Handmade Christmas 2018

Posted by Amy | Posted in New Products | Posted on 09-11-2018



Now that Halloween and Bonfire Night have been and gone it’s time to have a moment…..and then step into Christmas (in the words of Elton John). We are talking Christmas knitting, crochet and cross stitching. Many of you probably feel that November is a little late to be starting a Christmas project. We aren’t talking Christmas jumpers here or poster sized cross stitch scenes. More like small makes that will add a personalised touch to your gifts this year. Projects that will take one evening and ones that might take a couple of days. Mini projects are always handy to have on the go as in between projects or alongside a serious make. If you are crocheting a blanket or knitting a fair isle jumper, there are days when you just aren’t feeling it and need a change of scenery. Take a look at our selection and see what takes your fancy. No one needs to know if you end up keeping your handmade Christmas make for yourself!

Handmade Christmas

Winter Dolls by Annaboo’s House – back in 2013 we asked a group of bloggers to come up with Christmas decorations. Annaboo’s House came up with these three festive characters, Pip, Nat and Baby Mo. Crocheted in Rico Creative Cotton Aran they make for the sweetest Christmas ornaments. The patterns are still available for free from our free patterns page on the website. When you click through to the free patterns page narrow down your search on the left hand column to select ‘Christmas’. It will make it easier for you to find them, plus some more great decoration patterns.

Handmade Christmas | Winter Dolls by Annaboo's House

James C Brett Chinchilla snood – Who can resist a spot of faux fur in winter? In winter months you want to be cosy and comfortable, wrapped up in gentle layers of warm fabrics. Soft and furry yarns fit that feeling perfectly. James C Brett Chinchilla is a beautifully soft, faux fur yarn for the season ahead. Knit a cowl with just two balls or how about a headband with one ball. This pattern features a cape and shoulder cover too. The cape would look opulent over an evening dress or an outfit for a winter wedding.

Xmas Bear Card Kit by Bothy Threads – Bothy have brought out a series of 3 Christmas card designs, that come with a card and envelope. They are all fun and modern designs it will leave you wondering which one to make first. We have picked out the bear to share, with a jolly red scarf.

Handmade Christmas | Xmas Bear Card Kit

Pompom Wreath – grab an embroidery hoop, a selection of yarns and a pompom maker to make this festive delight. We suggest a variety of textured yarns and maybe a colour theme as seen in our how to video below – Sirdar Temptation, Sirdar Snowflake Dk, Stylecraft Wondersoft Stardust, King Cole Shine, King Cole Tinsel and James C Brett Harmony DK.

Festive Teacosies – Knit either a snowman or a reindeer with this Christmas pattern from Sirdar. Popped on top of a teapot, a tea cosy would make a jolly gift for a friend this year or an addition to your festive decor. Enjoy a mince pie and a cup of tea out of your glammed up teapot.

Handmade Christmas | 8219 Festive Tea Cosies

Christmas Baubles – Arne and Carlos love Christmas time and they have made just the book 55 Christmas Balls to Knit to add a splash of Fair Isle to your tree. There are 55 variations of knitted bauble to make from this book. Last year we had some knitted up for display in store.

Handmade Christmas | 55 Christmas Balls to Knit

Quick and Easy Knitted Hat in super chunky yarn – This knitted hat is a super quick knit. You will need a 100g ball of super chunky to knit this little treat. Depending on yardage you may or may not have enough to make a pompom. The yarn shown in the video is no longer available, however we have a selection of rather yummy super chunky yarns to choose from. Sirdar Tundra would make a nice multi coloured hat or perhaps Sublime Lola.

Tinsel I-cord – Grab two double pointed needles and a ball of mega glitzy King Cole Tinsel yarn. It’s so simple and becomes quite addictive, knitting and then sliding your 3 stitches and knitting again. Use this to make garlands to decorate around your house or even as a delicate tinsel to drape on the tree.

Cast on 3 sts.
Slide stitches to other end of needle and knit. Continue to knit 3 and slide until desired length of icord is knitted.
It magically creates a tube of knitting!


Christmas Gift Inspiration

Posted by Amy | Posted in New Products | Posted on 09-11-2017

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Is it too early to talk about Christmas? Our Sirdar elf on the shelf is already wreaking havoc in the Craft Barn, getting up to all sorts of mischief. The shop ladies don’t know where they are going to find him when it’s time to open up in the morning. We are sharing pics of the elf on our Instagram, along with all of the usual bits and bobs. Take a look and join in the fun.

