Decorating an Easter Tree

Posted by Amy | Posted in Free Patterns | Posted on 05-04-2017

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An Easter tree is something I hadn’t heard of until very recently. A Christmas tree, yes, but not an Easter tree? The tradition for an Easter Egg tree originates in Germany, it is known as Ostereierbaum (Easter egg tree)Traditionally branches of trees and bushes outdoors are decorated with beautiful egg creations, with branches being brought indoors to display eggs too. It really is a bright and colourful affair with so many designs and patterns adorning the eggs. Take a look at the photo below and you can see what I mean. Our tree looks a bit sparse when you see this one!

In recent years many crafty variations of Easter trees have sprung up on blogs and  Pinterest alike. In particular knitted and crochet decoration designs. To celebrate Easter this year we wanted to have our own Easter tree in the Craft Barn, so I set about on the hunt for some ornament patterns. These projects all make fantastic stash busters too. There is something quite intriguing about bringing all of your oddments together and seeing the unusual colour combinations clash or compliment, yet somehow work. If you are after more co-ordination and a colour theme tying all of your ornaments together then why not try a cotton yarn such as Rico Essentials Cotton Dk or Stylecraft Classique Cotton Dk. Lots of colour choice and all in 50g balls too.

First up are the sweet little Easter eggs I found on In the Yarn Garden blog, a crocheted design that you can go to town with colour. Use one for the front, one for the back and one for joining. Mix and match your colours and make lots of variations.

I spotted this Birdie Decoration on Attic24 blog. Lucy has designed this crocheted bird which looks fab with added buttons and beads to finish.

Sardines for Tea have designed the cutest range of Easter bags and baskets for their knitted characters to carry their Easter eggs. This free pattern is available here. For more info visit Sardines for Tea Facebook page.

We don’t have these on our tree, but here are a couple more ideas for your Easter tree.

Purl Soho Easter Egg Ornament

Little Cotton Rabbits Easter Egg Decoration

Here is our tree full of lots of colourful decorations. You don’t necessarily need a tree, just a few loose branches grouped in a vase would work for a more rustic feel. If you are popping into the Craft Barn from now until Easter you will find the tree on display in store. Thanks to our very speedy knitter (and crocheter) Sue for making these ornaments in record breaking time. A selection of Stylecraft oddments have been used including Batik Dk and Special Dk.

If you make an Easter tree of your own please share away on social media. Tag @blacksheepwools and use the hashtag #blacksheepwools.

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

Cable Wrist Warmers – Free pattern

Posted by Amy | Posted in Free Patterns | Posted on 07-01-2016

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Happy New Year everyone! With winter very much set in place for the next couple of months here in the UK, we have got to thinking about cosy winter accessories. Hats, snoods, scarves and mittens all spring to mind, knitted in warm and woolly yarns to keep you snug during the cold months.

Yvonne has been getting creative with cables. Her knitting needles haven’t stopped of late; the ideas have just kept on flowing. That is in between making an amazing jumper here and a teepee there. Take a look at our staff projects blog post for photos. A pair of snuggly wrist warmers are a nice project to make whilst the weather is still cold and you are waiting patiently for new spring / summer yarns to arrive.

cable wrist warmers - free pattern

Cable Wrist Warmers

You Will Need

  • 2 balls Noro Kama
  • 1 pair 5.5mm knitting needles
  • Stitch holder
  • Cable needle

ABREVIATIONS

C4B – slip next 2st onto CN to back of work, knit next 2st, knit 2st from CN
C4F – slip next 2st onto CN to front of work, knit next 2st, knit 2st from CN
T3B – slip next st onto CN to back of work, knit next 2st, P1 from CN
T3F – slip next 2st onto CN to front of work, P1 knit 2st from CN

Moss stRow 1 K1, P1
                 Row 2 P1, K1

This st pattern forms moss st. Use for complete rows or stitches as stated.

PATTERN

Cast on 30sts.

