Yvonne’s sewing projects

Posted by Amy Dagger | Posted in Staff Projects | Posted on 21-05-2015

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Yvonne is always busy making something or other, she seems to have a new project on the go every week. Usually it is something knitted or crocheted, but recently she has taken to sewing projects, having been tempted by our ever so irresistible fabric selection. She has been somewhat of a bag production line of late, having three daughters she tends to have to make things in quantities of three. When one see’s what she has made for the other she begins to have a waiting list situation on her hands.

One of her daughters has young children and needs to carry around a baby changing bag. She loves all things Cath Kidston and with this in mind Yvonne instantly knew which fabrics would be perfect for a bag – Tanya Whelan Petal in sateen. The fabrics have a chintzy, vintage feel to them with bold rose florals, contrasting with stripes and spots. Once she had finished the large bag for her daughter she had an order in from the youngest lady of the family – her grand-daughter Isla! Yvonne replicated the bag pattern in a miniature version just for her – so adorable.

yvonne fabric projects

The bags are fully lined with zips and magnetic fastenings. In the baby changing bag she has added all sorts of pockets. The bag even has a zipped section at the bottom to keep items separate from the main bag compartment. This design is from a now discontinued pattern.

sewing projects bag

Yvonne’s other two bags have accents of Tim Holtz fabrics along with leather. The leather has come from an on sofa that had seen better days. Rather than throw it away Yvonne saw her next sewing project and decided to upcycle.

leather_bag tim holtz fabric

tim holtz fabrics

Both bags are lined with Tim Holtz Expedition fabric. She has added personal touches to each bag making them both unique. As you can see in the photographs below she has highlighted the journey her daughter will take on her honeymoon next year with metallic silver thread.


tim holtz fabric bag

Baby Update and Newborn Appeal Charity Sale

Posted by Lesley Cragg | Posted in Company News | Posted on 20-05-2015

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After a nearly 5 month wait, I have finally had the chance to cuddle 2 very precious little ladies!

Both girls have been transferred to Alder Hey Childrens hospital now and are doing well. Here they are, finally reunited after 4 and half very long months.




me2 me

Steph and I will be running a stall at this year’s Croft Carnival in conjunction with The Newborn Appeal on Saturday 4th July to raise money for Liverpool Womens Hospital. We are hoping that one or even both of the twins will be there with us too. (fingers crossed!)

We will be selling lots of hand knitted baby items suitable for new-borns through to toddlers.

Although we have lots of items already, we are looking for donations to sell on the day.

Items can include toys, blankets, clothing or anything else hand knitted or crocheted.

All money raised from this event will go to the Newborn Appeal which funds a lot of the lifesaving equipment required to keep these precious little babies alive!

Please send any donations to:

FOA: Lesley Cragg

Black Sheep Wools,

Glaziers Lane,




Steph, Dan and myself would like to thank each and every one of you for your very kind donations so far. We cannot express how grateful we are for all of your well wishes and support throughout what has been a very difficult time.


Afternoon Tea with Jane Crowfoot

Posted by Amy Dagger | Posted in Company News, Crochet | Posted on 19-05-2015

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Last Thursday we were graced with the presence of a crocheting celebrity – Jane Crowfoot. She wasn’t just passing through by chance though, Jane was here for a special afternoon tea and natter here at the Craft Barn, with Jane speaking about everything crochet, in particular her recent venture the fabulous Stylecraft Life Dk Lily Pond Crochet Along. It was a lovely relaxed afternoon with lots of chatter, crochet and cake. Jane had everyone listening attentively to her every word. Talking about how she set out on her journey as a crochet designer through to choosing her palette for the Stylecraft CAL. It was an interesting and inspiring afternoon.

