Ubuntu update – Week 4

Posted by Sara Mulvey | Posted in Crochet | Posted on 11-10-2018

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I am keeping on track with the Scheepjes Ubuntu CAL so far. This week I have been working on week 4. Although I couldn’t seem to get this part of the pattern at first, with a break and a clear head I was able to work it out and complete the pieces.

Ubuntu Week 4 Video

The patterns for the Ubuntu blanket are released weekly on Dedri Uys’s blog Look at what I made. If you fancy giving it a go yourself we have all 3 kits available on our website. Find them here. I am making the medium size in Scheepjes Stone Washed.

 

DIY Knitting and Crochet Tips

Posted by Amy | Posted in Crochet, Knitting | Posted on 05-10-2018

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What do all of these items have in common? They can all be there to help you out when you don’t have the correct knitting or crochet tools to hand. Sometimes you can discover that a household item that you use every day, actually lends itself to crafts more than you realise. One day it’s in the kitchen cupboard, next it is taking pride of place next to your project bag. A collection of DIY knitting and crochet tips.

DIY Knitting and Crochet Tips | Black Sheep Wools

We asked our Facebook followers – Do you ever find yourself using household items to help with your knitting and crochet? 
Along with Black Sheep staff too, there were some brilliant suggestions made. Crafters are a resouceful lot, thank you to everyone who shared their tips. It only made sense to pool all of our DIY knitting and crochet tips together in one blog post. We have probably only really scratched the surface of what super ideas you crafty lot use. If you do think of any more please comment below this post.

DIY Knitting and Crochet Tips

Highlighter tape / Post it note

Handy items from your stationary draw, highlighter tape or a post it note. These will be there for you when you are following a chart (also good for a complex row on a pattern) and want to keep track of the row you are on. Move the tape / post it up a row every time you have completed a row. So simple, yet very helpful when you are deep in concentration. A post it can also double up as somewhere to write down where you are up to on your pattern when you are putting it away for the day.

Paperclips / Safety Pins

Paperclips or safety pins can be a saviour when you just can’t put your finger on where you put that tin of beautiful stitch markers you bought. Not as pretty, but do the job in your moment of need. Another good suggestions is a scrap of contrasting yarn. We all have an old scrap of end of balls at the bottom of our project bag!

Hair Clip

This was a fab suggestion from a Facebook follower called Marie, use a hair clip to keep your ball of yarn neat and tidy. Really helpful when you are making a blanket or something that requires multiple shades of yarn being used at once. There will be no excuse for tangled yarn with this top tip.
A hair clip can also be handy for when you are transporting a project on the go. Use the clip to snap onto where you have just stopped working to help prevent any unravelling.

DIY Knitting and Crochet Tops | Black Sheep Wools

Nail Clippers

As a knitter or crocheter you will know that although sometimes you think your fingers can withstand snapping the yarn it is just not possible without nearly injuring yourself. With scissors no where in sight, but a pair of nail clippers to hand they will do the trick. Also, nail clippers are ideal to carry with you if you don’t won’t to have sharp scissors.

Bamboo Skewer

Maybe not for too many stitches, but a bamboo skewer could be helpful as a temporary stitch holder.

Plant Pot / Teapot / Colander

A yarn bowl is a great invention for your ball of yarn to bob up and down in gently rather than thrashing around your feet as you knit. Not always so dramatically, but we’ve all had a rogue ball of yarn that won’t sit still. An actual yarn bowl has been designed with a lip of holes to feed yarn through. A make shift yarn bowl can come in many guises – a plant pot, teapot – feeding the yarn through the spout or a colander – so many holes to choose from and plenty of space for a large ball of yarn.

Cocktail Stick

When you are knitting a pair of socks or rather fine needles a cocktail stick makes for a good cable needle.

Supermarket Beer / Wine Carrier

A Facebook follower called Chris, suggested a supermarket beer / wine carrier as multiple use yarn holder. When you are crocheting (or knitting) with 6 to 8 balls of centre pull yarns all at once, all of the balls can sit snuggly in the beer / wine carrier without any tangles.

