Designer Q & A’s – Emma Wright

Posted by Amy | Posted in Designer Q&A's | Posted on 16-11-2016

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Discovering new knitting patterns to add to your wish list is always such a delight. Even if it takes a little longer than anticipated for them to come to fruition, it is a comfort to know that your list is always there. Over the summer we added a new yarn brand to our collection – West Yorkshire Spinners. Along with delectable yarns, this included a spectacular range of patterns.  Many of which have been designed by the lovely Emma Wright, including the Illustrious book all designed and styled by the talented young designer. The ‘Hermione’ cardigan from this book is now on my wish list!

It was through taking on the West Yorkshire Spinners range that we first came across Emma Wright, knitwear designer. With so many designs under her belt having worked with many well-known names in the industry, already (she’s only in her early twenties), we wanted to know more. We invited Emma to the Craft Barn for a knitting natter and we are very pleased to share that she will be teaching workshops at the Craft Barn in 2017. Keep an eye out on our workshops page for updates. On 25th March next year Emma will be at the Craft Barn for a designer showcase day – pop the date in your diary. More details of this event will be coming up in 2017.

On the weekend of Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th November Emma will be taking over our Instagram. This is super exciting for us as it will be our very first Instagram takeover. Emma will be sharing lots of inspiring photos over the weekend so be sure to check it out.

To delve into the mind of a knitwear designer, I sent Emma some questions to share here on the blog…….

emma-wright-headshot

When did you learn to knit? Who taught you?

My nan taught me to knit when I was only young but I never really took it seriously until I went to college. I don’t really remember learning, it’s almost like I’ve always known how. My sixth sense!

Can you remember the very first thing that you ever made?

Unfortunately I have no pictures. Putting aside the teddy blankets, teddy scarves and Barbie clothes, I made a 1960’s inspired shift dress when I was 16 for my first textile project. With a sewn on Peter pan collar and buttons.

Where did you begin your designer journey……..How did you become a knitting designer? Did you study at University? What inspired you to make this decision?

After going to college to do fashion and textiles I went to Nottingham Trent where I graduated in 2014 in Fashion Knitwear and Knitted Textiles. I have always been creative, design ideas pop in my head constantly and after completing the knitted shift dress for my first textile project at college I just knew I wanted to do knitwear. I love the freedom both knit and crochet can offer and I am automatically drawn to colour and texture!

When designing something new, where do you begin? Is it a sketch, with a colour palette or sampling? What is your design process?

Each design is different, something in my everyday life can spark an idea. Something I’ve seen on the catwalk, something vintage I’ve seen in a shop or as simple as a stitch pattern that must be made into that scarf or jumper. I think exciting details, texture and colour can bring a whole new and modern lease of life to a classic jumper.

I am also a massive Pinterest addict, A great place to relax and find inspiration!

emma_wright_workspace2

As a freelance designer you must have worked with various big names in the industry. Where can we find your designs?

I have been very lucky to work with some of the best brands and designers in the industry such as Debbie Bliss, Erika Knight, Louisa Harding and The Fibre co. I also designed a pattern book called Illustrious for West Yorkshire Spinners which was inspired by heritage and took on a very classic autumnal feel with a wearable modern twist!

star sweater in baby cashmerino

Emma’s design ‘Star Sweater‘ for Debbie Bliss.

wys illustrious book

juliet wys illustrious

hermione wys illustrious

Which other knitwear designers do you admire?

I am a massive fan of Gucci, nobody does glitter like they do! I love the femininity of Orla Kiely and as I’ve said previously I’m very driven by colour, texture and pattern.

What have been your knitting highlights of 2016?

Oh wow! I’ve just recently done a collection of crochet interiors for DYChoice. This is my first crochet collection and my first interior collection so quite an achievement for me and I am very proud of the final collection. Early in 2016, I designed an AW16 collection for DYChoice called Alchemy. Inspired by the magical word itself, to be transformed or created through a magical process. For me this was knit and as the yarn is full of colour and texture through fibre I worked on colour placement around the classic silhouettes. For photography I styled the collection with metallic and dark autumn shades.

alchemy1 emma wright

alchemy2 emma wright

alchemy4 emma wright

Do you enjoy knitting / crocheting for yourself? If so, what do you make?

