STREET ART: Yarnbombing turns the CBD into a riot of colour.
STREET ART: Yarnbombing turns the CBD into a riot of colour. Izelle Behr

Knitting circle for jazzy men

FOR too long it's been assumed the blokes are more interested in the great jazz, food and vintage cars than the craftwork at Warwick's annual Jumpers and Jazz in July.

But this year, the Criterion Hotel is setting things straight with its Real Men Knit sessions from 3-5pm on both Saturdays of the festival, which runs from July 19-29.

The men's knitting circles will be held in front of the fire, and manager Kylie Jenner encouraged the blokes to go along, grab a beer and settle in to learn how to knit or improve their skills with the ladies from Wattle-Doo Crafts.

Ms Jenner said the hotel had been inspired by some of the regulars reminiscing at the bar about when their grandmothers taught them to knit as children.

"It's hilarious to see these big, burly men discussing their knitting, and it's a connection to times when families were happy doing things together more - it's really lovely," she said.

The nostalgic theme works in well with this year's Warwick Art Gallery installation, entitled Home Sweet Home, incorporating both the house and knitted and crocheted favourites such as lamingtons, patty cakes, iced vovos and lollies.

"The idea is to indulge people's nostalgic sweet tooth," said the gallery's Yarntopians co-ordinator Loretta Grayson.

Ms Grayson said hundreds of volunteers aged from 7 to 92 took part in making the sweet treats, over 4000 "lovebombs", cushions, blankets and about 2000 knitted and crocheted squares and rectangles to line the walls and roof of the house, which for the first time has involved hammers and nails as well as needles, as the house is actually built with help of Bunnings and the Men's Shed.

"We do have a lot of seniors who help us, both from the Warwick district and around Australia," she said.

"Many are people who are involved in lots of different knitting and crocheting for the community such as for premmie babies and orphans overseas - they're very community- minded people."

And of course there's the traditional "yarnbombing" of about 150 trees around the CBD. Both Ms Jenner and Ms Grayson were enthusiastic at the prospect of the festival as it enters its 15th year.

To find out more and see the full program, go to www.jumpersandjazz.com.


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