Posts Tagged ‘shawls’

Manos del Uruguay...I love their logo!

I stumbled across this yarn entirely by accident while I browsing k1 Yarns Knitting Boutique here in Edinburgh. There were three yarns that instantly grabbed my attention that day and this was one of them. I purchased three skeins to make sure I had enough to make something beautiful.

The more I’ve researched and read about this company, the more it has become one of my favorite companies, up there with Lush Cosmetics. Their story is inspiring. First started in Uruguay in 1968, Manos del Uruguay is a collection of cooperatives which employ and provide work for local artisan women. Currently consisting of 13 coops, the women there spin, dye, weave, design and manufacture all of their own yarns and garments. They herald their very own brand of garments, accessories, and handicrafts, but also have been contracted by famous designers such as Chanel and Ralph Lauren to help them design and produce their fashions.

The women who work in the coops also own the coops and this gives them access to things like health insurance and retirement pensions that they otherwise might not have. The cooperative is also credited with starting the first kindergartens in Uruguay leading to improved education in the country. Just recently, Manos del Uruguay received its World Fair Trade Organization certification. This is definitely a product that you can feel good purchasing!

Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend, Blue Mountain colorway

They make several different types and weights of yarn, but I purchased 3 skeins of their Silk Blend yarn. This blend is 30% Silk and 70% Merino Extrafine Wool. The mixed in silk fiber gives the yarn a gorgeous sheen that you simply can not help staring at. As all with all of their yarns, this was kettle dyed in a small batch so that it has a beautiful variation of colors that are incredibly rich. There are several different shades of blue in this one skein alone and each shade is stunning. Because it is entirely natural fiber though, that means it cannot be machine washed. This is very important to keep in mind in case you wish to use it for a garment that will get heavy use and abuse.

A sneak peek of the shawl I'm knitting with this!

Ravelry classifies this yarn as a DK, or 8 ply weight. And it does have some heft to it! The shawl I am currently knitting is a tad on the heavy side and I am only a 1.25 skeins into it. I would definitely recommend this yarn for a heavy blanket, shawl or sweater for a cold fall or winter day. The Merino Extrafine Wool makes it really cozy and cuddly as well and I find myself looking forward to cold weather so I can wear it (and I HATE cold weather!). Even though it is heavy, because it is so soft and smooth, it can be knit at several gauges (according to Ravelry). So let your imagination run wild!

Aw, it was handmade just for me!

Another great thing about Manos’ yarn is that each skein comes with a tag on it that (of course) tells you the basics such as composition, gauge, and a little bit about the Cooperative. But also, it is hand signed by the artisan who spun your yarn with the location of the coop it came from! It really is a beautiful handmade touch to remind the consumer that this is truly a hand crafted product. One of my favorite aspects of this yarn is that as you knit, you can feel the slight deviations in the thread. Though mostly spun in an even size, there are spots in the thread that are a little thicker in some places and a little thinner in others. It gives the yarn character and makes it fun to work with. I highly recommend this yarn to everyone!

If you wish to track down some of your own Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend, or any of their amazing yarns, you can check out their home website for a list of international distributors (don’t worry, they have an English version of the page available!). The U.S. distributor is Fairmount Fibers, LTD based out of Philadelphia, PA. and they have a map on their website where you can find a shop near you that sells this yarn. For Canada, check out Manos Canada. For Europe, see Artesano Yarns.

Have you ever used this yarn? Leave a comment and tell me what you think about it!

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Welcome to Archer’s Knits and Crafts! Thank you for stopping by!

The blog is a little bare right now, but my goals for this blog is to document my own adventures in knitting and crafting as I endeavor to learn how to design my own projects, tackle challenging and fun patterns by other designers, and just teach myself in general more exciting and new things. It is my hope that this blog can inspire other people in their own crafting and to try something they may not have thought of before.

Knitgrrl 2 by Shannon Oakey

Knitgrrl 2 by Shannon Oakey

A little bit about me: I’ve been knitting for about two years now. I found a beautiful pattern on a great website, Knitty.com, called the Shipwreck Shawl and decided that I wanted to learn how to make it. So I went out, purchased a knitting book designed for younger girls learning to knit called Knitgrrl 2 (See all Children’s Crafts & Hobbies Books) and some yarn, and taught myself how to knit the Full-of-holes scarf pattern contained within.

I’ve recently developed an adoration for lace knitting. I love the challenge as it is very easy for me to get bored with repetitive patterns. My favorite pattern of late has been the Freya Shawl by Renate Haeckler.

My newest challenge I have set for myself, as I mentioned, is to learn to design my own patterns. As I approach the end of my dissertation for my masters, which means I will once again be thrust into the real world of working and bill payments, I have been looking for something that I could make and sell for some extra cash on the side. From my research, it seems patterns sell better than knitted items, though I’m going to try to do both and perhaps some other crafts that I make along the way.

So please join me in my journey into the world of small business and crafting. Life is an adventure and this looks to be a fun new chapter!

-TheArcher