Pegs and Washing Line

Black Sheep Lucy, blocks her lightweight shawls by pegging them on the washing line. With lots of pegs the weight will help to block the shawl out to your desired shape. It saves you having to find a flat area large enough to pin it out and block.

DIY Crochet and Knitting Tips

 

 

Ubuntu update – Week 3

Posted by Sara Mulvey | Posted in Crochet | Posted on 03-10-2018

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I have completed week 3 of the Scheepjes Ubuntu Crochet Along! Watch the video below to see how I got on. I am really enjoying making this blanket, the Scheepjes Stone Washed yarn is fabulous to crochet with. I’m making the Medium blanket, find all of the kits available on our website.

Take a look at the detail in the stitches.

Unboxing Ubuntu

Posted by Amy | Posted in Crochet | Posted on 23-08-2018

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Sara takes you through each of the Scheepjes Ubuntu Crochet Along kits as she unboxes each of the three different sizes one by one. Will you choose Scheepjes Cotton 8 – Small, Scheepjes Stone Washed – Medium or Scheepjes Stone Washed XL & River Washed XL – Large?

Find out more about the Scheepjes Ubuntu CAL on a recent blog post.

Ubuntu – Scheepjes CAL 2018

Posted by Amy | Posted in Crochet | Posted on 02-08-2018

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We had all been waiting excitedly for the announcement of the Scheepjes Crochet Along 2018. It was wonderful news to hear that Dedri Uys – Look at what I made blogger would be this years designer. If you are an avid crocheter you may have made / heard of her spectacular crochet along, Sophie’s Universe. Dedri creates designs that showcase crochet at its best. You will not be disappointed when you cast your eye at the images below of Dedri’s design ‘Ubuntu’ the Scheepjes CAL 2018. There are 3 different sizes of the blanket, each made in a different Scheepjes yarn. Small – Cotton 8, Medium – Stone Washed and Large – Stone Washed XL & River Washed XL.
Meet Dedri Uys at our shop, the Craft Barn on Saturday 8th September when we will be celebrating all things Scheepjes. We are hoping that she will bring along the Ubuntu blanket, so we can all have look and gaze in awe at the wonder that is this years Scheepjes CAL.

Scheepjes Ubuntu Large Blanket

Scheepjes Ubuntu – Large

The name Ubuntu means “humanity towards others” or “I am because we are”. Read Dedri’s blog post to find more information behind the decision on the name and theme.
It is interesting to see where the inspiration came from for this hexagonal design. Dedri talks in more detail in her reveal blog post.

Scheepjes Ubuntu Blanket - Medium

Scheepjes Ubuntu – Medium

The first pattern will be released on 12th September and if you can’t wait until then to get involved, we have good news. We now have all three colour packs available on pre-sale. The kits will be desptached on 22nd August, so you will be ready to get started once the first pattern is released!

Scheepjes Ubuntu Blanket - Small

Scheepjes Ubuntu – Small

If you do decide to join in with this super CAL, not only will you be able to download the pattern weekly from the Scheepjes website; you will also find helpful video tutorials being posted by It’s all in a Nutshell blog to guide you along the way.

 

Finished Spicier Life Blankets

Posted by Amy | Posted in Crochet | Posted on 23-02-2018

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In September 2017 we launched the Spicier Life Crochet Along. This spectacular blanket was designed by crochet sensation, Sandra Paul, aka Cherry Heart. A Spicier Life blanket was a follow on blanket to the original Spice of Life. Sandra used new stitches in a sampler style with the idea that the two blankets will look harmonious displayed together. India was the inspiration for her design and rich, evocative colour palettes – Jaipur, Bollywood and Taj Mahal.

