More Mindful Crochet with Lynne Rowe

Posted by Amy | Posted in Crochet | Posted on 21-05-2019

Tags: ,


Are you ready for more Mindful Crochet with Lynne Rowe? Take a look at the first instalment here. In this blog post we share the final two videos from the mindful crochet series. It was a pleasure to work with Lynne, she is so knowledgeable and passionate about her craft.

Listen to Lynne’s soothing voice as you delve deeper into the basics of crochet. Enjoy introducing a treble crochet stitch and exploring colour. Lynne is using West Yorkshire Spinners Re:Treat and an Amour crochet hook in the video. For every kilo of Re:Treat sold West Yorkshire Spinners are donating 50p to the national mental health charity MIND. The yarn was developed with well’being in mind and was the perfect yarn to use as part of our Mindful Crochet series.

We hope that you have enjoyed learning to crochet with Lynne and have begun to bring a mindful mantra to your hobby.

All crochet terms are UK terminology.

Mindful Crochet with Lynne Rowe

Posted by Amy | Posted in Crochet | Posted on 16-05-2019

Tags: ,


We have teamed up with crochet designer and workshop tutor Lynne Rowe to bring you a series of Mindful Crochet tutorials. Join us and be Mindful in May.
Lynne is a big advocate of mindfulness, having previously worked with Betsan Corkhill on the book – Knit Yourself Calm. Lynne enjoys practicing mindful techniques alongside her knitting and crocheting. Enabling her to disconnect and really focus her mind away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
In the videos below you can learn to crochet whilst introducing mindful practices. Lynne has such a soothing and calm voice that you will instantly focus on her every word. The videos are an interesting watch for those who can already crochet and those who wish to learn.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel to keep an eye out for part 3 and 4, coming soon!

In part 1 Lynne talks about getting to grips with holding your yarn and hook and making a chain stitch.

In part 2 Lynne begins to introduce a mindful mantra for a double crochet stitch. Focusing on your breathing and the flow of the crochet.

Lynne has two mindful workshops coming up in June at the Craft Barn in Warrington. There is Mindful Knitting on the morning of Saturday 29th June and Mindful Crochet in the afternoon.

Keep up to date with Lynne Rowe over on her blog and Instragram (the_woolnest).

Knitted Borders

Posted by Amy | Posted in Knitting, Knitting Essentials | Posted on 01-05-2019

Tags: ,


Do you prefer adding knitted borders or a crochet border to your project? Very often when you have knitted a blanket, washcloth or any project really, you might want to finish it off with a border. If you are able to both knit and crochet, then you might opt to put down your knitting needles and get out a crochet hook to crochet an edging (if crochet is your thing then take a look at our crochet borders post). A good idea for some, but not everyone can crochet and sometimes that isn’t the effect that you want to achieve. Knitting can create such a different
There are occasions when a knitted edging must be considered before you begin as it is worked into the design as you go. Please be aware of this when you look at the selection we have to share in this knitted borders blog post.

We asked three designers to share a knitted border / edging that they enjoy using on knitted projects – Heike Gittens, Carol Meldrum and Graeme Knowles-Miller. They were all given two contrasting shades of Scheepjes Our Tribe to play with and these are the fabulous knitted borders they chose.

Heike Gittens – Knitted Border

Heike has worked on various projects with Black Sheep Wools over the years. She was our Blogger of the Month back in June 2014 and now teaches workshops at the Craft Barn. She also designs some gorgeous shawls. Pop over to her blog Made with Loops to find out more.

Heike says – 
There are two things that I frequently use in my designs, stripes and I-cord edgings. I love the versatility of the I-cord, as it can hide unsightly ends and finishes off a shawl or garment in neat and unfussy way.

I-Cord Border

In the swatch Heike sampled she cast on 45 stitches, this will vary depending on what you are knitting.

Cast on 45 stitches with the main colour and knit one row.
Row 1 (WS): With main colour knit to 3 stitches from end, slip 3 stitches with yarn in front (wyif).
Row 2 (RS): With contrast colour knit 3, then knit to end with main colour.
Row 3: With main colour knit to 3 stitches from end, with contrast colour slip 3 stitches wyif.

