Spotlight on Grace Akhrem

Category: Featured Projects
sprouting leaves cowl
Fairmount Fibers is proud to have established relationships with so many talented designers.  In today’s post we’d like to put a spotlight on designer Grace Akhrem. Her designs are inspired by color, yarn, texture, and fashion. The Sprouting Leaves Cowl is Grace’s newest design in Manos del Uruguay Wool Clasica. The cowl can be made small or large with one to two skeins of yarn; it’s shown here in the 25 Shale colorway. We reached out to Grace asking if she would share a bit of her background and experience working with Manos del Uruguay yarns. She was generous and kind with her time and we’re pleased to share her responses with you!
Honeycomb Tote
How did you first come to work with Manos yarns
I was first drawn to Manos yarns because of the rich colors and luscious texture.  When I first bought Manos Clasica I didn’t have much of a plan for it, except I knew that I wanted to use the two colors I had chosen to be knit together in one project.  I started swatching and before I knew it, I had finished the Honeycomb Tote (shown above).  That was my first experience both working with and designing with Manos Yarns.  Before and since this experience I have been drawn to the yarn of Manos del Uruguay, not just for the exquisite fiber and delicious colors but for the entire idea behind the yarn itself.  Manos del Uruguay yarn is what I like to call “yarn with a conscience”. I feel by using this yarn I’m helping make the world a little bit of a better place one hank at a time.
Riverbed Shawlette
Do you have a favorite yarn or colorway in the Manos Yarn line?
Yes! I love Fino…. but I haven’t had the pleasure of knitting with it yet. I have a hank in my stash Lisa gave me last year at TNNA.  I look at it adoringly from time to time, I hope to make something with it soon.  As far as the Manos yarns I have worked with, I think it will have to be a tie between Silk Blend and Maxima. Shown above is the Riverbed Shawlette, knit with two skeins of Maxima in M2020 Spirulina.   As far as colors go, no – I don’t have a favorite.  How can I? They are all so beautiful and wonderfully saturated.  I love them all equally!

 

Peace Street Slouch
How did you get started knitting / designing? Who taught you?  
I saw a friend knitting at a get together in high-school, I thought it looked fun.  I remembered I knew how to make a chain stitch in crochet.  So I went over to my local craft store and picked up some basic yarn and asked my mother if she knew how to crochet more than just a chain.  She taught me the triple crochet stitch.  For a whole year that was all I knew and all I did.  Then I decided that I really wanted to learn how to knit.  I knew that my grandmother knew how, so I asked her to show me.  She taught me continental knitting, it took me two days to learn how to knit.  After two days I was zooming through garter stitch like a pro, but that was all I knew how to do – cast on and knit (nothing else).  I kind of figured out how to purl on my own, and then later on I picked up a copy of Knitting for Dummies  and that is where I learned real techniques.  Techniques like how to purl correctly, how to bind off, how to cable and simple things like that. After learning all the technical skills I could from that book I started playing around with stitches by combining knits and purls, etc.  What I didn’t realize was that there was such a thing as knitting patterns.  I would just make up things as I went along and would write them down (just in case).  When I finally became aware that knitting patterns existed and that they could possibly become a way to make a little cash I started trying to sell my patterns.  Little did I know this would become a full-time gig. Shown above is the Peace Street Slouch, knit in the M2349 Oxygen colorway of Maxima.
Two Hour Cowl
Do you have any Manos currently on your needles? Maybe a peek at a future design in Manos? 
As of right now I don’t have any Manos on my needles, but I think I know what I am going to do with that Fino in my stash when I get a chance. I would love to have more time (wouldn’t we all) to knit with all the Manos in all the colors. I  just want to make blankets and sweaters with all the yarn and all the colors! Ask me again in a month – I hope to have a different answer and more time… and a chocolate cake in the fridge (just because I love chocolate cake).  Shown above is the Two Hour Cowl, a free pattern available when you sign up for Grace’s newsletter!
As a special treat, Grace has kindly set up a coupon code for her patterns using Manos Yarns that we have mentioned here in this post! The four patterns are 25% off now through 12/21/14 Pacific time – Ravelry only.  Coupon code is: manossale2014 . Enjoy!
Thanks again to Grace for taking the time to talk with us for this blog post! We’d love to know which of her designs you’ll be casting on next in our Ravelry group or on our Facebook page!