Now I have mentioned Christmas and Christmas elves it is time to talk gift inspiration. I am sure many of you are super-duper organised and already have boxes full of handmade gifts ready to wrap. If like me you still quite like the idea of giving a knitted, crocheted or stitched gift then there is still time. We have put together a festive selection of smaller makes, which could also work as a gift just as they are for a fellow crafter.

Juliet Bernard has designed a collection of exclusive knitted hat kits just for Black Sheep Wools. One of our favourite designs is the Torshavn design in Debbie Bliss Falkland Aran. An exquisite fair isle pattern that creates a star effect at the crown. The kit includes 2 hanks of yarn and the exclusive pattern.

Scheepjes Frosted Whirl is the latest addition to the Whirl family. A thousand metres of yarn in one delicious ball, all wound up in a swirl of tonal colour blending seamlessly as you go. The frosted balls come with an iridescent thread running throughout.

Prepare yourself for a cuteness overload….meet Sue Jobson’s latest knitted character Rudolph the Reindeer knitted in Sirdar Touch. You might have good intentions to knit this for someone, but once you have finished this squishy bundle you won’t want to part with him. Don’t say I didn’t tell you so! There is a paper pattern and digital pattern available for this design.

Rico Creative Bubble has a soft tinsel feel to it with a spongey bounce, lots of glitz in this yarn. New festive shades have just been added along with festive patterns. The yarn has been created with the idea of washing in mind – body and dishes. With its sponge like texture you could crochet a great exfoliating mitt for the shower or a sponge to clean your pots and pans. There are even some funky Christmas baubles that would look good on the tree.

Scandi Tree by Bothy Threads features traditional Scandinavian trinkets on the tree. A very sweet cross stitch kit that would make a lovely gift for a fellow crafter to stitch.

Socks make a fabulous Christmas gift and a hand-knitted pair, well, now that would be a luxury treat for a loved one. Debbie Bliss has come up with a great range of patterns for her delightful Rialto Luxury Sock yarn. These slouchy spiral socks could be just what you are looking for.

Take a look at this scrumptious treat from Rowan Selects. A limited edition hank of Rowan Sultano, consisting of silk, mohair and cashmere would be a lovely surprise to discover in your Christmas stocking.

West Yorkshire Spinners have come up with a wonder shade of Signature 4ply, it is Christmas in a ball of yarn – Candy Cane. This festive ball of 4ply makes a snuggly pair of socks that look like something a Christmas elf would wear. When you purchase the Candy Cane shade you will receive a free sock pattern designed by Winwick Mum, while stocks last.

This is only really a snippet of all the beautiful treats we have to share for the knitters, crocheters and stitchers in your life. It is just to take a look at some new additions every now and then. Take a look at our Christmas section for more Christmas gift inspiration. Don’t forget we have gift cards too!


Have you made any festive decorations?

Posted by Amy | Posted in Creative Christmas | Posted on 30-11-2015



Have you made any festive decorations / creations this year? Anything that you have crocheted, knitted, sewn or cross stitched. In any form, a jumper, hats, large scale ornaments or a decoration for the tree. We are looking for photos to share on the blog of any of the following –

  • Christmas Tree
  • Father Christmas
  •  Nativity
  • Snowman
  • Any other items (a Christmas pudding or snowflake perhaps?)

Please email photos to amy@blacksheepwools.com. Even if they are old classics that you bring out year after year, feel free to share your festive makes with us. If you could also include where the pattern is from, whether it is a free pattern you discovered on Ravelry or the latest by your favourite brand.

We want to bring them altogether in one place here on the blog for all to see in a series of blog posts in the coming weeks. It may even be the inspiration for some last minute gifts or handmade decorations.

Christmas in August?

Posted by Amy | Posted in New Products | Posted on 07-08-2015

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Christmas in August? What do you think? Is it too soon to be preparing for the festive season? For many crafters August may even be cutting it a bit fine to get everything made in time. If you are planning on a handmade Christmas it could be time to get your making skates on!

We have been sprinkled with festive spirit in recent weeks with the arrival of new shades of the super duper Christmassy, aptly named – Tinsel Chunky by King Cole. These latest additions to the range could quite possibly be even more festive than the original palette. One shade even has the name ‘Christmas’, can you guess which shade it is?

King Cole Tinsel Chunky

If that wasn’t enough festive sparkle, King Cole have also released a new shade of Glitz Dk, that looks like swirls of candy cane wound on the ball.


Did you make a Tinsel Chunky hedgehog? They have been a very popular knitted character of choice here at the Craft Barn. For Christmas you can choose from a whole host of cheery, festive characters.


Tinsel chunky snowmen


Tinsel Chunky santas

Mr & Mrs Christmas and an elf…..


