West Yorkshire Spinners Yarns

Posted by Amy | Posted in New Products | Posted on 21-07-2016

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We have recently welcomed a new addition to our yarn family – West Yorkshire Spinners. The shelves (and virtual shelves too) have been stocked with two of their sort after yarns, Signature 4ply and Illustrious Dk. Each and every shade from both ranges is available to purchase here at Black Sheep Wools, alongside a multitude of delectable patterns.

West Yorkshire Spinners are proud to produce British yarns that are developed and manufactured at their factory here in the UK. Their brand ethos is ‘reared, sheared & spun in Britain’ which truly represents the luxurious yarns they produce. West Yorkshire Spinners have spun commission yarn for many years. It was only recently in 2012 that their own brand was launched.

west yorkshire spinners logo

 

One thing you will notice is the abundance of colour across the brand. From zesty brights to dusky heather shades, it is apparent from first glance that their colour choice is absolutely stunning. The Signature 4ply in particular has been grouped into various different colour palettes, such as the ‘Country Birds’ and ‘Cocktails’. Signature 4ply is a combination of wool and nylon, making it ideal for sock knitting.

wys_signature_4ply

West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply | Birds

Signature 4ply – Country Birds

West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply | Cocktails

Signature 4ply – Cocktails

The colour palette for Illustrious Dk is so beautiful, the shades sit together harmoniously. This was something that WYS focussed on when choosing shades. They wanted to ensure that all of the shades were strong as an individual, but also complemented each other – especially good for colour work.
We currently have one pattern book to support this yarn from West Yorkshire Spinners. All of the patterns have been designed by talented, young designer Emma Wright. The patterns are housed in a beautifully executed book, with inspirational photography and an almost tactile layout showing the yarns, design development, patterns and more. A really inspirational book that you will enjoy perusing endlessly. Did I mention it has ring binder too? So handy for when you are working on a pattern and want to keep the page open without creasing your book, or the risk of it pinging back on you when you are up to a crucial part of the pattern.

West Yorkshire Spinners Illustrious Dk

West Yorkshire Spinners Illustrious Dk

What will you make with the West Yorkshire Spinners yarns? We would love to see! Please feel free to send in photos of your makes to social@blacksheepwools.com.

Sock Knitting Workshop with Winwick Mum

Posted by Amy | Posted in Knitting | Posted on 22-02-2016

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Over the past 3 weeks Winwick Mum, aka Christine Perry has been teaching people how to knit their very first sock. This was the first time Christine had held a workshop here at the Craft Barn. An avid sock knitter herself with a successful Sockalong under her belt she couldn’t wait to share her knowledge and experience with others on the workshop. The workshop was split over three morning sessions. Christine worked her way through the anatomy of a sock seamlessly, finishing with Kitchener stitch to sew up the toe on week three.

It was interesting going to speak to some of the ladies on their 3rd and final week of their sock knitting journey. I walked in the room and everyone was tuned into full concentration mode happily knitting away. I am always amazed by sock knitting and those double pointed needles. I was assured by all of the ladies in the room that I could easily master them and make my own socks too. To be honest it did get me thinking that socks are something that I should try. Maybe one day, hey!

sock knitting workshop

By the end of the workshop all 9 ladies had completed at least one sock. For one lady this was also her first ever knitted project. Not only had she used double pointed needles, a circular needle and knitted a sock, she had also learnt to knit! One of the other ladies already had orders coming in from friends and family for socks, she had already made 3 single socks.

sock knitting workshop

Everyone used Sirdar Heart & Sole 4ply, one ball makes a pair of socks.

sock knitting workshop

The lovely Black Sheep Carol attended the workshop too. Although she was the original founder of Black Sheep Wools and her knitting needles have seen many projects over the years, socks have not been one of them, someone how socks have just passed her by. When Carol heard about the sock knitting workshop she couldn’t wait to give it and try. Here she is modelling her first ever hand knitted sock. Carol thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and I am sure it won’t be long before she brings in sock two.

carol_sock2

 

carols_sock

finished_socks

We hope to run the workshop again later in the year so keep an eye out on our workshops page for it popping up again soon. In the mean time if you fancy tackling socks yourself why not join Winwick Mum’s Sockalong where you will find comprehensive instructions by Christine on how to knit a pair of socks.

A Pairfect Pair of Socks – Part 2 – by Winwick Mum

Posted by Amy | Posted in Guest Blog | Posted on 03-11-2015

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Part 2 of Winwick Mum‘s guest blog post………..

In my last post (read part 1 here), I told you about the new Regia Pairfect yarn that I’ve been trying out.

regia pairfect

Black Sheep Wools have six colours in stock: Cinnamon Colour, Wood Colour, Fresh Colour, Waterfall Colour, Moor Colour and Oriental Colour.  They’re all striped in exactly the same way and are suitable for either men or women, which makes them pretty versatile.