Spicier Life CAL Blankets | Black Sheep Wools | Cherry Heart

Whilst the CAL was running we set up A Spicier Life Crochet Along Facebook group, which now has almost 9,000 members. Soooo if everyone who is in the group has made at least one Spicier Life blanket……. that’s A LOT of blankets. It is safe to say, it is a very popular crochet along project. All of the patterns are still available via our website should your crochet hook be twitching with inspiration after reading this post.

We have gathered together a selection of Spicier Life blankets from the group, ones sent in by customers and staff. It is interesting to see whether people chose one of Sandra’s packs to make the blanket, with yarn from their stash or a colourway of their own.

If you do make a blanket and share it on social media make sure you include #spicierlifecal. It is always a treat to see new blankets popping up.

Black Sheep Lucy enjoyed making the blanket using Debbie Bliss Rialto DKJaipur colour pack with a few shade adjustments to match her living room. The yarn gives lovely stitch definition and is so springy.

Spicier Life CAL Blanket | Black Sheep Wools | Cherry Heart

We found this blanket in the group. A crocheter called, Valerie has used left over yarn from her first 2 Spicier Life blankets. Soft, pretty shades with subtle transitions.

Spicier Life CAL Blanket | Black Sheep Wools | Cherry Heart

Shades of green and purple in this blanket work so well together, this one is by Alexis.

Spicier Life CAL Blanket | Black Sheep Wools | Cherry Heart

Spotted this one on the group for its vibrant colour combination, by Louise. Made with various yarns from her stash.

Spicier Life CAL Blanket | Black Sheep Wools | Cherry Heart

A customer called Hazel has opted for one colour, made in Scheepjes Stonewashed XL. Using just one shade allows the texture to really shine through.

Spicier Life CAL Blanket | Black Sheep Wools | Cherry Heart

Sharon shared a photo of her Taj Mahal blanket in Stylecraft Special DK.

Spicier Life CAL Blanket | Black Sheep Wools | Cherry Heart

Steph has used a variety of tonal autumnal shades.

Spicier Life CAL Blanket | Black Sheep Wools | Cherry Heart

Lisa’s choice of pastels is so striking. All of these shades are Stylecraft Special DK.

Spicier Life CAL Blanket | Black Sheep Wools | Cherry Heart

Bold blocks of blues in this blanket by Susan.

Spicier Life CAL Blanket | Black Sheep Wools | Cherry Heart

Carol took a nice outdoor photo of her Bollywood Spicier Life blanket in Stylecraft Special DK.

Spicier Life CAL Blanket | Black Sheep Wools | Cherry Heart

 

 

 

Sophie’s Universe Blanket Complete

Posted by Sara Mulvey | Posted in Crochet, Sara's Blog | Posted on 13-02-2018

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Watch my crochet journey making the Sophie’s Universe blanket in Scheepjes Cotton 8. I really enjoyed making the blanket, using the Cotton 8 yarn for the first time and learning lots.

Sophie’s Universe was originally a crochet along project, designed by Dedri Uys.  The pattern is available on Dedri’s blog – Lookatwhatimade.net. Since the CAL was a huge success, Scheepjes decided to make the pattern into a book. The book is great to follow, with so much detail.

Progress report. It’s beginning to take shape.

Ta da! Take a look at my finished Sophie’s Universe blanket!

Sophie's Universe Blanket

It’s all about the Unicorn

Posted by Amy | Posted in Crochet | Posted on 09-02-2018

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If you have been shopping lately, chances are you will have spotted a unicorn or two. Not an actual mythical creature strutting along the high street, but a unicorn printed on clothing, stationary, toys and much more. I’m sure I’ve even seen a unicorn cake! Basically, they are quite popular, especially amongst children. This is what sparked our idea to create a crocheted unicorn poncho. A fun garment to wear or play dressing up in.

Unicorn Poncho

We asked friend of the Black Sheep, Yvonne France, to design an exclusive pattern for Black Sheep Wools. Yvonne is the brains behind the magnificent knitted mermaid tail. A whizz when it comes to knitting or crochet, we had no doubt Yvonne would come up with something fab.
Here it a magical, mystical, mythical unicorn poncho, with a fantastic multi-coloured mane of Stylecraft Merry go Round yarn in rainbow.

