Christmas Jumper Day at the Craft Barn

Posted by Amy | Posted in Company News | Posted on 12-12-2017

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It’s that time of year again…..Save the Children Christmas Jumper Day is this Friday. As a little treat for anyone visiting the Craft Barn on Friday, we are having a lucky dip to help raise money for Save the Children charity. A £1 donation will get you one dip in our bag of goodies! See you Friday, lucky dip available while stocks last.

Arne and Carlos at Black Sheep Wools November 2017

Posted by Amy | Posted in Company News | Posted on 29-11-2017

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Last week we were very lucky to have the fabulous, Scandinavian design duo Arne and Carlos back at the Craft Barn. They taught a full day workshop, ‘A Master Class in Socks’, followed by a cosy evening talk all about their life designing, with an added sprinkle of festiveness.

Fabulous knitted baubles in Stylecraft Life DK yarn from Arne and Carlos book 55 Christmas Balls to Knit. Find more of the books from Arne and Carlos here.

The workshop had double the number of students an average full day workshop has 10-12. There was a cheerful mix of chatter and deep concentration. During the workshop everyone completed a mini sock in Regia Arne and Carlos 6ply yarn. Arne and Carlos taught the toe up method of sock knitting with a focus on the technique used for knitting an afterthought heel.

It wasn’t long before mini socks were knitted and a full size sock was whizzing along the needles. Here is a photo of designer and blogger Lynne Rowe testing her sock for size.

The room had been decorated with a festive hygge feel. Barbara unleashed her floristry expertise entwining garlands with ivy and fairy lights.

Once you start listening to Arne and Carlos, you are instantly swept away and enveloped by their cosy, or should I say ‘koselig’ Nordic lifestyle. Arne and Carlos shared that, ‘koselig’ is actually the Norwegian term to describe cosy and the Danish word ‘hygge’. The views from their lakeside home look magnificent, as Carlos flicked through the slides it was time for your mind to be transported and dream about the inspirational scenery they are surrounded by daily. One photo in particular was striking, a deep blue sky with an incredible full moon beaming down and lighting up a snow laden forest, the perfect weather for staying in, wrapping up warm and doing some knitting. Arne spoke about growing up in a traditional Norwegian village where he would knit by the fire place with 3 generations of his family – mother, grand-mother and great grand-mother.

Arne loves King Cole Tinsel. He couldn’t help but have a knitted i-cord on the go! Carlos on the other hand is not so much a fan.

Our lovely cake lady Sian was posed with the challenge of making traditional Scandinavian sweet treats. Carlos kindly assisted with a list of suggestions, Sian went for Cinnamon and Cardamom buns, they were a delight and got the seal of approval from Carlos. Along with a warm mug of Gluehwein everyone had a koselig evening.

At the end of the evening all members of staff had a group photo with Arne and Carlos. The end to a fabulous day!

For anyone who couldn’t make it to the Craft Barn to meet Arne and Carlos, be sure to watch their YouTube videos for inspiration. Grab a cuppa and enjoy delving into their creative world.

Scheepjes Day at the Craft Barn

Posted by Amy | Posted in Company News | Posted on 15-11-2017

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To celebrate being a Scheepjes stockist we have a treat for you. Haak Maar Raak blogger, Kirsten, designer of the Hygge CAL and Look What I Made blogger, Dedri Uys, designer of Sophie’s Universe blanket will be in store for the day. Come along and chat to the designers, squish Scheepjes yarn and discover Dedri’s latest kit. There will be goody bags (first 50 customers who spend £20 or more on Scheepjes), raffle prizes and more! See you Saturday.

Celebrations all round

Posted by Amy | Posted in Company News | Posted on 26-10-2017

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We couldn’t believe it when we heard the news. We have done sooo well in the Let’s Knit British Knitting & Crochet Awards 2017. Thank you to everyone who voted for us in all categories. It is fantastic to have such fabulous customers and for your continued support in all we do.

Thank you also to Emma Varnam and Sarah Hatton for joining us on Yarn Shop Day for a superb event. We are already excited to plan for next year! Check out how we did below.

  •  We came first place 
    – Best Local Independent Yarn Store – North of England (The Craft Barn)
    – Best Yarn Shop Day Experience
  •  2nd Place
    – Favourite Knitting Blog (this very blog!)
    – Best Crochet Store
  •  3rd Place
    – Best Online Shop

Sara wanted to say a few words in a little video to say thank you. Watch below!