Repeat rows 2 and 3 until swatch measure 15cm from cast on. Make sure to twist yarns to avoid holes.

I-cord cast off:
With RS facing and using contrast colour: *Knit 2, knit 2 together, slip 2 stitches back to left hand needle; repeat from * until all stitches have been cast off.

Fasten off and weave in ends.

Knitted Border | Black Sheep Wools | I-Cord Edging

Graeme Knowles-Miller – Knitted Border

Graeme is a talented knitwear designer who we have previously interviewed here on the blog. He teaches workshops at the Craft Barn and has designed some incredible garments for baa ram ewe and many other yarn brands. We recently added an exclusive mitten kit to our website, designed by Graeme. Take a look at the Blå Votter Mittens.

Graeme says –
When working a Fair isle project it sometimes seems a waste to put a boring plain rib, and other times you don’t really want it to pull in at all but need a neat edge. This is the perfect time for one of my favourite knitting edges, corrugated ribbing. It is worked the same as any other ribbing but uses two or even three colours at once to give fantastically defined straight lines. When working a 1×1 as shown the blue is only ever knit and the white is purled, this means that there is no pull between the stitches providing a textured surface rather than the usual smooth stocking stitch. This edging looks so good it can even be used with the wrong-side facing out and looks just as good. 

Corrugated Ribbing Border

Row 1: *Knit 1 in color A, purl 1 in color B; rep from * to end.

Row 2: *Knit 1 in color B and purl 1 in color A; rep from * to end.

To work the same pattern in the round, repeat row 1.

Knitted Border | Black Sheep Wools

Carol Meldrum – Knitted Border

We have enjoyed having Carol Meldrum at the Craft Barn for many years now teaching a great selection of workshops. Carol also has a number of her own knitting and crochet books, including Freeform Crochet with Confidence. Last year we did a series of knitting how to videos with Carol that were featured on our YouTube channel and blog.

Carol says –
This neat little bobble edging is an easy way to add a spot of texture to your knitting.You simply pick up stitches along your chosen edge, work a few rows of knit, then make the bobbles and cast off at the same time. The bobbles can be spaced out by casting off more stitches before making the bobble, and you can change the size of the bobble by increasing the amount of times you knit into the front and back of the stitch -the more stitches you increase by the larger the bobble will be, but remember to take care when passing the stitches over and off your needles. It makes a great alternative to the picot cast off.

K knit
st(s) stitches
rep repeat
RS right side
WS wrong side
RHN right hand needle

Special Abbreviation
MB make bobble – Knit into the front and back of the next st 5 times,pass the first 5 loops on RHN over and off the first loop.

Bobble Edging

Pattern note
Bobble edging can be worked along any outer edge fabric.The edging is worked using a multiple of 3 sts. When picking up stitches to make the edging ensure that you use this multiple.If you want more space between your bobbles, pick up a multiple that matches your spacing.

With RS facing pick up and knit a multiple of 3 sts along chosen edge.
Rows 1 and 2: Knit to end.
On the next row, you will cast off and make a bobble at regular intervals.
Row 3 (WS):Cast off first st,*MB, pass rem loop on RHN over and off, cast off 2 sts, rep from * to end.
Fasten off.

Bobble Edging | Knitted Borders | Black Sheep Wools

We hope you find these knitted borders helpful additions to creating a decorative finish to your projects. If you do give them a go and are sharing your photo, remember to tag Black Sheep Wools on social media and include #blacksheepwools then we ca see how you got on.

Yarn Shop Day 2019

Posted by Amy | Posted in Company News | Posted on 10-04-2019

Tags: ,


With Easter only a week away, we thought it was about time we shared full details on Yarn Shop Day 2019! This year Yarn Shop day will be taking place on Saturday 27th April. Yarn Shop Day is a super idea thought up by the lovely folks at Let’s Knit magazine. A day to support your local bricks and mortar yarn shop. We have taken part since the very first year, way back in 2014. If you can’t make it to the Craft Barn in Warringon (find our location here), be sure to support your local yarn shop on the day and see what plans they have up their sleeve.

We have a 3 fabulous guests coming to make the day extra special. Drum roll please…….