Cozy Wool Blankets

Category: Featured Projects

You can knit or crochet sweaters, socks, scarves, gloves and hats to stay warm, but maybe a blanket would be even cozier? Wool is an excellent insulator; heat is kept close to the body as air is trapped among the fibers. Today we’d like to share blankets made with Manos del Uruguay yarns. Blankets come in all shapes, sizes, and stitch patterns, making them great projects for all skill levels.

Blanket Patterns in Manos del Uruguay Yarns

A Ravelry Pattern Search Snapshot

A quick Ravelry search turns up 50 blanket patterns calling for Manos del Uruguay yarns. These are great projects for this time of year, when you won’t mind your project on your lap! Blankets can be as small or as large as you like and are easily customized to compliment your home decor.

Salida del Sol knittingaddict77 Sherwood ArtLady's Four Seasons

Wool Clasica is the favorite for blankets, by the number of projects on Ravelry. Shown here from left to right: mbarr86’s Salida del Sol, knittingaddict77’s Sherwood,and ArtLady’s Four Seasons throws.

 

Shale Baby blanket Hemlock Ring Blanket Super Easy Lap Blanket

There are a number of gorgeous projects in Maxima. We would love to settle in with any of these projects: awrobertson’s Shale Baby Blanket, anspaug4’s Hemlock Ring Blanket, and johnsonrenee’s Super Easy Lap Blanket.

Sea of Dreams blanket elizquilt Cochecito blanket

Just as the lighter weight yarns can be used in shawls and wraps to keep the chills away, they also make a great choice for blankets. Here lhgou’s Sea of Dreams Baby Blanket was knit with just one skein of Fino! The Cochecito Baby Blanket is crocheted with Serena, above is elizquilt’s version. We’d love to see your blanket projects and hope you’ll share them in our Ravelry group or on our Facebook page!

escocesa_throw Killim Throw Organica Throw

If you don’t knit or maybe you feel you won’t have time to create a blanket, consider shopping online directly from the co-ops in Uruguay. This is a wonderful way in which you can support the fair trade work done by the Artisans. Click here to shop Manos.com.uy.

 

Embrace My Inner Pixie

Category: Featured Projects

Fairmount Fibers is excited to be a stop on the Holla Knits Accessories blog tour! Accessories are great projects for this time of year, when you are busy getting ready for the holidays and your knitting time is short. Karin Wimoth’s Embrace My Inner Pixie Hat is knit in Manos del Uruguay Fino and can be worn a number of different ways depending on how pixie-like you want to look. Read on to learn how you can enter to win a yarn kit to make this pattern!

The main color of the hat shown here is 403 Silhouette. You may choose to wear this longish hat unfolded, presenting a simple-looking hat, impishly hiding the inner side of Fair Isle.

Embrace My Inner Pixie

When it is worn flipped up you can show your Fair Isle finesse with the additional colorwork including 414 Ivory Letter Opener and 413 Rosewater. Fino combines the softness of merino wool with the lustre of silk in a lightweight yarn that’s perfect for accessories such as this and the dye process yields complex tonal colors. The geometric shapes are worked in the Bohus-style of knitting, combining knits and purls for texture.

Embrace My Inner Pixie

This hat is equally fun when paired with your pixie ears! Keep in mind while working with several yarns of different colors to make sure that you’re not pulling too tightly when you change colors otherwise your fabric will pucker.  Our favorite tip from Ann Feitelson, author of The Art of Fair Isle Knitting, is that you will want to be sure you are carrying one color consistently above and the other consistently below, to keep the pattern reading more clearly.

We have a Fino Kit, in our choice of colors, to give away to one commenter on our blog, to allow you embrace your inner pixie. When you comment, be sure to let us know how we can get in touch with you – either by email or on Ravelry! We will draw a winner on November 20, 2014.

