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!

Time to share customer projects

Posted by Amy | Posted in Customer Projects | Posted on 15-12-2016

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With Christmas just over a week away I wanted to start the celebrations early, celebrating all of the wonderful work from our customers. This blog post has been gathering new projects for a couple of months now, so please bear with me as I talk you through each crafty make. I have a vast selection of treats to share – knitting, crochet and sewing. These are all projects that have been snapped in our Craft Barn.

First up is Natalie, wearing a delicate camisole top she has knitted in Juniper Moon Farm Findley. On the pattern image the straps are a chunky ribbon, Natalie opted for two fine ribbons instead. This is the beauty of making your own garments from the colour you choose, right down to the finishing details, it’s all your choice. Natalie was planning to make a second top in a different shade as this one is so lovely. As you can probably guess this photograph wasn’t taken in the last few days (brrrr!).

Juniper moon farm findley - Speedwell

Now this project was a challenge to photograph – a few extra pairs of hands were needed. Ann un-wrapped this gigantic granny square blanket to share with everyone in the Craft Barn. Large enough to fit a King size bed, Ann has crocheted lots and lots of granny squares with many variations on colour and design. The yarn she has used is Rico Baby so Soft Dk, fantastic for crochet as it glides easily through your hook. Plus a good yarn for making accessories for the home as it is anti-pilling. Ann couldn’t tell me the exact number of balls used as she kept buying them as she went along. What would you guess?
giant granny square blanket
Kay came into the Craft Barn to do a spot of shopping wearing her latest make. A super cosy cardigan, knitted in Rowan Softyak Dk (shade 239), following a pattern by Jo Storie – ‘Chloe‘. Rowan Softyak comprises of a cotton, yak and nylon blend. This is a stylish cardigan that can easily be worn with many outfits.
Rowan softyak dk cardigan
Michelle brought in an adorable baby jacket and matching hat crocheted in Debbie Bliss Rialto 4ply (pattern DB011). The pattern is one I have enjoyed crocheting myself for a friends little one so it was nice to see how someone else had got on with the pattern. Michelle opted for a dusky pink shade of Debbie Bliss Rialto 4ply. 
debbie bliss rilato 4ply jacket
When we had a sample garment on display of this next cardigan, there were many members of staff lusting after it here at Black Sheep Wools. The cardigan that you swoon over every time you pass it by and secretly hope some kind knitting elves will make for you. Sandra who attends our knit and natter group couldn’t resist and made herself this gorgeous Fair Isle cardigan.
The design is called Orkney and can be found in Rowan Magazine 52, knitted in Rowan Felted Tweed.
Orkney cardigan - Rowan Felted Tweed
Orkney in Rowan Felted Tweed
A delightful pastel treat from Janet to share now. Janet has crocheted a fabulous Jane Crowfoot Persian Tiles blanket using DMC Natura Cotton. As this is a 4ply weight Janet adjusted her hook size accordingly. Her colour palette is so serene and pretty, such a contrast to the beautiful bold, jewel tones of Jane Crowfoot’s original colourway. What a lovely gift for her daughter!
Jane Crowfoot persian tiles blanket
Susan had brought her almost finished Spice of Life blanket into the Craft Barn to ask advice on what shades to choose for her border. Decisions, decisions….with so many lovely colours of Stylecraft special dk in a blanket it can be tricky making a decision on which two to pluck out. With some helpful advice from Stacey, Susan made her choices (a grey and berry) whilst I took a quick photo.
spice of life cal
A group of ladies from a sewing group brought in a selection of sewing projects they had recently completed. I am not sure who exactly made each item but I do know all of the ladies names – Jacqueline, Elizabeth, Lilian and Amy are quite a talented bunch.
A quilt, can you spot the Kaffe Fassett fabric?
A fabric box in Kaffe Fassett fabrics.
And lots of colourful windmill bags. This pattern is available to download for free from our website.
windmill bags
Sue has knitted a mystical dragon in King Cole Tinsel. This chap is quite large, as you can see compared to a ball of yarn. The wings have pipe cleaners in to keep the structure, he even has a beady dragon eye.
King Cole Tinsel dragon
For this snuggly throw, Jo has crocheted squares in James C Brett Marble Chunky – shade MC63. She has followed a stitch pattern of front post trebles, a very effective stitch that has created a lovely texture which lends itself to the multi-coloured yarn.
Jean made an adapted version of Ewe-Jean the sheep (renamed for Jean). This version is without the loops, she looks like a little spring lamb. The original pattern is a free pattern by Happy Crocheting.
Last but not least is Evie’s detailed patchwork quilt, an incredible project that must have taken many hours of patient stitching. Evie hand stitched each of the designs, traced from images she found online of Hello Kitty. She then pieced it all together to create a spectacular patchwork quilt.
hello kitty embroidered quilt
hello kitty quilt
Thank you to everyone who has shared their projects with us over the past few months. I look forward to seeing more projects in the New Year.