Yes! When I get time (which is rare) I like to make winter accessories, hats, scarves and headbands usually.

Can you share any projects you have coming up in 2017?

I always dread this question but I have a head full of secrets, I’m pretty good at keeping things hush. I keep my social media as up to date as possible with up and coming projects and new releases, I have also started my own emmaknitted Ravelry group which is quite exciting!

A couple of fun questions before you go……

Knit or crochet? Knit

4ply or chunky? Chunky

Pastel or bright? Oh that’s hard, I love both!

Do you have a favourite place to crochet / design? Does anywhere in my pj’s count?

Do you do any other crafts? If yes, what? I love sewing, embroidery, papercrafts… crafts in general!

Do you have a favourite yarn? Yes! Erika Knight Vintage and Maxi Wool

Keep up to date with Emma on social media here
Instagram, Twitter and Facebook: @emmaknitted
Hashtag: #emmaknitted
Ravelry Group: emmaknitted

Louisa Harding Pittura Sweater – #TryitTuesday

Posted by Amy | Posted in #TryitTuesday | Posted on 05-07-2016

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It feels like so long ago since I shared a #tryitTuesday garment here on the blog. As soon as I took the photos of this sweater, the garment was put out on display in store. The pattern flew out along with many shades of the yarn. Now we have the Louisa Harding Pittura pattern back in stock, plus a couple of shades of yarn I wanted to share the photos for a summer #tryitTuesday.

Louisa Harding Pittura is a delicious blend of merino wool and bamboo viscose, knitted up creates a delicate lightweight fabric. Louisa’s feminine designs lend themselves perfectly to this luxurious yarn. The lace stitch detailing echoes the painterly stokes of colour used throughout. The Elderberry sweater is an elegant design, easy to wear smart or casual. I particularly like the way it has been dressed, up with a simple ribbon at the waist on the pattern photograph. Be sure to take a look at another design for Pittura – Bramble, a pretty cold shoulder top.

Louisa Harding Pittura sweater

Lesley can be seen trying on the Elderberry sweater above and Colette trying on the sweater below.

pittura_colette

Both of our lovely Black Sheep models (Lesley and Colette) have left Black Sheep Wools for pastures new since the photos were taken, so this will be the last #tryitTuesday where you will see their bright and cheery faces. From now on I will have to seek out new volunteers, this is the point where all members of staff run and hide!

A few staff projects

Posted by Amy | Posted in Staff Projects | Posted on 22-12-2015

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It has been a while since I showed off the talents of our wonderful staff. We have most crafts covered really with the number of different bits and bobs everyone enjoys doing in their spare time. Being surrounded by so much temptation on a daily basis could possibly have something to do with it.

Janet has been busy knitting for her baby grand-daughter. This little bundle of joy is going to be inundated with gorgeous gifts from a super proud Grandma. She is all kitted out for the festive season with a cute reindeer hat and a matching reindeer jumper.

king cole baby Christmas jumper

Rudolph the red nosed reindeer jumper pattern is designed by King Cole pattern number 3804 kc. You can even knit a reindeer tail on the reverse of the Christmas jumper. Janet decided to knit the red nose and sew it on rather than using a mini pompom.

Janet's reindeer baby hat

Janet has used a selection of oddments to knit this reindeer baby hat.

King Cole tinsel centipede

Janet couldn’t resist the King Cole Tinsel centipede. She chose colours to make him look like the Hungry Caterpillar.

King Cole Baby dress in Glitz

One more from Janet, a festive baby dress knitted in King Cole Glitz Dk.

Conway + Bliss Elektra jumper

Yvonne has knitted this cosy jumper by Conway + Bliss in Debbie Bliss Elektra.

Conway + Bliss Elektra

Look at the way the colours change so perfectly, creating an ombre effect.

teepee

Yvonne has also been sewing and doing some applique making tepees for her grandchildren.

Colette's Swarovski bead bracelets

Colette has been crocheting beaded bracelets using Swarovski crystals.