Whilst Jane was talking we filmed it for you to see. This is currently being edited and will be available to view in the coming days on our YouTube channel. Until then, take a look at the photo selection below.  Many customers brought in their latest WIP’s and finished projects to share with Jane too.

afternoon tea with jane crowfoot

Setting up the room. Beautiful centre pieces and fine China courtesy of our Black Sheep Jayne

afternoon tea with jane crowfoot

A pretty Stylecraft display including the Stylecraft Lily Pond CAL

lily pond_blanket

A close up of Jane Crowfoot’s Lily Pond blanket

afternoon tea with jane crowfoot

Time to take your seats


As people were arriving Jane went about introducing herself, chatting and taking a look at their progress so far in the CAL

Sanwiches were served ready for Jane to take to the stage

Sanwiches were served ready for Jane to take to the stage

afternoon tea with jane crowfoot

Jane chatting away about her love of crochet

afternoon tea with jane crowfoot

A selection of starting points and rejected pieces for Jane’s Stylecraft Crochet Along

A close up of a piece that nearly made it into the blanket

A close up of a piece that nearly made it into the blanket


Only the best cups and saucers for Afternoon Tea


Jacky wearing her scarf crocheted in King Cole Opium Palette


Pretty crocheted flowers project, brought in by one of the ladies


Barbara brought in a table runner she has made using the patterns from Jane’s 2014 mystery CAL


With the other pieces Barbara made this amazing bag, as modelled by Jane


Check out the amazing base of the bag

A huge thank you to Jane and Annabelle for coming along for a great afternoon.




Introducing the Sizzix Big Shot Machine

Posted by Sara Mulvey | Posted in Sara's Blog | Posted on 18-05-2015


Meet the team – Lesley

Posted by Amy Dagger | Posted in Meet the team | Posted on 15-05-2015

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meet the team lesley

Name: Lesley


- Knitting
- Crochet

Favourite yarn: Rico Baby So Soft Dk

Favourite colour: Coral

Favourite season: Summer

Tell us a little bit more about yourself…….

I have a daughter who loves to craft
I love all things digital
I love holidays!

What is your favourite craft and why?

Crochet, because it’s a lot quicker than knitting.

What’s the one craft accessory you could not live without and why?

Thread snips. No matter what you are doing you always need them.

When did you catch the crafting bug?

When I started working at Black Sheep Wools.

What’s in your project bag?

Knitted hats for babies and a giant granny square blanket for my daughter. This is now a free download on our website.

lesley_icecream blanket

What type of maker are you? Do you have lots of WIP’s or do you like to finish a project before starting a new one?

I like to finish a project before starting another.

Which designer inspires you the most?

Sarah Hatton.

Do you have any top tips to share?

Crochet your ends in as you go!

Sarah Shrimpton aka Annaboo’s House

Posted by Amy Dagger | Posted in Guest Blog | Posted on 14-05-2015



Today we have a guest bog post from Annaboo’s House blogger – Sarah Shrimpton.

“Well, hello there!
It’s so nice to be somewhere new, for a change.
The lovely people here at Black Sheep Wools asked me to write a guest post, so I thought I’d tell you a little bit about me, my crochet and my blog.

Me? I’m a wife and mother of two, who once upon a time had a real job as a primary school teacher. And I loved it. Crochet? No. I’d never tried it. Knitting? Disastrous. Let’s not go there.

But obviously I did learn to crochet. It was just before Christmas 2010; we had relocated to Sussex the year before and I had given up my career to be a full-time mum. I was in desperate need to keep my brain active and so decided to learn a new skill. I’m a fairly creative person and decided on crochet, having been totally swayed by the cute crocheted toys I had seen online! And so, I armed myself with a few good books and taught myself in the evenings.

It was fairly slow going to start with and I remember just making hundreds of stitch samples, trying to understand what I was doing. I found it difficult to count the stitches and couldn’t see where to put my hook. And then it clicked. I was trying to make a toy and realised I needed a stitch marker. That was it. From then on I could see the stitches and count them, too.

