Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas!




It's Christmas Eve! I don't know about everyone else out there but all of us here at McA are relieved to be finished the piles of Christmas knitting we had to do. As with every year no one started as early as they meant to and I for one was knitting right up until today.

It is such a nice feeling to have all the gifts wrapped and ready for tomorrow. Now we're all looking forward to starting our holiday projects. After all that knitting for others it's going to be so nice to knit for ourselves again.

I've picked up one of last winter's Sirdar patterns to knit for myself. I'm going to do the long sleeved version of pattern 9245 (you can have a nosey here on the website if you like: http://www.mcadirect.com/shop/sirdar-pattern-9245-cardigan-in-denim-chunky-p-2860.html).

It should be in Denim Chunky but as most of the Sirdar chunky yarns have the same tension I decided to use Click Chunky as I love the bright colours, especially the new shades they just brought out.

We hope everyone out there has as much fun as we will not-knitting-for-Christmas over the festive period and as always we would love to see what you are planning for your first post-Christmas knit.

Merry Christmas from me and everyone here at McA!
Holli

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Winter Warmers Winner


Voting has now closed and we are delighted to announce that the winner of our Winter Warmers Competition is Susan Morrison! Congratulations!

This beautiful scarf must have taken such a long time to make!

We have your prize ready for you, Susan, so please get in touch with us to let us know where to send it. Please send your delivery details to skim@mcadirect.com

We also have little presents for everyone else who took part, so please send us your details and we'll get those sent out to you too.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Feeling Christmassy...


We're starting to feel all festive here at McArees. Holli decorated our Christmas window with reindeer, crochet snowflakes and cosy knits.

We love the leaping stag designs. They're so popular in knitwear at the moment and Holli has created her own for our display to match the cardigans.

She also used the Gedifra SMC Highland Alpaca to create a little Christmas tree!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Parcel in Stirling



There was much excitement in our Stirling shop yesterday when a very big parcel arrived from Italy. Unfortunately we were so busy in the morning that we didn't get the chance to open it. Every time one of us walked past we gave it a good poke.

All was revealed in the afternoon, a nice new stand from Adriafil. Heather soon set about filling it up with the gorgeous Adriafil Soffio, a mohair yarn that comes in the most beautiful colours.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Join the Flock


We thought some of you might like to join the flock, a big public art project that anyone can take part in.

The aim is to create a large scale art installation made up of thousands of woolly pom-pom sheep! Schools, groups, organisations and individuals are all invited to take part by making sheep & flocks for the installation, which will be displayed in 2012.

The project's aim is to encourage creativity and collaboration while raising awareness and celebrating the sheep farming & wool industry.

Click here to print off your free sheep-making kit.   Participants are encouraged to use sheep's wool.  Here at McAree Brothers, we're going to use yarn from the Rowan British Sheep Breeds range and we can't wait to get started!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Winter Warmers Competition


We always like to see what our customers are making with the yarn they buy from us. That's why we've decided to run a new Winter Warmers competition! We want you to send us pictures of your cosy knits for colder weather. When we've received all the entries, we will post them in an album on our Facebook page and the photo which receives the most "Likes" will be the winner.

The prize is ten balls of the gorgeous Sirdar Softspun DK and a copy of Booklet 410: Chic Winter Knits in Softspun.

Please email your photos to skim@mcadirect.com with the name of the yarn used, and the pattern number or booklet (if applicable) by midnight on Wednesday, 30th November, 2011. Voting on Facebook will close at midnight on Wednesday, 14th December, 2011 and we will announce the winner shortly after.

Please note, only items that are knitted in yarns that we stock at McA direct will be included in the vote. By sending us your pictures, you are giving us permission to use them on our Facebook page and McAree Blog. Only one entry per customer will be allowed. For more information please email us at sales@mcadirect.com.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Aurele Yarn Group




Are you having trouble with a tricky pattern? Do you need inspiration for a new project? Or would you just like a natter and a cuppa with some fellow knitters?

Following the completion of our new workshop area, McAree Brothers in Stirling (55- 59 King Street 55-59 King Street, Stirling FK8 1DR) are happy to host the Aurele Yarn Group. It is run by our very own Denise, a graduate of Glasgow School of Art and an expert knitter.

There is a charge of £3.50 but this does include tea and coffee. The first meeting will be held on Thursday, 20th of October from 10am to 12:30pm. (See below for more dates)

Here in the office we've all be cracking on with our Christmas knitting and can't wait to see what everyone else is up to going into the Festive period. See you there!

Aurele Yarn Group will be held on the following Thursday mornings:
20-10-2011
10-11-2011
24-11-2011
01-12-2011
15-12-2011

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Beautiful Work






It's always nice to hear from our customers about their knitting projects. We recently received a distress phone call from a gentleman who was looking for just one more ball of the beautiful Rowan Lima to finish his garment. Derek had bought various colours of the Lima in August and needed just that one ball to finish his project. Within a day of us getting the phone call, the customer received this final ball of wool and was able to complete the jacket. He was so delighted that he sent us photos of the finished jacket.