Lucy's bauble

Lucy has made a bauble as a gift for a crafty friend, following the Designer Yarns Bauble Along pattern. She has used a teeny circular needle to knit the bauble in the round.

Lucy's bauble

Topped off with a length of i-cord to fasten onto the tree.

Barbara Virus shawl

Barbara has crocheted a Virus shawl using Louisa Harding Amitola.

Barbara Virus shawl

Favourite autumn / winter yarn 2015

Posted by Amy | Posted in New Products | Posted on 21-08-2015

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Sometimes a new yarn instantly catches your eye and that’s it, you can’t think of anything else, it’s love at first sight. Before you have even considered what you could make with it, you know it has to be yours. Whether it’s the colour that caught your eye, the texture or the fibre, there is definitely a place for it in your stash.

As you can imagine this happens on a regular basis here at Black Sheep Wools. We all tend to flitter and flutter from one yarn to the next. The arrival of new autumn / winter yarns is a particularly chaotic time for all of our wish lists. On a daily basis our new ‘yarn love’ can arrive. To share our excitement and give you a glimpse at what’s I asked some of the Black Sheep ladies what their favourite autumn / winter yarn was for 2015. For some it was extremely difficult to choose just one. No decisions have been made on projects, just purely the instant attraction to the yarn. Read below the reason why we have each selected our favourite yarn.

Lesley 

Sublime Extra Fine Merino Worsted
‘The shade selection is fresh, bright and juicy and the yarn feels so cosy and soft to touch.’

Sublime Extra Fine Merino Worsted

Stacey

Conway + Bliss for Debbie Bliss Elektra
The yarn is soft and as light as air! The colours are just delicious, add a splash of colour to brighten up in autumn. Ideal for quick, easy projects and one ball will go a long way.’

Conway + Bliss for Debbie Bliss Elektra

Sara

Lotus Yarns Tibetan Cloud Fingering
‘It’s an amazing and fascinating yarn, something so cattle like, yet so soft!’

Lotus Yarns Tibetan Cloud Fingering

Barbara

Araucania Huasco Dk
‘It feels gorgeous and I love the colour blends. I am thinking a cosy jumper to snuggle in for the autumn…..’

Araucania Huasco

Yvonne

Louisa Harding Amitola Grande
‘Not as bulky as some winter yarns, with a good meterage of 250m on the one ball. Made from silk and wool, no acrylic! The touch of silk gives a slight sheen and shows off the fantastic colour blends, from autumnal shades to brighter pinks and purple.’

Louisa Harding Amitola Grande

Amy

Anchor Artiste Metallic
‘Gorgeous selection of colours, in fact I am spoilt for choice. My initial favourite was the copper colour, but then that vivid purple is lovely too!’

Anchor Artiste Metallic

Emily 

Sirdar Bouffle
‘The texture and colour of the maroon shade jumped out me. It looks so cosy for the winter.’

Sirdar Bouffle

Emma

Rowan Super Fine Merino Dk
‘My favourite yarn usually is Rowan Wool Cotton; I think this could quite possibly take over. A great range of colours dark, pastel and bright, looks like it will give good stitch definition too. I want to knit something with the bright lime green shade ‘Zing’.’

Rowan Super Fine Merino Dk

What have you been knitting?

Posted by Amy | Posted in Customer Projects | Posted on 21-04-2015

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Celebrating your latest knitting project is a must here at the Craft Barn. We all like to share our latest projects with one and other, especially when it is a project we have discussed incessantly throughout its progress. That is why we like to encourage you, our customers to share your projects too. The ladies in the Craft Barn are always pleased to see the finished results of what they remember selling as a couple of balls of yarn and a pattern only weeks (sometimes days) ago, the transformation of balls of yarn to an actual knitted item.

Today I have a selection of knitted projects brought in store to the Craft Barn. Quite often on a button buying trip or the ladies from our knit and natter group, they always have something exciting tucked away in their knitting bags.

