Tuesday, 15 August 2017

McAree Knit Night Competition

To celebrate our McAree Festival Knit Night we're teaming up with Rowan Yarns to hold another Instagram photo competition!  Our prize is 12 balls of the luxurious Alpaca Soft DK, a copy of the Timeless DK Collection, and a copy of the Timeless Worsted Collection, a prize worth almost £100.

In order to take part, you will need to come and join us in our Edinburgh shop for our Knit Night on the evening of Thursday 17th August 2017.  Take a picture in the shop and upload it to Instagram with the hashtag #McAreeKnitNight. Hopefully you'll find lots of things to inspire your creativity. The winning photo will be chosen by the staff at McAree Brothers and Rowan Yarns. Don't forget to follow us (@mcadirect) so that we can notify you if you win!

Our competition will run from 5pm on Thursday 17th August 2017, when the Knit Night starts. You will have until midnight on Sunday 20th August to post your images on Instagram.

By entering our competition, you are agreeing to a complete release of Instagram and acknowledging that this promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram, or any other social media used throughout the contest.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Knitting at the Edinburgh Fringe

A trip to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival doesn’t have to mean abandoning your knitting and crochet for duration of stay.  There’s plenty of yarn-related sights and shows to take in this summer, and we’ve rounded up some of our favourites for you:

Street Performance: Tartan Heather

As you wander down The Royal Mile deciding which show to see next, keep an eye out for Tartan Heather.  Keen to keep the art of spinning and tartan-weaving alive in Scotland, Tartan Heather can be found beneath the statue of Adam Smith, giving demonstrations of traditional spinning techniques and occasionally allowing children and well-behaved adults to have a go at using a spinning wheel.  

Picture by Iain Muirhead for Humans of the Fringe  FREE/£1 to take photos

New Theatre, Comedy: Me, As A Penguin

Tom Wells’ critically acclaimed 2010 play, Me, As A Penguin, is being brought to the Fringe by the Exeter University Theatre Company and is the perfect show for knitters and comedy fans, with moments of tension surreally interrupted by voiceovers from a mysterious knitting tutorial.  The play follows the misadventures of Stitch, an avid young knitter, as he attempts to impress his new boyfriend, eventually culminating in the theft of a penguin from a local aquarium…

£8-10pp August 14th - 19th, 4.10pm, theSpace on the Mile (venue 39)

Classic Theatre: Shakespeare on the Sofa

Finally, a show you can bring your knitting to! Fresh from their Edinburgh production of avid knitter Virginia Woolf’s ‘Orlando’ earlier this year, Some Kind of Theatre are returning to Fringe venues, offices, care homes, and living rooms across the city with their Shakespeare on the Sofa project.  Their swashbuckling, pirate-themed production of ‘Julius Caesar’ can be brought into almost any venue, and so can be booked to perform in your home or at your regular knitting meet-up! (Directed by McAree Brothers staff member, Emily)

Prices start from £6pp. Throughout August.

Social: McAree Festival Knit Night

If you fancy an escape from the hubbub of the Royal Mile, bring your knitting and crochet works-in-progress along to our Festival Knit Night.  We’ll be teaming up with our neighbours, the cafe and art gallery Bon Papillon, to host a good old-fashioned ‘knit and natter’ for locals and performers alike (complete with a pin board for flyers for shows).  Refreshments will be provided, and we’ll be handing out ‘Fringe Survival Kit’ goody-bags, complete with a Fringe-inspired pattern, to the first 30 people to arrive!

KNIT NIGHT IMAGE with background.jpg
FREE entry

(Be sure to also check out our theatrical window display while you’re here: it’s inspired by McAree staff member and Cat-Like Tread director Sarah’s production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s ‘The Sorcerer’. £10-12pp, August 21st - 27th, Paradise in Augustine’s (venue 152), www.catliketread.com/shows/current-show)

Gallery: Dovecot Studio

Just a stone’s throw from the Royal Mile, Dovecot Studio features tapestries and crafts from international artists and is home to a fascinating exhibition on the history of weaving as well as a tapestry studio in which Dovecot apprentices learn this ancient, woolly, and beautiful art form.  A visit to this fascinating gallery is a must for anyone with an interest in traditional craft forms.  Dovecot’s ‘Daughters of Penelope’ exhibition, which explores the story of women’s work in both the textile industry and in textile art, runs from July 20th 2017 to January 20th 2018.

