Premature Baby Campaign – Thank You

Posted by Lesley Cragg | Posted in Company News | Posted on 16-03-2015


I sent the second lot of items (2 huge boxes!) to the hospital last week in with my friends and they couldn’t believe how many things that had been donated!

Here is a thank you for all of your support and kindness:

“To all our knitting Angels out there, we would like to say a massive THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts for all your support and generosity. It goes such a long way and helps not only us but many other parents in tough times like this. It lightens up even the darkest days when we walk into the neonatal units and see our babies in their incubators looking cosy and cuddly wearing the hats you have made and cocooned in the blankets. I am pleased to say our babies are progressing now, and as they progress they can wear their own clothes. Which proudly lets me share this photo from yesterday of Rosie having time off her ventilation.


And me having a cuddle with Hollie, wrapped in one of your lovely hand knitted blankets.


We will keep on sharing our progress with you, and once again, thank you so much.”

Steph, Dan, Hollie, and Rosie x x x x

Premature Baby Campaign Update

Posted by Lesley Cragg | Posted in Company News | Posted on 09-03-2015


I went to the hospital again at the weekend to see my friend and the twins. Unfortunately the babies were too poorly for visitors however, I did get chance to have a coffee with Mum and Dad. I told them about all of you lovely people sending things in for the unit. They were thrilled and amazed at your generosity. They totally understand the importance of hand knitted items and they know how much time and love goes into everything handmade. Hand knitted blankets really do make a difference, not only do they cover the babies but they use them for swaddling in the incubators too.
They wanted to share some pictures so you can see hand knitted items in action.

These 2 pictures were took a couple of weeks ago:



And here are 2 more recent ones:

I have had a few people asking if this is an ongoing campaign and the answer is yes!
Black Sheep Wools is proudly partnering with the Newborn Appeal to help raise awareness and funds for new equipment for those very special little babies.

If you would like more information on how you can help, please visit or email

Here’s a sneaky peek at the gorgeous things we have received so far. Thank you so much for your ongoing support, it is truly amazing xxx

premature baby campaign

premature baby campaign

Update on Premature Baby Campaign

Posted by Lesley Cragg | Posted in Company News | Posted on 06-02-2015


Wow, what a week it’s been. We are all totally overwhelmed with the response from people wanting to help out with our premature baby campaign. We have already received this little lot and people are bringing things in every day!

premature baby campaign

Things have moved on a lot since I posted the original blog post. We are conversations with The Newborn Appeal to see how we can work together to make a real difference to those special little babies.

Due to the huge response, we thought it only right that we create a page on our website dedicated to this campaign. Christine Cooper, the founder of Ray of Hope charity has very kindly donated some free patterns for you all to download. These patterns have been written by members of the public so we cannot accept responsibility for any inaccuracies or accept any queries relating to them.

The page can be found here:

Hopefully, this new page will answer any questions you may have however, if you do have any further questions, please email

Thank you again for all of your ongoing support xx

Rowan Moordale

Posted by Amy | Posted in Yarn Reviews | Posted on 18-01-2019


Rowan Moordale is a brand new yarn to join the Rowan collection for 2019. It comes in luxurious 100g hanks of 70% wool and 30% alpaca yarn. Made from the finest premium British fibres, it is a yarn to covet on a dull January day. Take your pick from 12 rich shades of colour – earthy and bold.
Martin Storey has designed the pattern book for Moordale. A selection of knitted designs for men and women, really wearable pieces, ones that will be a pleasure to knit and a joy to wear year after year. Find hats, sweaters, snoods and cardigans with lots of textured stitch patterns. Watch Sara reviewing the yarn and browsing the pattern book in our video below.  

Black Sheep Barbara has knitted a ‘Buckler’ hat from the Rowan Moordale book with just one hank of the yarn. A textured stitch that works well with the twist of the yarn. A lover of natural fibres and beautiful hanks of yarn, Barbara was the perfect yarn taster. I asked Barbara how she found working with it –

“It’s really, really lovely. Beautiful stitch definition and so soft. The look of a pure wool yarn with the added softness of alpaca. It makes the perfect pompom too.”

Rowan Moordlale | Buckler Hat | Black Sheep Wools

Rowan have shared a behind the scenes video of the book photo shoot. It’s great when brands give you a little sneak peek at how they bring a collection together. It gives you more of a feel for the designs and colour palette inspiration. The phenomenal depth of colour that can be found in the countryside, heathers, tree bark and so many intense shades of green.