Jem Weston – author of The Knitted Nursery Collection and Cute Comfort Knits will be with us for the day. Jem will be sharing her workshop tutor expertise hosting Jem Weston‘s Finishing School for knitters. A variety of drop in sessions to help perfect that professional finish on all your future knitting projects. There will be a few pairs of knitting needles and yarn to borrow, but feel free to bring your own.

10am – 11am | Shaping, covering increases and decreases
11.30am – 12.30pm | Mattress Stitch – if you wish to take part in this session please bring along 2 knitted stocking stitch squares approx 10cm x 10cm.
1.30pm – 2.30pm | Picking up stitches
2.30pm – 3.30pm | Sewing up drop-in clinic

Cathy Wright will be on her spinning wheel in the shop. Demonstrating the transformation from fleece to beautiful hanks of yarn. Have a go yourself and try a new skill!

Emma Varnam – crochet designer and award winning blogger will be joining us from 10am – 2pm. She will be holding amigurumi drop-in sessions at her table. Sharing her top tips on crocheting characters, including how to know where to stitch on eyes and nose! Have you seen Emma’s latest book Crocheted Succulents? We hoping she will be bringing one or two of those prickly creations with her too!

Melanie Boocock (our Rowan Consultant) – will be teaching how to crochet a heart brooch in Rowan Super Fine Merino 4ply. Melanie will be holding drop in sessions from 10 – 2pm.

Yarn Shop Day 2019 | Black Sheep Wools

See you there for Yarn Shop Day 2019!

Mindful Knitting and Crochet

Posted by Amy | Posted in Crochet, Knitting | Posted on 04-04-2019

Tags: ,


Mindful knitting and crochet are fantastic ways of practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness is already a huge part of many people’s lives these days. Taking time to come back to the present and focus your mind away from your busy everyday life, no checking that mobile phone every 5 minutes, mindfulness can help to relieve stress and tension.
Knitting and crochet have been proven to be a tool to improve wellbeing for many years now. Betsan Corkhill, founder of Stitchlinks has written a book Knit for Health and Wellness, which is not only a great read for those who wish to practice therapeutic knitting it is also a resource for clinicians and teachers to refer to. Lynne has co-authored a book with Betsan called Knit Yourself Calm, which includes patterns and info on mindful knitting.
We invited Lynne Rowe to do a series of videos exploring the benefits or mindful knitting and crochet. Lynne chats to Sara in the two part video discussion covering techniques to try and talking about how useful she finds mindfulness. Lynne also has the most soothing voice which will relax you, add in her meditative mantra and you will be ready to try out mindful knitting or mindful crochet for yourself. I could listen to her for hours!

Watch part 1 below….

Take a look at Mindful Knitting and Crochet Part 2…….

Lynne has shared with us her ‘Beginners Guide to Mindful Knitting and Crochet’. Helpful hints and tips to get you started.

  • Find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted.
  • Sit comfortably, following the guidance below.
  • Focus on the cool air as it enters your body and the warm air as it leaves; visualise your breath making you feel lighter and brighter.
  • Watch your hands as you knit or crochet; marvel at the way you turn yarn into fabric.
  • Try lighting a candle to bring calm and help alleviate tension.
  • Sit on an upright chair and push your bottom towards the chair back so you lower spine is supported.
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor and legs uncrossed with your knees slightly lower than your hips.
  • Bring your work up towards the top of your body to avoid slouching.
  • Lift your head slightly and tuck in your chin a little.
  • Imagine your head being slightly pulled by an invisible thread.
  • Don’t worry if your mind wanders; gently bring your attention back to your knitting and counting.
  • Try listening to meditative music.

Find more information from Lynne Rowe on her website –

Lynne is hosting two workshops at the Craft Barn on Saturday 29th June 2019 – Mindful Knitting Morning  and Mindful Crochet Afternoon. Book a place on our website today!