Unicorn Poncho

The poncho is sized to fit a child aged 6-10 years old. There are instructions included in the pattern on how to adjust the sizing should you wish to make the poncho bigger or smaller. Please be aware that additional yarn may be needed should you choose to make it bigger.

Unicorn Poncho

It is crocheted in Stylecraft Special Aran and then Stylecraft Merry go Round for the fringed mane. The kit is only available to buy from Black Sheep Wools and includes everything you need except crochet hooks and buttons. Don’t forget to add 4mm and 5mm hooks to your basket.

 

Introducing A Spicier Life Crochet Along

Posted by Amy | Posted in Company News, Crochet | Posted on 14-09-2017

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Today we have exciting news to share. Do you remember the Spice of Life crochet along from 2015? If you do, then prepare yourself, something amazing is on its way. For those who don’t, hop on over to Instagram and search #spiceoflifecal or visit our Facebook group and you will see what all the fuss is about. We were all captivated by the original Spice of Life blanket, it’s hard to believe 2 years have gone by since it launched. It was a phenomenal success and is still continuing to be a popular make amongst all levels of crocheter today.

It is time to announce Spice of Life part two – A Spicier Life Crochet Along. We have once again teamed up with crochet super star Sandra Paul (Cherry Heart blogger) to bring you yet another fabulous crochet along project. Secret talks with Sandra have been going on since early 2017 and we are soooo happy to be able to share our news with you after all this time. Sandra has hand picked four colourways for this CAL. The original colourway in Debbie Rialto DK – Jaipur, with an alternative in Stylecraft Special DK – Jaipur. There are 2 more options both in Stylecraft Special DK – Taj Mahal and Bollywood. All of the colour packs are available to purchase on pre-order. Take a look here.

If you are joining in with A Spicier Life Crochet Along, don’t forget to use the hashtag #spicierlifecal on social media so we can see your progress. We have also set up a new Facebook group – A Spicier Life Crochet Along.

Before full details are released on Tuesday 19th September 2017, we caught up with Sandra to find out more about A Spicier Life Crochet Along. Read our natter with Sandra below.

How did the popularity of the Spice of Life CAL affect your world of crochet?

Well the whole experience was completely surprising in so many ways and the way it took off in the crochet world was the most amazing thing.  I really didn’t expect people to react so well to it and enjoy it so much, although of course, I’m so happy they did.  I ended up learning a lot from the experience which is always useful and it brought more attention in a way I’m not used to.  Luckily though the crochet world is a pretty kind and wonderful place and I got to meet some lovely people as a result of the CAL.

What is the inspiration behind ‘A Spicier Life’ crochet along blanket design?

I really wanted something that would relate to the original Spice of Life blanket and I still had plenty of ideas for stitch patterns that I would love to use, so in a way it all came together quite easily this time round.  The colours, my usual starting place for any project, were definitely influenced from the ‘spicy’ name of the original and I immediately starting thinking of what, for me, represent some more far off and exotic places in the world like India.  The imagery that I found captured that idea perfectly are also the reason behind the colours and names of the yarn packs.

There are so many gorgeous stitches in ‘A Spicier Life’, lots of texture and pattern, which is your favourite stitch?

I always find it hard to pick favourites, but I’m really enjoying the more textured stitches at the moment, so I like the Victory Puffs because they are so soft and I love the Bobbles for the little pops of colour.

What skill level is required for the Spicier Life CAL? Is it suitable for a beginner?

It really overlaps quite nicely with the Spice of Life on the skill level, starting with easy stitches and then working up to intermediate ones and then taking things a little further. I’ll be introducing some new stitches and even a few slightly more advanced ones.  I wouldn’t recommend this pattern to absolute beginners but anyone is confident with the basics and working back and forth in rows should be able to give it a go as there will be extra help to explain all the new stitch patterns.