Row 1 – 4 Moss st
Row 5 & 6 Moss st increase 1 stitch at each end of rows
Row 7 P2 *K2, P2* rep *to* to end
Row 8 K2 *P2, K2* rep *to* to end
Row 9 P1, T3B, P2 *T3F, T3B, P2* rep *to* to last 5st, T3F, P1
Row 10 K1, P2, K4 *P4, K2* rep *to* to last 3st, P2, K1
Row 11 P1, K2, P4 *C4F, P4* rep *to* to last 3st, K2, P1
Row 12 K1, P2 *K4, P4* rep *to* to last 3st, P2, K1
Row 13 P1, T3F, P2 *T3B, T3F, P2* rep *to* to last 3st, T3B, P1
Row 14 K2 *P2, K2* rep *to* to end
Row 15 P2, T3F *T3B, T3F, P2* rep *to* to end
Row 16 K3, P4 * K4, P4* to last 3st, K3
Row 17 P3 *C4B, P4* rep *to* to last 3st, put these on a stitch holder, cast on 3st
Row 18 K3 *P4, K4* rep *to* to last 3st put these on a stitch holder, cast on 3st
Row 19 P2 *T3B, T3F, P2* rep *to* to end
Row 20 *K2, P2* rep *to* to end
Row 21 – 28 As row 9 – 16
Row 29 P3 *C4B, P4* rep *to* to last 3st, P3
Row 30 K3 *P4, K4* rep *to* to last 3st, K3
Row 31 As row 19
Row 32 As row 20
Row 33 – 37 Moss st

Cast off in moss st

THUMB

RS facing, pick up 3st from cast on, 3st from both stitch holders, 3st from cast on = 12sts

Row 1 – 9 Moss st

Cast off in moss st

Mermaid Tail Knitting Pattern

Posted by Amy | Posted in Free Patterns | Posted on 18-11-2015

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Yvonne is quite the expert when it comes to knitting, she loves a challenge and can often be found fixing many a knitting problem. Whether it is for staff or a customer, she won’t be beaten. In the shop you hear about all sorts of unusual patterns customers are knitting. The type of patterns you will discover whilst pinning away on Pinterest. Recently a lady got chatting to Yvonne about a crocheted mermaid tail she had spotted online. Yvonne’s immediate thoughts were a knitted mermaid tail. With her creative juices flowing and her knitting needles clicking Yvonne got to working on a fabulous knitted mermaid tail. Once she had finalised the stitch pattern she was off!

mermaid_tail_close_up

The tail is designed so that a child can snuggle in all the way up to under their arms. Yvonne has created the pattern so that you can adjust it accordingly for the size you require.

Lesley and Jayne have enjoyed modelling the tail for photographs. This tail measures 110cm long, with the width at the top 50cm when the tail is laid flat with back pieces together.

mermaid_tail_lesley

Here is the reverse side of the blanket with a slit to easily get in and out.

mermaid_tail_reverse

Download the PDF pattern from our free patterns page.

Mermaid Tail Knitting Pattern

By Yvonne from Black Sheep Wools

You will need

6mm, 80cm circular needle
A – 3 balls Stylecraft Special Chunky – shade 1422 (Aspen)
B – 3 balls Stylecraft Special Chunky – shade 1062 (Teal)
C – 2 balls King Cole Cosmos – shade 1100

Buy the mermaid tail yarn pack here.

Abbreviations

K – knit
P – purl
Sl – Slip Stitch
K2tog – knit 2 stitches together
Twist yarn – Pick up yarn A and bring under yarn B before knitting the stitch

Cast on 129sts in A using 6mm circular needle.
Knit 7 rows. (knitting back and to, not in the round)

Pattern worked over 12 rows as follows –

1) K5 in A, K7 in B *sl, k7* rep *to* to last 5sts, k5 in A (using 2nd ball of yarn A). Twist yarn to prevent hole.
2) K5 in A, p7 in B *sl, p7* rep *to* to last 5sts, k5 in A.
3+4) As rows 1 & 2.
5+6) K5 in A, K yarns A+C together to last 5sts, k5 in A.
7) K5 in A, k3 in B *sl, k7* rep to last 8sts, k3 in B, k5 in A.
8) K5 in A, p3 in B *sl, p7* rep to last 8sts, p3 in B, k5 in A.
9) +10) As rows 7 & 8.
11) +12) As row 5 & 6.

You must now consider the length you require (continue in full 12 row pattern sets) until you have length required, ending in row 12.
This section = top of blanket to back of knee.

Work rows 1 – 10 from pattern.

