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.

 

Turkish Delight Bolster Crochet Along

Posted by Amy | Posted in Crochet, Free Patterns | Posted on 10-11-2016

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Is your crochet hook looking for a new challenge? Are you ready for a burst of rich colour to warm up autumn days? Well, you are in for a treat. We have teamed up with blogger and designer Heike Gittens from Made with Loops to bring you the Turkish Delight bolster crochet along. A four week project that will be complete in time for Christmas; whether you choose to gift the bolster or make it as a gift for your own home, there will still be plenty of time to catch up on your other festive makes before Christmas day.

turkish delight bolster crochet along
On 15th November the first pattern will be available to download from our website on the bolster CAL page. Each week there will be two strips to complete, with the fourth week consisting of joining and adding the finishing touch of  a gorgeous chunky tassel to adorn each end.
Heike has used Vinni’s Colour Nikkim to make the cushion. This a soft cotton yarn, which is hand dyed and balled in South Africa. The yarn offers a vast selection of colour, with over 80 shades in the range. The perfect choice for a crochet project such as this one. With so many colours to choose from it would be fun to create your own palette for the Turkish Delight bolster crochet along. Maybe a gradient of green or possibly a selection of pinks and purples? The options are endless! If you would prefer to go for a colour pack, we have two very different options to choose from. Heike’s original brights or the more subdued pastels pack.

turkish delight brights pack

turkish delight pastels pack

Take a look at this video to see just some of the shades of Vinni’s Colour Nikkim we stock!

Heike took inspiration for the Turkish Delight bolster design from her travels to North Africa and the Middle East. The abundance of colour and fantastic architecture she encountered whilst travelling has all accumulated to inspire this textured and vibrant design.

turksih delight bolster crochet along

Photograph: Heike Gittens

Heike visited the Craft Barn recently, so we took the opportunity to film a video introducing the turkish delight bolster crochet along. It is a good to see the scale of the bolster and start planning where it will live in your house when you make one too. Plus, Heike talks to Sara about more exciting projects coming up in 2017.

If you are going to be joining in with the crochet along we would love to see photos of your progress. Share them on social media with the hashtag #turkishdelightcal or tag Black Sheep Wools in a photo. If you aren’t on social media please send an email to social@blacksheepwools.com. Enjoy!

Tartan Crochet Cloth

Posted by Amy | Posted in Crochet, Free Patterns | Posted on 09-09-2016

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Recently we were treated to a pleasant afternoon chatting with Blogger and designer, Heike from Made with Loops. We spoke about lots of exciting crochet bits and bobs, including workshops for 2017, plus more top secret projects (watch this space) that will have to remain a secret for a little while longer. Heike is brimming with creative ideas so you will not be disappointed with what she has up her sleeve.  For now though I have something very beautiful to tempt your crochet hook, a tartan crochet cloth designed by Heike in Vinni’s Colour Nikkim. She wanted to emulate the design of vintage tea towels her mum and grandma used when she was a young girl. Heike has designed the cloth as a dish cloth, but we think it would make a fab wash cloth too. A versatile design that you can make your own with the colour combination you choose.
Find the free pattern for this tartan crochet cloth on Made with Loops blog.

tartan crochet cloth

Heike has chosen beautiful complimentary shades of Vinni’s Colour Nikkim.

tartan crochet cloth

If you are visiting the Craft Barn, keep an eye out for the dish cloths as they were be on display.

tartan crochet cloth

Cracking Crochet Charts Crafternoon

Posted by Amy | Posted in Company News, Crochet | Posted on 09-08-2016

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There are many crafters who love to crochet having learnt from videos, yet are unsure how to follow a crochet pattern or chart. Understanding the stitches and creating your first piece of crochet is such a joyous occasion. Once this part has been sussed you are off on a roll making lots of beautiful things with the crochet stitches. It can be when you look at a crochet pattern, or even chart that you are left a little flummoxed by all of the terminology or symbols. What do they all mean? Is this a stitch I already know? The answer is quite possibly yes, you do already know the stitch, it is just a matter of working out how the stitches work together and deciphering the puzzle of following a pattern.

On Wednesday 17th August from 2pm – 4pm we are holding a fun crafternoon ‘Cracking Crochet Charts’ at the Craft Barn. Come along with crochet hook in hand and learn how to follow a crochet chart with Black Sheep Stacey. She will be working through the ever popular Virus Shawl design by Woolpedia chart, showing just how addictive this pattern can be! The event is free to attend all you need to bring is a crochet hook and yarn suitable for the virus shawl. Take a look at some of the Virus shawls Stacey has made previously.

