Friday, August 24, 2007

manos fanaticism

manos del uruguay is a yarn brand made in a woman's cooperative in uruguay. logistical details for both the wool and cotton is available at the yarndex.

for nice, big pictures of the colors available, try purlsoho's site. here are a few samples.
History of the Cooperative - from

"The Manos del Uruguay Cooperative was founded in 1968 by five friends. Their goal was to develop economic opportunities for the women in rural Uruguay. Although Uruguay has one of highest literacy rates in the world, there were and continue to be few employment opportunities for women.

Olgita Artagaveytia, one of the founders of the cooperative, had been volunteering at a village school in 1968. She and her friends were very impressed with the level of expertise in the craftwork produced by the village women. They decided to take the products to Montevideo and sell them for the village. This was a very successful venture and everything they presented was sold in one day! The name of Manos del Uruguay (Hands of Uruguay) was born.

The founders also helped the women organize socially and financially. They were committed to creating a professional organization that had legal standing and a strong marketing plan. The Cooperative was formed as a non-profit organization, committed to developing work for the women in the countryside. In 1976, working with the InterAmerican Development Bank and a marketing consultant, they opened a showroom in New York City, where they sold knitted and woven garments as well as Manos yarn. Over the ten years that the showroom existed, it employed Lola Ehrlich, who went on to become the editor of Vogue Knitting. Anne Simpson, also an employee of the showroom, created the space-dyed colour range and was the U.S. distributor for many years.

The original method of dyeing was done in iron kettles over wood fires. The dyes interacted with the iron in the kettles, producing a striated, faded quality, which was at first, seen to be a problem. It was a marketing consultant who saw the beauty in the colour shadings and named it Stria. Over the years, the process has been refined. Using stainless steel pots and steam heat, the dyers can now control the water temperature and provide a consistent range of over ninety colours. Manos Stria is a trademark of the product.

The Cooperative continues to be a strong, viable business, providing employment and income for the women of Uruguay."

Prices for manos yarn are generally in the $13 - $17 per skein range for the multi-colored wool. I have found manos on ebay for $6 a skein, but it's not always there.

Here, in order of price (as of 8/07) for one skein of variegated wool yarn:

$13.50 - jimmy beans wool
$15.00 - village sheep
$15.00 - kaleidoscope yarns
$15.10 - yarns by design
$15.50 - purl soho
$16.95 - the yarn co.

Flickr Group
to make my obsession with this yarn official, i started a flickr group for manos projects:

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