Knitting a ZickZack Scarf

Posted by Amy | Posted in Knitting | Posted on 22-03-2019

Tags: ,


When Black Sheep Sara started knitting a ZickZack scarf earlier this year, she caused quite a stir on our Black Sheep Make-A-Long Facebook page. Sara had spotted this stylish scarf on a friends Instagram post and just had to cast it on the needles herself. Straight away she knew which yarn she fancied trying out on this zig zag striped scarf design. It had to be Stylecraft Head Over Heels All Stars yarn. Sara chose the shades Red Pots and Splash, quite the contrasting colour combination, but when knitted together they work beautifully.

Knitting a ZickZack scarf in Stylecraft Head Over Heels All Stars | Black Sheep Wools

The ZickZack scarf pattern is designed by Christy Kamm and is available free from Ravelry. It was published on Ravelry in 2014 so it has been around for many years and you could well be reading this having knitted one or two yourself.

Sara enjoyed knitting her ZickZack scarf and found the pattern really easy to follow. It was a great project to pick up and just know what comes next without having to concentrate too much. Watch Sara talking about knitting the scarf in the video below.

We shared a photo of Sara’s ZickZack scarf on our newsletter and Sara got lots of great comments from everyone. It wasn’t long before many knitters in our Facebook group had cast on too. Many people are half way through their ZickZack scarf, but we asked if anyone wanted to share a photo for this blog post. Take a look at how different this scarf can look when you combine varying stripey or plain yarns together.

ZickZack Scarf | Black Sheep Wools

Sara’s ZickZack scarf in Red Pots and Splash.

ZickZack scarf | BlackSheep Wools

Brenda – Stylecraft Head Over Heels All Stars – Worldgate & Saltaire.

ZickZack scarf | Black Sheep Wools

Jean – Fyberspates – Peach Bellini and Peak District yarn for the contrast.

ZickZack scarf | Black Sheep Wools

Jean – Stylecraft Head Over Heels – Red Pots and another shade which Jean didn’t keep the ball band.

Knitting a ZickZack scarf | Black Sheep Wools

Karen – Sirdar Baby Crofter 4ply.

Knitting a ZickZack scarf | Black Sheep Wools

Brenda – second scarf in Stylecraft Head Over Heels All Stars – Pool and Ossie.

Knitting a ZickZack scarf | Black Sheep Wools

Rosa – Sirdar Heart & Sole 4ply – yellow/green and pink/purple.

Have you knitted a ZickZack scarf? What yarns did you use?

Designer Q & A – Attic24

Posted by Amy | Posted in Designer Q&A's | Posted on 15-03-2019

Tags: , ,


We are so excited for our special guest visiting the Craft Barn tomorrow. It’s only Lucy, from Attic24 blog! How fantastic is that? Lucy will be joined tomorrow by fellow knitting and crochet buddies, Emma Varnam and Winwick Mum. Pop in store and say hello, the gang will be here from 10am – 4pm. In anticipation for her visit we sent over a few (maybe more than a few) questions to delve a little deeper into the creative world of Attic24. Lucy kindly responded with some great answers. Enjoy having a read of our Attic24 interview, it is really interesting to learn more about her crochet journey.

Designer Q & A Attic24 | Black Sheep Wools

When did you begin crocheting?
Before I had my children, I was a self employed designer-maker working with textiles and embroidery. I ran my little handmade business from home, making brightly coloured textile pictures and a range of embroidered greetings cards. I packed up my textile business when I had my first child in 2002, thinking that eventually I would come back to it.
Fast forward to 2007 and I was very busy being a full time Mum to my two young children aged 3 and 4 then. I loved that time in my life, but I found myself starting to miss my old creative work and began to look for a way to balance out the needs of my young family with my need to do something creative for myself again.
It was a friend who suggested I try crocheting – she knew of my arts and textile background, and thought that crochet would appeal to me as she had just learnt herself and was finding it very therapeutic. We agreed that yarn crafts were far more child friendly than sewing, being that you can sit on the sofa amongst the chaos of family life and pick up a crochet project far more easily than you can get out a sewing machine and ironing board!
So I decided to give it a go, borrowing a crochet hook and ball of yarn from my friend and getting her to teach me the basics of crocheting a chain. I bought a small beginners crochet book from a local yarn shop and over the next few days I taught myself the basic stitches and learnt how to make a simple granny square. I knew straight away that I wanted to crochet blankets, and those very first granny squares eventually became my very first blanket.
That was over eleven years ago now, and I can honestly say that learning to crochet changed the course of my life. I still have that first blanket draped over the back of my sofa and it’s one of my most treasured things.

