What can you make with fabric?

Posted by Amy | Posted in Customer Projects | Posted on 23-05-2016

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Did you watch the first episode of the Great British Sewing Bee this week? Watching the contestants getting to work sewing makes me feel all inspired to dust off the sewing machine. The problem is, sometimes you just don’t know where to begin, what can you make with fabric? Fabric is very much like yarn – there are endless possibilities of what you can actually make and create. Whether you can hand sew or prefer the sewing machine there is a project for you out there. There are even fabric projects that involve no sewing at all, such as a no sew cushion cover and gift wrap, how good is that? Showing off your beautiful fabric choices with very little effort!

Our customers are never short of inspiration and often pop in with their latest sewing delights. It is nice to see such a varied selection of things that you can make with fabric.

A lady called Chris, who attends Knit & Natter made a pretty purse / wallet for her friend Joan’s birthday (also a member of Knit & Natter). The purse is made up of teeny patchwork hexagons all sewn by hand. Chris chose Tula Pink fabrics and followed the pattern by Kristyne Czepuryk from Cherry Heart’s blog.


The inside is so pretty too with slots for cards and a magnetic fasten.


Glenys brought in an adorable fabric sausage dog she had made using Tanya Whelan fabrics, following a pattern by Debbie Shaw designs. Not just any sausage dog though, this little lady can keep all of your sewing tools in one place. If you would like to make your own accessory case, why not take a look at the ‘Ready to roll‘ accessory case by Cherry Heart.


On to clothing now…..a customer called Linda brought in a selection of tops she has made using various fabrics. The pattern Linda has used for the short sleeve tops is a Simplicity pattern 8523. The sleeveless top is from another pattern she had in her stash. The cotton fabrics are so beautiful and lightweight, perfect for a summer top.


Tina Givens Riddles & Rhymes – Castle Row – Blue


Nel Whatmore Sketch Book Botanical – Geranium


Michael Miller Sashiko – Midnight

One more project to share from a customer called Ann. Ann attended Barbara’s log cabin patchwork workshop in April and caught the sewing bug. After completing a couple of blocks in the morning workshop, Ann went on to purchase new fabrics to make a quilt.


In amongst the beautiful design Ann has used Victoria & Albert Museum, Nel Whatmore Sketchbook and Guess How Much I Love You fabrics.


Will you be watching the second episode of the Sewing Bee tonight? If you have been inspired to make something new don’t forget to check out our fabric selection before you begin. When you have made something new please share your makes with us. Email any photos to amy@blacksheepwools.com.

Spring at Black Sheep Wools

Posted by Amy | Posted in New Products | Posted on 04-04-2016

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Spring is in the air at Black Sheep Wools, especially in the Craft Barn. Lots of new yarns and fabrics have arrived in store (they are online too) to inspire those new season makes. Fabrics are draped alongside complimenting yarns, decorating the Craft Barn with bright and breezy spring cheer.


The new Brassica fabric range from Philip Jacobs is such a detailed print design (shown here in ‘yellow’). It comes in six different colourways, which would look so impactful all in the one patchwork project.


This fuzzy, cloud like yarn is Sirdar Touch. Don’t the new shades remind you of candyfloss or those coconut sprinkled marshmallow biscuits? With just one ball you can make a super squishy snood.


A spring themed wreath adorned with mini pompoms, flora and a sleepy Stylecraft bunny.


Bright and zingy shades of Sirdar Cotton 4ply are lovely new additions to the range.


Daffodils are adding a splash of spring to the tea shop – can you spot the odd one out? It’s a knitted daffodil from Sirdar Knit Pretty book.


A new Sirdar yarn for spring is Sirdar Jolly Dk. There’s lots of colour bursting from this yarn, perfect for babies and children.

All of these beautiful things are only a snippet of what’s new in store and online. There is so much more to be discovered! If you would like to see what’s new online be sure to head on over to our new page.

What have our customer’s been making?

Posted by Amy | Posted in Customer Projects | Posted on 13-11-2015

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I have accumulated quite a few customer projects recently that are just bursting to escape from the camera and make their way here, onto the blog. If you need that extra push to get a project finished you may well be inspired after reading this post. Seeing finished projects always makes me feel enthusiastic about digging out those unfinished projects. After completing a project you really do feel a fantastic sense of achievement. It is lovely when our customers bring them along to show us in the Craft Barn.

Young Alfie came to the Craft Barn with his mum for a shopping trip. His outfit of choice…..a beautifully knitted jumper, made in Sirdar Baby Crofter Dk. Alfie chose the shade himself – shade 185. The pattern for this snuggly jumper can be found in Sirdar book 377.