Ode to Autumn – Spice of Life Blanket

Posted by Amy | Posted in Spice of Life CAL, Staff Projects | Posted on 08-12-2016

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To celebrate the one year anniversary of Sandra Paul’s (aka Cherry Heart) gorgeous Spice of Life crochet along Sara has been crocheting a blanket in a new colour way – Ode to Autumn. Sara has opted for a selection of shades that are not her usual go to colours. Ode to Autumn is made up of rich, warm tones of rust, berries and gold – to name but a few. With an abundance of colour to choose from in the Stylecraft Special Dk it is quite a challenge to pick a winning combination. You will not be disappointed with this beautiful palette.

Watch Sara’s video below where she is talking all about making her Ode to Autumn blanket.

If you are thinking of making a Spice of Life blanket in the Ode to Autumn pack why not follow Sara’s shade sequence, take a look below –

Autumn Colours            Original Colours

Mustard (1823)                       Turquoise
Pomegranate (1083)            Grass
Pistachio (1822)                     Light Green
Tomato (1723)                        Petrol
Boysenberry (1828)             Red
Khaki (1027)                            Vanilla
Claret (1123)                            Cream
Cypress (1824)                       Melon
Gold (1709)                              Purple
Lobelia (1825)                        Ice Blue
Pale Rose (1080)                  Smokey Rose
Stone (1710)                            Jeans
Burgundy (1035)                   Clay

ode to autumn - spice of life blanket
ode_to_autumn_blanket

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!

Afternoon Tea with Sue Pinner

Posted by Amy | Posted in Company News | Posted on 03-11-2016

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There is always fun just around the corner when Sue Pinner is in the building. On Thursday Sue came to the Craft Barn to host afternoon tea. Tickets had been sold in advance for the event, which included an afternoon in the company of a talented crochet designer and an exceedingly scrumptious spread of tasty sandwiches and delightful homemade cakes; a rather pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

afternoon tea with sue pinner

afternoon tea with sue pinner
Sue brought along boxes and boxes bubbling over with an extraordinary amount of crocheted projects. Where does she find the time to produce so many creations? I do wonder if perhaps she just doesn’t sleep and continuously crochets day and night. Always with a crochet hook to hand she wears one dangling around her neck, so she really can crochet all the time.
Before she started her talk Sue emptied some of her boxes to showcase a spectacular display of colourful crochet, layering blanket after blanket on the table. A plethora of tactile temptation, I just wanted to rummage through and peak at all of the beautiful crochet.

afternoon tea with sue pinner

Sue explaining the basics of crocheting triangles in Stylecraft Batik dk.

sue pinner triangle scarf

Bolster cushion is featured in Sue’s book – Granny Squares.

granny squares by sue pinner

She began by chatting about her life growing up with creative parents. Sue’s father did watercolour paintings and pottery too. Sue remembers learning to sew at the age of 5 and going on to crochet at 9 years old. It wasn’t until she reached her teens that she became interested in using the craft of crochet to make a blanket. After being given a large bag of rug wool she made an enormous granny square blanket, adding tassels to the edges. She had always known that art and design was the career path she would choose, opting to study a degree in Textiles & Fashion. Throughout her career Sue has explored many different avenues, including making hats, bridal wear, occasion wear and illustration to name but a few. She also worked for many years as a craft tutor at a mental health unit.

In 2006 Sue decided that she wasn’t going to do anymore crafting. Then in 2008, after a 2 year brake she decided to pick up her crochet hook again. From here sue set up her blog and started regularly blogging about crochet. It was then she was approached by her publisher to do a beginners crochet book – Granny Squares by Sue Pinner. Sue has since designed projects for a second book – Granny Squares & Shapes and has also been working with Stylecraft for the past 4 years. Many of your favourite crochet designs have probably been designed by Sue, including her fabulous tartan blanket. Sue brought the original tartan colour way (which can be found on the pattern as a cushion) and a pastel alternative, both crocheted in Special dk.

special dk tartan blanket

granny squares & shapes

Bowls from Granny Squares & Shapes book.