Designer Q & A Attic24 | Embroidery | Black Sheep Wools

Attic24 Embroidery

Designer Q & A Attic24 | First Blanket | Black Sheep Wools

First crocheted blanket Attic24

What sparked your love with this wonderful craft?
I fell in love with crochet primarily because of the ease of it. As a mum of young children, it was something I could very easily fit into the small pockets of time I had throughout my busy days. I would keep my yarn handy and I would pick up my granny squares whenever I had a chance. Even if it was just a few stitches here and there, I loved that I was doing something creative just for me, for my own pleasure and satisfaction.
And of course, there was the colour therapy too. When I first walked into a yarn shop to purchase a few balls to make granny squares, I was hit by the sight of so much beautiful colour on those shelves that I knew I had found something that would bring me a huge amount of happiness. I had always loved bright colours when I worked with fabric and stitch, and finding out that yarns could give me the same sort of colour-fix was such a great surprise.

Granny Squares Attic24 | Black Sheep Wools

What inspired you to begin writing a blog?
Around about the same time that I learnt to crochet, I also discovered the online world of creative blogs. Blogging was still relatively new back in 2007, but I began following a few blogs that really resonated with me – ladies who were sharing snippets of their daily lives, their homes, gardens and creative projects which I found hugely inspirational. I had already begun sharing some of my photos and projects on Flickr (remember this was back in the day before Pinterest and Instagram existed, I know, how did we ever manage?!) and I found that I really enjoyed being a part of a creative online community. It was like suddenly finding my tribe when I had been living in solitary for so long! Writing a blog and joining in with the community I had discovered was the next logical step, although it took me almost a year to pluck up the courage to do it. I had recently relocated and moved to a new town so was feeling a little lost at the time. My youngest had just started mornings at nursery, so for the first time in many years I had some precious child free hours at my disposal. I had always loved writing (I was an avid penpal in my teenage years, writing letters to friends all over the world), and taking photographs to go with my words became a newly discovered passion. There was no end goal, just a desire to share and connect with others, and to be able to fill my free time with a new and exciting hobby.

Designer Q & A Attic24 | Black Sheep Wools

Your blog is so popular, how does it feel to know there are people all around the world reading your blog and making your designs?
Honest answer???? It feels FANTASTIC!!! I The community which surrounds Attic24 is absolutely wonderful and I truly value the friendship and connections that it brings to my life. That sense of belonging is very precious to me, especially as I spent so many years feeling quite alone with my creativity and my quirky way of looking at life. Mind you, having said that, I find that even after all these years I still very much write my blog and create my designs for my own personal pleasure and need.

You design beautiful blankets. For someone who has never seen any of your fabulous makes before, which would be your top 3 to begin their Attic24 journey?
I mainly design my blankets with new crocheters in mind, keeping the stitches pretty basic and creating full photo-heavy tutorials to help with pattern reading. The simplicity of my designs also makes my blankets into perfect projects for those who want to indulge in some therapeutic hooky time where you can lose yourself in the rhythmic stitches without having anything too complex to concentrate on. For those who are very new to crochet, I would suggest blankets that have repeating rows with very little counting involved – the Granny Stripe, the Hydgrangea Stripe or the Sweet Pea.

Designer Q & A Attic24 | Black Sheep Wools

Photography is a huge part of your blog and has been from the very beginning. Would you say that photography is an important part of your creative process? Do you take inspiration from what you have snapped?
Yes, yes, yes, I would absolutely say that photography is at the very heart of everything I do. Each and every one of my blog posts tells a story through photographs, and I always begin a post by uploading all the images in an order which makes sense to the inner dialogue running through my mind. The narrative comes afterwards.
My camera is one of my most valuable tools, allowing me to capture and record all sorts of things which may end up inspiring new designs or colour palettes. In fact most of my recent blanket designs have been inspired by nature, and it’s my photographs and visual observations which spark these creative ideas.

