On Tuesday this week I went off for a day trip to visit Black Sheep Wools in Warrington. I’d heard that it was a great shop but didn’t know very much about it – I had been introduced to Sara, who is part of the family that runs Black Sheep Wools, by Annabelle from Stylecraft. I went along to have a nosy and to talk about possibly doing some crochet workshops there this summer.
Black Sheep Wools, as I discovered, is not only a shop that supplies yarn, knitting and crochet tools and fabric, its a complete crafty centre with a cafe and a huge warehouse. This is because – and news to me – that Black Sheep Wools is a full online retailer too, distributing yarn and supplies worldwide. In fact, they were the first UK yarn seller to go online. Having now checked out their website in more detail, I am very impressed. The prices are competitive – Stylecraft Special DK is £1.75 a ball at the time of writing – well below the £2.00 RRP. They do a similar deal to other online retailers too, with free delivery on orders over £25. And I was told by Sara that they are very, very fast at dispatch too.
She told me a bit about the history of the shop. Its been established many years having been started in the 1980s by Sara’s mum, Carol. Sara’s parents ran the business together for a long time and at one point had several shops all over the North of England. When interest in knitting and crochet slumped in the 1990s, they closed all but two shops and with the new interest that’s taken over in the last few years, they now concentrate on this large shop in Culceth, near Warrington, and into the online business. Sara’s brother is now the Managing Director and mum and dad, although both interested and involved in the shop, take more of a back seat and enjoy their retirement.
Here is the two of us with some of the crochet bags I took along…
The shop itself is a joy. I spent over four hours here and didn’t want to leave. Everything is very well laid out and arranged, with tools and supplies for knitting, crochet, sewing, embroidery and quilting. This is the main desk – even on a Tuesday just after New Year it was fairly busy so I chose a quiet moment to show it off without the lovely customers standing in front of everything…
There is yarn everywhere, together with plenty of examples of projects.
The ranges of yarn available is very wide with Stylecraft, Rowan, Sirdar and other major brands. Everything is well displayed and easy to reach. The main shelves around the walls have pull out table tops so that you can lay out your balls of yarn side by side while you make your colour choices – brilliant idea! Saves dropping them all on the floor and makes it so easy to plan a colour scheme.
To go with your yarn they had one of the most extensive ranges of knitting and crochet tools I’ve seen outside of the Knitting and Stitching Show!
You will probably have noticed some sewing supplies in the photos showing the tools available – the other great thing about Black Sheep Wools is that they now offer a full fabric selection, with threads, quilting accessories and books. Such gorgeous fabrics too…
Sara was telling me about their plans for reorganising things over the next few weeks to provide even more space for the fabrics now that quilting and home dressmaking has become so popular again. A lot of the fabrics are in this smaller section off the main shop but they are soon to be moved so that all the fabrics are together.
In the middle of everything is a very comfy leather sofa – handy for having my photo taken with my crochet bags…
Back in the mists of time when I first learned to crochet, lace doilies were one of the big things to make and I loved doing them. They were so intricate but so satisfying. I spent hours working from charts – how I wish I still had some of those patterns! Black Sheep Wools is one of the few places, in fact in might be the only place, that I’ve seen such a large range of colourful crochet cottons. This gave me so many ideas…
The bargain basement!
In a warehouse room off the main shop is a bargain basement section – which is so well worth delving into. Its a bit cold in there in January but the bargains! Sara was saying that they buy up packs of yarn, often from designer brands, and are a bit like the TKMaxx of yarns! The shelves were stocked with all sorts of bargains – including luxury brands such as Noro. Droooooooool…
These aren’t the most glamorous of pictures but you yarny addicts will get why I’ve included them. Who wouldn’t want to spend half an hour in here? Its a knitter and crocheter’s dream…
Chatting with the people at Black Sheep Wools
I met with Sara and Lesley to talk through the idea of workshops. Black Sheep Wools already has a program of workshops for knitting and crochet and other crafts but they are always in demand. We discussed several exciting options – we need to work through them a bit more before I can let you know what will be happening but I am very excited and I’m sure I’ll be making the trip over the Warrington quite regularly in the future!
I was lucky to go on a Tuesday because that is the day of one of the knit and natter groups. Wow, it was so busy! Around 30 ladies, all busy at the most gorgeous projects and all very interested in the crochet bags I’d taken along.
One of the things we chatted about were future bagalong projects for the Bagalong with Crafternoon Treats group on Facebook. More about that soon but if you want to join the group, you are very welcome. We are now almost 3,700 members, so that’s a lot of crochet bags!!
As you can probably tell, I had a great day. If you are in the area I highly recommend it for a visit – but leave at least a couple of hours to browse and have tea and cake. I did resist the cake but they looked beautiful and the ladies in the cafe were so lovely (and they made very good coffee!!).
If you don’t get the chance to visit in person, check out their website – just click on the screenshot below:
4 thoughts on “Black Sheep Wools Warrington – a day out!”
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Must be yarn heaven …. 🙂
Craft heaven generally but the yarn selection was fab. Hope to be doing a couple of workshops there in the summer too 🙂
Love the place and the staff are great – NOTHING is too much trouble even then they are mad busy. I spend hours in there grab a coffee bite to eat and so meet people who shop regular to. Lovely environment x
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