Positive Vibes This Way Please

Posted by Sara Mulvey | Posted in Sara's Blog | Posted on 20-08-2014


Ok I need you all to say a little prayer or send some positive thoughts my way please. The last email from my solicitor says that they are all hoping to request funds and complete our sale on Friday. Fingers crossed this happens. I’m not sure I can cope with the stress much longer. We were sitting eating dinner last Sunday and Matt said ‘This could be our last Sunday dinner in this house’. Madeleine pointed out he had said this the week before!

I am finding it impossible to settle at anything whilst all this is going on. I only had one project that hadn’t been packed away last week, well now I have three. How on earth does that happen! If I don’t move soon I will be drowning in WIPS!


I am still knitting my Rowan Martin Storey Afghan Knitalong. The longer I spend on it the more difficult it is to embrace it. I only have ten squares to go and was hoping to have it all finished by the time I go to the Harrogate Quilt Show next week. I am away for three nights and this is the perfect time to block it and sew it all up. I have just worked out that if I knit every night that is only 1.1 squares a night – that has to be do-able right?

I am also crocheting a cowl in Sirdar Smiley Stripes. This isn’t a yarn I would usually go for, I thought it was just for babies. However one of the ladies in ‘Yarn in the Barn’ was using it and it was so gorgeous I fell in love instantly. The pattern is an exclusive free download that one of my favourite crocheters, Emma Varnam has done for us. Emma is the author of the ‘How to Crochet’ book and always has lots of designs in the crochet magazines. She is also a delight to work with, so expect to see more of her work from us in the future. I fell in love with the cowl so much that I finished one last week, put that on display in the Craft Barn and started another straight away.


My third is a cuddly blanket for Digger Dog. My boisterous puppy has become an old man. He was 11 at the beginning of August and it’s beginning to show. He has a totally white nose and is slowing down a bit. He has taken to sleeping on my navy blue sofa and I don’t have the heart to move him. (It takes him ages to get off anyway) so a crocheting I will go.


I am using a pattern from the ‘Crochet Designs’ book by Lucinda Guy. It’s a lovely wave blanket and I’m using the James C Brett Chunky Merino. The muted colour palette makes it a perfect choice.

So these are my three projects for this week, can you see why I really do need more hours in the day!

Catch up soon


Louisa Harding Noema Cardigan – #TryitTuesday

Posted by Amy Dagger | Posted in #TryitTuesday | Posted on 19-08-2014



#TryitTuesday has come whirling around again. The autumn season is slowly but surely creeping up on us. Talking of autumn, it sure has felt like it the past few days. The wind and rain have certainly been a change from the glorious summer weather we were treated to a couple of weeks back. Whilst it is still technically summer I thought it would be nice to squeeze just a few more summer garments out before the wintery ones take a hold. There will be some lovely winter warmers coming your way!

This week we have a cardigan knitted in Louisa Harding Noema. The cardigan can be found in the book Noema and is called Azurine.


I tried on the cardigan over a white t-shirt.


Barbara opted for a black vest top.


And Lesley tried on Azurine with a white vest top.

Create Your Own Unique Colour Workshop

Posted by Amy Dagger | Posted in Company News, Sewing | Posted on 18-08-2014


Barbara is taking over today’s blog post. She has written a lovely piece about her day on the Amy Butler Create your own unique colour workshop at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham. Barbara is a team leader in the Craft Barn and can offer expert advice on all things crochet, knitting and her favourite passion – patchwork and quilting.

“I jumped at the chance to spend the day with Amy Butler on her Create your own unique colour workshop at the NEC in Birmingham on 6th August. Amidst the chaos of the eve of the Festival of Quilts, with all the noise, hustle and bustle of busy crews setting up for the show was a small classroom of absolute contrast. Our classroom was one of perfect tranquillity as we got swept away in a sea of colour and pattern to create our own colour collages. We began with Amy’s wonderful, inspirational talk and slideshow of her own journey, capturing images from all over the world of people, places, textures, patterns and colour that have inspired her to create her lovely designs. It was a real treat to listen to Amy talk about getting inspiration from all around and inspiring others to do the same.

amy_designsAmy Butler’s new designs and fabrics

We were asked to bring a selection of fabric, ribbons, colour charts, images and any bits and bobs of interesting ephemera to use in our collages. There was also a table packed with the same, for us to choose from, this was a real treat on the eye with all the amazing colours and patterns.



moodboard_bits2Once we had made our choices we began to assemble our collages, which involved a lot of cutting out and sticking down, as you can imagine this was fun!

barbaraAmy was on hand to give guidance for anyone who needed it and chatted at length with all the members of the group. It was amazing to see everyone’s collages evolving throughout the day and I think everyone went away very happy with what they achieved, I know I did. I definitely recommend that everybody should spend a bit of time exploring different colours and patterns to create their own unique colour story it is a lovely way to ignite your creative fire. It really was a great day and I met some lovely ladies, so thank you to Amy for sharing.”

barbara_mood_board2Barbara’s finished mood boards

barbara_mood_board1Everyone who attended the day with their completed colour stories

groupEveryone came away with a beautiful jelly roll of fabric, a note pad, pen and Amy Butler pattern.


