We've added something pretty awesome around here, something unfortunately, I haven't had any time for which is yarn reviews. Thankfully, Evelyn Leong has stepped in and will be providing Knit Luck with some fabulous yarn reviews. This is the first in a series. Stay tuned for more yarn reviews by liking our facebook page or following us on twitter.
Yarn Review #1: Manos de Uruguay
By Evelyn Leong of www.projectstash.blogspot.com
In my very unscientific polls (aka chats with other knitters), I’ve learned that knitters can sometimes play favorites. While we are usually open to trying new yarns, needles, and techniques, we also have a penchant for certain fibers and weights which often influence how and what we knit.I’m no different although I like to think of myself as open-minded. Introduce me to a new yarn or a new method and I’m ready and willing to cast on. Still, I know that I tend to rely on my go-to yarns especially when I don’t want to worry about how a pattern is going to knit up. Recently, I decided to go outside of my comfort zone and let my LYS convince me to try a new fiber company. Of course I had known about Manos de Uruguay for quite some time, but I hadn’t actually added any to my stash, let alone knit with any of their six lines.This review will focus on two of their yarns: Maxima and Silk Blend.
I’ll start with Maxima as this was my introduction to Manos de Uruguay. This is a 100% wool, kettle dyed, with a generous yardage per skein (218 yards) at 100 grams. One-ply in worsted weight, the yarn is best knit on US7 or US8 needles and usually retails at $13.00 per skein. My LYS carries only their variegated skeins which are intense and colorful, but this yarn also comes in solid colors as well. Whether its variegated or solid, the colors are incredibly vivid, great for projects that call for brightness. The yarn’s soft squishiness is akin to Malabrigo worsted (one of my go-to yarns) and as my LYS knows this, they encouraged me to give Maxima a try. I’ll be honest – I was hesitant at first because I’m not typically a variegated kind of gal. My knitting tends toward solids or stripes but the yarn was so nice to the touch that I went ahead and bought myself three skeins of the Peach Melba colorway. After a stalled few days not knowing what I would knit with my Maxima, a light bulb went off over my head, and I let the yarn speak to me. It was suddenly clear -- this yarn was calling out for a baby knit so I cast on a simple yoked cardigan on US10 needles and the project flew.
The variegated colors knit evenly across the cardigan and the softness of the yarn is perfect for a child. While knitting, I appreciated the fact that the yarn wasn’t splitty nor did it have any knots or unevenness throughout. The knitted fabric is soft to the skin so I don’t think a garment would be uncomfortable, even for a baby, but I can’t attest to its durability. The thickness of the yarn suggests that it would withstand steady wear and tear but since babies outgrow their clothes so quickly, I don’t think this would be a problem in general. While I think Maxima makes for great baby knits and accessories, I doubt very much that I would knit myself a whole sweater or cardigan in it. I love bulky and chunky knits but somehow the texture of Maxima doesn’t lend itself to knitted adult wear.
After enjoying Maxima, I decided to try Manos de Uruguay’s Silk Blend. I chose the Bing Cherry colorway as its richness suited the silk content so well. Also kettle dyed and made of 70% merino wool and 30% silk, this DK, 8-ply yarn retails at $12.50 and has an average yardage per skein (150 yards) at 50 grams, however, I believe it can also be found in skeins of 300 yards, 100 grams. The recommended needle size is US4 to US6, and the knitted fabric has a drape suitable to accessories like shawls and scarves. I originally thought to knit a textured scarf with my four skeins of Silk Blend but then settled on a shawl pattern instead that has a lace edge. The dye of the silk blend gives off some nice light and dark touches which looks especially elegant on shawls while the silk content adds a bit of luxury to the finished object as well. I’ve not knit with a wool/silk blend before and found the texture a bit scratchy while knitting but the fabric is soft on the skin. As I prefer a bit of drag on my needles when knitting with the Silk Blend, I chose to use my bamboo needles instead of my nickels.
So, what’s the verdict? I’m smitten and will definitely continue to knit with Manos de Uruguay yarns in the future. My interest has been peaked enough to want to explore their other lines. Not only are the yarns beautifully dyed and of high quality, the mission behind the non-profit company speaks to my heart and mind. Founded by five women in 1968, The Manos Cooperatives were developed to provide economic opportunities for women in a country with limited means, especially for women.For more information about Manos de Uruguay, please visit: http://www.fairmountfibers.com/co-op/history-of-the-co-op
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