Thursday, January 1, 2015
Road Maps - A Review of Manos Lace
After a bit of a bumpy fall, I am glad to be back here on the blog to share with you another beautiful yarn that I was sent for review. Today, I bring you Manos Lace, a 70% baby alpaca, 25% silk, 5% cashmere blend lace weight yarn from Manos del Uruguay. How is that for decadence after the holidays? I'd like to thank Manos' US Distributor, Fairmount Fibers, LTD, for sending me this skein of yarn for review. As always, opinions stated here are my own.
Before I dive into the yarn itself, I wanted to tell you a bit more about Manos del Uruguay. Whenever I receive a skein of yarn, needles, books, etc. from a company with which I have not worked before, I always like to dig deeper to find out more about that company - what is their story? And Manos' story is quite the fascinating one. The label gives you a bit of background, but I encourage you to read more about Manos (which means hands in Spanish) on their website as well as the Fairmount site. Formed in 1968, the Manos Cooperatives started with five women who wanted to create opportunities for women in a country where there weren't many. It remains a non-profit organization and in 2009 was accepted into the World Fair Trade Organization. Today, the company consists of 13 different cooperatives employing over 350 craftswomen in 19 localities within Uruguay. As stated on the Fairmount Fibers website about what it means to purchase Manos yarn:
With each purchased skein of Manos del Uruguay yarn you will be helping a woman to support her family. Each skein is signed, so you will know who made your yarn, and from which village it came. You will be supporting the hand-crafted rather than mass-produced, and contributing to an economy where the workers control of the means of production. You, as a handknitter, crocheter or weaver, will be contributing to women’s careers in harmony with family life, and contributing to the landscape, and cultural heritage of Uruguay.
Each skein of Lace weighs 1.75 oz, or 50 grams and contains 439 yards or 400 meters. The gauge is 32 stitches over 4" or 10 cm on US size 2 or 2.75 mm needles. The washing instructions are to hand wash and dry flat. The particular skein I received came from the Fraile Cooperative and was made by Nina.
I wish there were a way that I could share the softness of this yarn with you through the computer screen because I doubt there are sufficient words to adequately describe how lovely this yarn feels against the skin. As the tag describes, "Manos Lace is an opulent blend of three precious fibers, for your finest heirloom lace projects." Let me just say - it feels like a cloud with a very slight halo. Which I suppose one would expect from a baby alpaca, silk, cashmere blend.
Can we talk about color for a moment? I was able to choose the Leprechaun color way that was sent to me (Go Irish!) and let me tell you that the colors you see on the computer screen just barely give you the depth of the actual color when you see the skein in person. The yarn is kettle dyed by hand "to create a marbleized, subtly striated effect." I don't think my camera can accurately capture the subtle streaks within the yarn. The silk content also adds a beautiful sheen, which adds to the depth of color. Absolutely luscious.
As someone who rarely, if ever, knits with lace weight yarn, I was curious about yardage requirements for a lace project. I mean, I know that approximately 400 yards of fingering weight will yield an average pair of socks, but what can you knit with 439 yards in a fine lace yarn? So I ran an advanced search on Ravelry and was surprised to find over 1700 patterns for lace weight yarn requiring 300-450 yards. I will admit that I had to stop myself from going down that rabbit hole and adding even more patterns to my ever-growing queue.
I also did a quick internet search to find out how much this yarn would cost. Such a luxurious blend, I expected maybe $30 a skein and again was surprised that many retailers here in the US were selling the yarn for around $18-20 a skein. Not too shabby.
So if you want to continue indulging after the holidays, I would recommend checking out to see if an LYS near you carries this yarn so you can hold it, touch it, and see it in person because the written words and still photos do not capture the beauty of the skein sitting here on my desk.
Happy New Year!