Ode to Autumn – Spice of Life Blanket

Posted by Amy | Posted in Spice of Life CAL, Staff Projects | Posted on 08-12-2016

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To celebrate the one year anniversary of Sandra Paul’s (aka Cherry Heart) gorgeous Spice of Life crochet along Sara has been crocheting a blanket in a new colour way – Ode to Autumn. Sara has opted for a selection of shades that are not her usual go to colours. Ode to Autumn is made up of rich, warm tones of rust, berries and gold – to name but a few. With an abundance of colour to choose from in the Stylecraft Special Dk it is quite a challenge to pick a winning combination. You will not be disappointed with this beautiful palette.

Watch Sara’s video below where she is talking all about making her Ode to Autumn blanket.

If you are thinking of making a Spice of Life blanket in the Ode to Autumn pack why not follow Sara’s shade sequence, take a look below –

Autumn Colours            Original Colours

Mustard (1823)                       Turquoise
Pomegranate (1083)            Grass
Pistachio (1822)                     Light Green
Tomato (1723)                        Petrol
Boysenberry (1828)             Red
Khaki (1027)                            Vanilla
Claret (1123)                            Cream
Cypress (1824)                       Melon
Gold (1709)                              Purple
Lobelia (1825)                        Ice Blue
Pale Rose (1080)                  Smokey Rose
Stone (1710)                            Jeans
Burgundy (1035)                   Clay

ode to autumn - spice of life blanket

Spice of Life Blanket

Posted by Lesley Cragg | Posted in Spice of Life CAL, Staff Projects | Posted on 22-01-2016


Early last year, I had an idea. I wanted to help people like me who knew the basics of crochet, move onto something more complicated and that used different stitches & techniques. I thought the best way to do that would be to host our very first Crochet Along and  I knew just the lady to help us do it…

Sandra Paul (aka Cherry Heart) and I had worked together on a couple of projects beforehand and I knew that her eye for design, colour and pattern writing skills would be just perfect for this project.

I contacted Sandra and invited her over to the Craft Barn where we chatted through some ideas and decided that a sampler blanket would be ideal.

It was from here that the Spice of Life Crochet Along was born. Little did we know that it would turn out to be one of the most successful CAL’s to date!

As momentum built up around the CAL both on and offline, staff here at BSW had lots of fun in choosing their own yarn and colours to make this beautiful blanket.



I chose these colours from the Stylecraft Special Dk range as each one of them made me smile!




Lesley's Spice of Life Blanket

The Spice of Life Facebook group has nearly 8000 members now from all over the world and continues to grow day by day. Some people are working on their 4th, 5th & even 6th blanket!

The pattern is still available on our website and now you can purchase my colour pack for just £22.75! That’s pretty good value for such a beautiful blanket.

Taking part in this CAL has given me the confidence to have a go at other patterns and to not be afraid to try new stitches. If you haven’t yet made your blanket then I would whole heartedly recommend it, even if you are an expert crocheter!

You can find the pattern and more information over on our website:



Lesley’s Spice of Life CAL

Posted by Amy | Posted in Spice of Life CAL | Posted on 18-12-2015



Lesley has finally finished her Spice of Life Crochet Along blanket. She may have gotten a little side tracked along the way but it was worth the wait. A rainbow burst of colour that reminds me of a crisp paper bag filled with sugary, sweet pick n mix.

Lesley has used shades of Stylecraft Special Dk, choosing to edge the blanket in shade – Pomegranate 1083. This was quite a big decision as Lesley hadn’t followed the original colour sequence. She chose her colour order section by section, opting to use the same shades for the first and last section of the blanket.

Lesley's spice of life cal

Lesley's spice of life cal

Finished Spice of Life CAL Blankets

Posted by Amy | Posted in Spice of Life CAL | Posted on 26-11-2015

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I have lots of finished Spice of Life Crochet Along blankets to share today. Over the past few weeks I have gradually been collecting photographs of Black Sheep Wools staff blankets. When Sandra (Cherry Heart) set out with her crochet along she probably hadn’t imagined how many blankets would be made by avid crocheters from all around the world. The popularity of this beautiful design has been phenomenal!

If you have taken part and still can’t get enough of the stitch combinations Sandra has used be sure to take a peek at our #solinspired competition.

