day and tag Black Sheep Wools and baa ram ewe.

Tips for following crochet charts

Posted by Amy | Posted in How to....... | Posted on 20-01-2017

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A while back now, way back when days were warmer and the sun was shining (well, it was warmer than 0 to minus temperatures) in summer 2016, we held a crafternoon in the Craft Barn all about reading crochet charts. Our in house crochet expert Stacey ran the crafternoon sharing her knowledge and experience. It was great to see so many people join Stacey for an afternoon of concentration.

Tips for following crochet charts crafternoon

At the time we had planned to video Stacey’s top tips, but after some thought we decided that the best solution would be to have a trusty list of bullet points that you could always have to hand. As promised (be it a few months down the line) here are Stacey’s top tips for reading crochet charts. Stacey prefers following a chart over written instructions. They really aren’t something to be overwhelmed by, with these helpful tips you will be cracking charts in no time. The best part of all is that it will enable you to crochet a pattern regardless of the language the written pattern is in. If you unearth a fabulous crochet pattern in a foreign language; as long as there is a chart you just need to decipher the symbols and you are off. There will be no limits to your crochet skills!

  • Photocopy your chart and have two different coloured highlighter pens at the ready.

  • Always familiarise yourself with the symbols for the chart your are about to follow. They can vary from chart to chart so it is worth checking each time.

  • The start of each row / round will be numbered in order. Find your starting point – “1”. Look at the row / round and read through what stitches to expect. This way you won’t be in for any surprises halfway through.

  • As you move through each row / round highlight as you go with one of your highlighters. If you have to stop part way through you will know where you are up to.

  • For the next row / round use the second highlighter shade so that you can differentiate between the rows / rounds. Continue to use alternate shades as you proceed with the chart.

  • As you are working through, your crochet will start to look like the chart. Take a moment to stop and look at your progress as you are going along.

A good chart to set you off on your journey to cracking charts is the virus shawl pattern. A pretty pattern that shows off variegated beautifully such as Stylecraft Cabaret and King Cole Riot Dk.

Kaffe Fassett at the Craft Barn

Posted by Amy | Posted in Company News | Posted on 13-01-2017

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I have very exciting news to share……world renowned textile designer Kaffe Fassett will be coming to the Craft Barn this March, to teach a workshop and host an evening lecture. Kaffe Fassett is a name that you will first and foremost associate with colour, an abundance of incredible colour. From the early days of his career in the 1960’s designing for knitwear brands Missoni and Bill Gibb, colour has always been what Kaffe is all about. He has produced many books over the years featuring designs for knitwear, needlepoint and patchwork, inspiring people to make their own colourful creations. I can’t wait to hear learn more at Kaffe’s Glorious Colour lecture, it is going to be amazing to have the opportunity to meet the man himself.

kaffe fassett

Kaffe and his partner Brandon Mably will be at the Craft Barn for two dates in March, 2nd and 3rd – day 1 Kaffe and Brandon will be teaching their Diamonds Patchwork Quilt workshop. Kaffe will share is knowledge and help to advise fabric choices and layout for your Diamonds patchwork quilt. He will critique the quilt designs created, giving any suggestions for changes. This is the chance to have a your own quilt designed by you and Kaffe Fassett, now that’s a story to tell when the quilt is all finished out on display at home. Followed by a second event in the evening, Kaffe will be holding his Glorious Colour lecture. This will be taking place at the British Legion in Culcheth, which is only a hop, skip and a jump (2 minute drive) down the road from the Craft Barn. On day 2 Brandon will be teaching a knitting workshop – Persian Poppy colour knitting. Brandon will share his Fair Isle technique and encourage participants to explore colour, giving them the confidence to use their own colour palette in the future.

Kaffe fassett

 There are still places available on all three of the events that we have planned. Find more information and book a place on our workshops page. It would be fantastic if you could join us.

Kaffe Fassett

If you are feeling inspired already, take a look at our selection of Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably fabrics. They sure are one talented duo!

Knitted Elf on the Shelf

Posted by Amy | Posted in New Products | Posted on 30-12-2016

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This Christmas we have had a little visitor in store. He has been springing up here and there around the Craft Barn sometimes wreaking havoc in the tea shop. This cheeky monkey is our Elf on the Shelf. He arrived at the beginning of December when Lucy and Barbara finished knitting him from the Hayfield Christmas Elves pattern. Lucy knitted and Barbara joined all the pieces together and finished him off, a Black Sheep team effort.

We have been putting updates of the elf’s where abouts on our Instagram throughout December. Take a look below at some of the photos! It has been fun guessing where he is hiding in a morning. Did you spot him on a recent visit?

elf_fabric

Browsing the fat quarters in the Craft Barn.

elf_yankee

Climbing up the Yankee candle stand.

elf_teashop

Sitting with the knitted cakes in the tea shop.

elf_welly

Taking a dip in the Regia sock yarn.

elf_knittingbag

Taking a break on a knitting bag.

elf_firehorn

Looking after fire safety in the tea shop.

elf_yarnunwind

Making a mess of the WYS Signature 4ply yarn.

elf_cake

Eating a slice of cake in the tea shop.

elf_tree

Waving farewell to the Christmas tree….until next year.

