close knit: the neighborhood yarn shop

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Our friends at Manos del Uruguay have sent us a little love in the form of soft and squishy variegated single-ply yarn.
The Manos Maxima is very similar to Malabrigo Worsted in terms of texture and yardage, but we are a little more partial to the Manos colorways.  The shades in each skein seem to blend a little more naturally, and the overall effect is so lovely.  We only have the variegated colorways right now, but we might be seeing some solids soon.
Manos del Uruguay is a cooperative that was founded in 1968 to "develop economic opportunities for women in a country where there were, and are still, few opportunities for work."  The small co-op has grown into a successful and thriving business, employing 350 artisans in 17 communities throughout Uruguay.  They are able to provide health benefits, retirement options, education, and childcare for the artisans.  Each skein of Manos del Uruguay yarn is signed by the person who dyed it.

The ample yardage (218 yards/skein) means that one of these will get you at least one hat, and two skeins will make a generous scarf or wrap.  It is a heavy worsted, knitting up at 4.5-5 stitches/inch on a US7 or 8.  It is so squishy and lofty, that I would definitely go with an 8 or larger unless you are aiming for a very dense fabric.

Fairmount Fibers distributes Manos yarns in the US, and they have pages of free patterns for all of their yarns.  The Maxima page contains some real gems, including the Paper Bag Hat (knit sideways with short rows!), the Handful of Berries Mittens, and the Botany Kerchief.

Manos has recently upped their game with some fresh new designers and new styling.  Recent print ads have been stunning, and I am thrilled to see Julie Hoover designing for them.  Check out Beaubourg, a big ol' reverse stockinette pullover that I would live in, given half the chance.
Photo from Fairmount Fibers

Also, Palette, which is designed in Wool Clasica, but would be equally lovely (and much softer) in Maxima.
Photo from Fairmount Fibers
Finally, Fumior, which are just fabulous.  I love the use of textured stitches and reverse stockinette in all of these designs, which seems to reduce the amount of pilling you get with single-ply yarn.
Photo from Fairmount Fibers
The Maxima is only the beginning of the fall yarns we will be seeing in the weeks to come.  What a great way to get started!

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