What can you make with fabric?

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

Tags: , , ,


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

Tags: , ,


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.

Another mixed bag of crafty delights!

Posted by Amy | Posted in Customer Projects | Posted on 14-09-2015

Tags: , , , , ,


The start of Cherry Heart’s Spice of Life Crochet Along is fast approaching, I can’t wait to share all of the works in progress and finished blankets here on the blog. In the mean time I have a fairly mixed bag of crafty treats to share from our customers. It is good to see an increase in the number of fabric based projects being brought in store for a quick photo, keep them coming!

This first quilt was sewn on Stuart Hillard’s Quilt in a day workshop which we held here at the Craft Barn back in June.


The next project I have to share is another HUGE quilt from Quilt Grandeur by Kaffe Fassett. A customer called Linda made this incredible piece.

Quilt Grandeur quilt

One more quilt from a lady called Alison, who attends our knit and natter group. Alison hadn’t attempted patchwork before, you wouldn’t know with this piece!


Baby George popped into the Craft Barn for some more yarn. Doesn’t he look so content wearing a hand knitted cardigan and hat, wrapped in a beautiful knitted lace shawl.


Although summer may be over for another year here in the UK, the sun will be shining somewhere in the world. How about knitting a lightweight top in Sirdar Beachcomber Dk. Susan has chosen the multi shade – 261 ‘Collecting Shells’, what a lovely name for a summer yarn!

susan_beachcomber_topMary couldn’t wait to share her finished Stylecraft Lily Pond Crochet Along blanket in Stylecraft Special Dk.

stylecraft crochet along lily pond blanket

Joel Dewberry Cushion Cover

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

Tags: , ,


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


September Workshops 2015

Posted by Amy | Posted in Company News | Posted on 22-07-2015

Tags: , , ,


Wait until you see all of the exciting workshops we have lined up for this autumn. There are plenty of new additions, plus many favourites back by popular demand. We are always looking to add new workshops to our repertoire, so if there are any that you would like to see held at the Craft Barn please get in touch and we will see what we can do – email: amy@blacksheepwools.com.

We have a selection of knitting, crochet, patchwork and sewing workshops aimed at all levels of crafter. They aren’t just for those picking up a new skill, oh no – we have workshops for the well-seasoned  crafter to advance their skills further too. There are a mixture of both full and half day mini workshops to choose from taught by either Rowan tutors or our highly talented members of staff.


Our very own Barbara will be teaching her very popular ‘Basics of Patchwork‘ workshop on Thursday 3rd September. This is a great 2½ hour workshop to help kick start your love of patchwork.

basics of patchwork workshop


Rowan tutor Jem Weston will be sharing her love of toy knitting and cute creatures in her brand new workshop ‘Toy Knitting‘ on Friday 4th September.

toy knitting workshop


Rowan tutor Melanie Boocock will be teaching the first patchwork workshop of the new season ‘Patchwork Bag‘ on Saturday 5th September. This workshop is perfect for those who are new to patchwork or those who wish to brush up on their skills.

patchwork bag workshop

patchwork bag workshop


Black Sheep Yvonne has had fabulous reviews about her 4 week ‘Intro to Sewing‘ workshop. Over the 4 weeks Yvonne will guide you through to begin your sewing journey. The course will be held on consecutive Thursday mornings starting with Thursday 10th September and ending on Thursday 1st October.

intro to sewing workshop


Jane Crowfoot will be back for two workshops on Friday 11th September and Saturday 12th September. On Friday she will be teaching ‘Fair Isle & Intarsia knitting‘ then ‘Professional Finishing‘ on Saturday 12th.

fair isle and intarsia knitting workshop


Rowan tutor Carol Meldrum has a brand new workshop for autumn – ‘Brioche and Tuck Stitch Knitting‘ on Friday 18th September. This would be a great technique to learn for making gorgeous scarves and snoods this winter. On the day you will start making a cowl.

brioche and tuck workshop

brioche and tuck knitting workshop


Carol will also be teaching ‘Learn to Crochet‘ the following day on Saturday 19th September.

learn to crochet workshop


Betsan Corkhill will be holding a unique workshop based around her book – ‘Therapeutic Knitting‘ on Saturday 26th September.

therapeutic knitting workshop


All of our workshops are held in our fantastic workshop room within the Craft Barn in Warrington. Julie or Jayne will look after you throughout the day keeping you fed and watered with a delicious lunch, mouth-watering cakes and fresh pots of tea.

There are many more workshops taking place throughout October, November and December. Take a look here on our workshops page for more information.

What have you been sewing?