It certainly looks fabulous and a lot of hard work has gone into it.


Thursday, 22 September 2011

Special Prize Draw Giveaway

 

To celebrate the launch of our new Facebook page, we are offering our fans a chance to win a Limited Edition hardback copy of Rowan Magazine 50.  This much-coveted item is not available to buy on our website, and to top it off, we're also giving away 4 balls of the gorgeous Rowan Creative Focus Worsted.





All you need to do to enter is to become a fan of McAree Brothers on Facebook!  Visit our Facebook page and click the "Like" button before midnight on Sunday 9th October 2011.  All our new fans will be entered into the prize draw and one lucky person will be selected using a random number generator.  We will publish the result on our Facebook wall, so keep an eye out to see if you've won!

Please note: staff members will not be entered into the prize draw.  Sorry guys...

Monday, 19 September 2011

McAree Brothers on Facebook



We've finally got around to creating a page on Facebook!  Find us at www.facebook.com/mcadirect for all the news on our latest yarns and promotions.  Feel free to like us!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Workshops


We are all very excited about our new workshop space that's opening up in our Stirling shop. Our workshops have proved to be very popular, and we can't wait to get started on this years wide variety of classes.

The first workshop this year is Carol Meldrum's 'Learn to Crochet', and it has already sold out! Don't worry though, there's still loads of interesting workshops coming up that you can sign up to.

How about the 'Finishing Techniques' workshop on the 19th of October? The final stage of making a garment is often the most daunting for some knitters, so if you want to develop your sewing up and finishing skills, this is the workshop for you.

On the 3rd of November we are very excited to have a workshop led by Jeanette Sloan on how to knit Turkish Heel Socks. This workshop will teach you a new approach to sock knitting that is fun and fabulous!

We have a treat for you crocheters out there in the form of Carol Meldrum's 'Tunisian Crochet Workshop' on the 19th of November. This workshop offers an insight into the magical world of Tunisian Crochet and we're sure it'll have you hooked (sorry!) in no time.

Finally, we have our 'Knitting for your Christmas Tree' workshop on the 3rd of December with Katherine Lymer, a Rowan Design Consultant. Here you can learn some great tricks for making beautiful festive decorations which will be admired by all!

If any of these workshops have captured your imagination, you can sign up through our website, or by sending us an email at sales@mcadirect.com.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Rowan Lace


The much-anticipated Rowan Lace booklet has finally arrived.  They teased us by releasing the beautiful Rowan Fine Lace earlier this year before they gave us any patterns!  Here in the shop, we're all coveting the Cameo Shawl (pictured above, knitted in shade 928 Porceline).  Imagine our surprise when we discovered that it knit up from only 4 balls!  Rowan Fine Lace contains approximately 400m per 50g ball - that's some good yardage.



The yarn is soft and luxurious, the designs are delicate and feminine, and the book contains both crochet and knitting patterns.  Yet another item I'll be adding to my Christmas Wish List...

Friday, 26 August 2011

Lovely Little Rover


In this busy season of new patterns and yarns, one of the stand out baby books to come into the shop has to be the new Sublime Book 653 "The Ninth Little Sublime Hand Knit Book". It has 13 designs in the always beautiful Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino Silk DK for boys between 0-3 years. Sublime patterns are quite often my favourite anyway but this book combines their usual good taste with some very cute colourwork that is often only found on more girly patterns. Our favourite in the book is the slightly more quirky "Rover" jumper (pictured above) and Susan had the fun of knitting it up to put on display. It's such a great contrast to the very classical patterns in the rest of the booklet and would be a fun addition to any little man's wardrobe.








Monday, 8 August 2011

Finished!


Just a quick update to show you my finished Obsession cardigan from Whisper by Kim Hargreaves. The Rowan Classic Siena was lovely to work with and I'm so pleased with the end result!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Summer Socks


We were so happy to receive a lovely photo from one of our online customers today showing her latest project. Margaret from Chichester has completed her own summer sock project using the Regia 4 Ply. Perhaps she was inspired by Susan's Blog post about holiday knitting! They look beautiful; I'm sure whomever she knitted them for cannot wait to wear them.

Here in the shop we're all getting excited about Jeanette Sloan's upcoming workshop on Turkish Heel Socks and can't wait to see this interesting method of turning a heel. We still have places available in this workshop if you'd like to join us. It is held in our Stirling shop and we do provide lunch and a 10% discount in the shop to everyone who attends.