sue pinner
In October Sue embarked on her very first crochet along with Stylecraft – the Carousel blanket, a free pattern that is available on the Stylecraft website. The final instalment is to be released later in November. Sue created the design to reflect all the fun of a fairground, with lots of vibrant colour. There are two original colourways in Special dk and Batik dk. Since creating the original designs Sue has gone on to produce many more alternative versions, pastel, special effects dk, King Arthur’s table and even another blanket to make with the yarn left over from the original Special dk colour pack. She really is a crochet machine! It takes her just an hour to get around the whole of the Carousel blanket. For those who are joining in with the Carousel CAL, Sue did say that the version below has got a few extra rounds than the pattern.

Afternoon tea with Sue Pinner - Carousel blanket

Afternoon tea with Sue Pinner - carousel

We were treated to a vast selection of crochet projects including a blanket made from left over oddments. Sue doesn’t believe in throwing her scraps away, why would you when you can produce a pretty blanket like this one?

sue pinner oddments blanket

Below is the almost finished blanket made from the yarn left over from the Carousel Special Dk colour pack. Sue is definitely a believer in waste not, want not.

carousel special blanket 2
Sue couldn’t get through the afternoon without a spot of crochet. She demonstrated how to do the join as you go method. If you are making the Carousel blanket it could be worth a look. The video is on our Instagram now.

There were a couple of very handy crochet tips shared too. I asked Sue’s permission to share with everyone.

Top Crochet Tips from Sue Pinner
– A treble should be 2 chains! When you are starting a row and it says chain 3, chain 2 instead.
– Always deal with your ends as you go, when you are finishing one motif. Don’t leave them all to the end of a project.

Thank you to Sue Pinner for a wonderful afternoon. Everyone left full of ideas and inspiration (Sue included! She’s always thinking of something new) ready to get their crochet hooks working away.

Sue is currently taking part in Stylecraft Blogstars Blog tour. Find out more on her blog here. She will be back at the Craft Barn on Friday 18th November for her Crochet Christmas Tartan workshop. There are still a couple of places left if you would like to book. 

Frida’s Flowers Crochet Along – Complete

Posted by Amy | Posted in Staff Projects | Posted on 27-07-2016

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How are you getting on with your Frida’s Flowers blanket? Is it complete, now lounging casually in situ over the arm of your cosy chair? Keeping up with a crochet along can be a daunting task. Stylecraft released Jane Crowfoot’s Frida’s Flowers crochet along pattern fortnightly; following two weeks to get crocheting so many of a particular motif, most weeks the required number being four.

Sally stayed organised and on top of things throughout, completing her blanket just a day after the final pattern was released. Super crochet whizz that she is! Here is her blanket, beautifully crocheted and finished to perfection.

This is what Sally had to say –

“I loved the yarn, it feels lovely to crochet with and also gives beautiful stitch definition. I think all the flowers are just beautiful, the 3D effect is stunning. I really enjoy the discipline of doing a Crochet along. I always do it as soon as the pattern is released so I am ready for the next one. I don’t get bored as I can do other things whilst waiting for the next pattern release!”

Frida's Flowers Crochet Along

The intense density of the colours in Stylecraft Classique Cotton Dk really shows off the stitch definition in Jane’s design.

frida's flowers crochet along

If this blanket looks like something that you would like to make, you can find all of the patterns on Stylecraft‘s website. Pick up all shades of Stylecraft Classique Cotton Dk here. We also have alternative packs available in Stylecraft Life Dk and Stylecraft Special Dk too.

Frida’s Flowers Crochet Along

Posted by Amy | Posted in Staff Projects | Posted on 09-05-2016

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We all couldn’t wait to see Jane Crowfoot’s latest crochet along when it launched back in April. Even before the design was unveiled, we knew Jane’s shade palette and yarn choice (Stylecraft Classique Cotton Dk). After this came inspiration and the actual blanket. Jane has taken inspiration from Frida Kahlo’s traditional Mexican dress, her paintings and floral garlands. Lots of rich colour all worked with a combination of black, blue and purple base colours. Part 3 of Frida’s Flowers CAL launched last week, all of the patterns are available to download for free from the Stylecraft website.