Next row k5 in A working yarns A+C together, k2tog. *k3, k2tog, k1, k2tog* rep *to* to last 10sts, k3, k2tog. K5 in A. (99 sts)

Next row as row 12.

Continue in pattern rows 1 – 4 (K5 in between slip stitch, not k7).
Next 4 rows of pattern dec 1st at each end of each row, this will reduce border to 1st each end. (91sts)

Changing to knitting in the round.
Row 1 – 5 k and 7 – 11 k. Row 6 &12 p.

Next row as row 5 of patt to last st (sts are now on circular needle). Join by k2tog (last and 1st st) (90sts). Place a stitch marker at this point.

Next row p to maintain pattern as now working on circular needles.

Continue in patt row 1 – 12.

At this point the length can be adjusted here. Measure the length required from knee to ankle.

When length is reached we need to return to 6mm needles for the tail.

Tail

Working in A+C together.
Returning to 6mm needles starting from stitch marker.

K2, p2, rib for 22sts. P1, turn.
Increase in 1st st. Rib for a further 45sts (46sts).

Place remaining stitches on stitch holder.

Working on 46sts rib for 27 rows. Increase at each end of every row (100sts).

*Rib 50sts, place them on a stitch holder. Continue on remaining st by casting off 2st at centre rib to end.

Work 4 rows dec 1st at centre edge whilst increasing 1st at side edge (48sts).

Continue decrease 1st at centre edge whilst keeping side edge straight for 8 rows (40sts).

Cast off in rib.*

Working on 50sts from holder rep reversing shapings from *to*. This completes the back half of the tail.

Repeat all the above on 50sts on holder to complete front of tail.

Stitch tail together.

mermaid_tail_jayne

Jayne couldn’t resist having a lie down, snuggled up in the mermaid tail after a long day in the tea shop yesterday.

If you make your own tail please share photos with us either on social media or email amy@blacksheepwools.com. Find a downloadable verison of the pattern on our free patterns page.

Knit & Crochet Pumpkins

Posted by Amy | Posted in Free Patterns | Posted on 16-10-2015

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With Halloween a couple of weeks away we have been pottering about the internet (mainly being taken in by the wonders of Pinterest) for a variety of pumpkin themed knit and crochet creations. These are quick little makes that you can have made up in no time at all. Simply pick a shade of orange using our yarn shade selection on the website in the appropriate yarn thickness and away you go!

The first Halloween item is a knitted baby hat spotted on Let’s Knit magazine website.

pumpkin_baby hat

Next up we have a crocheted treat bowl pattern by One Sheepish Girl.

pumpkin treat bowl by One Sheepish Girl

How about a crocheted pumpkin ornament? It would make a great paper weight or perhaps a doorstop, depending on the size! This one has been designed by Janene Renee and can be found on her blog.

crochet_pumpkin

A second pumpkin hat, but this time crocheted. We found this one on bowtiesfezzes.com.

Image frrom bowtiesfezzes.com (Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset)

This knitted pumpkin, is a pumpkin themed bear. He is from the GMC book ‘Knit-a-Bear’. This chap is a free download on our free patterns page. A handy tip would be to filter it down to Toys and Teddy Bears to narrow down your search.

pumpkin from knit-a-bear

pumpkin from knit-a-bear

Last, but not least, Emma Varnam’s super cute crocheted pumpkin. Emma has suggested this could be used as a pin cushion or even a place setting on a table. The pattern for this can be found on Emma’s blog.

emma_pumpkin

Have you made a different knitted or crocheted pumpkin? Send in your photos to amy@blacksheepwools.com or share away on social media.

Meet Ewe-gene!

Posted by Amy | Posted in Free Patterns | Posted on 09-10-2015

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A woolly treat for Wool week, meet Ewe-gene the sheep. Our crocheted Black Sheep mascot has been designed exclusively for us by Emma from Happy Crocheting. Emma loves to crochet amigurumi characters which she shares on her blog Happy Crocheting. We are always excited when we see a project designed just for us and the day Emma brought in this happy chap we were all smitten. He is the most adorable little chap who would be such fun to make.

Last week we put out a competition on our Facebook and Instagram asking people to help name our sheep. After much deliberation trying to decide what suited him best, we all settled on Ewe-gene. A very apt name for a sheepy fellow, don’t you think.