For those who can’t make it to the Craft Barn, we will be doing a video snippet and a blog post after the event.

virus_shawl_chart

Digital Knitting & Crochet Patterns

Posted by Amy | Posted in Crochet, Knitting | Posted on 01-06-2016

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Did you know that we sell digital patterns? Alongside hundreds of paper patterns, we now offer many patterns in a digital format, currently from the Sirdar, Hayfield and Sublime range. This means that you no longer have to wait for your chosen pattern to arrive in the post, or pay for postage when purchasing a digital pattern. The digital pattern is delivered directly to your email address and is also accessible via your Black Sheep Wools account, where it is saved for when you wish to view. From here you can download the pattern to your computer or device and print a copy or alternatively store it on your tablet.

Paper patterns can find a home in so many different places, when you are trying to locate one, guaranteed it’s not where you thought it would be. As knitters and crocheters we all pop a pattern leaflet in a book here, a folder there, in a knitting bag – the places really are endless. Now you can store all of your patterns clutter free and you know where to find them all saved as digital patterns.

If you search for a Sirdar pattern on our website, many will come up with two buying options, one for the paper pattern leaflet and the other for the digital pattern. From here you can click through and add the preferred pattern to your basket.

patterns_digital

We are continually adding new patterns to the website and more brands will be coming soon. Take a look below at some of the latest additions to our website.

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A cute mermaid tail

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A cardigan or vest in the cotton viscose blend of Sirdar Amalfi dk

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Baby / children’s cardigan in Sirdar Snuggly Crofter Dk

Crochet Now Magazine

Posted by Amy | Posted in Crochet | Posted on 23-03-2016

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Crochet Now magazine

There is a new craft magazine in town and this one is solely dedicated to one of our favourites – crochet. Crochet Now is the latest magazine to be launched by Practical Publishing. If you enjoy reading craft magazines then you may have previously perused their other popular titles including Knit Now and Quilt Now. Crochet is currently very much on trend in the crafting world and it seems like it is here to stay. A new magazine to add into the mix will only continue to encourage our crochet hooks to keep on hooking.

crochet now magazine bunnies

{Crochet Bunnies by Irene Strange | Issue 1}

crochet now magazine mandalas

{Mandalas by Isabella Garramone | Issue 1}

On first look Crochet Now magazine has everything a crochet enthusiast or beginner could wish for. The layout is fresh, with interesting articles and tempting patterns. The patterns are laid out in an easy to follow style with all the important bits (i.e. hook size, yarn etc) clearly shown. There are handy how to guides of all the basic stitches and a helpful abbreviation chart. It is full of interesting articles and lots of useful tips too. A feature that I will look forward to reading is a monthly ‘Yarn Stash Diaries’ column from designer Lynne Rowe. Any suggestions on what to make with all those yarny odds and ends is always gratefully received. All in all it looks like a great crochet magazine. Issue 1 is on sale in newsagents and supermarkets in the UK tomorrow.

To find out a bit more about what to expect I sent Editor, Hugh Metcalf a couple of questions. Take a look at what he has to say below, plus a few exclusive pics!

crochet now editor hugh

What can we expect to find in an issue of Crochet Now?
We spent a lot of time asking crocheters what they were really looking for in a magazine and, of course, it mostly came down to the patterns. We’ve really focused on the areas that crocheters really love – beautiful blankets, adorable toys, accessories and quick gift ideas.

Along with that, we’ve planned each issue to be filled with expert guides, all the news on the latest yarns, events and trends, as well as working with top designers.

In the first year of Crochet Now, you’ll find an exclusive new crochet along with Jane Crowfoot – the designer behind Stylecraft’s popular crochet alongs such as Frida’s Flowers – and it’s looking to be another gorgeous design.

Can any level of crocheter pick up a copy of the magazine?
The magazine is super beginner friendly – not only does each issue have a complete step-by-step guide to what we think are the real essentials, we’ve also filled the pages with a range of patterns that’ll be enjoyable for all levels. We’ve also got more challenging makes like Kat Goldin’s pretty lace cardigan in issue 1, as well as technique guides for more advanced crocheters looking for little fixes to make their crocheting life easier.

crochet_now_cardigan

Issue 1, which is on sale from the 24th March, also comes with an exclusive extra magazine specifically aimed at beginners. Most of us at the magazine learned to crochet with a granny square, so we wanted to help newcomers to get started the same way we did. Learn to Crochet with Granny Squares walks you through the first stitch, to the first square all the way to a finish blanket, with some extra clever ideas for using the squares too.

crochet_supplement

What treats do you have in store for future issues? Can you share any secrets?
Each issue comes with a great free gift – including yarn kits designed by some of my personal favourite crocheters. Issue 2 comes with an adorable teddy bear to make by Irene Strange, so if you’ve not tried amigurumi before, it’s your perfect opportunity to give it a go.