It’s always lovely to see your captivating photos of nature and the great outdoors. What is your favourite season?
Summer is my best favourite time of year, without a shadow of a doubt. I especially love very early summer (late May here in my patch) when we have those gloriously long, light days and all the greenery is back in the woods. Also flowers – summer flowers are a true delight and never fail to inspire me.

Floral Inspiration | Designer Q & A Attic24

Woodland Inspiration Attic24 | Black Sheep Wools

When you aren’t crocheting what other crafts / hobbies do you enjoy doing?
I learnt to knit as a child but hadn’t done much until a few years ago when I learnt to knit socks. I love having a pair of socks on the go alongside my crochet, it’s a different kind of a challenge for me and I get huge satisfaction from wearing socks that I’ve made myself. Plus self striping sock yarns are an addiction that I’m totally on board with!
I discovered the pleasure of modern cross stitch designs last year and that feels like a true hobby for me. I like being able to sit quietly and stitch without any other agenda, it’s just a beautiful way to relax and spend time.

Colour plays a huge part in your crochet, how do you settle on a colour palette?
When I was first crocheting, I would choose my colour palette by first selecting a yarn type, then going into a local yarn shop to gather together all the colours that made me happy. It was always a quick, simple, instinctive process and not something I ever gave a great deal of thought to.
These days I really enjoy having a story behind my colour palettes, and spend a long time thinking about the bigger picture and choosing colours that describe a particular season or place. Once I’ve decided on the theme, I visit and research, taking photographs and collecting natural materials (eg summer flowers, or autumn leaves and berries) which I use as my starting point for selecting colours. I then pull out my yarn pegs (simple wooden clothes pegs wrapped with yarn) to build up groups of colours which tell the story, arranging them and playing with them over many weeks until I’m happy with the overall balance. I then begin sampling, which often leads me to make one or two final adjustments with my colour choices – sometimes a collection of colours just doesn’t play out as you expect it to once you begin working up a pattern. I find I make emotional decisions about colours just as much as visual ones – I really do like to “feel” the colours somehow and always know when I’ve created a great colour palette because I feel like I want to cry (it sounds soppy, but it really is that intense!)

What inspires a new design? Colour or crochet stitch? What is your creative process?
This is a really interesting question, and I’ve talked a little bit about my creative process of choosing colours in the question above.
It’s always the colour choices which come first for me, although I’ve often got a vague idea of a stitch pattern at by the time I come to select the colours. I try and think about my story and what I’m attempting to convey with my colours, and then think about a crochet stitch or pattern that will work best to do the job. For example, in my Moorland blanket, I chose the colours to describe the feeling of walking across the high Yorkshire moors in Summer when the heather is blooming. I immediately thought of using a wave stitch to describe the gentle undulations of a long distance landscape, with very successful results.

Designer Q & A Attic24 | Black Sheep Wools

Do you have a favourite shade of Stylecraft Special DK? If so, what is it?
My favourite shades of SSDK are the blue/green ones, echoes of sea and sky. Duck Egg, Cloud Blue, Storm Blue, Sage and Lincoln. I adore these shades and am naturally drawn to include them in my blankets whenever I can.
Interestingly, the colour which is used the most in my blankets is Meadow – I don’t think it’s a beautiful green on it’s own, but it’s wonderful as a mid tone green amongst other colours, especially those ones which are inspired by nature.

What is your go to crochet stitch pattern?
I don’t think I really have a go-to stitch, but I do really love creating stripes. I’ve been drawn back to the ripple stitch many times over the years (I think I’ve made 7 ripples blankets in total) so maybe that would be the one.

Brights or pastels?
I would have to say brights as I am instinctively drawn to them. Bright, vibrant colours make me feel good and I love to use them in my designs.
I’m discovering a new love for softer colours though, and my next project uses quite a muted colour palette (inspired by nature) which is unusual for me. I’ll be interested to see what everyone makes of it!

Do you have a favourite place to crochet?
I pretty much crochet wherever I am and am used to taking my crochet out and about with me. I adore crocheting outside in the Summer when I’ve got a beautiful view to gaze at (crocheting on the beach is a favourite). But I also love to cosy up beside our open fire in the cold months of the year.