Colette was the first to finish her blanket. She was so excited when the final strand of yarn had been woven in and fastened off that she came in to show everyone on her day off. Colette hasn’t been crocheting long but it is clear to see she has now definitely got the crochet bug. Each week Colette enjoyed taking on the challenge of new stitches. Some weeks she would even take back a whole section and repeat it until she got the stitch pattern correct – no cutting corners!

Colette has used a variety of different double knitting yarns that she had in her stash.

spice of life cal

Not satisfied with just the one CAL on the go, Colette started a second blanket. A Christmas gift for her sister using Hayfield Aran with Wool.

spice of life cal

Although Sara originally made her blanket in Stylecraft Special Dk she couldn’t resist joining in with everyone else this time and making one in Sirdar Cotton Dk.

spice of life cal

Janet chose to use aran yarn instead of double knitting. Rather than using a 4mm crochet hook Janet used a slightly larger size to accommodate the bulkier yarn. Janet’s jolly colour combination of Sirdar Supersoft Aran is just perfect for her grand-daughter.

spice of life cal

Stacey has also been very busy with Spice of Life blankets. I missed a photo opportunity for this one as no sooner had it left Stacey’s crochet hook, had she given it to her son. The photo below is of Stacey’s second blanket. This one is crocheted in a variety of Stylecraft Special Dk shades, some from her stash and others that are extras.

spice of life cal

Spice of Life Competition!

Posted by Amy | Posted in Spice of Life CAL | Posted on 06-11-2015



As the Spice of Life crochet along draws to a close we don’t want all of the crochet fun to end. Where did those eight weeks go? Over the weeks Sandra has introduced so many different crochet stitches, guiding newbie crocheters and experts alike through the Spice of Life journey. With the blanket finished, your crochet hook will be sitting lonely by your side wondering what the next project will be. Well, here at Black Sheep Wools we have come up with a fantastic competition that will have your crochet hook dancing with glee.

Taking inspiration from all that you have learnt whilst doing the CAL we are looking for a different piece that is ‘SOL inspired’ – created using the crochet stitch patterns featured in Cherry Heart’s beautiful Spice of Life blanket. So, whether you can’t get enough of a tulip stitch, stacked grannies or a shell stitch, now is your time to get creative and show off those crochet skills.

Below are our competition guidelines……..

Using the different stitches you have learnt whilst taking part in this CAL, we want you to create a Spice of Life inspired project. It could anything such as scarf, cushion cover, a rug, a mug hug, a blanket or even a throw – the choice is yours!

Simply post your finished project on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag ‪#‎SOLINSPIRED
Or email sol@blacksheepwools.com with the words SOL Inspired in the subject.

All entries should be received by midnight Sunday 28th February 2016.

The top 10 projects chosen by BSW will win a Stylecraft Special Dk yarn pack (10 balls).

The overall winner and the 2 runners up will be chosen by the public.

Winner – £100 Gift Card
1st Runner Up – £50 Gift Card
2nd Runner Up – £50 Gift Card

Anyone, anywhere in the world can enter this competition excluding employees of Black Sheep Wools.

We’re hoping that this competition will be a great way to get inventive with new ways of using the original Spice of Life pattern.  However please note that the pattern remains the property of Sandra Paul/Cherry Heart at all times and is for your own personal use only.

Thing’s I have learnt whilst doing the Spice of Life CAL

Posted by Sara Mulvey | Posted in Sara's Blog, Spice of Life CAL | Posted on 23-10-2015



The Internet is an Amazing Thing:

Now of course I have realised this before. The first time I taxed my car online was incredible. However without the internet this project would never have taken place. We would never have met Sandra, the genius and all round lovely lady who designed the pattern. We would never have been able to share it with crafters around the world and we wouldn’t have been able to have such an incredible Facebook group. People talk a lot about the negative impact of the internet on daily life but this project has shown it in all of its glory. I have never been a member of such a supportive group. It has truly been a pleasure.

All Colour Combinations are Beautiful:

There have been countless different combinations of yarn and colour used by crocheters around the world for the Spice of Life and I haven’t yet seen one I didn’t like. They are all amazing and the pattern shows them all off perfectly.

