An Explosion in My Crochet World, or One Day at Black Sheep Wools

My little world of crochet has exploded. Into numerous colors, new acquaintances and emotions. Last weekend the first ever public appearance of my life happened. An appearance as a crochet designer, I mean. Black Sheep Wools*, one of the largest yarn shops in the UK hosted a Scheepjes Day last Saturday. I was invited as a guest designer together with Dedri Uys of LookAtWhatIMade, an author of Ubuntu CAL, Sophie’s Universe blanket and many more wonderful crochet designs. And everything felt surreal.

This was my second visit to UK this summer. Me and my husband have only recently gained an EU citizenship, and United Kingdom was the first destination on our wish list. The July was all about Liverpool and Beatles. We went to Strawberry Fields, and Penny Lane, and to Cavern Club of course (three times in two days). And I discovered UK to be a wonderful country. With amazing clouds (really, all shades of grey you can ever think of – all of them are carried by the clouds in UK), charismatic weather (I learned that umbrella might be my best friend for a while), and absolutely lovely and friendly people!

And last week I flew to UK again. This time to the village of Culcheth (Warrington, Cheshire) where Black Sheep Wools, the largest knitting store in the country, is situated. It takes only 30 minutes to drive to Culcheth from Manchester, and you get into the… yarn heaven.

Yarn Heaven and Black Sheep Wools

Black Sheep Wools* was established in 1983, and from the very beginning it has been a family business, run by a team of dedicated people. And once you enter the shop, you can feel the love and care about everything. The store is big! And you can easily get lost among the isles with yarn of different brands, fabrics, craft tools, embroidery kits, and other. Many people come here for a day trip. And some of them whispered to my ear that they come regularly not only because of the yarn, but also because of the most delicious home-made cakes at the recently opened Tea Bags Full! And I can confirm – they ARE delicious.
Happy me waiting for a cake :)

But it’s not only yarn and craft accessories of different kinds you can find here. Black Sheep Wools host workshops and drop in sessions* on a weekly basis – all with known designers and professional tutors. Just to give you an idea, the coming workshop are the Art of Fair Isle with Melanie Boocock, Anatomy of Knitted Shawls with Heike Gittens, Beeded Crochet with Sophia Reed, and many more.

Here is what Sara Mulvey, the director of Black Sheep Wools is saying:

“The store was set up by my mum. Stephen joined her two years later and opened six more stores. All the stores have now been merged into one large Craft Barn, but still in the village where we started. We believe we are the biggest yarn store in England but still try to keep the ethos of a small shop. The shop is staffed by keen knitters, crocheters and stitchers who love enabling other crafters!”

Scheepjes Day, Ubuntu and Dedri

Last Saturday a Scheepjes Day was hosted at Black Sheep Wools. It was also a launch party for an Ubuntu CAL, which officially started today! (Did you miss something? Hurry up to grab your own kit, make a gauge swatch and begin with thousands of other crocheters all over the world).

Dedri and her medium Ubuntu blanket

The shop was decorated with crochet projects by Dedri and me. The centerpieces, of course, were made by three Ubuntu blankets. And then visitors could see my Spirits of Life wraps* (the kits are still available, yay!), Brioche and Nya Mosaic blankets, Grinda shawls and Indigo Shrug*, my Lilla Bjorn sweater and several mandalas. Everything looked fabulous with the background of isles with Scheepjes yarns, and Black Sheep Wools carries LOTS of Scheepjes yarns.
Isles with Scheepjes yarns, Indigo shrug and Lilla Bjorn sweater

Because it was my first ever public appearance as a crochet designer, I felt very excited and nervous at the same time. I didn’t really know how everything would go and what was expected from me. But as soon as first visitors arrive, I could breathe out and relax.

You know, there is something surreal about meeting people, who follow your blog and recreate your designs. My daily life consists of a small corner in my living room with a small computer desk and a sofa where I usually crochet and design watching TV. And then I am blogging (sitting at the same small desk by the window, with a cup of morning coffee)… And then… I suddenly meet real people, who are actually reading my blog! That’s feels very, I don’t know, happy! And surreal at the same time.
Dedri teaching crochet

I met Karen and Bev. Karen was studying Russian language in Saint Petersburg, and we chatted in Russian a little bit. And then a lovely lady Jane came in. she brought me a box of chocolate just to thank you for my Spirits of Life CAL… Seriously, I have never felt anything like this before. It all felt like I found a new family. Dedri met some old friends, too. They came to Black Sheep Wools on that particular day to see her, and to hug her.
River's Walk shawl

We were talking about crochet, smiling and laughing, eating delicious cakes, making Friendship bracelet (I’ve received the tag “Be kind. Always”). We taught each other crochet tricks, we were fighting gauge and choosing the right hook for the right yarn. It was fantastic! And time flew fast.

That was the best experience of my short crochet life :) And I am very grateful for this opportunity.
We are making friends and Friendship bracelets

Early Morning at Manchester Art Gallery, and a crochet horse

It was time to fly home the next day, and because I had a few hours left before my flight, I decided to take a walk to Manchester Art Gallery. Museums and art galleries are free in the UK, and that was another nice surprise.

Guess what a found among oil paintings from 18-19th centuries? A yarn bombed sculpter of a head of a horse. Looks mysterious, doesn’t it?

And then I found my favourite place. A large painting of the sea and two comfy chairs in front of it. I think I spent at least a half an hour in one of them. Looking at the waves and thinking of wonderful days I had. And realizing I would love to come back… One day.

All my crochet samples will stay at Black Sheep Wools for a while. So if you are in UK and would like to see them for real - feel free to come. And I wish I could join you.

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  1. Nicely done, Tanya! Nicely done.

  2. Awesome experience for you! I love your crochet work and plan to make them all as time allows.

    Can't imagine being in the same room with so much Scheepjes yarn...swoon!

    Take care!

    1. It was a wonderful day, surronded by yarn and lovely people :)

  3. Aw I wish I could have come to Black Sheep Wools to meet you and Dedri - my 2 favourite crochet ladies :). I am so glad you had a great time. You MUST come back to England again. Hugs x

    1. Hi Maggie, I am sure that was not my last time in UK! We will meet for sure :)

  4. Oh! What a good time!! Hope this is the beginning of lots of new experiences for you and one day maybe we can see you on the Caribbean ����. Beautiful work!! Enjoy your moment!��

    1. Carribbean sounds a little bit too far :) But I would love to travel somewhere, and maybe even teach crochet?

  5. So glad you had a lovely time :) That part of the UK (the north-west) is famous for grey clouds and rain, the south-east and east have lots of dry sunny weather :D

    1. How can it be within one small country? but the clouds are really fantastic.

  6. Awwww,I'm famous! It was so lovely to meet you and chat. I'm really glad you had such a memorable trip, I love the horse!

    1. Haha :) thank you for your time! It was lovely to meet you.

  7. You had a wonderful time

  8. I would have loved to be there! Meeting 2 of my favorite designers. One day you will come to Holland! And then I'll be there too.


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