Attic24 | Black Sheep Wools

What are your crochet plans for 2019? Are there any cryptic clues you can share?
I don’t tend to plan all that far ahead, but I can tell you some of the things that I’ve got lined up. I’m working on a new blanket right now which will be ready to share in the Spring. I’ve chosen the colours and am in the sampling stage for the stitch pattern – I’m very excited to begin on a new blanket journey.
I’m thrilled to be heading abroad in April and May to teach on two Stitchtopia crochet retreats in the French Alps. The retreats will be focusing on circles of colour – I’ll be creating some new mandala designs as a way of teaching some yarn-based colour theory, including how to find inspiration for colour palettes and how to use them for crochet projects.
Beyond that I’m not sure what I’ll be working on – I’ve always got lots of ideas bubbling for smaller projects, oh and in July I’ll be planning and choosing colours for my next annual crochet-a-long blanket…….I’ve already got an idea for a theme, but I can’t tell you just yet!

What direction do you see crochet going in the next 5 to 10 years?
Do you know what, I would be so, so happy if my own personal direction didn’t change too much in the next decade as I’m enjoying myself so much right now. I love the balance of my creative life, getting to crochet, design and write at a pace which suits me. I am very much a “go with the flow” type of person and don’t tend to plan much or have any great ambitions for the future. I love the luxury of living in the moment wherever possible, enjoying each day as it comes.
As for the direction of crochet in general, I hope that the increase in popularity continues. I’ve seen a massive change in the decade since I started, and I think this is mainly down to the huge variety of yarns (and colours) that we now have at our fingertips. I would love to see more affordable natural yarns (wool, cotton, linen, bamboo) coming in a large range of beautiful colours – it would be amazing to crochet a gloriously colourful natural fibre blanket in a yarn that doesn’t break the bank!

We can’t wait for you to visit the Craft Barn on 16th March. Are you looking forward to coming and spending time with us in store?
Yes, I really am looking forward to it, I can’t wait to experience the famous Craft Barn! I don’t get out that much you know, spending most of my days working alone either at home or in my studio. So it’s always exciting to tiptoe out of my Attic every so often and meet with other like minded people. And if there is yarn to stroke and cake to eat, well I consider that a very, very good day out indeed!

Read Attic24 blog here.


Blå Votter Mittens

Posted by Amy | Posted in New Products | Posted on 08-03-2019



It might be early March, but there still may be some mitten wearing days ahead of us here in the UK. Somewhere in the world it will be a mitten wearing day, whatever time of year you happen to be reading this blog post. Get your knitting needles at the ready and be prepared to need these hand warming treats in your life.
Say hello to the ‘Blå Votter’ mittens by Graeme Knowles-Miller. A stylish, colour work design made from Baa Ram Ewe Pip Colourwork yarn. This is a 100% British wool, 4ply yarn that comes in handy 25g balls, which are perfect for knitting fair isle / intarsia designs, plus they are ideal for small projects such as a pair of mittens. Graeme Knowles-Miller is a very talented young designer who focuses much of his work on Fair Isle. Read our Designer Q & A with Graeme on a previous blog post.

Bla Votter | Black Sheep Wools

Small projects are a great in between project or a nice one to carry in your bag as your go to knitting. If you are on the bus or train, or waiting for an appointment. An on the go project is super handy to have. The Blå Votter mittens are available as a kit, that comes with all the yarn you need, pattern and an organza bag. We have three different colourway options to choose from.

We asked Graeme a couple of questions about the Blå Votter mittens –

What is the meaning of Blå Votter? 

Blå Votter is Norwegian for Blue Mittens as the pair were first imagined in dark blue and white, a classic Scandinavian colour combination on a very traditional style of mitten. But being creative allows the knitter to make these in whatever colourful combination they can think of.

Bla Votter | Black Sheep Wools

What was the inspiration behind these beautiful mittens?

Inspired by bold contrasts of the Fjords in winter, these mittens use a simple motif using stranding of two colours to make them perfectly toasty for chilly afternoons or walks in the snow. Sharp blues and crisp whites reflect the harsh beauty of Norway’s coastal landscapes.