It was about that time that I decided to start a blog – Annaboo’s House. I had read lots and lots on my learning-to-crochet journey and so many bloggers had inspired me, that I wanted to join them. More as a way of recording my progress and keeping an online diary than anything else.

And from there, things happened.
I realised I could create my own patterns, and with a lot of trial and error I began designing new things and blogging about them. At the same time, people liked the things I made, so I started to sell them. This was great fun, but I eventually tired of making the same thing repeatedly. So I focused on designing and began to sell my patterns online. I continued to offer lots of free patterns and tutorials on my blog, too (and still do).

And this brings me nearly up to date. It was through my blog that my publisher found me and asked me to write ‘Beginner’s Guide to Crochet’. And it was through my Etsy shop that a magazine approached me and asked if I’d like to design for them.
My blog is a still a place to share what I’m doing. I don’t post as often as I did in the early days, but I try to keep it fresh and up to date and without it, I’d frankly be quite lost!

I’ve been lucky to work alongside Black Sheep Wools for quite a while now. Firstly, designing the ever-popular Winter Dolls, then last year, a big Christmas Tree and just recently a fabulous beach bag set! But it doesn’t stop there..

sarah shrimpton amigurumi workshop
On July 16th I’ll be at the Craft Barn, where I’ll be book signing and answering any questions, so come and say hi! And on the 17th I’ll be hosting an all-day workshop, where you can learn how to make one of my cheeky amigurumi Imps. Spaces are limited, so remember to book early to avoid disappointment. I can’t wait to see you all very soon!

Wishing you all a happy week,
Sarah x”



A sneak peek at the exclusive Black Sheep Wools projects by Sarah Shrimpton. Patterns coming soon!

Blogger of the Month – April 2015

Posted by Amy Dagger | Posted in Blogger of the Month | Posted on 13-05-2015


blogger of the month april 2015The time has come round again to announce our Blogger of the month. Congratulations go to Heather from ‘Little Tin Bird‘ blog who is Black Sheep Wools April Blogger of the month. Over on Little Tin Bird blog you can take a glimpse into Heather’s life. One of her favourite things to share is her love of crochet and all of the beautiful things she makes. Heather enjoys taking photographs and there are always lots on her blog documenting her latest update.

heather - little tin bird

How long have you been blogging? What made you decide to write a blog?

I’ve been blogging since May 2009, so that’s six years now – I can hardly believe it’s been that long!

What is your latest WIP (Work in progress)? Do you have a photo?

I’m currently working on another blanket using solid “Elmer” squares, I’m making them 4 rounds in size and using Stylecraft Special dk. I don’t have a photo at the moment as I’m just snatching five minutes here and there to make them! They look like these.

little tin bird blanket squares

Who taught you to knit / crochet?

I’m self taught, I followed YouTube videos and blog tutorials until I’d worked it out.

What was your first ever crochet project?

I made a small blanket that I ended up giving to my sister. It was 7×7 squares using the Attic24 “Summer Garden Granny Squares” pattern.

Do you watch TV or listen to music while you crochet?

I love to crochet while watching something! I find that I am more productive that way as my mind is occupied as well as my hands. I don’t have a TV so I mainly watch whatever is on iPlayer/other online catchup channels at the time.

Is there a knitted / crocheted project that you treasure? Made by yourself or a handmade gift from a loved one?

I treasure the blankets that I’ve made for my children, particularly my “Big Elmer” blanket that I made for my son, and the little cream/pinky colours Rowan blanket that I made for my daughter.

Big elmer

Do you have a knitting or crochet tip you would like to share?

Always sew in your ends as you go along!

Where do you find inspiration for a new project?

Pinterest is a wealth of inspiration! At the moment I mostly make baby blankets to give to friends and I just use the same patterns and yarns really, I look forward to having more time to be more creative and try out some of the ideas in my head. Well, I don’t want to wish the time away too much as I’m enjoying things right now but more crafty time is something to look forward to in the future.

Do you have a favourite knitting snack?

