We know you love Manos yarns for the wide range of versatile colors and the quality and softness of the wool blends. But we think the fair trade co-op format of the Manos del Uruguay artisans is just as important as the finished yarns, and we want you to love us for our trade practices, too.
The Manos Cooperative are fully certified with the World Fair Trade Organization. Essentially, this means your support of Manos del Uruguay yarns are beneficial on two levels: within the local communities that create the beautiful yarns, and on an economic scale that benefits economically disadvantaged areas. With each purchased skein of Manos del Uruguay yarn you will be helping a woman to support her family, supporting the hand-crafted rather than mass-produced, and contributing to an economy where the workers control the means of production. The Manos Cooperatives provide health insurance, retirement pensions, paid vacations and paid maternity leave for their members. Moreover, members enjoy a sense of achievement and of self-determination. 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.
Above: Yarns drying at the Co-op in Urugay
In addition to the tangible social and economic benefits of buying fair trade products, there is of course the personal reward that comes from knowing you’re supporting a good cause. We as knitters know the value of the time and effort that goes into producing a hand-crafted item, and the joy we feel in that work is included in the finished object when we give them as gifts or treasure them to be worn for years. It only makes sense that the materials we use in this well-loved hobby should be produced with the same honest and transparent craftsmanship! Each skein of Manos is signed, so you will know who made your yarn, and from which village it came. You’ll know that no animals, workers, or socio-economic disadvantages were exploited in the processes that lead to your knitting that cherished heirloom shawl or sweater. Not every yarn can make this guarantee, but we think that if you’re going to put all the time, effort and expertise into hand-crafting, it is worth a thought to the conditions of the origins of your supplies. We’re convinced that even if the price of the yarns are comparable, the value of a project knitted with Fair Trade yarn is far greater.