Alison attends our knit and natter group every Tuesday. She has knitted a log cabin cushion from Sirdar pattern 7228 in Sirdar Crofter Dk yarn. The pattern comes with four different designs to choose from all to be knitted in Sirdar Crofter Dk.

alison sirdar crofter dk cushion

Danielle was happily knitting away with a coffee in the tea shop when I spotted this incredible hat. The hat is a Jameson and Smith design she made whilst on a knitting holiday in the Shetlands. Knit and crochet tutor Carol Meldrum had taught the workshop as part of the holiday, so Danielle wanted to show it off while she was here at the Craft Barn.

danielle_hat

Joesephine has knitted the most incredible, intricate shawl as a gift to her daughter for her wedding day. The pattern was from an old issue of The Knitter magazine. She chose to knit the shawl in Sublime Lace.

joesephine_shawl1

joesephine_shawl2

Carole who attends knit and natter was very much a crocheter, take a look at this gorgeous cowl she has knitted. This is the great thing about attending a knit and natter group everyone can share their skills and encourage each other to try something new. The cowl pattern is a free download from Ravelry – Inspira by Graphica, knitted in virbrant blue shades of Louisa Harding Amitola.

carole_cowl

Joan knitted this pretty hat and scarf set for Carole in Rowan Kidsilk Haze Eclipse. These lacy patterns can be downloaded for free on KnitRowan.com. The hat is called Razzle Beret and the scarf can be found amongst 3 patterns.

joan_carole_hatscarf

Quilting, knitting & crochet projects

Posted by Amy | Posted in Customer Projects | Posted on 02-03-2015

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Our knit and natter group, ‘Yarn in the Barn‘ are always busy making allsorts of different things. Every Tuesday they bring new treats tucked up in their project bags. Seeing the diverse range of crafts is so inspiring.

I recently popped in with the camera and took a few photos of the latest on the go and finished projects. Judy has been enjoying doing a patchwork and quilting piece. She has used a selection of various fabrics from her stash.

judy quilting patchwork

Mary has made a crocheted doll for one of the other ladies in the group’s grand daughter. She can’t crochet but loved the crochet doll book.

mary_crochet_doll

Both Cathy and Jacky have been knitting hats in Sirdar Divine. One has been adorned with a faux fur Rico Pompon and the other with a regular pompom made from the Sirdar Divine yarn.

sirdar divine knitted hats

Edna has been busy knitting cardigans and ventilator bonnets for our Premature baby campaign. They are all knitted in Sirdar Snuggly 4ply yarn.

premature baby hats and cardigans

Joan is making a fabulous rag rug out of old t-shirts!

joan_rag_rug

joan_rag_rug2

Last but not least a beautiful knitted cowl. Unfortunately I don’t have a name to put with this gorgeous Louisa Harding Amitola cowl. The lady who knitted it decided to put her own spin on Juliet Bernard’s original hexagon cowl design. She has chosen to leave out the half hexagons and instead added a crocheted edge. This pattern is available to download for free from our website.

hexagon_cowl1

Look at the way the colours blend and merge into the next so effortlessly.

hexagon_cowl2

hexagon_cowl3

Glitz, sparkle & dancing

Posted by Amy | Posted in Miscellaneous | Posted on 18-12-2014

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It’s the final of Strictly Come Dancing this weekend and we are all getting very excited here at HQ. Every week there is a so much glitz and glamour to behold, not to mention impressive dance moves. We thought it would be nice to celebrate with our top ‘seven’ (or as Len Goodman would say, severrrrrrn) dance themed products. Take a look below and add a sprinkle of sparkle to your day with our strictly treats.

Let’s kick things off with the dazzling King Cole Cosmos

king cole cosmos

Could this be your favourite dance? A dancing cross stitch kit from Heritage by John Clayton – American Smooth

american_smooth

What glamourous dress would be without an elegant wrap? Knitted in the luxuriously soft Sublime Lace yarn the Heroine wrap will keep you warm.

sublime lace wrap

There’s lots of glitz in Louisa Harding Simonetta!

louisa harding simonetta

This looks like it could be a moody argentine tango, what do you think? Midnight Dance cross stitch kit by Dimensions.

midnight dance cross stitch

A lace skirt in Juniper Moon Farm Findley to whirl around while practicing your dance moves.

lace skirt

And finally a smattering of beads to add that finishing touch. Debbie Abrahams does the most exquisite selection.

debbie abrahams beads

A mixed bag of knitting and crochet

Posted by Amy | Posted in Customer Projects | Posted on 17-12-2014

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I am not sure where to begin with this blog post. We have so many fantastic projects knitted and crocheted by our lovely customers it may be difficult to fit them all onto one post. Seeing all of the creative ways you choose to use your yarn is always inspiring. It isn’t sat on the shelf for too long before it is transformed into something so beautiful.