Your mittens would make the perfect gift, do you make any handmade gifts?

Yes of course! For Christmas I made lovely thick stockings to hang over the fire and plenty of edible goodies to go in them such as Florentines. As with most people I would like to make more but time is always against you. As a designer you’re always looking way in to the future which often means you bypass events like Christmas or peoples birthdays. No matter how hard you try there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

Bla Votter | Black Sheep Wools

Sara crochets a Rainboom MAL

Posted by Amy | Posted in Crochet | Posted on 01-03-2019

Tags: ,


Sara couldn’t resist picking up a playful box of Scheepjes Stone Washed and River Washed cutie pie mini balls when she saw the new Rainboom MAL by Miss Neriss. This project is called a Make A Long (MAL) by Scheepjes, to be a project that everyone can work on together and share their progress as they go. Share your progress in the Official Scheepjes Facebook group.
The box has recently been revamped with 8 new shades added. There are now a total of 58 mini 10g balls in the pack to enjoy. The Rainboom shawl by Miss Neriss is made using every single ball in the pack, complete with a mesmerising fringe using all of the left over pieces.

Watch Sara talking in the video below about starting the crocheted shawl.

Take a peek at the beginning of Sara’s Rainboom MAL shawl. The way the shawl is worked, going through all of the shades is just so pleasing on the eye.

Rainboom MAL by Miss Neriss | Black Sheep Wools

Sara has now completed the shawl and is chatting about her progress in the video below.

Sara’s top tip for making the fringing is to wrap the yarn around the Scheepjes box the mini balls came in. This is approximately 35cm tall and the fringe needs to be between 30cm and 40cm. It is a good way of getting all of your fringe the same length all in one go.

Rainboom MAL | Black Sheep Wools

Here it is, the finished Scheepjes Rainboom shawl by Miss Neriss. Watch Sara as she works out different ways to wear this fabulous shawl!

Take a closer look at the shawl below. It really is a rainbow of colour.

Scheepjes Rainboom MAL | Black Sheep Wools


Pantone Colour of the Year 2019

Posted by Amy | Posted in Miscellaneous | Posted on 22-02-2019



Yarn and colour just go together hand in hand, don’t you think? Whatever shade range catches your eye, when it comes to choosing yarn colour is up there as a BIG (and fun) decision to make when starting something new.

As we are still in the early months of 2019 it made sense to talk about the Pantone colour of the year 2019. You may have heard of pantone colour charts? Pantone create colour charts that are used by various industries, mainly for printing, so that colours are universally matched. Every year they release their colour of the year. This trend forecast will go on to influence fashion, packaging, homeware and many other areas of design. This year it is the juicy shade of ‘Living Coral’. It could even go on to influence our next knitting and crochet projects. What do you think?

A description below taken from the Pantone website
“An animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge”.

After having a peruse of the Craft Barn here are the varying ‘Living Coral’ esq shades that were discovered.

Such a versatile shade that you could add into so many colour palettes. It has got the creative juices flowing and sparked a basket filling frenzy. Once you get started you realise how coral can work well with all sorts of colours.

How about blue and turquoise? Feeling summery with this choice.

Or pinks and purples? Quite a bold mix of strong colours. I like it!

It’s like Rico were already onto Pantone colour of the year 2019 before it was announced. Their Rico Creative Soft Wool Aran comes in a great selection of colours, that all work together harmoniously. With an emphasis on pinks and corals.

Perhaps you could add just a splash of coral into a neutral palette. Grey, nude or beige would work.

You could even go for an autumn feel, mixing in rust and brown.

Finally, a spring fling with denim blue, navy and yellow.

Have a play with adding coral yourself and see what works for you. The options are endless! If you are thinking of making something like a blanket then choosing a yarn with plenty of shades is always something to consider, Stylecraft Special DK or Scheepjes Stone Washed and River Washed would be a good starting point.
When you focus on one colour you will surprised where you will see it popping up. We have also added some ‘Living Coral’ pins to our Colour Inspiration board on Pinterest. There are some really lovely shade cards and imagery out there to inspire your coral themed colour palette.