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.

 

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.

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. 

Sara chats with Heike from Made with Loops

Posted by Amy | Posted in Designer Q&A's | Posted on 27-10-2016

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Last week we had blogger and designer, Heike from Made with Loops at the Craft Barn. Whilst she was here (on top secret business) we took the opportunity to do a video of Sara chatting with Heike about her deisgn inspiration, what her latest projects are and general knit & crochet natter delving into her box of finished makes.

 Here are just a selection of Heike’s favourite projects from over the years. A gorgeous bundle of colour expressed in crochet.

made_with_loops_projects

Greedy for Colour Book Signing

Posted by Amy | Posted in Company News | Posted on 13-09-2016

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kate_bruning

This Saturday (17th September) we have crochet blogger and designer Kate Bruning, aka Greedy for Colour visiting the Craft Barn for a book signing. We are so excited for Kate to be visiting us on her travels all the way from New Zealand. She is over in the UK for a couple of weeks stopping off at Black Sheep Wools, before travelling up to Yarndale next weekend.

Kate will be bringing all the characters and creations from her books including her latest book, ‘A Day at the Circus’ and a firm favourite ‘Let’s Go Camping’. There will be copies of both ‘Let’s Go Camping’ and ‘Stanley and the Hot Air Balloon’ available to purchase on the day.

Why not pop into the Craft Barn this Saturday, have a natter with Kate and take a look at her amazing crochet designs. Find more information about Craft Barn opening times and our exact location on our website.

a day at the circus

let's go camping

 

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

Beaded Crochet Flip Flops

Posted by Amy | Posted in How to....... | Posted on 16-06-2016

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Summer is here and we are ready to shake off our shoes and socks and slip into summer flip flops. Not just any flips flops; I am talking customized beaded crochet flip flops. Sometimes a basic pair of flip flops just need that extra added sparkle, don’t you think? It is even better when adding glitz is in the form of one of our favourite crafts – crochet. Any new excuse to get the crochet hook out is always a plus, especially for a fun summer upcycling project. One packet of beads really does go a long way so you could make lots of beaded crochet flip flops with the one packet.

If you live in or around the Warrington area join us next Friday afternoon (24th June 2016) when we will be holding a ‘Friday, Flip Flop Crafternoon’ at the Craft Barn. Bring along your flip flops and 3mm crochet hook and learn how to customize them with our easy to follow demo in store. The flipping, flip flop fun will be happening from 2pm – 4pm.

Beaded Crochet Flip Flops – How to

 

YOU WILL NEED

flipflop1

Thread approximately 30cm of sewing cotton onto the needle and tie a knot at the end to create a continuous loop.

flipflop2_2

Thread your 4ply cotton yarn through the loop like so.

flipflop3_3

Now thread your beads onto the needle and push down to the yarn. For one flip flop I have used 34 beads. This is for a small flip flop, ladies size 3-4. If you require more or want to add more anyway, feel free to add more beads. It’s always better to add more at this point, as you cannot add extra once you begin.

flipflop4_4

As you are adding the beads push them through onto the 4ply cotton yarn so that they are ready to use.

flipflop5_5

I have chosen 3 different shades of beads and threaded them in a repeat pattern.

flipflop6_6

To begin, fasten the yarn to the left side of the flip flop. I have tied it with two simple knots.

flipflop7_7

Wrap yarn around flip flop and join in hook with a double crochet.

flipflop8_8

Crochet 3 more double crochet stitches around the flip flop (or more if you prefer) ready to add in your first bead.

flipflop9_9

Make sure that the top of the crochet stitch is on the top of the flip flop edge so that your beads stand on top.

flipflop10_10

Continue to double crochet in the same way around flip flop.

flipflop11_11

flipflop12_12

To add in the first bead start the double crochet and catch the bead in.

flipflop13_13

Wrap yarn around making sure you pass the bead through so that it sits on the top.

flipflop15_15

Do a chain stitch to secure the bead in place. Beads are spaced 2, 3 or sometimes 4 double crochets apart; you don’t need to be too accurate. When you reach the toe post, crochet without beads as close to the centre as possible before moving over to the right side of flip flop.

flipflop16_16

Ta da! One finished flip flop.