I mentioned last time that I was following the guide on the ball band for a pair of size 6 socks.  The ball band doesn’t give you a pattern so you will need to know how to knit a pair of socks (and don’t forget that there are free tutorials on my blog at www.winwickmum.blogspot.com that can help you, so don’t be put off!) but it’s helpful to have the ball band guide so that your socks and stripes line up.  And boy, do they line up!  I am seriously impressed!

The ball band says that with a 64 stitch cast on, you will knit 5cm of the first colour.

regia pairfect socks

Look at that!  You’re impressed too, aren’t you?  And wait, there’s more.  The ball band also says that after the cuff there will be seven stripes of colour before the start of the heel.

regia pairfect socks

Seven stripes exactly and I was ready to start my heel!  The rest of the sock is plain colour knitting which is less exciting, but I raced down the foot of the first sock eager to find the yellow marker that would tell me where to start my second sock.  It was easy to find in the centre of the ball – you just finish off your sock and then keep pulling the yarn out until you find the yellow yarn again.  Then you find the point where the yellow ends in exactly the same way as you did with your first sock and off you go.

I was interested to see just how close a match these socks were going to be.  I was very careful about where I started both socks, but even so, I expected that it might be just a little bit out – after all, dyeing yarn isn’t an exact science … or is it?

regia pairfect socks knitted by Winwick Mum

It would appear that it is!  I was stunned and, being a stickler for matching socks, delighted to see how well they turned out.  I would definitely consider using this yarn again – it’s certainly an easy way to get a Pairfect pair of socks!

A Pairfect Pair of Socks – Part 1 – by Winwick Mum

Posted by Amy | Posted in Guest Blog | Posted on 26-10-2015

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Super sock enthusiast Christine Perry, aka blogger Winwick Mum has been testing out the new and ingenious yarn from Regia – Regia Pairfect. Read her guest blog post below……………

One of the things that I have always liked about Black Sheep Wools is that they listen to their customers.  You only have to look around the Craft Barn to see how it has evolved over the years to provide the best service; up-to-date yarns and patterns, luscious fabrics, a café with fabulous cake, workshops on a wide range of crafting subjects and more cross-stitch kits than you can shake a stick at – Black Sheep Wools really want to meet their customers’ needs.

So it is no surprise then, that when a particular customer asked about the range of sock yarn a lot (ahem – mentioning no names but you can probably guess who that was!), Black Sheep expanded their range quite considerably to shut her up meet the demand for quality sock yarns from an increasing number of new sock knitters.

Their selection of yarns is ideal for beginners and more experienced sock knitters alike, and one of the most popular brands that they stock is Regia.  My first pair of “proper” socks were made with Regia yarn and I’ve been a fan ever since.  Regia produce some fabulous self-striping yarns, which means that the yarn is striped within the ball so that it changes colour all by itself – no uncomfortable joins on your feet! – and come in various colour mixes from subtle to bold and even in Norwegian Fair isle-style stripes.  There’s no shortage of choice!

However, with those stripes comes a whole new debate – to match or not to match?  I am very definitely a sock-matcher and hyperventilate at the thought of putting odd socks on my feet.  In fact, I have been known to spend a ridiculous amount of time getting my yarn just right so that my socks will match – so Regia’s latest yarn is right up my street.  They have developed a yarn called “Pairfect” which makes it easy to match the stripes on your socks, or so the yarn band claims.  Naturally, when my friends at Black Sheep Wools threw a ball in my direction, it would have been rude to not to catch it with both hands and cast on straight away!

regia pairfect yarn

How does it work, then, this idea of easily producing two identical socks from one ball?  It sounds too good to be true!  According to the ball band, you use the yellow yarn as a guide and follow the instructions printed inside.  This does involve removing the ball band which I don’t usually tend to do as the ball will quickly unravel if the end is not secured, and once removed, I think the ball looks a little like a hot air balloon, or perhaps an old fashioned fishing float, but it’s not a big problem to tuck the end in safely.

regia pairfect yarn

 

Having made many pairs of socks, I’m about to do that “I don’t need to read the instructions” thing that my husband has often been guilty of, but on closer inspection, I’m glad that I did.

regia pairfect yarn

This is where the Pairfect yarn comes into it’s own.  First of all, it tells you exactly where to start your pair of socks – which is just as the yellow yarn ends – and it’s easy to see where that point is.

regia pairfect sock

Next, and most helpful of all, the ball band tells you how many stitches to cast on for the size of sock you want to make.  It’s never an exact science as the number can change from yarn to yarn even if it is the same weight, so it’s very useful to have this guide.   I’m making a size 6 pair of socks so will be casting on 64 stitches.  In my next post, I’ll show you how I get on!