Rowan Flagship Launch Day

Posted by Amy | Posted in Company News | Posted on 26-09-2017

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This Saturday we have an amazing event taking place in store. Open to everyone and free to attend! We will be hosting a special launch event to celebrate being THE Rowan Flagship store of the North of England. Two of Rowan’s finest designers, Martin Storey and Lisa Richardson will be with us for the day to share their passion and expertise. There will be lots going on in our Rowan area all day, Martin Storey & Lisa Richardson will be in store from 10am – 3pm!
There will be goody bags for the first 20 customers who spend £30 or more on Rowan, a charity raffle, glasses of bubbly and lots of yarn to squish and admire! This event is free to attend and will be taking place in the Craft Barn on Saturday 30th September 2017. We’d love you to join us.

 

 

Introducing A Spicier Life Crochet Along

Posted by Amy | Posted in Company News, Crochet | Posted on 14-09-2017

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Today we have exciting news to share. Do you remember the Spice of Life crochet along from 2015? If you do, then prepare yourself, something amazing is on its way. For those who don’t, hop on over to Instagram and search #spiceoflifecal or visit our Facebook group and you will see what all the fuss is about. We were all captivated by the original Spice of Life blanket, it’s hard to believe 2 years have gone by since it launched. It was a phenomenal success and is still continuing to be a popular make amongst all levels of crocheter today.

It is time to announce Spice of Life part two – A Spicier Life Crochet Along. We have once again teamed up with crochet super star Sandra Paul (Cherry Heart blogger) to bring you yet another fabulous crochet along project. Secret talks with Sandra have been going on since early 2017 and we are soooo happy to be able to share our news with you after all this time. Sandra has hand picked four colourways for this CAL. The original colourway in Debbie Rialto DK – Jaipur, with an alternative in Stylecraft Special DK – Jaipur. There are 2 more options both in Stylecraft Special DK – Taj Mahal and Bollywood. All of the colour packs are available to purchase on pre-order. Take a look here.

If you are joining in with A Spicier Life Crochet Along, don’t forget to use the hashtag #spicierlifecal on social media so we can see your progress. We have also set up a new Facebook group – A Spicier Life Crochet Along.

Before full details are released on Tuesday 19th September 2017, we caught up with Sandra to find out more about A Spicier Life Crochet Along. Read our natter with Sandra below.

How did the popularity of the Spice of Life CAL affect your world of crochet?

Well the whole experience was completely surprising in so many ways and the way it took off in the crochet world was the most amazing thing.  I really didn’t expect people to react so well to it and enjoy it so much, although of course, I’m so happy they did.  I ended up learning a lot from the experience which is always useful and it brought more attention in a way I’m not used to.  Luckily though the crochet world is a pretty kind and wonderful place and I got to meet some lovely people as a result of the CAL.

What is the inspiration behind ‘A Spicier Life’ crochet along blanket design?

I really wanted something that would relate to the original Spice of Life blanket and I still had plenty of ideas for stitch patterns that I would love to use, so in a way it all came together quite easily this time round.  The colours, my usual starting place for any project, were definitely influenced from the ‘spicy’ name of the original and I immediately starting thinking of what, for me, represent some more far off and exotic places in the world like India.  The imagery that I found captured that idea perfectly are also the reason behind the colours and names of the yarn packs.

There are so many gorgeous stitches in ‘A Spicier Life’, lots of texture and pattern, which is your favourite stitch?

I always find it hard to pick favourites, but I’m really enjoying the more textured stitches at the moment, so I like the Victory Puffs because they are so soft and I love the Bobbles for the little pops of colour.

What skill level is required for the Spicier Life CAL? Is it suitable for a beginner?

It really overlaps quite nicely with the Spice of Life on the skill level, starting with easy stitches and then working up to intermediate ones and then taking things a little further. I’ll be introducing some new stitches and even a few slightly more advanced ones.  I wouldn’t recommend this pattern to absolute beginners but anyone is confident with the basics and working back and forth in rows should be able to give it a go as there will be extra help to explain all the new stitch patterns.

How did you find the Debbie Bliss Rialto DK to work with?

An absolute joy!  It’s a wonderful to the touch, so soft and bouncy and it glides over the hook like a dream.  It’s also the perfect choice for a project like this as the merino means that any slight changes in tension as you work through the different stitch patterns can just be blocked out and disappear away at the end.

What other projects have you got on at the moment? We spotted you on the home page of Ravelry a couple of months back. That must have been exciting!

The Ravelry front page was a real surprise and I must admit, I felt quite honoured to be featured!  Just lately I’ve been catching up on some commission work, as it’s easier to fit a little crochet in than find computer time during the summer holidays, but hopefully I’ll be able to get back to writing up a few new patterns soon.

What is your creative process? Where do you enjoying working?

My process tend to vary depending on what project I’m making.  In an ideal world I like to make up samples to test out ideas and check I’m getting the look and feel that I’m after before I take things further but sometimes it’s a little more off the cuff than that.  I do like to keep a note book where I sketch out ideas though, sometimes my hook can’t keep up!