This sweater is good to compare with the baby jumper above. Mary from Knit & Natter brought in a sweater she had knitted for herself in Sirdar Baby Crofter. The mock Fair Isle effect has been elongated and slightly distorted due to the width of the knitting. It has created an interesting stripe pattern.


Alison who attends Knit & Natter at the Craft Barn couldn’t wait to share her latest project. We hadn’t had Stylecraft Carnival Chunky in stock very long before Alison popped in with a finished waistcoat. She is looking forward to wearing the waistcoat with a long sleeved top this winter.


Although we don’t have a pattern for this Aran jumper (it was an old favourite from Jackie’s stash), it is still nice to share the hard work that has gone into knitting such a detailed cable, Aran jumper.


Have you ever tried knitting mitred corner squares? Kym brought in a completed blanket that she had knitted using a variety of 4ply yarns; many of which she purchased at the Craft Barn including Regia Angora Merino. The squares are built up and joined as you knit.


Kym also had a second blanket which she is part way through. Knitted predominantly in Sirdar Heart & Sole Sock 4ply.


Wendy came shopping wearing her latest project. She has crocheted a cardigan in King Cole Shine Dk.



Cathy brought in her latest knitted project to Knit & Natter. When Cathy first started coming to Knit & Natter a couple of years ago she generally only crocheted. Since then she has made various knitted projects and recently brought in this cardigan to share. Her first ever project knitted in the round! Cathy enjoyed taking on the challenge of a cardigan knitted in the round. The best part of all, no seams. The pattern is called Frosty and can be found in Rowan Magazine 58, knitted in Rowan Felted Tweed.


Pretty cable detailing around the neckline and button band.


Eileen brought along her latest project especially to show Yvonne in the Craft Barn. Yvonne had helped her to cut the back piece of fabric, so that the butterfly design was precisely central with perfect symmetry either side of the zip.

tim holtz eclectic elements melange

Eileen has used a Butterick pattern and Tim Holtz Eclectic Elements Melange fabric.

tim holtz eclectic elements melange

Joel Dewberry Cushion Cover

Posted by Sara Mulvey | Posted in Sara's Blog | Posted on 06-08-2015

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So Sunday afternoon stretched before me. A few precious hours to myself and I knew just how I was going to spend it. I was going to try and make a cushion. Coats had sent in a cushion cover for us to display in the shop that had really caught my eye. So I made a cup of tea, put on an old episode of ‘The Archers’ and away I went.

joel_dewberry_pillowIt was  free pattern from their website – Make It Coats and the fabric was incredible. They were Joel Dewberry designs and I knew that the blue tones we had in stock would look perfect on my sofa.

Joel Dewberry fabrics

As always the cutting took ages. Cutting fabric always scares me a bit. I’m sure it is something I will get used too but the fear of getting it wrong means it took me over two hours! I did cut enough fabric for three cushions though.

At last I was ready to sew, well almost. I had to wind a bobbin but guess what? I could remember how to do it without reading the manual. This was a first for me, and I could thread the machine too! This proves that I am picking things up and becoming more of a sewer each time I make something.

sewing machine and spool

The instructions on the pattern were really clear and it was quite easy piecing it all together.

joel dewberry cushin cover

I did drink about four cups of tea to keep my concentration going but I made one silly error. I sewed the back and front together the wrong way round and had the lining on the outside – the air was blue as you can imagine! I was so cross that I completely forgot to take a photo. It took me ages to undo it with a seam ripper!

I got completely lost in the project and before I knew it was 8pm and I had a finished cushion. I am so proud of it and love the end result. Only another two to go!

Joel Dewberry fabric cushion cover


Sewing Bee at the Craft Barn

Posted by Amy | Posted in Patchwork & Quilting | Posted on 19-06-2015

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Last Wednesday we held our very first Black Sheep Sewing Bee here at the Craft Barn. We invited 5 bloggers to take part and our very own Barbara. Barbara is a team leader in the Craft Barn and is our go to lady for all things patchwork. She has some fantastic pieces of work including these shown below.



Everyone was given a brief to make a patchwork based design within the day. It was interesting to see each person’s fabric choices and what they would turn into over the course of the day. As Barbara took part in the Sewing Bee herself she has written all about her day below.

Early next week we will be sharing each of the six final designs here on the blog and on Facebook for you to vote for your favourite.

Over to Barbara…………

“I spent the day with 5 lovely ladies at our first Black Sheep Sewing Bee. After introductions and tea we all set off making our patchwork creations.