Pompom wreath how to

Posted by Amy | Posted in How to....... | Posted on 24-12-2016

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There is something so addictive about the Clover pompom makers. Once you make one, you just want one more and then another and another. When you have made lots, why not make a funky pompom wreath. We have been experimenting with a soft pastel and silver colour palette for these pompoms. It is really simple to make, all you need is an embroidery hoop, oddments of yarn, Clover pompom makers and scissors. If you prefer to have a slightly neater finish, it could be a nice idea to wrap your embroidery hoop with yarn before tying on the pompoms. Then once they were all secured you could sew all of the ends in neatly. We have gone for a more spur of the moment wreath, with a rustic edge.

pompom_wreath

We have used a selection of yarns in this wreath including –

King Cole Tinsel
Stylecraft Sundae Dk
Stylecraft Special Dk
Sirdar Snowflake Chunky
King Cole Galaxy Dk
Sirdar Pearls Dk
King Cole Glitz Dk

Pompom Snowman How to

Posted by Amy | Posted in How to....... | Posted on 23-12-2016

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! This jolly chap is a fun make to use up some of your stash (or a reason to buy more yarn!). Gather together oddments of white yarn, Clover pompom makers and a few scraps of felt. Watch the pompom snowman how to on our YouTube channel now. A quick and easy make for Christmas time.

Time to share customer projects

Posted by Amy | Posted in Customer Projects | Posted on 15-12-2016

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With Christmas just over a week away I wanted to start the celebrations early, celebrating all of the wonderful work from our customers. This blog post has been gathering new projects for a couple of months now, so please bear with me as I talk you through each crafty make. I have a vast selection of treats to share – knitting, crochet and sewing. These are all projects that have been snapped in our Craft Barn.

First up is Natalie, wearing a delicate camisole top she has knitted in Juniper Moon Farm Findley. On the pattern image the straps are a chunky ribbon, Natalie opted for two fine ribbons instead. This is the beauty of making your own garments from the colour you choose, right down to the finishing details, it’s all your choice. Natalie was planning to make a second top in a different shade as this one is so lovely. As you can probably guess this photograph wasn’t taken in the last few days (brrrr!).

Juniper moon farm findley - Speedwell

Now this project was a challenge to photograph – a few extra pairs of hands were needed. Ann un-wrapped this gigantic granny square blanket to share with everyone in the Craft Barn. Large enough to fit a King size bed, Ann has crocheted lots and lots of granny squares with many variations on colour and design. The yarn she has used is Rico Baby so Soft Dk, fantastic for crochet as it glides easily through your hook. Plus a good yarn for making accessories for the home as it is anti-pilling. Ann couldn’t tell me the exact number of balls used as she kept buying them as she went along. What would you guess?
giant granny square blanket
Kay came into the Craft Barn to do a spot of shopping wearing her latest make. A super cosy cardigan, knitted in Rowan Softyak Dk (shade 239), following a pattern by Jo Storie – ‘Chloe‘. Rowan Softyak comprises of a cotton, yak and nylon blend. This is a stylish cardigan that can easily be worn with many outfits.
Rowan softyak dk cardigan
Michelle brought in an adorable baby jacket and matching hat crocheted in Debbie Bliss Rialto 4ply (pattern DB011). The pattern is one I have enjoyed crocheting myself for a friends little one so it was nice to see how someone else had got on with the pattern. Michelle opted for a dusky pink shade of Debbie Bliss Rialto 4ply. 
debbie bliss rilato 4ply jacket
When we had a sample garment on display of this next cardigan, there were many members of staff lusting after it here at Black Sheep Wools. The cardigan that you swoon over every time you pass it by and secretly hope some kind knitting elves will make for you. Sandra who attends our knit and natter group couldn’t resist and made herself this gorgeous Fair Isle cardigan.
The design is called Orkney and can be found in Rowan Magazine 52, knitted in Rowan Felted Tweed.
Orkney cardigan - Rowan Felted Tweed
Orkney in Rowan Felted Tweed
A delightful pastel treat from Janet to share now. Janet has crocheted a fabulous Jane Crowfoot Persian Tiles blanket using DMC Natura Cotton. As this is a 4ply weight Janet adjusted her hook size accordingly. Her colour palette is so serene and pretty, such a contrast to the beautiful bold, jewel tones of Jane Crowfoot’s original colourway. What a lovely gift for her daughter!
Jane Crowfoot persian tiles blanket
Susan had brought her almost finished Spice of Life blanket into the Craft Barn to ask advice on what shades to choose for her border. Decisions, decisions….with so many lovely colours of Stylecraft special dk in a blanket it can be tricky making a decision on which two to pluck out. With some helpful advice from Stacey, Susan made her choices (a grey and berry) whilst I took a quick photo.
spice of life cal
A group of ladies from a sewing group brought in a selection of sewing projects they had recently completed. I am not sure who exactly made each item but I do know all of the ladies names – Jacqueline, Elizabeth, Lilian and Amy are quite a talented bunch.
A quilt, can you spot the Kaffe Fassett fabric?
A fabric box in Kaffe Fassett fabrics.
And lots of colourful windmill bags. This pattern is available to download for free from our website.
windmill bags
Sue has knitted a mystical dragon in King Cole Tinsel. This chap is quite large, as you can see compared to a ball of yarn. The wings have pipe cleaners in to keep the structure, he even has a beady dragon eye.
King Cole Tinsel dragon
For this snuggly throw, Jo has crocheted squares in James C Brett Marble Chunky – shade MC63. She has followed a stitch pattern of front post trebles, a very effective stitch that has created a lovely texture which lends itself to the multi-coloured yarn.
Jean made an adapted version of Ewe-Jean the sheep (renamed for Jean). This version is without the loops, she looks like a little spring lamb. The original pattern is a free pattern by Happy Crocheting.
Last but not least is Evie’s detailed patchwork quilt, an incredible project that must have taken many hours of patient stitching. Evie hand stitched each of the designs, traced from images she found online of Hello Kitty. She then pieced it all together to create a spectacular patchwork quilt.
hello kitty embroidered quilt
hello kitty quilt
Thank you to everyone who has shared their projects with us over the past few months. I look forward to seeing more projects in the New Year.