Black Sheep Boutique – Cherry Heart

Posted by Amy | Posted in Black Sheep Boutique | Posted on 21-09-2018

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Introducing Black Sheep Boutique….. A cosy corner of our website where you will find a personalised boutique for a curated selection of knitting and crochet designers. Each designer will have there own page featuring their own colour packs, patterns and designs. See a friendly face, along with a little info written by the designer about themselves, including the types of designs you should expect to see from them. Over the years as a company we have made some fantastic friends in the knitting and crochet world. Opening up Black Sheep Boutique is our way of showcasing the talents of a rather exceptional bunch of designers. When you purchase a colour pack you may not always know the origin of that particular design, who designed it? Do they do anything else in a similar style? Browsing through Black Sheep Boutique, you will be able to find more from your favourite designer and work your way through all of their incredible projects. To start off we are announcing just one designer. Over the next few months we will gradually add more designers to the Boutique. Keep an eye out here on the blog for more names being revealed soon.

For the grand opening of Black Sheep Boutique we are very happy to announce our first designer – Cherry Heart. Sandra is the mastermind behind the amazing Spice of Life and A Spicier Life crochet along blankets. We have enjoyed working with Sandra over the years on the Crochet Alongs and have huge admiration for all of her creations. It is always a pleasure reading what she is up to on her blog. We spoke to Sandra to find out what she is been making recently and how she feels about being part of the Black Sheep Boutique.

We are so happy that you have chosen to be part of our Black Sheep Boutique. What does it mean for you to be part of this new venture?
Thank you, I’m absolutely thrilled to be a part of it!  It’s all a little surreal in many ways as I never would have imagined this was possible when I started my blog so long ago.  It’s the very best and wonderful kind of surreal though, a bit of a dream come true really.

Black Sheep Boutique - Cherry Heart

What inspired you to start designing fabulous crochet projects?
I think it began from searching existing patterns and not being able to find exactly what I wanted.  I’d find great patterns but then want to tinker or change an element or two and then before I knew it the tinkering had turned into making from scratch.

Forget Me Not Dots Blanket

You have designed so many fabulous blankets over the years and we are pleased to have many of them in our Cherry Heart Boutique. Which would you say is your favourite or one that holds a special place in your heart?
That would have to be my Painted Roses blanket.  It was one of the designs that came together exactly as I had intended and I love how versatile it is.  I’ve made two versions, both of which I love and yet look so different. (Painted Roses blanket coming soon to the Boutique)

Cherry Heart

How do you come up with such harmonious colour palettes?
Mostly I just play with colours until I find the combinations that please me most but sometimes inspiration comes from elsewhere, fabric patterns, interiors, or just being outdoors.

Black Sheep Boutique - Cherry Heart

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
A lot of time I’m inspired by colour.  Certain colour combinations will often spark off an idea, other times it might be patterns or designs I see around me.  The pattern on a china plate, the tiles on a building maybe. It can be the strangest things!

Do you ever take a break from crochet and knitting to enjoy other crafts?
Less often than I used to now just because of time constraints but I enjoying sewing a lot and have been known to dabble in embroidery, cross stitch and I have a weaving loom too!

Black Sheep Wools - Cherry Heart

Have you tried any new yarns lately? Is there anything that has really caught your eye?
I’ve been working with the new Bambino and Bellissima yarn by Stylecraft quite a bit lately and I have to say it’s a bit of a winner.  It’s an acrylic yarn but it feels so luxurious and so soft and bouncy, it’s a real joy to use.

What is your go to crochet stitch pattern / motif? If you could just choose one.
Oooh, that’s a tricky one!  I guess I would have to go the good old granny, it’s so simple and yet so versatile, it’s hard to beat really.  If I was allowed two I’d go for cluster stitches as well, I use those a lot.

Black Sheep Boutique - Cherry Heart

Do you still find time to crochet / knit for yourself in between designing?
Yes, I kind of make it a priority to make sure I continue to work on things for myself, most of my designs come about because it’s something I wanted!  I find it very hard to design things unless I could see myself wearing or wanting the finished project.

We always love seeing your latest designs and can’t wait to add more of your projects into the Black Sheep Boutique. What are your future crochet plans?
I’m always saying that I want to get a garment pattern published.  I’ve designed a few garments now, but haven’t quite been brave enough to release any patterns yet.  It’s definitely something I want to do though.

 

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!