I don’t tend to eat while crocheting because I need both hands and eating slows me down!

What is your favourite yarn to work with? Is there a particular brand?

Right now I use Stylecraft Special dk as my go-to yarn as it’s so easy to work with and it’s a good yarn for making baby blankets with. I really loved working with Debbie Bliss Cashmerino dk but it’s a bit out of my price range these days.

Do you have a favourite project? 

My favourite project is the granny squares blanket that I made with Debbie Bliss Cashmerino dk.

granny squares

Do you follow other blogs? If so which blogs?

My favourite blog is Foxs Lane - I love her photography, her honesty, and the perspective on life that she shares. Just a lovely blog.

How many projects do you have on the go at one time?

Oh gosh that varies somewhat! Right now I try to only have one project on the go, work hard on it and finish it, otherwise I end up with too many WIPs and it gets overwhelming. In the past I’ve had two or three on the go. Unless you’re counting things I started ages ago and haven’t finished yet? If you’re counting those then I have one baby blanket, one toddler blanket, two granny square blankets AND a knitted blanket in progress but I’m only actively working on the first two. The others are in hibernation!

What other past times do you enjoy?

Taking photos! I would love to improve my photography and I’ve been working on taking a weekly photo of my son with my SLR using manual settings but I just love taking photos all day long. I use my phone a lot for taking photos at the moment, I like the convenience of it, and I have been using the Project Life app to make a collage at the end of each day – I plan to make a photobook at the end of the year. I also enjoy going for walks (and taking photos), playing with my children, and spending time with my friends.

What is your favourite item to knit?

Just plain garter stitch squares right now – I’m using Drops Big Merino and just making squares for a blanket.

Do you have any advice for new bloggers?

Be honest! And, think about how you’re going to store your photos. If I’d have known how long I would continue blogging for when I started I would have come up with a much more logical way to store them. Now they’re all over the place which isn’t very practical.

Do you have a preference when it comes to choosing your needles?

I prefer metal circular ones, I found that I couldn’t get on with straights. I think its because I learnt to knit after I’d been crocheting for years and I couldn’t cope with anything much longer than a crochet hook. It was weird enough having two needles!

Who do you knit/ crochet for?

Friends and their babies, and occasionally my family. Lots of my friends are having babies right now and I like to make sure that they all have a blanket.

What have you been crocheting?

Posted by Amy Dagger | Posted in Customer Projects | Posted on 12-05-2015

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Over the past few weeks I have collected photos of many different crochet projects from Black Sheep Wools customers. It is particularly exciting to see a project evolve from the initial yarn purchase. Have you crocheted anything you would like to share? Please send in photos through to amy@blacksheepwools.com.

To start off I have a couple of crocheted items from a customer called John. Whilst yarn shopping, he brought along his latest make for a photo – ‘Speedy the wonder turtle’.

crocheted turtle

John came back a couple of weeks later wearing his latest make, this time a fab jumper crocheted in James C Brett Chunky with Merino. The pattern is a free download from the Red Heart website.

Red Heart sweater in James C Brett Chunky with Merino

A lady called Alex was shopping with her baby son. He was all snug in his pram with a cosy blanket crocheted in a vibrant, rainbow shade of Stylecraft Merry Go Round Dk. I got chatting to Alex about the blanket and she said it took just 2 balls with a 4.5mm hook.

ripple blanket in stylecraft merry go round

Adding a decorative dging is a good idea on a ripple blanket to help neaten up the wavy ends.

ripple blanket in stylecraft merry go round

Jacky has been trying out King Cole Opium Palette crocheted. It is looking lovely so far. The texture of the yarn, along with the varying colour creates a really interesting combination. Jacky is going to make a triangular scarf, gradually increasing the stitches as she goes.

king cole opium palette crochet

A second project Jacky has just completed this week is a baby blanket in Stylecraft Malabar. The blanket is a free download on Ravelry called Rainbow Dash Baby Blanket by Beatrice Ryan Designs.