How did you find the Debbie Bliss Rialto DK to work with?

An absolute joy!  It’s a wonderful to the touch, so soft and bouncy and it glides over the hook like a dream.  It’s also the perfect choice for a project like this as the merino means that any slight changes in tension as you work through the different stitch patterns can just be blocked out and disappear away at the end.

What other projects have you got on at the moment? We spotted you on the home page of Ravelry a couple of months back. That must have been exciting!

The Ravelry front page was a real surprise and I must admit, I felt quite honoured to be featured!  Just lately I’ve been catching up on some commission work, as it’s easier to fit a little crochet in than find computer time during the summer holidays, but hopefully I’ll be able to get back to writing up a few new patterns soon.

What is your creative process? Where do you enjoying working?

My process tend to vary depending on what project I’m making.  In an ideal world I like to make up samples to test out ideas and check I’m getting the look and feel that I’m after before I take things further but sometimes it’s a little more off the cuff than that.  I do like to keep a note book where I sketch out ideas though, sometimes my hook can’t keep up!

I spend most of my time up in my ‘Craft House’, a little space that I have at the end of the garden.  The reality is that a lot of my time is spend at the computer desk I have up there these days, but of course I’ve made sure I have a cozy corner for those special occasions when I do get to play with yarn.  It’s nice and near the window so I can take advantage of any sun.

Do you have any future crochet plans in the pipeline that you can share? A sneaky peek, perhaps?

I have a couple of projects using Batik DK that I’m having fun with at the moment and I’m looking forward to those coming out.  One is for a magazine feature and one will be on the blog in October, I can give you a little glimpse of those!

Valentine Craft Ideas

Posted by Amy | Posted in Crochet, Knitting | Posted on 14-02-2017

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This Valentine’s Day why not break with tradition and give yourself a gift of love. We are thinking a crafty gift, whether you knit, crochet or cross stitch why not put aside your current project for a day or two and make yourself a Valentine themed treat. Some of the mini projects make great stash busters too, so there are no limits when it comes to colour choice. No need to stick to traditional pinks and red for these Valentine craft ideas. You are making a little something for you, so go and have a rummage through your stash or treat yourself to a new ball of your favourite shade of yarn.

Valentine Craft Ideas

Mini Crochet Hearts

These teeny crochet delights are a quick and easy make. Why not attach a loop of crocheted chains and add to a key ring? Make lots and lots of mini crochet hearts and thread onto a pretty ribbon to make a Valentine garland. Share your pics with #blacksheepwools on Instagram or tag @blacksheepwools. We will keep an eye out to see what creative ideas you come up with.

Knitted Love Heart

This knitted love heart can fit in the palm of your hand. It is once again a mini make that requires just a small amount of DK yarn and toy stuffing. If you wanted to make a bigger version you could adjust the needle size accordingly and use a chunky or super chunky weight yarn.
Wondering what you would do with a knitted love heart? Why not pop a spot of dried lavender into the stuffing before sewing up, attach a loop of ribbon to the finished heart and hang it in over a coat hanger in your wardrobe.

Heart Dishcloth

Black Sheep Lucy came up with this fun dishcloth pattern shaped like a Valentine love heart. The crochet pattern is easy to follow and can be made up in soft cotton yarn such as Rico Creative Cotton Aran.

Cherry Heart’s Valentine Hottie

Sandra Paul aka Cherry Heart designed this exclusive Valentine’s hottie for us a couple of years ago. It is still a fun make and with a warm hot water bottle inside you can snuggle up and stay cosy this winter. Make it in the shades of Rico Creative Twist Super Chunky as seen here.

Live Laugh Love Cross Stitch Kit

Live Laugh Love cross stitch by Historical Sampler Company is a modern take on a sampler cross stitch design.  Stitched in a vibrant shade of aqua this kit will light up any room in your house with a cheery message.