Ali from Verry Berry Handmade made a colourful bag using Denyse Schmidt fabrics.

very berry handmade patchwork

Jo from Jozart made a windmill bag.

Jo from Jozart blog sewing a windmill patchwork bag

Diane from The Cheshire Quilter made containers with pockets.

diane patchwork container

Lucy from Charm About You made an applique cushion cover.

lucy charm about you applique cushion cover

Rachel from Mamma Fairy Sews made a hobby bag using Dena Designs Little Azalea fabrics.


I decided to make a summer shawl using ‘Millefiore’ and shot cotton by Kaffe Fasett with a splash of Philip Jacobs’ pansies. I used the foundation piecing technique for my project for the base fabric. I chose ‘Wish’ by Valorie Wells which is a really pretty light voile.



It was amazing to see everybody working – they definitely know their stuff. The speed at which they worked was amazing, how everybody finished their projects in a day, I’ll never know. I finished mine at home by sewing a blanket stitch edge with a crochet border, adding long fringing to each end to complete. For the fringing I used Rico Crochet Cotton in turquoise, the colour brought everything together beautifully.

barbara_work_in progress

We had a fantastic day and everyone was impressed by our brilliant Pfaff machines with the built in walking foot, a huge thumbs up for quilting.


Rachel attached this handy pin cushion to her sewing machine. There is a free pattern over on her blog.



Thanks to all the ladies for joining us, we really had a great time, plenty of chat, tea and sewing. What more could anyone want……….Well, there was a little surprise treat. As things were wrapping up and fabric scraps were being tidied away, we were each presented with an amazing goody bag kindly donated by Coats Crafts, the perfect end to an enjoyable day.”

Barbara x


Basics of Patchwork

Posted by Amy | Posted in Patchwork & Quilting | Posted on 08-06-2015

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To make life a little easier for anyone embarking on a patchwork project we have brought together our five must have accessories. Each item has an important part to play in the basics of patchwork. This is before you even think about beautiful, printed cotton fabrics and the endless quilts you will make (well you can always have a teeny peak, can’t you?). It is a good idea to understand these tools and why they are so useful.

Rotary Cutter

A rotary cutter is a fantastic piece of equipment for any patchworker or quilter, as accuracy is key when cutting out patchwork pieces. When using a rotary cutter you can always get a neat edge and easily cut a curved shape every time. When your blade is getting blunt, fear not we also sell replacement blades. The rotary cutters come in various sizes – 28mm, 45mm and 60mm. The smaller sizes are ideal for cutting intricate shapes.

Milward rotary cutter basics of patchwork

Cutting Mat

Using a rotary cutter you will also need its best friend – a cutting mat. These accessories are like two peas in a pod, a team of the patchwork world. We would definitely advise using a cutting mat rather than having to explain the damage a lone rotary cutter could do to your table, it doesn’t bare thinking about, eeeek! The best part of all the Milward cutting mats are self-healing, any dents will bounce back. Obviously any excessive pressure and the mat will not self-heal back to its original state.


cutting mat basics of patchwork


Patchwork Ruler

A patchwork ruler with inch increments is the next item to add to your basics of patchwork shopping list. Use this handy ruler to accurately cut strips of fabric to just the length and width you need. It is super helpful that the ruler is clear too. Your fabric is easily visible when lining up where to cut. There are also 45° angles marked on to help when cutting triangles and various other patchwork shapes.

patchwork ruler

 Quilter Seamer 8″

If you haven’t guessed already, patchwork does involve quite a bit of measuring and accuracy is essential to the overall finish of a piece of work. This nifty little item may just look like a clear cuboid. It’s not; it is actually a quilter’s quarter inch seamer, designed to help out when adding your quarter inch seam allowance to paper and fabric pieces. It is exactly a quarter inch wide!

quilters seamer

505 Temporary Fabric Adhesive

Any quilter would recommend this little treat. A bottle of 505 temporary adhesive spray is so good to have to hand when arranging your fabric pieces ready for sewing. The spray leaves no residue, saves on pinning work then having to re-adjust and can fabric pieces can be repositioned for up to 20 minutes after the initial spray. It also works well for applique – but we will save that for another day.

505 adheshive basics of patchwork

There you have it our top five accessories for the basics of patchwork. Now it’s time to choose your fabrics…………

Yvonne’s sewing projects

Posted by Amy | Posted in Staff Projects | Posted on 21-05-2015

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Yvonne is always busy making something or other, she seems to have a new project on the go every week. Usually it is something knitted or crocheted, but recently she has taken to sewing projects, having been tempted by our ever so irresistible fabric selection. She has been somewhat of a bag production line of late, having three daughters she tends to have to make things in quantities of three. When one see’s what she has made for the other she begins to have a waiting list situation on her hands.