(Images from left: knitted socks by Jeanette Trotman; Crofter Chunky yarn; socks from Sirdar pattern 9135)

If you're like me and the idea of turning a heel on 4 pins sounds a bit terrifying without Jeanette there to help then there is no reason you still can't make fabulous socks. Sirdar have quite a few patterns for 2 needle socks. They are so simple and fun to do, I made loads of them last Christmas for the family. The only seams you end up with is one up the back and two small ones on the sides of the feet which take no time to sew up. I particularly liked doing the ones in Crofter Chunky as they were so fast to do and the patterns are wonderful.
(Sirdar Pattern 9206 in Crofter Chunky and 9135 in Crofter DK)

Monday, 25 July 2011

Simply Sublime Baby Booties


Inspired by the season’s warmth and luminosity, some of the staff in Stirling took it upon themselves to cater to the tiny toes that were emerging to greet their first summer. Using Sublime Pattern 6006 and Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino Silk DK, Donna and I have already knitted over 8 pairs that are currently on display in the Stirling store’s window. The pattern is also available in the Sublime Booklet 634 where you will also find pretty little cardigans and tempting sweaters to match your booties.


The Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino Silk DK comes in 29 gorgeously glossy shades. I was particularly enamoured with the juicy “Plum Pie”, “Pinkaboo” and “Honey Bunny” shades, while Donna picked out pastels like the pink “Piglet” and “Cuddle” blue, picking out beautiful wood, brass and mother-of-pearl buttons to finish each pair off.

The easy garter and stocking stitch patterns makes these projects quick and satisfying.

Whether for your own little one or as a special gift, the impossibly soft blend of cashmere, merino and silk is such a treat for little soles/souls. Now if only they made these in a size 6…

Friday, 22 July 2011

Stitch Library - #5 Honeycomb Stitch



A pretty pattern made by purling and slipping stitches.

Abbreviations:
P – purl
sl 1 pw (slip 1 purlwise) – this is done by inserting the right needle into stitch on the left needle as though you are going to purl it, but instead of purling, just slip the stitch onto the right needle.

Cast on a multiple of 2 stitches plus 1.
Row 1: P1, *sl 1 pw, P1; repeat from * to end of row
Row 2: Purl
Row 3: P2, *sl 1 pw, P1; repeat from * to last stitch, P1
Row 4: Purl
Repeat these 4 rows to form the pattern.

Find more How-Tos in our Stitch Library.

Monday, 18 July 2011

New from Sublime



I know it's a little soon to be thinking about the colder weather, but we've just had a delivery of the new Sublime for Autumn and Winter and we can't wait to get started!




The booklets contain some great designs inspired by traditional folk knitting patterns and Nordic colourworks. There's something for everyone - classic shapes, dramatic textures, chunky cables and bold fashion colours. We're already squabbling over who gets to knit what!





There are also lots of smallers projects, such as hats, mittens, slippers and snoods, which will make ideal Christmas presents. It's a good job we're starting early - once our friends see these they'll all be wanting Sublime hand knits!

(Images are taken from Booklet 654, Booklet 655 and Booklet 656. Yarns include Sublime Extra Fine Merino Wool DK, Sublime Chunky Merino Tweed, and Sublime Lustrous Extra Fine Merino DK.)

Friday, 15 July 2011

Stitch Library - #4 Diamond Stitch


This easy design uses only the knit and purl stitches, but the pattern it produces is very effective.

Abbreviations:
K - knit
P - purl

Cast on a multiple of 8 stitches plus 1.
Row 1: P1, *K7, P1; repeat from * to end
Row 2: P1, K1, *P5, K1, P1, K1; rep from * to last 7 sts, P5, K1, P1
Row 3: K2, *P1, K3; rep from * to last 3 sts, P1, K2
Row 4: P3, *K1, P1, K1, P5; rep from * to last 6 sts, K1, P1, K1, P3
Row 5: K4, P1, *K7, P1; rep from * to last 4 sts, K4
Row 6: As row 4
Row 7: As row 3
Row 8: As row 2
Repeat these 8 rows to form the pattern.

Find more How-Tos in our Stitch Library.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Holiday Knitting


Are you planning a holiday to escape from this awful weather and see some sunshine? If you are, then you’ll need some small knitting project to take on holiday with you. How about knitting some socks? Socks only take a couple of balls of yarn, so they’re not going to take up much space in your luggage and you’ll still have plenty of room to bring back all your gifts and souvenirs.







We always browse through the Regia range when looking for inspiration. They have beautiful yarns that come in exciting shades, and easy-to-follow patterns to fit all sizes.


And there's no need to worry about bringing your knitting on the plane. We find that most airlines will allow wooden needles on board, but not aluminium (though it's best to check with individual service providers before trying to get through security!)



All the staff at McArees agree that you can't beat the Brittany Needles by Artesano. Made from birch, these pins are very smooth to work with. They are a little more expensive than the Bamboo needles, but once you try them you'll understand why.

Have a great holiday!