jacky's rainbow dash blanket

The colours look great worked together.

rainbow dash blanket in stylecraft malabar

Joan has nearly finished a waistcoat in Wendy Supreme Cotton Dk. The pattern for this summery design can be found in Sirdar book 458 – Cotton Crochet. It is hard to believe only 18 months ago Joan couldn’t crochet at all!

crochet wasitcoat 458

crochet waistcoat 458

This photo was one sent in by an online customer called Julie. A pretty lace detail top crocheted in DMC Natura cotton.

dmc natura cotton top

Yarn Shop Day 2015

Posted by Amy Dagger | Posted in Company News | Posted on 07-05-2015



Saturday saw the second ever Love Your Yarn Shop Day in association with Let’s Knit magazine. We were ever so excited in the run up to yarn shop day as we had some real treats in store for our customers, including spinning, amigurumi crochet and sock knitting. The day itself did not disappoint, it was fantastic to see the shop bustling with customers and the demos being watched with eager eyes.

yarn shop day 2015


The day started with Blogger Winwick Mum, aka Christine holding a sock knitting clinic. Christine was on hand to offer advice to sock knitting newbies, helping folks get over the fear of SSS (second sock syndrome) basically having just one lonely sock lying around waiting for a second sock that will never get knitted.

yarn shop day sock knitting

Winwick Mum is holding a sock along over on her blog, where she will be working through the anatomy of a sock week by week. This is a fail safe way for all beginners to get to grips with the art of sock knitting. Take a look and join in the fun over on Winwick Mum‘s blog.

yarn shop day 2015 sock knitting

yarn shop day sock


Throughout the day Black Sheep Stacey was showing off her party trick – arm knitting. Here she is during her afternoon demo of the really quick knitting technique. You will have a scarf knitted up in no time at all! Stacey is using DY Choice Chunky Chain.

yarn shop day 2015

yarn shop day 2015

Cathy Wright was in our workshop room demonstrating spinning and dyeing yarn. She was very popular throughout the day and had her dyed hank of yarn blowing in the wind outside to dry. It was lovely to see the traditional methods behind the yarn. Cathy made dyeing your own yarn look so easy. The colour stripes she created were magnificent.

yarn shop day 2015 spinning

yarn shop day 2015Beautiful wool top ready for spinning.

yarn shop day 2015

yarn shop day dyeing

yarn shop dayCheck out the vibrant colours in this freshly dyed hank!

hand dyed yarn by Lazykate

Cathy and Christine (Winwick Mum)


In the afternoon we had a quick change around ready for designer and blogger Emma Varnam. She brought a whole host of cute, crocheted characters with her including the fabulous beach hut doorstop she made for Inside Crochet magazine.

yarn shop day 2015

Emma happily signed copies of her books – How to Crochet and Crocheted Keyrings and Charms, whilst giving tips on crocheting amigurumi toys.

yarn shop day 2015

yarn shop day 2015

yarn shop day 2015

Thank you to everyone who came along and supported Love Your Yarn Shop Day. We are already starting to think what we can do for 2016!

You can now watch our video montage over on our YouTube channel.

The Black Sheep Craft Barn 10 Day Sale!

Posted by Amy Dagger | Posted in Company News | Posted on 05-05-2015




Baskets at the ready folks, the Black Sheep Craft Barn 10 day sale starts this Friday at 9am. Prepartions are underway as I write this, Steve is making his final yarn list (some prices are being dropped up to 70%), packets are being priced ready to be piled into a giant yarn mountain aka ‘the yarn dive’ and  there will be needlecraft kits and fabric on special offer too!

Don’t forget the sale is only in store at the Craft Barn in Warrington. If you are after an amazing bargain online, browse our clearance section and be sure to sign up to our newsletter to stay up to date with all of our latest offers.

The sale is on from Friday 8th May until Sunday 17th May.