One of her daughters has young children and needs to carry around a baby changing bag. She loves all things Cath Kidston and with this in mind Yvonne instantly knew which fabrics would be perfect for a bag – Tanya Whelan Petal in sateen. The fabrics have a chintzy, vintage feel to them with bold rose florals, contrasting with stripes and spots. Once she had finished the large bag for her daughter she had an order in from the youngest lady of the family – her grand-daughter Isla! Yvonne replicated the bag pattern in a miniature version just for her – so adorable.

yvonne fabric projects

The bags are fully lined with zips and magnetic fastenings. In the baby changing bag she has added all sorts of pockets. The bag even has a zipped section at the bottom to keep items separate from the main bag compartment. This design is from a now discontinued pattern.

sewing projects bag

Yvonne’s other two bags have accents of Tim Holtz fabrics along with leather. The leather has come from an on sofa that had seen better days. Rather than throw it away Yvonne saw her next sewing project and decided to upcycle.

leather_bag tim holtz fabric

tim holtz fabrics

Both bags are lined with Tim Holtz Expedition fabric. She has added personal touches to each bag making them both unique. As you can see in the photographs below she has highlighted the journey her daughter will take on her honeymoon next year with metallic silver thread.


tim holtz fabric bag

How to make fabric embroidery hoop wall art

Posted by Amy | Posted in How to....... | Posted on 30-03-2015

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Do you often lust after a fabric collection, yet can’t quite put your finger on what to make? We have just the answer for you and it comes with a simple guide – how to make fabric embroidery hoop wall art. This quick and easy no sew project is extremely easy to do. All you need is an embroidery hoop, a piece of fabric and scissors. It really is that simple! This is a great way to swop and change your decor without spending lots of money. Why not choose a selection of fabrics from a collection and display a group of 3 hoops in varying sizes together The fabric could even be used again for a future project. To keep it in tip top condition opt to pin and tuck the fabric into the back rather than cutting away the excess.

In this example we have used Philip Jacobs Japanese Chrysanthemum – Green and a Milward embroidery hoop.

Step 1

Separate the inner hoop from the outer hoop.

how to make fabric embroidery hoop wall art

Step 2

Lay your chosen fabric on top of the inner hoop.

how to make fabric embroidery hoop wall art

Step 3

Choose where you wish the fabric to sit. Place the outer hoop over.

how to make fabric embroidery hoop wall art

Step 4

Tighten the hoop so that the fabric is taught.

how to make fabric embroidery hoop wall art

Step 5

Turn over and trim away the excess fabric. Cutting up to the edge of the hoop. If you are choosing to keep the fabric as a square pin it in rather than cutting with scissors.

how to make fabric embroidery hoop wall art

Step 6

Et voila! Fabric embroidery hoop wall art in a matter of minutes. The only problem now you will want to change your display every week with so many fabrics to choose from.

how to make fabric embroidery hoop wall art

Sew an accessory case for Mother’s Day

Posted by Amy | Posted in Free Patterns, Sewing | Posted on 06-03-2015

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With Mother’s Day just around the corner we wanted to give something special to all the Mother’s out there. What better gift than a free pattern! Whether you are looking to make a gift for your Mother, or treat yourself to something new this accessory case will be a pretty, yet practical present. It is time to dust off your sewing machine as the lovely Cherry Heart, aka Sandra has designed a fabulous fabric ‘Ready to Roll Case‘. The accessory case is ideal for housing all of your crafty trinkets. There are ten slots for smaller items and one large pocket at the end perfect for slipping in your tape measure or pin box. This could be varied to suit what items you plan for the roll to be used for. It could even make a funky pencil case or even make up brushes.

Sandra chose a selection of floral prints from the Tanya Whelan ‘Petal’ collection. A soft pastel colour palette, which reflects her yarn choices in much of her crochet work. Sandra’s usual attention to detail can be seen in the form of embroidery stitches, including a simple running stitch and heart, the perfect finishing touch.

If you would like to make this accessory case you can find the free pattern available to download from our website today!

sew an accessory roll

sew an accessory roll

Photo courtesy of Cherry Heart


Video Blog Two

Posted by Sara Mulvey | Posted in Sara's Blog | Posted on 03-03-2015

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Catch up with my latest WIP’s including patchwork, knitting and crochet! x x