Finished Spicier Life Blankets

Posted by Amy | Posted in Crochet | Posted on 23-02-2018

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In September 2017 we launched the Spicier Life Crochet Along. This spectacular blanket was designed by crochet sensation, Sandra Paul, aka Cherry Heart. A Spicier Life blanket was a follow on blanket to the original Spice of Life. Sandra used new stitches in a sampler style with the idea that the two blankets will look harmonious displayed together. India was the inspiration for her design and rich, evocative colour palettes – Jaipur, Bollywood and Taj Mahal.

Spicier Life CAL Blankets | Black Sheep Wools | Cherry Heart

Whilst the CAL was running we set up A Spicier Life Crochet Along Facebook group, which now has almost 9,000 members. Soooo if everyone who is in the group has made at least one Spicier Life blanket……. that’s A LOT of blankets. It is safe to say, it is a very popular crochet along project. All of the patterns are still available via our website should your crochet hook be twitching with inspiration after reading this post.

We have gathered together a selection of Spicier Life blankets from the group, ones sent in by customers and staff. It is interesting to see whether people chose one of Sandra’s packs to make the blanket, with yarn from their stash or a colourway of their own.

If you do make a blanket and share it on social media make sure you include #spicierlifecal. It is always a treat to see new blankets popping up.

Black Sheep Lucy enjoyed making the blanket using Debbie Bliss Rialto DKJaipur colour pack with a few shade adjustments to match her living room. The yarn gives lovely stitch definition and is so springy.

Spicier Life CAL Blanket | Black Sheep Wools | Cherry Heart

We found this blanket in the group. A crocheter called, Valerie has used left over yarn from her first 2 Spicier Life blankets. Soft, pretty shades with subtle transitions.

Spicier Life CAL Blanket | Black Sheep Wools | Cherry Heart

Shades of green and purple in this blanket work so well together, this one is by Alexis.

Spicier Life CAL Blanket | Black Sheep Wools | Cherry Heart

Spotted this one on the group for its vibrant colour combination, by Louise. Made with various yarns from her stash.

Spicier Life CAL Blanket | Black Sheep Wools | Cherry Heart

A customer called Hazel has opted for one colour, made in Scheepjes Stonewashed XL. Using just one shade allows the texture to really shine through.

Spicier Life CAL Blanket | Black Sheep Wools | Cherry Heart

Sharon shared a photo of her Taj Mahal blanket in Stylecraft Special DK.

Spicier Life CAL Blanket | Black Sheep Wools | Cherry Heart

Steph has used a variety of tonal autumnal shades.

Spicier Life CAL Blanket | Black Sheep Wools | Cherry Heart

Lisa’s choice of pastels is so striking. All of these shades are Stylecraft Special DK.

Spicier Life CAL Blanket | Black Sheep Wools | Cherry Heart

Bold blocks of blues in this blanket by Susan.

Spicier Life CAL Blanket | Black Sheep Wools | Cherry Heart

Carol took a nice outdoor photo of her Bollywood Spicier Life blanket in Stylecraft Special DK.

Spicier Life CAL Blanket | Black Sheep Wools | Cherry Heart




Sophie’s Universe Blanket Complete

Posted by Sara Mulvey | Posted in Crochet, Sara's Blog | Posted on 13-02-2018

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Watch my crochet journey making the Sophie’s Universe blanket in Scheepjes Cotton 8. I really enjoyed making the blanket, using the Cotton 8 yarn for the first time and learning lots.

Sophie’s Universe was originally a crochet along project, designed by Dedri Uys.  The pattern is available on Dedri’s blog – Since the CAL was a huge success, Scheepjes decided to make the pattern into a book. The book is great to follow, with so much detail.

Progress report. It’s beginning to take shape.

Ta da! Take a look at my finished Sophie’s Universe blanket!

Sophie's Universe Blanket

It’s all about the Unicorn

Posted by Amy | Posted in Crochet | Posted on 09-02-2018

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If you have been shopping lately, chances are you will have spotted a unicorn or two. Not an actual mythical creature strutting along the high street, but a unicorn printed on clothing, stationary, toys and much more. I’m sure I’ve even seen a unicorn cake! Basically, they are quite popular, especially amongst children. This is what sparked our idea to create a crocheted unicorn poncho. A fun garment to wear or play dressing up in.

Unicorn Poncho

We asked friend of the Black Sheep, Yvonne France, to design an exclusive pattern for Black Sheep Wools. Yvonne is the brains behind the magnificent knitted mermaid tail. A whizz when it comes to knitting or crochet, we had no doubt Yvonne would come up with something fab.
Here it a magical, mystical, mythical unicorn poncho, with a fantastic multi-coloured mane of Stylecraft Merry go Round yarn in rainbow.

Unicorn Poncho

The poncho is sized to fit a child aged 6-10 years old. There are instructions included in the pattern on how to adjust the sizing should you wish to make the poncho bigger or smaller. Please be aware that additional yarn may be needed should you choose to make it bigger.

Unicorn Poncho

It is crocheted in Stylecraft Special Aran and then Stylecraft Merry go Round for the fringed mane. The kit is only available to buy from Black Sheep Wools and includes everything you need except crochet hooks and buttons. Don’t forget to add 4mm and 5mm hooks to your basket.


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!

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 Enjoy!

Tartan Crochet Cloth

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



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.


Digital Knitting & Crochet Patterns

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


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.


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.


A cute mermaid tail


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


Baby / children’s cardigan in Sirdar Snuggly Crofter Dk

Crochet Now Magazine

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



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.


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.


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.


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!