flipflop17_17

Now on to flip flop number two. With one packet of beads and a ball of yarn you could make many beautiful flip flops. They would make a great gift.

flipflop18_18

How to crochet a granny square

Posted by Amy | Posted in How to....... | Posted on 12-05-2016

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Would you like to learn how to crochet a granny square? We have created this very helpful step by step guide for you to follow. With the skills you learn from making just one granny square the options are endless. You could crochet small granny squares, change colour, make one huge granny square, join lots together to make a blanket, scarf….anything you fancy. Once you have got the crochet bug why not tackle a more complex crochet pattern? Take a look at all of our books and patterns here. Plus there are some lovely crochet designs on our free patterns page.

how to crochet a granny square

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Staff Makes

Posted by Amy | Posted in Staff Projects | Posted on 21-04-2016

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Black Sheep Wools staff are always busy making one thing or another. If we aren’t making something, we also enjoy thinking of what we could be making. So many projects get planned and changed during a day at work. No matter what part of the company you work in, whether you are packing an order, putting new stock on the shelves in store, adding new products to the website, you really can’t hide from the continuous flow of temptation that catches our eye on a daily basis.

I have gathered together a selection of projects made by our talented staff. These are really only a snippet of the projects that do get made; many are eagerly given to the recipient before having a photograph.

Yvonne has been knitting away for her super cute grandchildren. Here is her grand-daughter wearing a cabled jacket, knitted in Debbie Bliss Rialto Chunky using Hayfield pattern 4534.

yvonne_4534_rialto_chunky

Yvonne has also knitted a jumper for her grandson using Schachenmayr Extra Merino. She spotted this stitch pattern being used on a different design and adapted it to a trusty pattern she had in her collection.

yvonne_fancy_stitch_jumper

yvonne_fancy_stitch_jumper_close

Yvonne’s flower decorations are a great stash buster. She has been crocheting pretty flowers from Search Press Crochet Flowers book to adorn straw sun hats for her granddaughter.

yvonne_hat2

yvonne_hat1

Lesley has been making lots of crocheted hats for new born babies. The photo below is of her friend’s little one, sporting his new hat in Hayfield Baby Chunky, complete with a huge pompom.

lesley baby hat

Sally loves to crochet and couldn’t wait for Jane Crowfoot’s Frida’s Flowers crochet along to begin. She had her hook poised and ready for the pattern release from Stylecraft. It only took her one evening to do the first two pieces. Sally opted for the Stylecraft Classique Cotton dk colour pack.

sally_fridas

In preparation for the CAL, Crafternoon Treats blogger Kathryn designed a ‘Frida’s Flowers’ inspired project bag. This pattern is available as a free download and you can find the colour pack at Black Sheep Wools. Sally chose to crochet her bag with a variety of oddments, including shades of Stylecraft Special Dk that she has used double to create a chunky yarn.

sally_bagalong

Although Maria no longer works at Black Sheep Wools she will always be an honorary  member of the team, often popping in for the knit and natter group and to stock up on new yarns. After attending the Arne & Carlos workshop, Maria went on to make a second pair of mitts using another of their patterns. She chose a lovely selection of yarns from her stash. Find the free pattern on Arne & Carlos website.

maria_pastel_wristwarmers

Emily has finished her Spice of Life Croceht Along blanket, using a selection of Rico Baby Classic Dk and Sirdar Snuggly Dk. A gorgeous colour combination!

emily_cal

Lucy had been searching for the perfect pattern for a double knit yarn for a while. When she spotted the new Rowan Summerlite Dk book she could not resist, so many beautiful patterns all in one book. Lucy is using a forest green shade of Schachenmayr Extra Merino, following the ‘Bronte‘ cardigan pattern. She also took on the task of adapting the pattern so that she can knit it in the round, eeeek! The cuff of the cardigan is so pretty with the cable detailing.

lucy_summerlite_pattern

Stacey attended the weaving workshop at the Craft Barn last week and has truly fallen for the craft. She bought a loom and was off making a pretty woven scarf.

stacey_weave_scarf

stacey_weave

Finally, take a peek at Janet’s latest project. There will be a fabulous pattern for this one coming very soon!

janet_shark