Updated November 20, 2014 – With 62 entries, Random.Org selected #30 as the winner! Congratulations sockNubbins! We’ve sent you a Ravelry PM!

 

Can-do Colorwork

Category: Featured Projects, Free patterns

Are you confident with colorwork? The online Stitchionary from Vogue Knitting presents a great quick visual to a variety of colorwork techniques ranging from basic to complex. Manos del Uruguay yarns are eye-catching in their range of colorways, from bright and playful to subtle and tonal. Today we’re sharing several new patterns and projects incorporating different techniques. Which one calls to you?

Mixed Berries Hat Trapper Cowl Stegosaurus pattern

Thea Colman’s Mixed Berries Hat, in 3 Skeins or Less Fresh Knitted Accessories, is knit in Silk Blend. The Fair Isle design features an unusual motif paired with textural and color choices (3216 Oxblood, 3211 Cactus Flower, and 3203 Tomato) that make the hat stand out, but not in a distracting manner. The Winter 2015 Interweave Knits includes the Trapper Cowl by Lisa R. Myers, knit in Maxima. Combining the two colorways (M2540 Kohl and M2110 Zinnia) in double-knitting creates a reversible, cozy cowl. We are also looking forward to the publication of Knitting Fresh Brioche by Nancy Marchant. Brioche also creates a reversible fabric; the Stegosaurus shawl in Silk Blend (3109 Woodland with 3055 Olive) is a unique off-center shawl. A tip of advice here, brioche stitch uses up a lot of yarn, make sure you have enough before starting your project!

Schuyler HatBallston LegwarmersFair Isle tam

There are even more colorwork projects available through FairmountFibers.com; the patterns shown above are free! The Schuyler Hat by Jennifer Burke is knit with two skeins of Silk Blend, shown above left in 3014 Natural and 3112 Moss. Erin Schrader’s Ballston Legwarmers are shown in the center. Silk Blend, shown in 300M Bing Cherry, 300U Rust, 300X Topaz, 3014 Natural. Shown right is Lisa R. Myers’ Fair Isle Tam, another project in in Silk Blend;it is great for colorwork! This project calls for 1 skein each of 3068 Citric, 300G Coffee, 300X Topaz, 300M Bing Cherry, and 300U Rust.

These projects are all impressive and we hope we’ve inspired you to pick up a few of your favorite colorways and take it one stitch at a time! We’d love to see the colors you pick, the works in progress, and of course, the finished objects! You can tag us in a photo on Instagram or post it to our Facebook page and Ravelry group.

New Colorways for Fall

Category: Featured Projects

Do you look forward to each new season for the new colors? The Fairmount Fibers team loves new colors, especially when we can share the new fall colorways of Manos del Uruguay yarns with you! What to knit or crochet in the newest colorways? Read on for pattern and project inspiration!

MaximaOctHats

Super-soft merino fiber and a light single-ply construction make Maxima a cuddly yarn. Now on the shelves at your LYS, look for these new colorways: M2193 Cactus Flower, M2176 Oxblood, M2237 Reindeer, M9537 Rainforest, M9850 Freshwater, M9423 Gemstone, M6918 Camo, M6759 Fawn, M9332 Nanucket. Accessories such as hats and cowls are great gifts for guys or gals; the choice of color really can make a difference! Shown above from left to right: Peasleeville, Antuco, and Calbuco. Take a moment and browse all the patterns available at FairmountFibers.com!

Have you added your latest project in Manos del Uruguay yarns to the Ravelry group? Here are a few great guy projects that caught our eye. From left to right: hmcdonnell’s Red Paper Bag Cap in M2169 Speeding Ticket, vanessabailey’s Dad’s First Cardigan in M2445 Royal, and purlcub’s Bandana Scarf in M2060 Highlighter.

Don’t forget, that in addition to Facebook and Ravelry, you can also share your works in progress or newly acquired stash with us on Instagram! This photo is from Superstylemeblog, she’s working on a cowl with Maxima, M9644 Chrysanthemum.