Photo by Shannon Tofts, Tripadvisor. FREE entry

Gallery & Shop open Monday-Saturday, 10.30am-5.30pm. Tapestry Studio Viewing Balcony open Saturdays, 10.30am - 5.30pm, or by appointment only.

If you have any tips on other knitting and crochet related events at the Fringe, we’d love to hear from you - please tweet us (@McAdirect) or get in touch via our Facebook page. Finally, if you’re travelling by plane to Edinburgh this August, be sure to check out Leah’s blog post on travel knitting and Heather's blog post on knitting on planes for some great advice about knitting on-the-go.

Post by Emily in our Edinburgh shop

Friday, 7 July 2017

Yarn Art

Dave Cole, Fiberglass Teddy Bear (2003). Photo by David Cole

I admit it: I'm a complete art geek.  When I first started working at McAree Brothers last September, I was ridiculously excited when I first discovered Adriafil's art-inspired KnitCol yarn, and even more so when I learnt from Heather's Arne & Carlos blog post that each of the colourways in Arne and Carlos’ Regia 4 Ply Design Line sock yarn is inspired by different Edvard Munch paintings.  In short, I think the idea of combining knitting and art is just wonderful, and so I’ve been so happy to find that there’s a large number of modern artists across the world who are using yarn within their work. Here’s a little bit about just three of them:

Dave Cole
New York-based artist Dave Cole often knits with unusual materials.  His portfolio includes a 30’ x 20’ American flag (The Knitting Machine, 2005), knitted by giant needles mounted on cranes and industrial equipment; enormous teddy bears knit from lead ribbon and fibreglass; and a blanket made from electrical cables (Electric Blanket, 1998).  Cole's work “crosses conceptual craft and political assemblage” (Karen Kurczynski, ‘Art Papers’, Nov/Dec 2008 [1]), and his eerie, larger-than-life reimagining of everyday objects and concepts is often interpreted as a “criticism of industry, patriotism” and the increasing mechanism of daily life (Sarah Claypole, ‘Dave Cole: Political Fine Art Crafting’, 2011 [2])

Photo by Mass MoCA from www.davecoledavecole.squarespace.com

Robere Mertens
Sound designer and artist Robere Mertens creates huge wooly, post-apocalyptic sculpture pieces in response to sound and movement: for his installation, Going Green which was created inside a train carriage for the Art on Track exhibition (2008), Mertens crocheted vast nets and swathes of fabric, crocheting “in different directions based on different audio cues”. The nature-inspired, organic shapes Mertens created provided striking contrast to the industrial interior of the train carriage and the work proved incredibly popular and has subsequently been widely exhibited at gallery and public buildings including The Flat Iron Building, ArtWorks, and the Winnipeg Folk Festival.

Around 3am on Christmas Eve of 2010, Polish-born artist Olek (Agata Oleksia) crept up to the iconic Charging Bull (1989) statue on Wall Street, sewing needles and crochet hooks in hand, and covered the cast iron statue in a neon purple and pink crocheted suit.  Her addition to the statue drew praise and amusement along with fierce criticism, and certainly got people talking about graffiti, knitting, and crochet and their place within fine art.  The installation, Projet B was removed later that day but still continues to draw commentary even now: Olek has stated that her intention was to pay homage to Wall Street Bull’s creator, Arturo di Modica, who originally installed Charging Bull without permission from the local authories, however her covering of di Modica’s statue has also been interpreted as criticism of the perceived hyper-masculine culture in Wall Street or an attack on western capitalist ideology.

Photo from www.oleknyc.com

Inspired to find out more about artists who use yarn and textiles as their medium?  Textile Artist is a great resource for interviews, reviews, and articles from the textile art community.  If you’re an artist who uses yarn in their work, we’d love to hear from you about what inspires you.  Give us a shout on Facebook or Twitter or get in touch using the comments section below.

Post  by Emily in our Edinburgh shop