The shows are coming!

Posted by Sara Mulvey | Posted in Sara's Blog | Posted on 15-08-2014


Ok let’s get the really boring bit out of the way first. I still haven’t moved house and don’t know when it will be. Once again it’s fingers crossed for next week.

Now on to more fun stuff. Mike & I have spent this morning going through the display garments for the shows. That can only mean one thing, summer is nearly over. Our first show, the Harrogate Quilt Show is in two weeks which is kind of scary. As a company we always approach the summer with a huge to do list. The shows stop for four months and it gives us all a bit of breathing space. However as we move through August we now realise that we haven’t really crossed much off it.

My big task for the summer was to learn to sew, it started off well but I haven’t really progressed as I’d hope. It’s so frustrating to as we have so much beautiful fabric in stock and gorgeous patterns. There needs to be more hours in the day.

I chose a gorgeous new cowl project on Tuesday. Hopefully I will finish it off tonight and be able to show it to you this week. It’s in the gorgeous ‘Smiley Stripes’ from Sirdar. You will love it, so keep your eyes peeled.


Sara x

Delayed House Move!

Posted by Sara Mulvey | Posted in Sara's Blog | Posted on 13-08-2014



I apologise if my newsletters are getting a bit boring at the moment. I know I keep mentioning my house move but honestly it is ruling my life! I guess you don’t need to know the ins and outs but the upshot is that it has now been delayed for a further couple of weeks. I am climbing the walls and driving Matt mad. I am a control freak and I cannot stand this not working out to my timescale. Don’t they realise that I have packed away all my stash and am having to work on one project ALL the time!

I think the only thing for it is to start something new, and that’s a whole new different dilemma. What is it going to be, maybe a new cowl or scarf to wear at the Autumn craft shows. Leave it with me and I’ll share my choice with you next week.


Sara x

King Cole Opium Cardigan – #TryitTuesday

Posted by Amy Dagger | Posted in #TryitTuesday | Posted on 12-08-2014



It is the turn of King Cole for this weeks #TryitTuesday. Three of the Black Sheep ladies have been trying on a cardigan knitted in the ever so popular King Cole Opium yarn. The shade shown in the photos is 194 pebble, a nice cover up for summer. Many customers have given excellent feedback after using this yarn and have gone on to knit further garments. What do you think? Would you knit this cardigan? There are many other patterns to choose from knitted in the King Cole Opium including different cardigans, tops and a wrap.

Lesley was first up to try the cardigan on.


Followed by Sophie.


And Ellie.


How to Knit Videos

Posted by Amy Dagger | Posted in How to....... | Posted on 11-08-2014


Do you know how to knit? Would you like to learn how to do mattress stitch or even find out to rectify those dropped stitches? We have just the video tutorials for you, courtesy of the lovely people at Rowan yarns. Last week we shared the crochet videos and this week we have the knitting alternative. These handy videos are all in one place on our website, so next time you pick up your knitting and stumble across a problem, be ready to go to our knitting videos page for help.


Blogger of the month – July 2014

Posted by Amy Dagger | Posted in Blogger of the Month | Posted on 08-08-2014



Drum roll please…………. and the winner of Black Sheep Wools July 2014 blogger of the month is ‘Just Pootling‘. Congratulations to Kate who is the author of the creatively crafty blog. As the winner of blogger of the month Kate has won a £25 gift card to spend on goodies to create even more fabulous projects. If you are a blogger or read a knitting, crochet or stitching blog we would love to hear from you, fill out our nomination page today.

Kate soon replied with her answers to the blogger questions and sent over lots and lots of lovely photos too. Read all about Kate and her blog Just Pootling below.


Here is Kate


How long have you been blogging ?

I began blogging just over a year ago, when I set up my Just Pootling blog. I have loved everything about my first year of blogging, from sitting at the kitchen table setting up my blog template, to writing each and every one of my posts over the year.

Who taught you to crochet?

I taught myself to crochet a couple of years ago by watching clips on You Tube. The pause button was certainly used a lot but it was definitely a case of mind over matter and a sheer determination to get the hang of it. I haven’t looked back since!

Do you follow other blogs?

It was just after learning to crochet that I discovered the big wide world of crafty crochet blogs. Since then I have made so many brilliant bloggy friends, and taken so much inspiration from so many other crochet addicts and knitty-holics.
Over the year I have had so many encouraging messages from so many different people and each message, more often than not, has led me to discover more and more wonderful blogs to follow, with projects to be shared, stories to be told and a multitude of beautiful photos to feast upon. It’s so hard to pick my favourites because I follow so many blogs that are all unique and individual, but off the top of my head I would have to say that for crochet I adore Jules’ work on Little Woollie – I love everything she creates as each new piece is beautifully bright and colourful and so modern. For knitting it would have to be Julies blog Little Cotton Rabbits. I am quite in awe of everything that Julie makes, her work is utterly gorgeous, so precise and perfect, and again entirely unique to Julie.

What is your latest WIP?