I’m a Wiggler:

Lots of people have frogged their blanket at some point to get the all-important 157 stitches. However I have gone down the wiggle route. What do I mean? I simply wiggle my hook into a random place to get the right number!

I’m Actually Quite Good at Putting Colours Together:

I’ve never considered myself particularly creative but it seems that I may have a hidden talent. It seems people like the colours that I put together for this blanket, so much so that they bought the pack! It’s a bit strange seeing people from around the world using the exact same colours I did but I love it.

Designing a Blanket is Really Difficult

We all see so many patterns online every day that you could be forgiven for thinking they are really easy to design. They are not! I watched, first hand, how Sandra put her heart and soul into this design. She has such a good grasp of maths that she is able to ensure every row works out perfectly. She can then explain this perfectly in her patterns. Clear, concise pattern writing is such a skill and Sandra has it in bucket loads!

It has been an incredible journey which took 6 months of planning. Thank you to all of you who have joined in and huge, huge thanks to Sandra for an incredible pattern. Finally thanks to our very own Lesley. Without Lesley the Spice of Life would have not happened. She had the idea, found Sandra’s blog and pushed and pulled us all along the way. Thanks Lesley you’re a star xx

Spice of Life CAL Update

Posted by Amy | Posted in Spice of Life CAL | Posted on 19-10-2015



The Spice of Life Crochet Along is almost coming to an end. Where the past few weeks have gone, I don’t know? For many it has been spent burrowed underneath a mound of yarn, which has grown and grown into a beautiful blanket. The main blanket should now be complete (that’s if you are keeping on track), with the border being released tomorrow, followed by the final week of finishing off next Tuesday. All of the Black Sheep Wools staff who are taking part have really enjoyed the Spice of Life journey. Prior to setting out with the blanket many members of staff could only do basic stitches and a granny square. Through doing the blanket they have built upon their basic crochet skills and flourished into fully fledged crocheters. It is a great blanket to experience new stitches mixed in with trusted favourites.

Last week I gathered together photos of everyone’s blankets for an update. I also asked what each person has found to be their favourite stitch. With so many to choose from it was hard to whittle it down to just one!

Collette decided to use up lots of her yarn stash to make her CAL. In amongst the yarns she has added a bit of sparkle with Sirdar Ella Dk and Hayfield Baby Sparkle Dk.

collette1 spice of life cal

 Favourite stitch: Shells. Your eye is just instantly drawn to this section.

collette2 spice of life cal

Emma is crocheting her blanket in Stylecraft Life Dk, a lovely selection of colours.

emma1 spice of life cal

Favourite stitch: Tulip. I like the way they look like a tulip. The cream section below.

emma4 spice of lfe cal

Lesley nearly forgot to eat her lunch one day last week. She was completely engrossed in her crochet, no time for food!


Favourite stitch: Puffs. They add another dimension to the blanket.

lesley1 spice of life cal

Stacey is making 2 blankets, one for her son and this one for herself. Originally she had planned to stash bust her Stylecraft Special Dk and then more and more new shades got added to the mix.

stacey2 spice of life cal

Favourite stitch:  Puffs. Stacey recalls making a blanket made emtirely of the puff stitch when she was really little, one of her first ever projects.

Are you joining in with the Spice of Life Crochet Along? If you ever reach a stitch that you are struggling with, pop on over to our YouTube video where you will find helpful videos for the various stitches. We have made instructional videos for both left and right handed folk.



Spice of Life Catch Up with Cherry Heart

Posted by Amy | Posted in Spice of Life CAL | Posted on 07-10-2015



Last week Sandra Paul aka Cherry Heart, came to the Craft Barn for a Spice of Life Crochet Along meet up. It was a lovely, relaxed afternoon for everyone to share their blankets and discuss their progress with Sandra. Sandra also offered advice on stitches, including helping out our very own Lesley. After speaking to Sandra she realised where she had gained a few extra stitches. Here she is taking back the crochet. 🙁 It happens to us all! This pic below is of Lesley’s second #spiceoflifecal blanket. I wonder how many people out there have more than one on the go at once.


Sandra moved around the tables chatting to everyone whilst they crocheted their blankets and enjoyed a cup of tea and biscuits.


Here are a couple of Spice of Life blankets our customers were crocheting.