We are now stocking the Anchor Artiste Metallic yarn. There are 26 sparkling shades to choose from!

anchor artiste metallic

Last year Patons held a competition to design a Christmas jumper. The winning pattern has now been published and is available to download for free from the Make It Coats website. Here it is – a snowy scene with lots of cute robins, designed by Ange Smith.

Make It Coats robin jumper: Image source Make It Coats website

 If you enjoy cross stitch perhaps the new collection from DMC might be what you are looking for. The kits are designed to look like Christmas postcards which is a nice touch.

Building a snowman by DMC

Building a Snowman

Santa is coming by DMC

Santa is Coming

Have you decided to start Christmas in August? Share your photos on social media or email amy@blacksheepwools.com.


Creative Christmas Winners 2014

Posted by Amy | Posted in Creative Christmas | Posted on 19-12-2014



Thank you to everyone who entered this year’s #bswcreativechristmas competition. We have received all sorts of different entries from a knitted Christmas turkey to a life sized crocheted tree. Spotting them on social media and opening up the emails has been most enjoyable. Take a look below at a selection of runner’s up projects.


After much deliberation 3 winners were chosen and contacted. Your gift cards are on their way to you now just in time for Christmas. We asked our winners to tell us a little bit more about their projects and if there was a story to share.


Lynn has knitted this super cute gingerbread man and candy cane garland. Here is what she had to say –

“I have been only knitting now for about 3 years. As a long term M.E. sufferer I was looking for a hobby that I could do at home, and pick it up when I felt like it. I very quickly became absolutely hooked on knitting, and found it fairly easy to produce something that looked reasonably ok!

I adore Christmas and thought I would have a go at knitting some decorations to make my lounge a bit more individual and creative.

I knitted a gingerbread man, intially just as a tree decoration, then thought if I made several, they would make a great garland. I made some in light brown yarn, and some in dark brown. Each has a different coloured bow tie and different buttons down the chest.
I then had the idea of knitting candy canes to go inbetween them to add a bit of colour and festivity. These are knitted stripes in either green and white, or red and white, sewn around a pipe cleaner to add shape.
As the garland evolved, I decided to thread some red wooden beads between each piece, and add some striped ribbon either end for hanging.

I love the finished result, and hope others do to.”


Julie has knitted a Santa hat and beard for her husband to wear over Christmas time. Here is what she had to say about her festive knit –

“My husband is always up for a laugh and anything that gets him attention he loves. Last year I knitted him a Christmas jumper but he wears overalls at work so it was hid. I was browsing Christmas patterns online and I saw the pattern with the Santa hat and beard and just knew I had to knit it. I knitted it up in one weekend and he has had so much fun with it, everyone does a double take when they see it and are amazed it’s knitted! My son has also taken a liking to it and it’s a case of whoever gets to it first wears it.” 🙂


Mary’s entry is a life sized crocheted Christmas tree. This has not been made by just Mary though, she has made this with her craft group friends. The tree has already been entered into one Christmas event at Mary’s local church to help raise money for charity. Here is what Mary had to say when we told her that she had won.

“Well how lovely! The others in the group will be delighted.
A local church holds a Festival of Christmas trees each year. This is a lovely event and many children and adults have enjoyed them over the years, and raised money in the process. The trees are all very varied, created by the WI, the Playgroup, the Brownies and some individuals. I think there were about 40 this year. We did get voted best in our group.
We started by thinking of knitted decorations for a tree, but it all got a bit silly, and we wondered if we could knit the tree as well. In fact, my daughters found crochet was the most suitable method. And they just started diamond shapes which joined together to make ‘rings’ of branches. We found some berry lights that poked through the crochet and then just made hundreds of decorations, snowmen, stars, wreaths, bells etc.
We started our knitting group about 3 years ago, just a group of friends who all enjoy the crafting, the chatting and the cake. Only about 8 of us, but my daughters join us, so we have all ages.
We are always looking for opportunities to help a charity or just to have a bit of fun and make someone smile. Our first major project was to Yarnbomb our local shopping precinct, and with the support of the Coffee Shop we raised nearly £800 for Comic relief. We covered the bike racks and a bike and had huge fun. Even got mentioned on Breakfast TV.”


A mixed bag of knitting and crochet

Posted by Amy | Posted in Customer Projects | Posted on 17-12-2014

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I am not sure where to begin with this blog post. We have so many fantastic projects knitted and crocheted by our lovely customers it may be difficult to fit them all onto one post. Seeing all of the creative ways you choose to use your yarn is always inspiring. It isn’t sat on the shelf for too long before it is transformed into something so beautiful.

Without further ado here are a selection (more to follow) of the latest projects to show off from our Black Sheep Wools customers.