Although the original design is made in Stylecraft Classique Cotton Dk, Stylecraft have also come up with 2 other yarn alternatives – Stylecraft Special Dk and Stylecraft Life Dk. We were lucky enough to have all 3 variations in the Craft Barn, kindly on loan from Stylecraft Yarns. Here they are all laid out together.

fridas_blankets

When I heard that Sally was making the Frida’s Flowers blanket I thought it might be nice for us all to take a peek at her progress. Sally works here at the Craft Barn and is an avid crocheter, who could quite possibly be Jane Crowfoot’s biggest fan, Jane is her favourite designer. She has always enjoyed keeping up to date with Jane’s designs and absolutely adores all of her work. When I spoke to Sally she began reeling off all of the projects she had made – various mystery blankets, Lily Pond blanket, Nordnorge knitted bag and a Lantern scarf to name but a few.

fridas_wk1

The above photo is from part one.

fridas_flowers_hexagons

It was then onto the blue yarn for part two. Sally is joining as she goes to keep on top of it all.

half_hex_fridas

Part three is a selection of bright colours. Sally brought them all in a basket, they looked so pretty for a photo.

fridas_flowers_bright

Sally is really enjoying using the Stylecraft Classique Cotton Dk for the first time; she finds it moves through her fingers easily when crocheting. Part three is her favourite part so far, as she just loves all of the gorgeous bright colours. When I was chatting to Sally she spoke fondly of Jane’s colour choices, something that she especially admires about her designs. Sally is keeping up with the fortnightly pattern instalment so far, even though she already has many projects on the go. I was finding it hard to scribble them down as she said them, here goes – a Debbie Abrahms mystery knit along, a jumper, 2 shawls and another blanket, phew! That is a lot of knit and crochet. Sally’s response ‘It keeps it interesting’, which is so true I guess, just as long as you write down the last row of the pattern you are working on. There is no chance to get bored of a project working like that.

Sally is going to bring in more of her Frida’s Flowers bits and bobs as she continues with the project. Keep an eye out for more pics on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

 

Frida’s Flowers Afternoon Tea

Posted by Amy | Posted in Company News | Posted on 13-04-2016

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Last week we were very honoured to have crochet lady of the moment, Jane Crowfoot at the Craft Barn for 3, fun filled days. Over the years Jane has taught many of her popular workshops at the Craft Barn. Last year was the first time we held afternoon tea with Jane, this was a huge success and we couldn’t wait to do it all over again. Coinciding with week 1 of Jane’s second Stylecraft crochet along, we couldn’t have picked a better week to have Jane here with us.

afternoon_tea

afternoon_tea2

This is where the 3 days of fun began, with afternoon tea on Thursday, Jane didn’t disappoint with her bright and cheery disposition, along with oodles of crochet inspiration. In particular the Frida’s Flowers Stylecraft crochet along (CAL) blanket, inspired by the artist Frida Kahlo. Jane looked to Frida Kahlo’s traditional dress, taking inspiration from colours and floral details. When you look up Frida Kahlo she is often wearing a floral headdress, full of an abundance of colour and beauty. This is what Jane wanted to translate into her crochet work. Having chosen to use Stylecraft Classique Cotton as her yarn choice, Jane was inspired by the yarn to create a 3-D effect, which she did throughout the blanket in the floral centre pieces. The cotton yarn lends itself well to a strong structure.

frida_blanket

cotton_frida

It was interesting to see the hexagons that didn’t make it into the final blanket design, looking at these you realise just how much work goes into designing something. The process is not as simple as one idea and that idea is the final and only one. Lots of sampling and testing has to be done to reach the final outcome.

test_samples

Jane had this gigantic bag alongside her during the talk. As if by magic it just kept producing yet another crocheted delight (some knitted here and there). One of the ladies described it like a Mary Poppins bag, it really was! You wouldn’t believe she could fit all of the gorgeous works of art in there.

lantern_shawl

The beautiful vibrant shades of orange, red and pink in one of Jane’s ‘Lantern Shawls’. Each colourway is inspired by weather, this one being – ‘Monsoon’. Inspired by Jane’s trip to India last year. Below is the lanten design in blanket form, this pattern is coming soon.

lantern_blanket

These were small lantern motifs in the form of a delicte scarf. Jane crocheted this design in sock yarn.

lantern_scarf

Here’s Jane and Annabelle (from Stylecraft) holding up the Stylecraft Lily Pond blanket.

lily_pond

Lots of knit and crochet inspiration in this photo!

crochet_knit

Alternative colourways of Jane Crowfoot’s ‘Persian Tiles‘ blanket.

pink_persian_tiles

blue_green_persian_tiles

On Friday and Saturday Jane held two sold out workshops – freeform crochet and lily pond bag. She will be back at the Craft Barn again in June to teach her Frida’s Flowers motif workshop. Due to popular demand Jane will be teaching the same workshop on both 3rd June and 4th June. Take a look on our workshops page to find out more information.

