January has been a great month for free patterns in Manos del Uruguay yarns… we’ve released two new ones on the Fairmount Fibers Free Patterns page, and The Purl Bee has made another one available in their Project Journal section. We love sharing free patterns with you, since they are such a good way to get to know Manos yarns. Each of these patterns showcases different aspects of the yarn they use, so they’re ideal for learning about the fiber if you’ve been thinking of trying something new!
The first pattern to be released this month was the “Belated Handwarmers,” worked up in Silk Blend. As you can see in this picture, this yarn has a lovely sheen to it. The knitted ribbing and cable pattern is also nice and squishy, because the silk content of the fiber lends its weight and drape to the fabric. Even a small project like this (it uses a single skein of yarn) creates a finished product that is luxurious and lasting. If you knit these as a gift, the lush feel of the silk blend might even be enough to make your recipient forget the fact that the gift was a little ‘belated!’
Fairmount Fibers’ other free pattern offering this month was the Frederica Beret. This one is knitted in Rittenhouse Merino 5-ply, which as I’ve posted about before, is a favorite yarn for when you really want to show off your knitting techniques. The great stitch definition and lasting quality of Rittenhouse makes it ideal for displaying the unique smocking effect on the brim of this beret. The ribbed structure of knitting makes the smocking technique used on this project easier than it looks, but when you use a show-off yarn like Rittenhouse, the finished project is still one that makes people think, “Wow, how did she do that?”
The Purl Bee recently posted this pattern for a set of four felted hot pads in Wool Clàsica. This pattern would be a great starting point for those of you who want to play with the great range of colors in this yarn. Clàsica felts beautifully because the handspun fibers are minimally processed, but you shouldn’t consider it a ‘felting only’ yarn. Knitting with Clàsica is truly a unique experience since it is produced on a small scale by artisans, and the finished fabric is rich, thick and woolly. I consider a felting project with Clàsica to be the best of two worlds… that is, it felts beautifully, but you also get the pre-felting joy of working with a top-quality yarn full of handspun character, minimally processed fiber and stunning colors!
It’s always so invigorating to go to the National Needlearts Association shows. In addition to seeing face-to-face so many industry friends, and seeing tons of new designs and yarns, this is the first chance to get some real feedback on our new colors for the upcoming season.
What did I hear most in the Fairmount Fibers booth? “Wow!”
Even more often, “WOW!”
Yes, Maxima now comes in 6 semi-solid colors as well as the original 11 space-dyed colorways. And in keeping with Maxima’s playful, youthful feel, the new colors are BRIGHT. Use them as accents with the space-dyed colors, or make traffic-stopping accessories; these colors are guaranteed to liven up any dull winter day.
What I couldn’t keep my hands off was the new Clasica space-dyed colorway called “Tabby.” All four of the new Spring colorways use the Naturals base, so the marl effect of the naturally-colored wool comes through the dye. It’s hard to explain unless you see it, and even for those of us looking at it, it was hard to imagine how it would knit up. The first shipment arrived just as we were leaving for TNNA, so I cast on:
Amazing, huh? Everyone at the show agreed that the new overdyed colors are beautiful. I can’t get over how complex the effect is, almost like the subtle stripes in the fur of a tabby cat.
Best of all, they’re in stock now!
Have you checked out the Fairmount Fibers Free Patterns page recently? We are always adding new designs that offer creative ways to use Manos del Uruguay yarns. We do let people know on our Twitter, Facebook, and Ravelry groups when something new goes up, but it never hurts to go and check the page, because the list of free patterns has been growing rapidly!
Two of our most recent additions are great patterns for knitting warm winter garments or accessories! The Main Street Scarf is luxurious to knit and to wear, in the soft and drapey Manos Silk Blend. A ruffled scarf is actually perfect for cold weather, since the extra texture and layers from the ruffles help trap insulating pockets of air. Between the fabric’s fullness and the wool content in the yarn, this scarf will definitely help with keeping warm this winter!
Another great winter pattern is the Dakota Men’s Vest. Knitting a men’s garment sometimes takes a little bit more of a time commitment, but what better way to spend the time that we’re stuck inside, waiting for nicer weather? Worked in Manos Wool Clàsica, the finished vest is soft, sturdy and of course warm. Adding a vest to an outfit is a great way to add warmth without adding bulk… so the recipient could add it to their clothing layers without interfering with the fit of their overcoat.
And just think… by the time we are done with all this winter knitting and bundling up, it will be time to think about spring knitting already!