A second video from Rowan, that is well worth a watch is their ‘Making of Moordale’. It is interesting to watch the process that takes place to go from initial fibres to hanks of yarn. So much winding and spinning, it’s quite hypnotic!

Don’t forget you can also see all of the magnificent Rowan yarns at the Craft Barn too. Did you know we are a Rowan Flagship store? We stock all of the Rowan range including the seasonal Selects yarns. Every Wednesday and Saturday you will find our in store Rowan Consultant, Melanie in the Rowan corner. We always have a great selection of sample garments to catch your eye.
Melanie is smitten with the new Rowan Moordale yarn. She is currently working on a project in a combination of shades. Keep an eye out on Instagram for a photo popping up soon.

Melanie says –

“It’s beautifully soft to the touch. There is a nice stitch definition. Best of all it’s a British yarn with a gorgeous palette of colours. My favourites are Turmeric, Gooseberry and Blue Moor. I love the pattern collection by Martin Storey. Tussock is my favourite.”

Charity Knitting

Posted by Amy | Posted in Company News | Posted on 01-06-2018


Recently we had Helen, from Warrington & Halton Hospital charity in store, talking to our customers about the charity and showing the knitting and crochet projects they are currently collecting donations for. We have supported our local hospital – Warrington Hospital for quite a few years now, along with Liverpool Womens as part of our Premature Baby campaign. Three years on since Lesley set up the Black Sheep Prem Baby campaign and we are still receiving packages of hand knitted baby items generously knitted by our customers. If you do have any spare oddments of yarn and wonder what to make, then please do knit some teeny hats for prem babies or a small blanket and send them to us. Charity knitting is a great way to use up oddments whilst helping a worthy cause. Take a look at our Premature Baby page for a selection of free patterns and more information about what to make. We will post them on to either Warrington or Liverpool Womens who are always very grateful for donations in their neonatal units. Alternatively find out if your local hospital is looking for any hand knitted items and send them on.

Charity Knitting | Black Sheep Wools

Ventilator Hats

Back to Helen’s visit….she brought along an assortment of hand puppets for the Knit for Hal project. Hal is the name of the mini knitted mascot to be teamed up with young patients when they visit the hospital. Find the basic Hal pattern here.
“Knit4Hal appeal gains the support of knitters all over the country who have pledged to join our knitting & crochet team that create hand knitted puppets, our vision is to be able to provide our young patients with a little something special whilst within our care, which can also act as a pleasant distraction from what can sometimes be quite a stressful time. We have received some wonderful feedback from both patients and their families informing us that the puppets have been such a welcomed gift, what a lovely idea!” – quote from the Charity team.

Charity Knitting

Charity Knitting

Charity Knitting

Helen also brought along twiddle lap blankets. These are designed to comfort patients with dementia. You may have heard of twiddle muffs, well the idea of the blanket is the same but in blanket form. It helps to keep the patient warm as well as having textures and other bits and bobs attached to stimulate restless hands. The blankets Helen is holding are roughly 70cm x 30cm in size. All sewn on bits do need to be secure.

Charity Knitting

“Warrington and Halton Hospitals’ Charity, ‘WHH Charity’, raises funds to provide additional comforts, care or experiences for the direct benefit of patients and their families beyond that which the NHS provides. With the support of our wonderful donors and fundraisers we raise money to improve patient environments, fund additional equipment/facilities and provide important complimentary services to enhance our patients’ overall experience.  We can only continue our work by gaining the support of our local communities and our mission is to create as many different ways as possible to forge new partnerships and involve our supporters in ways that best suit them.” – quote from the Charity team.

Find more information about Warrington and Halton Hospital Charity on their website.


Designer Q & A’s – Susan Pinner

Posted by Amy | Posted in Designer Q&A's | Posted on 27-04-2016


In the run up to Yarn Shop Day 2016 we caught up with crochet designer, Susan Pinner to ask a few questions about crochet. Susan will be here on Yarn Shop Day sharing all of her crochet treats and doing a book signing between 10.30am and 2.30pm. Along with two books full to the brim of her own fabulous designs – ‘Granny Squares‘ and ‘Granny Squares & Shapes‘, Susan also designs crochet patterns for Stylecraft.




