Charity Knitting

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

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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.


Commit to Knit with UKHKA

Posted by Amy | Posted in Knitting | Posted on 14-10-2015



To celebrate National Knitting week at the beginning of October, the United Kingdom Hand Knitting Association (UKHKA) launched a campaign called ‘Commit to Knit’. National Knitting week is all about encouraging people to pick up their knitting needles (or crochet hooks for that matter) and knit. all in all a week to celebrate the fabulous craft that is knitting. Many people enjoy knitting, but don’t know what to knit, or who to knit for. Very often it is nice to knit small items such as baby clothes, or perhaps have a blanket on the go inbetween a larger project, sort of mini side projects. Commit to Knit is a great initiative for knitters to donate their makes to charity.

Throughout August the UKHKA asked people to suggest charities that they could help. The charities were contacted and those who chose to take part can now be found on the UKHKA blog. On the latest blog post there is a link where you can sign up to the campaign. There are so many fantastic organisations to choose from including Knitted Knockers, The RSPCA and Sands UK to name just a few. Depending on what you wish to knit, or which charity you wish to support, there is plenty of information on each organisation on the UKHKA blog.

‘Commit to Knit’ will help to not only raise awareness of the charities you will also be helping them to raise money when they sell your knitted / crocheted items. For more information go to the charity projects page on the UKHKA website.



Twiddle Muffs for Dementia Patients

Posted by Amy | Posted in Company News | Posted on 14-08-2015



When you search on Google for twiddle muffs a whole host of interesting, textured creations come up. These wonderful items are a fantastic aid for those with dementia.

Twiddle Muffs

Image source – AnnNursingTimes on Twitter

“People with dementia often find it calming to have something to keep their hands busy and so the hospital wants local people to help by making some “twiddle muffs”. These items can be knitted, crotched or sewn and are a traditional muff shape, but include ribbons, zips, buttons and so forth, both inside and out, that can be “twiddled”.” – Bolton NHS Foundation Trust

Since sharing a post on our Facebook page about Bolton Hospital collecting twiddle muffs for their Donate £1 for their dementia campaign, we have had quite a lot interest from our followers. People have been asking if they can drop the twiddle muffs off here at the Craft Barn. The answer is yes, we have got a box ready and waiting for your twiddle muffs. We will be collecting them until 30th September 2015, after which we will take them all to Bolton Hospital.

If you would like a pattern to make a twiddle muff take a look on the Bolton NHS website where there is a link to a free download.

If you do not live local to the Craft Barn or Bolton Hospital and wish to donate, be sure to check a hospital in your local area to see if they are collecting twiddle muffs too.




Baby Update and Newborn Appeal Charity Sale

Posted by Lesley Cragg | Posted in Company News | Posted on 20-05-2015

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After a nearly 5 month wait, I have finally had the chance to cuddle 2 very precious little ladies!

Both girls have been transferred to Alder Hey Childrens hospital now and are doing well. Here they are, finally reunited after 4 and half very long months.




me2 me

Steph and I will be running a stall at this year’s Croft Carnival in conjunction with The Newborn Appeal on Saturday 4th July to raise money for Liverpool Womens Hospital. We are hoping that one or even both of the twins will be there with us too. (fingers crossed!)

We will be selling lots of hand knitted baby items suitable for new-borns through to toddlers.

Although we have lots of items already, we are looking for donations to sell on the day.

Items can include toys, blankets, clothing or anything else hand knitted or crocheted.

All money raised from this event will go to the Newborn Appeal which funds a lot of the lifesaving equipment required to keep these precious little babies alive!

Please send any donations to:

FOA: Lesley Cragg

Black Sheep Wools,

Glaziers Lane,




Steph, Dan and myself would like to thank each and every one of you for your very kind donations so far. We cannot express how grateful we are for all of your well wishes and support throughout what has been a very difficult time.


Premature Baby Campaign – Thank You

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

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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

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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

The Newborn Appeal – Guest Blog Post

Posted by Lesley Cragg | Posted in Company News | Posted on 16-02-2015



I went to visit 2 special little girls yesterday at Liverpools Womens Hospital and they are doing great. We can’t ask anything more of them. They’re both still very poorly but the doctors and nurses are happy with their progress.
Whilst I was there, I handed the ward the first little lot of hand knits that you lovely people sent in. The staff were over the moon with the gifts and extremely grateful.

On Thursday I have a meeting with Nadia who works for The Newborn Appeal (a charity that funds the Special Care Baby Unit at the hospital) to discuss how we can help raise awareness of the charity. Please take a little time to read her blog post below and I will be back with a further update for you very soon.

Once again, thank you for your ongoing support, it really does mean a lot xx

I’m Nadia and I work for The Newborn Appeal at Liverpool Women’s Hospital. We are a registered charity that funds both specialised equipment on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and research into the care of Neonates and Special Babies and we need your help!

Liverpool Women’s Hospital Neonatal Unit is a referral unit and cares for babies from across Merseyside and the North West. Owing to past support, we are lucky enough to have funded the purchase of specialised equipment outside of the regular NHS provision which means that the quality of care on the NICU is second to none! However, in order to continue to care for our special babies, replace existing equipment and introduce new equipment, we need to raise funds.

A great deal of our income comes from the sale of beautiful hand-knitted baby clothes and this is where we need the help of the followers of Black Sheep Wools! If you are able to knit clothes (from newborn to toddler sizes) to donate or are able to hold your own Knitting Stall in your area to help us sell the lovely items we have, we would be happy to hear from you! Please email to find out more about how you can get involved in supporting The Newborn Appeal.

We are excited to be working with Black Sheep Wools and are grateful for your enthusiasm and support so far. Many special babies will benefit from your efforts – whether it is from knitting garments or holding your own stall – so a HUGE THANK YOU on behalf of the babies and their families who you will help!

The Newborn Appeal

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

Would you like to help the special babies of Liverpool Womens Hospital?

Posted by Lesley Cragg | Posted in Company News | Posted on 29-01-2015



It’s not until something happens to you or someone close that you realise how lucky we are to live in a world where miracles can actually happen.
One of my close friends has just had identical twins which were born 13 weeks premature. Both babies are very poorly and in the Special Care Baby Unit at Liverpool Womens Hospital.
After going to visit them, I noticed all of the beautiful little bonnets that each baby wore as well as the hand knitted blankets that were in each incubator. I instantly felt the need to help and do what I can to supply them with more of these hand knitted things. As I work in the biggest wool shop in the UK, it only seemed right to get as many people as possible to knit a little something for all of those special little babies.

I have been in touch with the hospital and asked if there was anything they particularly needed or anything they are running low on and they have asked for the following:

• Ventilator Bonnets (larger sizes) in dk wool & neutral colours. If you send an email to I will send you a copy of either the knitting or crochet pattern.

• V Neck cardigans (all premature sizes)

• Knitted / Crochet blankets in any pattern / design (approx 24 x24”)

If you would like to help out with this campaign, please send your knitted / crocheted items to:

Lesley Cragg
Black Sheep Wools
Warehouse Studios,
Glaziers Lane,

Or you can bring them into the store.

I will personally ensure that any items you send, reach the ward in immaculate condition and I promise to keep you all updated on the progress of this campaign.

If you have any queries, please feel free to contact me direct by emailing

Kindest Regards,
Lesley xx