Angela brought in two cardigans, she has knitted one for her son and one for grandson. The pattern for the men’s cardigan is from Sublime book 655, knitted in the now discontinued yarn Sublime Chunky Merino Tweed. Angela has made matching Christmas cardigans before, you may remember her amazing interpretation of the Arthur Christmas sweater in cardigan form two years ago. She used a basic cardigan pattern and added her design having sketched it out on graph paper.


The children’s version is knitted in SMC Extra Soft Merino, following Sirdar pattern 1275.


There are reindeer on the reverse too.


Carole, who regularly attends our knit and natter group is crocheting a shawl in Louisa Harding Amitola. The pattern is a free download, available from Ravelry – scalloped triangle shawl. The colour changes within the ball fit perfectly into the stitch change, creating a stripe effect. The shade used is 117 – wishes.


Brenda has knitted a dress in Rowan Wool Cotton 4ply. Take a look at the lace detail in the skirt, so beautiful. If you do like the look of this pattern then there is good news, the pattern (Vali) is available as a free download from the Rowan website.


Onto a crocheted character made by Jo. She has crochted the rabbit from a pattern in a crochet magazine, using up oddments of yarn.


Ann popped in with her latest project. She has knitted the sweater in Sirdar Click Dk yarn, following King Cole pattern 3107. An easy to wear winter sweater with the detailed combination of cable and lace detail.


Joan and Carole from our knit and natter group have been crocheting a gift for Jacky’s grand-daughter, an Olaf (from Frozen) hat. They found the pattern on Hopeful Honey‘s blog. For the main part, Peter Pan Moondust Dk has been used.


Yarn in the Barn – December Catch up

Posted by Amy | Posted in Customer Projects | Posted on 03-01-2014



Christmas may be over but there is still time to catch up with the projects that the Yarn in the Barn group completed in December. Every week the ladies have a new project under way or a basket full of yarn ready to be transformed into something special. You never know your next project could be here waiting to be discovered.

Mary has knitted a jumper in one of her favourite yarns James C Brett Marble Dk. The pattern is an old one from her stash from her 1974 copy of Woolcraft book.


Sally knitted a Christmas jumper for her son with not one but two festive designs from Wendy Festive Knits book. He has already worn the jumper lots Sally had to sneak it out of the house for a photo.


Using King Cole Tinsel Chunky for the tree looks great.


Chris has crocheted this beautiful blanket in Hayfield Bonus Aran. The pattern was free in a past issue of Let’s Knit magazine.


Brenda has knitted a gorgeous cowl in Debbie Bliss Rialto Lace.


Alison crocheted this Raymond Briggs Snowman toy. He was a Christmas gift for her grandson.


Christmas is coming…….

Posted by Amy | Posted in Company News | Posted on 19-11-2013



Five weeks today it will be Christmas Eve! Wow, where has this year gone? Have you started making your Christmas gifts? Maybe you are already finished! I popped in to Yarn in the Barn group this morning and got chatting to the ladies (I won’t mention names in case those who will be receiving the gifts are reading). Many of them are making knitted or crocheted presents. One lady showed me a pattern of an exquisite pair of lace mittens knitted in Rowan Kidsilk Haze Glamour. The pattern was a free on with an issue of The Knitter. They are to be her secret Santa gift at work. Whoever gets these will be in for a treat. Another lady was busy casting on rib stitch, fingerless mittens in Wendy Celtic Chunky for the male members of her family. It is lovely to see everyone getting into the Christmas spirit. I am now well underway with my selection of knitted presents. I am a little undecided about a couple of items, to go for hats or snoods? Decisions, decisions.

One project I can mention, as this jumper has been made by special request. Sally who comes to Yarn in the Barn has made a Christmas jumper for her husband. The pattern is one of the many patterns from Merry Christmas Sweaters to Knit book. It is a fab design that even has a robin on the back. Sally is now making a Father Christmas jumper for her son. He has asked for a Christmas tree design on the back, so this will be one bumper Christmas jumper, not just one design but two! I asked Sally if she plans to make one for herself and I think it was a definite no.



With 5 weeks to go there is still plenty of time to get your needles clicking away. There are some fantastic treats for the home in King Cole’s Christmas book – Christmas Knits Book 1. My favourite is the Father Christmas tea cosy cover. His fuzzy beard and smiley face are so jolly.




If knitting isn’t your thing, but you love to crochet, then this selection of ‘The Snowman’ dolls, including the Snowdog are a fun gift or treat for you.


Finally, for all the cross stitchers a bright and festive Nativity scene from Bothy Threads. Not being a stitcher myself I am not entirely sure this could be stitched in time for Christmas day. What do you reckon? Although, you could give it a good go!