There will be many more talented crafty folk to see too, including demonstrations of weaving from Beryl Weir, sock knitting with Winwick Mum and even more crochet with Crafternoon Treats! Read our Yarn Shop Day blog post here.


Who taught you to crochet? What was the first thing you ever made?

My best friend’s Gran when I was about 8 or 9, but I never made anything until my early teens and it was a gold, orange, brown, oatmeal rug in RUG WOOL that someone had given me……very hard going with huge tassels on each corner.

What projects do you have on the go at the moment? Any top secret snippets of crochet you can share?

Nothing TOP SECRET I wouldn’t get paid lol! But I’m doing some felting projects some free form projects and researching some new stitches that always leads to a variation on a new stitch in one way or another.



Have you ever made something that you will treasure forever? A project that took a little longer than expected, a labour of love or perhaps a beautiful piece that you just cannot part with. 

Almost everything I make…I find hard to part with. Two of my favourites are these and old, old freeform flowers on stripes, a felted hat that made it to Knitting Vogue Knitting magazine anything I do from real life like the primsoes and the Chunky Monkey CAL I did last year.




When designing something new, where do you begin? Is it a sketch, with a colour palette or sampling?

How long is a piece of string? Sometimes from a sketch, sometimes from a colour combo, a new stitch or a new yarn. When working with yarn companies you have to be able to adapt your style to their wants and new yarns and sometimes restricted colours

This one was from a sketch…


You now have two books full of your designs – Granny Squares and Granny Squares & Shapes, plus you do lots of fabulous crochet designs for Stylecraft. Do you have a favourite design?

The latest designs are usually favourites but if you push me to pick one for Stylecraft…..the new Tartan blanket and cushion.


And the bead and bezel I did for Stylecraft blog tour…I’ve made them up in lots of colour combo’s since.


Your books are full of really lovely designs, are they suitable for a beginner? Are there any designs in particular you would suggest?

This daisy pattern so versatile, easy to make and can be made in so many colour combo’s and sizes from 3ply sock yarn to Aran, this picture is from a 1950’s colour chart as a box cushion for our 1975 camper.


And the blanket motif…again its versatile.


Do you do any other crafts?  

Not really, these days crochet fills my time, a bit of paper crafting especially at Christmas time.


If my crochet time was my own I would do far more free form crochet, I have  bags of crochet circle waiting for me to join them together and tapestry crochet too, like this one.


Do you have a favourite place to crochet?

My craft room the light is fabulous and I have a double sofa unit like a bed in there, but any where that’s comfy, the sofa, in bed…lots of space to spread out all the yarn and 4 cats and bury myself…..a tidy moment doesn’t look like this often!


Stylecraft Carnival Sweater – #tryittuesday

Posted by Amy | Posted in #TryitTuesday | Posted on 22-09-2015


Stylecraft Carnival Chunky is a new addition to the Black Sheep Wools yarn portfolio. We are gradually increasing our Stylecraft stock and this yarn is not one to disappoint. The yarn is 100% premium acrylic with a soft texture similar to other premium acrylic yarns in the Stylecraft range. We have 8 different kaleidoscope shades to choose from all named after a colourful carnival from around the world, with names such as Rio and Notting Hill. The pattern is 9087.

stylcraft carnival chunky

This week I was lucky to have four of our glam Black Sheep ladies ready to try on the Carnival sweater. It had lots of positive comments from customers shopping in the Craft Barn too. An easy to wear shape that will knit up in no time at all on 6mm needles.


Lesley was up first trying on the sweater with her blue blouse underneath, which works quite well, with the contrast in colour.


On to Barbra who I caught quickly whilst she was cutting fabric!


Collette liked the snuggly feel of the sweater.


Stacey already has some of the yarn clicking away on her knitting needles. She tried on the sweater layered over a long sleeve t-shirt.

Spring cleaning

Posted by Amy | Posted in Staff Projects | Posted on 27-05-2015


Is it too late for spring cleaning? We are still in May, and spring hasn’t really been in the air, too many chilly days and rain to suggest summer is here. So, let’s decide there is still time. I am not talking about the dusting and cleaning type of ‘spring cleaning’ though. More like a spring clean of the old project bag. What WIP’s do you have unfinished that could do with being moved off the needles to make way for a pretty summer knit? Here at Black Sheep Wools we have decided to have a little spring clean of our project bags to see what lies beneath. I have collected photos of a selection of projects finished by staff so far. Up to now there only seems to be one project that was started many moons ago, mine.