Whilst Sandra was here in the building Sara took the chance to have a quick catch up with Sandra, about the Spice of Life Crochet Along and its incredible popularity. It is amazing to see that the dedicated Facebook group (Spice of Life Crochet Along group) has over 4,600 members. Watch the video here on our YouTube channel.

Sandra brought along a selection of her other irresistible crocheted delights too, including blankets and shawls. The colours Sandra puts together work together harmoniously, along with her choice of stitch and yarn. A lot of thought and work goes into these designs. Many of these patterns can be found on the Cherry Heart blog patterns page.

Cherry Heart Blankets

Two different blankets sitting side by side.


Take a look at the detailed floral edging on the shawl in the centre, so pretty!


A gorgeous pastel blanket crocheted in a cotton based yarn.

Cherry Heart blanket

How cute are these circle droplets adorning the edge of this cheerful blanket? It reminds me of pick n mix!

Spice of Life Crochet Along – Week 1

Posted by Amy | Posted in Spice of Life CAL | Posted on 25-09-2015

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The first Spice of Life Crochet Along pattern was released into the world on Tuesday. The popularity of this crochet along has been phenomenal! As I write this email we have a whopping 3,431 members in the dedicated Spice of Life Crochet Along Facebook group. That is a lot of blankets currently being crocheted all over the world. If Black Sheep Wools staff are anything to go by the number of blankets could quite easily be double that of the members. Many Black Sheep staff are already starting their second blanket as they are itching to get their hands on the next pattern after completing week 1 so fast.

On the Facebook group we have a world map where you can pin your location. This is really interesting to look at and see how many people are hooked on this incredible crochet along blanket.

CAL Members map

This week I have staff colour choices and the first progress report (week 1) to share. It is pretty much all we have been talking about all week. Lunch breaks are starting to become more of a crochet break than a time to eat. Earlier in the week Stacey was deciding on colours and Lesley brought a big bag full of her yarn and blanket to lunch today. We have all gone CAL crazy!

Lesley has chosen a selection of Stylecraft Special Dk shades for her Spice of Life blanket. Lesley chose the colours by standing in front of the Stylecraft Special Dk and picked 13 colours that made her feel happy.

stylecraft special dk

Here is Lesley’s blanket after week 1. Looking good so far!


Emily who works in customer services is fairly new to crochet. Her previous experience has been making granny squares. She is looking forward to learning new stitches as the weeks go on. Emily’s colour choices are a mixture of both Rico Baby Classic Dk and Sirdar Snuggly Dk. A lovely muted palette chosen to complement her bedroom.


Emma has opted for Stylecraft Life Dk, originally bought with the Stylecraft Lily Pond CAL in mind. With a bit of swopping and changing Emma has settled on this pretty colour palette.


Janet has decided to use fewer colours than the suggested 13. She is making the blanket in Sirdar Supersoft Aran and plans to make it larger to use as a rug for her grand-daughter who is due in November.


Stacey is going for Stylecraft Special Dk for her Spice of Life CAL. This is what she had to say about her chosen colours – ‘I think I have my colours sorted, those on the left. The spares are on the right. I’m thinking of giving it to my son who just started Uni. His rooms are all shades of grey with claret coloured notice boards & cerise accents in the bathroom. Not sure whether to include black somewhere, my favourite (non) colour.’
Wrapping your yarn around pegs is a great way to organise your colour palette.


One Spice of Life blanket isn’t enough for Sara. She is now cracking on with her second blanket, keeping up with the weekly pattern release. This time she is using Sirdar Cotton Dk.

saras colours

Here is how it looks after week 1!


How are you getting on? Don’t forget to use the hashtag #spiceoflifecal when you share your pics on social media.

Spice of Life Gauge Swatch

Posted by Sara Mulvey | Posted in Spice of Life CAL | Posted on 16-09-2015



If you are planning on taking part in our fantastic Spice of Life Crochet Along with Cherry Heart, then watch my video on gauge before you begin. The first pattern is released next Tuesday (22nd September).

We also have a Facebook group set up for the CAL where you can go for advice and chat with others who are taking part – including me and other members of the Black Sheep Wools team. Find the group here or by searching for ‘Spice of Life Crochet Along‘.