Ah, now there’s a question! Where do I begin?
I am a true crochet addict in every sense and consequently always have several things on the go at any one time. However I know that I am not alone in this as it would seem to be a very common condition with all yarn lovers !
I have just finished off a couple of quick little projects, firstly some cushions for the chairs in my shady crochet corner in the garden,






and secondly a little string of daisy chain bunting, made with the wool left over from my cushions.



What is your favourite item to crochet?

Blankets are, without a doubt, my favourite thing to crochet and I always have one on the go. I’m not sure how many I have made since starting to crochet a couple of years ago but it’s fair to say our house is full of them, as is our caravan and all our pets beds.


For our home I like to choose muted taupes and creams,


But for our caravan I have really enjoyed working with a bit more colour.


I have had so much fun creating our own little cosy cottage on wheels.


Who do you crochet for?

Pretty much all my friends and family have blankets that I have made for them. They have been of all shapes and sizes, but I think my favourites have to be the ones I have made for my three daughters for when they have all left home.



Beth’s came first when she headed off to Uni,


closely followed by Megs when she moved into her new home.

I’m currently busying myself getting Immi’s blanket finished in time for September when she leaves home to start at Surrey Uni.


It’s quite a bit bigger than this now and I’m nearly at my favourite bit  which is adding the border. I’m thinking that for this I’m going to use one of my most favourite yarns, Sublime Extra Fine Merino DK, in cream, and that the final row of the border is almost certainly going to have to be bobbly.

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

Whilst I love having several different things on the go at any one time there have been a number of occasions where I’ve gone back to a project and suddenly realised I have no idea what number hook, shade of yarn or pattern I was working with.

My top tip for this?


Luggage tags! Now, whenever I start something new, I tie a label onto the corner with all the crucial details written on it.


Problem solved!


And there you have it, a quick whizz around my little world of blogging and all things crochet. I adore them both.


And so I’m off for an appointment with my sofa and my crochet hook. If you fancy a little peek into my world pop over for a quick pootle when you have a minute. The kettle’s on and you’re always welcome.



Staff knitting & stitching projects

Posted by Amy Dagger | Posted in Staff Projects | Posted on 06-08-2014

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Since the fabric arrived in store Yvonne has been choosing colour combinations and experimenting putting various bolts of fabric together. It wasn’t going to be long before we saw her first sewing project in the Coats fabric. Not only is she an avid knitter and crocheter she also loves to sew and is one talented lady. Having two young grandchildren she has ready made models who are love to dress up in the outfits she makes, whether they are knitted or sewn.

Yvonne brought this adorable summer outfit in to display in the shop before she gave it to her granddaughter Isla. The fabric is by Tina Givens from the Riddles & Rhymes collection – Giraffe Fun.


Look at the hat with the bow at the back, such a pretty sun hat for a little girl. Yvonne did use a sewing pattern, but also made quite a few tweaks here and there. It wouldn’t be Yvonne without a little pattern customization.


On to another talented lady – Janet. Janet has been both knitting and stitching of late. Both designs are her own.

First up is a stole she made for her friend’s ordination. To celebrate him becoming a priest Janet wanted to make something special. And this something special turned out to be an intricate cross stitch design. Not having a chart of either designs Janet made her own from a drawing and photograph, which she then transferred to squared paper acting as the chart.



Take a look at all of the immaculate stitching and shading.


The second project Janet has been knitting  is a striped bag in Debbie Bliss Luxury Silk Dk. This time round she has been knitting with beads and hand sewing a lining. The little speckles you can see on the bag are the Debbie Abrahams beads.


Janet opted for a Kaffe Fassett design fabric called Paperweight – Sludge. It works really well the yarn choice and lining the straps has helped to give the bag more structure.


A while back now Sara knitted a lovely Lacy Linen Snood in Rowan Creative Linen. We now have this project available to buy as a kit. This would make a great gift.


Debbie Bliss Rialto Lace Tie Front Cardigan – #TryitTuesday

Posted by Amy Dagger | Posted in #TryitTuesday | Posted on 05-08-2014



We are feeling summery once again for #trytitTuesday. Why not hey? It is August after all, and there is still plenty of time to knit a garment or even two to be worn while the sun is still shining. Are you taking a project on holiday to knit or crochet? Send in photos to amy@blacksheepwools.com or share a photo of you knitting on social media. Remember to include #bswsummer in your post.

This week we have been trying on a tie front cardigan knitted in Debbie Bliss Rialto Lace. The cardigan is so light be wear and is the ideal cover up for a summer’s day. It would fold up small, which is perfect for travelling or fitting in your bag on a day out. The cardigan can be found in amongst many delicate knits in the book Rialto Lace by Debbie Bliss.

One cardigan and three Black Sheep ladies. Here is Ellie trying on the lemon cardigan. The lemon really suits her blonde hair.

debbie bliss rialto lace cardigan

Next up is Lesley. The sunshine lemon shade and style of cardigan really suits her.

debbie bliss rialto lace cardigan

And finally me. Not sure about the lemon shade with my pale skin. Think a different colour would work better.

debbie bliss rialto lace