Janet was super organised for her holiday, she soon had two crisp white cardigans knitted. Her knitting is incredibly neat and it only took her a week to make one cardigan! Janet opted for white Wendy Supreme Luxury Cotton Dk, following Sirdar pattern 7084. She was attracted to the diagonal, rib like, stitch detail on the side and back of the design. Not only does this detail look pretty it is also really flattering.

janet wendy supreme cotton dk

Take a look at the back panel detail too. Notice how the rib section extends from the waistband.

janet wensy supreme cotton dk cardigan

Janet’s second cardigan is a gorgeously soft cardigan knitted in Sirdar Raffaella Dk. The pattern is a Sirdar Soukie Dk pattern – 7090.

janet soukie dk cardigan knitted in Raffaella

Janet couldn’t resist adding a bit of sparkle with a scattering of beads delicately sewn along the cardigan edging. She has used Debbie Abrahams beads clear size 6.

janet sirdar raffaella dk

Emma has finished her knitted monkey from Cute Little Knits by Jem Weston, knitted in Rowan Felted Tweed. The fair isle scarf took nearly as long as the whole monkey body to make!

cute little knits monkey

I have eventually finished my crochet, chevron cushion in Rico Creative Cotton Aran. It has been one of those projects that I have picked up and done a couple of rows and then tucked away for months on end. I was so pleased to finally be crocheting it together!

crochet cushion in rico creative cotton aran

Yvonne’s grand-daughter loves to wear a hat to match every outfit. She recently got a new coat, so with this in mind Yvonne instantly got out her crochet hook. The hat below is crocheted in King Cole Smooth Multi Dk with the flowers made from yarn oddments.

King Cole smoothie multi dk hat

Her second hat is crocheted in a cotton yarn, which Yvonne then adorned with pretty flowers.

crochet hat

The final project to be finished off in the ‘spring clean’ is Lesley’s giant granny square blanket, crocheted in Stylecraft Special Dk. The blanket pattern can be downloaded for free from our website.

giant granny square blanket

What have you been crocheting?

Posted by Amy | Posted in Customer Projects | Posted on 12-05-2015


Over the past few weeks I have collected photos of many different crochet projects from Black Sheep Wools customers. It is particularly exciting to see a project evolve from the initial yarn purchase. Have you crocheted anything you would like to share? Please send in photos through to

To start off I have a couple of crocheted items from a customer called John. Whilst yarn shopping, he brought along his latest make for a photo – ‘Speedy the wonder turtle’.

crocheted turtle

John came back a couple of weeks later wearing his latest make, this time a fab jumper crocheted in James C Brett Chunky with Merino. The pattern is a free download from the Red Heart website.

Red Heart sweater in James C Brett Chunky with Merino

A lady called Alex was shopping with her baby son. He was all snug in his pram with a cosy blanket crocheted in a vibrant, rainbow shade of Stylecraft Merry Go Round Dk. I got chatting to Alex about the blanket and she said it took just 2 balls with a 4.5mm hook.

ripple blanket in stylecraft merry go round

Adding a decorative dging is a good idea on a ripple blanket to help neaten up the wavy ends.

ripple blanket in stylecraft merry go round

Jacky has been trying out King Cole Opium Palette crocheted. It is looking lovely so far. The texture of the yarn, along with the varying colour creates a really interesting combination. Jacky is going to make a triangular scarf, gradually increasing the stitches as she goes.

king cole opium palette crochet

A second project Jacky has just completed this week is a baby blanket in Stylecraft Malabar. The blanket is a free download on Ravelry called Rainbow Dash Baby Blanket by Beatrice Ryan Designs.

jacky's rainbow dash blanket

The colours look great worked together.

rainbow dash blanket in stylecraft malabar

Joan has nearly finished a waistcoat in Wendy Supreme Cotton Dk. The pattern for this summery design can be found in Sirdar book 458 – Cotton Crochet. It is hard to believe only 18 months ago Joan couldn’t crochet at all!

crochet wasitcoat 458

crochet waistcoat 458

This photo was one sent in by an online customer called Julie. A pretty lace detail top crocheted in DMC Natura cotton.

dmc natura cotton top

Quilting, knitting & crochet projects

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


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.


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!



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.


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