Posted by Amy | Posted in Customer Projects | Posted on 13-07-2015

Tags: , ,


Sewing fever has hit Black Sheep Wools recently. It’s great to see all of the projects you have been making – from garments to patchwork quilts, we really have had a varied selection.

When you walk into our fabric room you are greeted with so much colour and inspiration, it really is difficult to know where to start sometimes. Plucking out a bolt of fabric or two (or maybe 10) and lying them side by side or even piling them high is often the best way to get a feel for the colour and print combinations you are hoping to achieve in your desired design.

Lots od thought and consideration has gone into the fabric choices of our customers. Take a look below at their projects below. If you would like to share a project you have made with fabric purchased from Black Sheep Wools we would love to see. Send your photos to amy@blacksheepwools.com.

Yvonne spotted Catherine on a shopping trip in the Craft Barn wearing this outfit made entirely from Coats fabrics. The top is made in Tula Pink Foxfield – Serpentine and the trousers in Freespirit Designer solids – aqua. Catherine purchased another gorgeous fabric combo whilst she was in store. Hopefully she will pop in one day again wearing her new outfit!

tula pink foxfield - serpentine

Sally from our knit and natter group brought in a huge quilt she had made in memory of her son who passed away. One side of the quilt is made up of a patchwork design using different pieces of t-shirts and tops then the reverse is an array of juicy shades of Kaffe Fassett fabrics.



Amy visited the Craft Barn to share her first ever sewing projects. She made a cushion using Tim Holtz Eclectic Elements Bouquet and a red piping, finishing it off with a shell button in the centre. The pattern is from Stuart Hillard’s book – Sew Fabulous.



Cathy from our knit and natter group had her latest crochet project tucked away in this adorable pouch, made from Kaffe Fassett Sateen Belle Epoch.


Lisa has hand sewn this entire patchwork quilt. She has used a selection of fabrics from her stash and also some Craft Cotton fat quarters. Once this quilt is finished Lisa plans to make another one for her other daughter.



Next up we have Michelle’s pretty applique cushions. Michelle has used Denyse Schmidt fabrics and highlighted the leaf design for her appliqued centre design.



Finally we have a fab beach bag made for Jayne (who works in the tea shop) by her mother-in-law. Jayne took this fab on her holiday; with all its pockets and drawstring fasten it was perfect for a day at the beach. The fabric is all from the Nel Whatmore Merry Go Round range.



Sewing Bee – Choose Your Winner!

Posted by Amy | Posted in Patchwork & Quilting | Posted on 23-06-2015



We would like your help in choosing a winner for our Sewing Bee. All of the designs are so lovely it would be unfair to just leave it up to us to decide. Everyone followed the brief – designed and made a patchwork based item on the day. The great part of all, everyone put their own spin on it and created an individual piece. Voting will be taking place across three social media platforms – Facebook (like the image), Pinterest (re-pin or favourite) and Instagram (like). Here on the blog is the place to find more images of the finished Sewing Bee projects.

Ali from Very Berry Handmade

Made a patchwork tote bag

ali veryberryhandmade tote

Very Berry Handmade blog

ali veryberryhandmade tote

Jo from Jozart

Made a patchwork windmill bag

jo jozart windmill bag

Jozart blog


Diane from The Cheshire Quilter

Made a group of patchwork containers

diane cheshire quilter containers

The Cheshire Quilter blog


diane cheshire quilter

Lucy from Charm About You

Made an applique cushion cover

lucy charm about you

Charm About You blog

lucy charm about you

charm about you

Rachel from Mamma Fairy Sews

Made a hobby bag with lots of pockets

rachel mamma fairy sews

Mamma Fairy Sews blog

rachel mamma fairy sews



Barbara from Black Sheep Wools

Made a summer shawl with crocheted edge

summer shawl

summer shawl


The winner will be announced on Monday 29th June 2015!

Sewing Bee at the Craft Barn

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

Tags: , ,


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


An Evening with Stuart Hillard

Posted by Amy | Posted in Company News | Posted on 26-05-2015

Tags: , , ,


We are very excited to be hosting not one, but three events with Stuart Hillard here at the Craft Barn in June. He will be teaching two fabulous, full day sewing workshops on 26th and 27th June – ‘Machine Quilting‘ and ‘Quilt in a Day‘.

machine quilting workshop


After a day of teaching on the Friday, Stuart will have a quick break before settling in for a relaxing cheese and wine evening. Stuart will be talking all about his life in fabric, not forgetting his time on Series 1 of the Great British Sewing Bee, followed by a question and answer session. Tickets are £5, which includes a glass of bubbly on arrival and 10% off all purchases on the evening. As you can see from the photo we took of Stuart last time he was here – he really does love fabric!

stuart hillard

Yvonne’s sewing projects

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

Tags: ,


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