Without further ado here are a selection (more to follow) of the latest projects to show off from our Black Sheep Wools customers.

angela_655_merino_tweed

Angela brought in two cardigans, she has knitted one for her son and one for grandson. The pattern for the men’s cardigan is from Sublime book 655, knitted in the now discontinued yarn Sublime Chunky Merino Tweed. Angela has made matching Christmas cardigans before, you may remember her amazing interpretation of the Arthur Christmas sweater in cardigan form two years ago. She used a basic cardigan pattern and added her design having sketched it out on graph paper.

angela_655_close_up

The children’s version is knitted in SMC Extra Soft Merino, following Sirdar pattern 1275.

angela_1275_smc

There are reindeer on the reverse too.

angela_1275_smc_2

Carole, who regularly attends our knit and natter group is crocheting a shawl in Louisa Harding Amitola. The pattern is a free download, available from Ravelry – scalloped triangle shawl. The colour changes within the ball fit perfectly into the stitch change, creating a stripe effect. The shade used is 117 – wishes.

carole_shawl_amtola

Brenda has knitted a dress in Rowan Wool Cotton 4ply. Take a look at the lace detail in the skirt, so beautiful. If you do like the look of this pattern then there is good news, the pattern (Vali) is available as a free download from the Rowan website.

brenda_wool_cotton_4ply

Onto a crocheted character made by Jo. She has crochted the rabbit from a pattern in a crochet magazine, using up oddments of yarn.

jo_crochet_rabbit

Ann popped in with her latest project. She has knitted the sweater in Sirdar Click Dk yarn, following King Cole pattern 3107. An easy to wear winter sweater with the detailed combination of cable and lace detail.

ann_click_dk

Joan and Carole from our knit and natter group have been crocheting a gift for Jacky’s grand-daughter, an Olaf (from Frozen) hat. They found the pattern on Hopeful Honey‘s blog. For the main part, Peter Pan Moondust Dk has been used.

frozen_joan_carole

Louisa Harding Noema Cardigan – #TryitTuesday

Posted by Amy | Posted in #TryitTuesday | Posted on 19-08-2014

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#TryitTuesday has come whirling around again. The autumn season is slowly but surely creeping up on us. Talking of autumn, it sure has felt like it the past few days. The wind and rain have certainly been a change from the glorious summer weather we were treated to a couple of weeks back. Whilst it is still technically summer I thought it would be nice to squeeze just a few more summer garments out before the wintery ones take a hold. There will be some lovely winter warmers coming your way!

This week we have a cardigan knitted in Louisa Harding Noema. The cardigan can be found in the book Noema and is called Azurine.

azurine_amy

I tried on the cardigan over a white t-shirt.

azurine_barbara

Barbara opted for a black vest top.

azurine_lesley

And Lesley tried on Azurine with a white vest top.

Louisa Harding Noema Capelet – #TryitTuesday

Posted by Amy | Posted in #TryitTuesday | Posted on 29-07-2014

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It’s Tuesday! This week for #tryitTuesday we have a pretty capelet knitted in the lovely Louisa Harding Noema. If you haven’t seen this yarn before be sure to take a look. Noema is a variegated cotton/ acrylic blend with an incredible thick and thin texture. The capelet pattern can be found in the book ‘Noema‘ with thirteen other beautiful designs to inspire.

Stacey is currently away on her jolly holiday. Before she went I managed to take a photo of her wearing the capelet with a blue vest top.

amitola_stacey

Ellie tried it on with her white vest top.

amitola_ellie

Lesley had perfected her pose for this summer garment. Knit the capelet with just 4 balls of Louisa Harding Noema.

amitola_lesley

I tried it on in the sunshine with a white top. It would also look great over a dress on a summers day.

amitola_amy