I spend most of my time up in my ‘Craft House’, a little space that I have at the end of the garden.  The reality is that a lot of my time is spend at the computer desk I have up there these days, but of course I’ve made sure I have a cozy corner for those special occasions when I do get to play with yarn.  It’s nice and near the window so I can take advantage of any sun.

Do you have any future crochet plans in the pipeline that you can share? A sneaky peek, perhaps?

I have a couple of projects using Batik DK that I’m having fun with at the moment and I’m looking forward to those coming out.  One is for a magazine feature and one will be on the blog in October, I can give you a little glimpse of those!

Cute Comfort Knits Book Party with Jem Weston

Posted by Amy | Posted in Company News | Posted on 01-09-2017

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Next Tuesday at the Craft Barn we are having a tea party in our fabulous Rowan area. Jem Weston will be stopping by at Black Sheep Wools on her book tour from 11am – 3pm. She is visiting various yarn shops (find more info on her blog) taking all of the cute creatures and accessories from her latest book – Cute Comfort Knits along for the ride. There will be tasty party nibbles and a glass of bubbly for everyone!

Jem’s latest book is an absolute delight. Page after page of enticing design, you will find your knitting to do list grow as you flick through the book. Thoughtfully styled photography will have you wanting to jump into the pages and be surrounded by all of the tactile knits. It would make a fantastic gift for a knitter, maybe with a few pages bookmarked of the items you would love 😉

 

 

Rowan Flagship Store

Posted by Amy | Posted in Company News | Posted on 27-07-2017

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Black Sheep Wools are proud to announce that our award winning Craft Barn in Warrington is now THE Rowan Flagship store of the North West. We have a dazzling display of all Rowan yarns and books nestled within the Craft Barn. Enjoy snuggling up on our sofa in the cosy corner and soak up inspiration for your next project. If you can’t make it to the Craft Barn, the good news is that all of the Rowan products can be found virtually on our website too.

Another new addition will be our instore Rowan Consultant, Melanie Boocock. Melanie has been a Rowan workshop tutor for many years and we are delighted that she has joined us as our Rowan Consultant.  Melanie will be in store two days a week – Wednesday’s and Saturday’s to advise and help with all your Rowan queries. If you have fallen in love with a Rowan yarn, but don’t know where to begin in finding the perfect pattern, Melanie is your lady. With exciting plans for drop in sessions and crochet support for the new crochet along, Melanie will always keep you up to date on all things Rowan. She has recently set up an Instagram account @rowanatblacksheep where you can take a peek at the delights in our Rowan area from a far. Keep an eye out for an interview with Melanie on the blog, coming soon.

New Rowan autumn winter yarns, shades and pattern books will be released in August and to celebrate we will be having a day celebrating over in the Rowan area. On Wednesday 23rd August enjoy a glass of Prosecco (while stocks last) while you peruse the delectable latest additions.

On 30th September we will be hosting a special launch event to celebrate becoming a Flagship store. Two of Rowan’s finest designers, Martin Storey and Lisa Richardson will join us for the day to share their passion and expertise. There will be goody bags for the first 20 customers, a charity raffle, glasses of bubbly, and lots of yarn to squish and admire! We’d love you to join us, pop the date in your diary today.

British Knitting & Crochet Awards 2017 – Nominations

Posted by Amy | Posted in Company News | Posted on 23-06-2017

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Super exciting news! We are very pleased to announce that we have been nominated in FIVE categories in the Let’s Knit British Knitting & Crochet Awards 2017. We are very grateful for everyone’s support so far to get us to this stage. It would make one happy flock of sheep if you voted for us to win. 😉 Plus, when you vote you are entered into a prize draw with prizes worth up to £750. Pop over to the Let’s Knit page to vote.
Voting closes on 30th August 2017.

British Knitting & Crochet Awards 2017 nominations –

  • Best Online Shop
  • Best Website
  • Best Crochet Store
  • Favourite Knitting Blog
  • Best Local Independent Yarn Store – North of England

Arne & Carlos Afternoon

Posted by Amy | Posted in Company News | Posted on 02-06-2017

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On Wednesday 14th June our favourite knitting duo Arne and Carlos will be back at the Craft Barn. After everyone had such a fabulously, fun day with them last year we were very, very excited when we got the call to say they were available in June. They will be teaching a workshop in the morning themed around their latest book – Field Guide to Knitted Birds. This is now fully booked, it sold out within 48 hours!


The good news is that they will be holding a mini lecture in the afternoon and doing a book signing too. The lecture will be from 2pm – 2.45pm and the book signing in store from 3pm – 4pm. Both of the afternoon events are free to attend with no need to book. The lecture will be held in our workshop room so we are restricted on numbers, it will be a first come first served basis. We look forward to seeing you there!