If you would like to crochet your own Ewe-gene, then head on over to our free patterns page and download the pattern today. He is made in Stylecraft Life Dk, just one ball of black and one ball of Silver Grey are needed, a small bit of white for his eyes.

ewe-gene sheep

ewe-gene2

A Free Blanket Pattern from Rowan

Posted by Amy | Posted in Free Patterns | Posted on 18-09-2015

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A free pattern on a Friday? Why not, hey? We currently have this amazing crocheted blanket by Sarah Hatton ‘Ray Graduated’ as an exclusive download from Rowan. The design is made up of beautiful granny squares that have been worked starting from the corner, as opposed to the centre. Sarah has used a tonal colour palette of Rowan Pure Wool Super Wash Worsted yarn that suits the design. We have the blanket on display  in the Craft Barn at the moment and it really is a striking piece. The finished blanket is quite weighty, although with 16 100g balls I guess that’s A LOT of yarn!

crochet_blanket_sarah_hatton

Download the pattern from our free patterns page.

ray graduated rowan blanket

A Patchwork Summer Shawl

Posted by Amy | Posted in Free Patterns, Patchwork & Quilting | Posted on 24-08-2015

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Back in June we held our very first ‘Sewing Bee‘ at the Craft Barn. A group of bloggers and Black Sheep Barbara took part. The brief was to make an item in the day based around the theme of patchwork. The results were fabulous and so varied too. Each and every project was so different – there were bags, boxes, a cushion and Barbara’s elegant shawl. Barbara has now written the pattern out so that it is available as a free pattern to download from our website. Many of the other designs, including Jozart’s winning windmill bag are also there for you to download.

Sewing bee projects

Here is Barbara’s gorgeous shawl made using a combination of juicy fabrics – Philip Jacobs Pansies, Kaffe Fassett Millefore and Valori Wells Voile.

patchwork summer shawl

Yvonne’s Fringed Scarf – Free Pattern

Posted by Amy | Posted in Free Patterns | Posted on 18-08-2015

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Yvonne has designed a pretty scarf pattern in Rowan Purelife Organic Cotton Dk. This is a versatile little piece that you can wear in a variety of different ways. We thought of three different ways and took a photograph, can you think of anymore?

Fringed scarf 3 ways

It’s the type of scarf that’s small enough to pop in your bag on an autumn day, ready to bring out to keep away a chill. The design is slightly curved as you can see in the diagram below, finished off with a delicate short fringe. How about purchasing an extra ball and making your fringe extra-long?

fringed_scarf_diagram

Without further ado, here is the pattern just for you!

Yvonne’s Fringed Scarf Pattern

YOU WILL NEED

  • 2 balls Rowan Purelife Organic Cotton Dk
  • x1 10mm knitting needle
  • 1 pair of 4.5mm knitting needles
  • Stitch holder

ABBREVIATIONS

K – Knit
P – Purl
Twist – Purl 1, *miss next stitch, p into 2nd stitch, then p into 1st missed stitch*. Rep from*to* along the row, ending with p1.
RS – Right side

PATTERN

Pattern consists of 4 rows as follows –
Row 1: On 10mm needles knit.
Row 2: On 4.5mm needles. P1, *twist 1* repeat * to * to the last st, p1.
Row 3&4: On 4.5mm needles knit.
NOTE Only row 1 uses 10mm needle.

Using 4.5mm needle cast on 1st.
Work 4 rows, k, inc in each st (8sts)
Commence pattern increasing 1st at each end of every 3rd & 4th row, until 72st, ending with row 4 of pattern.
(With RS facing pattern row 1) k 36sts, place the remainder of stitches on a stitch holder, turn.
These 36sts will create the right side of scarf.
Continue in pattern, dec 2sts at the centre edge by k2tog twice, whilst inc 1st at the outer edge on row 3 & 4, until 3st remain, cast off.
Left side – place remaining 36sts on a 4.5mm needle.
Starting from centre RS facing, commence row 1 of pattern (10mm needle).
Follow pattern for right side, dec 2st at centre edge whilst inc 1st at outer edge on pattern row 3 & 4.
Add fringe to outside edge, approx 2” in length.