Everyday our design team are sending in finished projects – so today’s inbox was filled with an amazingly colourful corner to corner blanket, something spectacular pineapple-inspired patterns and an extremely cute hedgehog!

Do you like to do any crafting? If so, do you have any pics to share?

I’m more of a toy maker myself, and I think once you’ve made the jump into making crochet toys you’ll never look back. They’re fun, quick and totally satisfying – so for those looking to transition from their first project into toys, I designed this little Block Bunny – made using granny squares. You can get this pattern in issue 1, or for free by taking a look at our digital sampler here.

block_bunny

However, I also made a hat for issue 1. Super simple, but showcasing a bright, beautiful Debbie Bliss yarn with a fun pom pom on top!

beret

Annaboo’s House Summer Crochet Free Patterns

Posted by Amy | Posted in Crochet, Free Patterns | Posted on 10-06-2015

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Last month we shared a special guest blog post from talented blogger – Annaboo’s House. You may remember she mentioned a ‘secret’ and exclusive summer project she had designed just for us. Well, the time has come to unveil these beauties. Sarah (aka Annaboo’s House) has come up with three co-ordinating summer accessories – a beach bag, sunglasses case and tablet cosy, all crocheted in a rainbow of Rico Creative Cotton Aran yarn. To make all three items you will need 14 balls of yarn, that’s one shade of each colour. Imagine all of the different colour combinations you could create with this project! Share your pics with us #bswsummer, we would love to see what you choose.

All patterns can be downloaded for free from our free patterns page.

annaboo's house beach bag

Choose from a variety of colours for the faux leather bag handles too.

annaboo's house tablet & sunglasses case

Afternoon Tea with Jane Crowfoot

Posted by Amy | 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

tea_time

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

afternoon_tea

Only the best cups and saucers for Afternoon Tea

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Jacky wearing her scarf crocheted in King Cole Opium Palette

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

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

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

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Check out the amazing base of the bag

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

 

 

 

Free Christmas crochet patterns

Posted by Amy | Posted in Creative Christmas, Crochet, Free Patterns | Posted on 14-11-2014

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Free Christmas crochet patterns, now that sounds like quite the tongue twister. We asked two fabulous crochet bloggers to create Christmas patterns for us to share. We all love a free download, and with Christmas in mind it seemed like the perfect excuse. What a delightful combination ‘Christmas’ and ‘crochet’. Both bloggers kindly accepted the challenge.

Annaboo’s House blogger Sarah has designed a funky Christmas tree. The tree is made from Rico Creative Cotton Aran, which is a favourite amongst many crocheters. Hop on over to Annaboo’s House blog and you will also spot an exclusive discount code for the yarn.
The bell detail on top adds a fun element to the tree, along with the stripes it is like a little character in itself. Maybe add a smiley face or even decorations! Please do share any photos of your version of Annaboo’s House tree.

Annaboo's house christmas tree

Greedy For Colour blogger Kate has made the most adorable, teeny, tiny advent caravans. She has used two different yarns – DMC Natura Just Cotton and Twilleys Goldfingering to adorn the caravans. If you are already a follower of the Greedy For Colour blog then you may recognise that the mini caravans have been inspired by Kate’s amazing vintage crochet caravan, which is a magnificent work of art. As Christmas falls during summer in New Zealand and many people are off on their holiday; Kate thought that caravans were an appropriate decoration for a Christmas tree packed full to the brim with treats, as are many real caravans around the festive period.
The advent caravan pattern is no exception, featuring little details such as wheels and a door.

advent caravan

caravan4

If these free patterns have inspired you to get crafty this Christmas, then please share away and enter our Christmas competition, with the hashtag #BSWcreativechristmas. We would love to see your entries for this year’s #BSWcreativechristmas.

How to Crochet Videos

Posted by Amy | Posted in Crochet, How to....... | Posted on 01-08-2014

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Do you know how to crochet? Would you like to learn? We have just the thing for you – crochet videos! The lovely people at Rowan have kindly given us access to their crochet video tutorials. There is everything you need from the very basics – holding your yarn and hook, a double crochet stitch, to more focussed  how to guides such as amigurumi. They aren’t just for beginners though, they are also really informative for those who know how to crochet too. Having a useful resource like this gives you that boost of confidence when you need to confirm whether you are doing the correct stitch. Sometimes, if you haven’t picked up your crochet hook for a while, you need a quick refresh on a double crochet and a treble crochet. I know I do!

Find all of the how to crochet videos over on our website.

how to crochet