If you would like to purchase a yarn kit to join in with the Frida’s Flowers crochet along, we have 3 different kits to choose from – Stylecraft Classique Cotton (original pack), Stylecraft Life Dk and Stylecraft Special Dk.

Finished Spice of Life CAL Blankets

Posted by Amy | Posted in Spice of Life CAL | Posted on 26-11-2015

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I have lots of finished Spice of Life Crochet Along blankets to share today. Over the past few weeks I have gradually been collecting photographs of Black Sheep Wools staff blankets. When Sandra (Cherry Heart) set out with her crochet along she probably hadn’t imagined how many blankets would be made by avid crocheters from all around the world. The popularity of this beautiful design has been phenomenal!

If you have taken part and still can’t get enough of the stitch combinations Sandra has used be sure to take a peek at our #solinspired competition.

Colette was the first to finish her blanket. She was so excited when the final strand of yarn had been woven in and fastened off that she came in to show everyone on her day off. Colette hasn’t been crocheting long but it is clear to see she has now definitely got the crochet bug. Each week Colette enjoyed taking on the challenge of new stitches. Some weeks she would even take back a whole section and repeat it until she got the stitch pattern correct – no cutting corners!

Colette has used a variety of different double knitting yarns that she had in her stash.

spice of life cal

Not satisfied with just the one CAL on the go, Colette started a second blanket. A Christmas gift for her sister using Hayfield Aran with Wool.

spice of life cal

Although Sara originally made her blanket in Stylecraft Special Dk she couldn’t resist joining in with everyone else this time and making one in Sirdar Cotton Dk.

spice of life cal

Janet chose to use aran yarn instead of double knitting. Rather than using a 4mm crochet hook Janet used a slightly larger size to accommodate the bulkier yarn. Janet’s jolly colour combination of Sirdar Supersoft Aran is just perfect for her grand-daughter.

spice of life cal

Stacey has also been very busy with Spice of Life blankets. I missed a photo opportunity for this one as no sooner had it left Stacey’s crochet hook, had she given it to her son. The photo below is of Stacey’s second blanket. This one is crocheted in a variety of Stylecraft Special Dk shades, some from her stash and others that are extras.

spice of life cal

Thing’s I have learnt whilst doing the Spice of Life CAL

Posted by Sara Mulvey | Posted in Sara's Blog, Spice of Life CAL | Posted on 23-10-2015

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The Internet is an Amazing Thing:

Now of course I have realised this before. The first time I taxed my car online was incredible. However without the internet this project would never have taken place. We would never have met Sandra, the genius and all round lovely lady who designed the pattern. We would never have been able to share it with crafters around the world and we wouldn’t have been able to have such an incredible Facebook group. People talk a lot about the negative impact of the internet on daily life but this project has shown it in all of its glory. I have never been a member of such a supportive group. It has truly been a pleasure.

All Colour Combinations are Beautiful:

There have been countless different combinations of yarn and colour used by crocheters around the world for the Spice of Life and I haven’t yet seen one I didn’t like. They are all amazing and the pattern shows them all off perfectly.

I’m a Wiggler:

Lots of people have frogged their blanket at some point to get the all-important 157 stitches. However I have gone down the wiggle route. What do I mean? I simply wiggle my hook into a random place to get the right number!

I’m Actually Quite Good at Putting Colours Together:

I’ve never considered myself particularly creative but it seems that I may have a hidden talent. It seems people like the colours that I put together for this blanket, so much so that they bought the pack! It’s a bit strange seeing people from around the world using the exact same colours I did but I love it.

Designing a Blanket is Really Difficult

We all see so many patterns online every day that you could be forgiven for thinking they are really easy to design. They are not! I watched, first hand, how Sandra put her heart and soul into this design. She has such a good grasp of maths that she is able to ensure every row works out perfectly. She can then explain this perfectly in her patterns. Clear, concise pattern writing is such a skill and Sandra has it in bucket loads!

It has been an incredible journey which took 6 months of planning. Thank you to all of you who have joined in and huge, huge thanks to Sandra for an incredible pattern. Finally thanks to our very own Lesley. Without Lesley the Spice of Life would have not happened. She had the idea, found Sandra’s blog and pushed and pulled us all along the way. Thanks Lesley you’re a star xx