2017 Uruguay Trip

Category: Travel

Fairmount Fibers visits Manos del Uruguay 

Earlier this month, the Fairmount Fibers team (U.S. distributors of Manos del Uruguay yarns) visited Uruguay and the cooperatives of Dragón and Fraile Muerto. Excursions take so long to plan and prepare – then before you know it, you’re back at home sharing photos with friends. Here are a few of the highlights of the trip!

Montevideo

Fairmount Fibers trip to Montevideo

Top: Manos del Uruguay logo, Montevideo architecture Middle: Shots from the Manos offices, woven goods Bottom: Browsing the Manos photo album

Montevideo is the capital and largest city in Uruguay, and it’s also home to the Manos del Uruguay headquarters. In addition to yarns, Manos del Uruguay creates numerous handmade goods such as woven scarves and shawls. The group enjoyed browsing the photo album that includes photos of Robert Redford and Hillary Clinton sporting Manos goods. 

Uruguayan Countryside

Fairmount Fibers in the Uruguayan countryside

Clockwise from top left: Uruguay’s national tree, the Ceibo; hosts Diego and Ursula; the view waiting out the summer storm; and a sheep in the shade.

The cooperatives are located in the countryside, closer to the home villages of the artisans. The journey from Montevideo takes about seven hours. A stop for lunch at the Posada de Campo El Balcón Del Abra made for a nice break in the travel. 

Dye Workshop at Dragón

The group participated in a dye workshop at Dragón where much of our yarn – especially Alegría and Marina – is dyed. It takes a lot of wood to heat enough water to dye all the yarn. Eucalyptus is grown in Uruguay for fuel and for wood pulp;  no forests were harmed in the making of this yarn! Ana demonstrated taking Alegría, in Locura Fluo, through the dyebaths before hanging it to dry outside. We were given the opportunity to apply the dye to the yarn and then Ana showed us how it’s done. The bottom shows our skeins hanging up to dry. Note how different the colors look here than they did as they were being applied to the yarn. 

Fraile Muerto

Fairmount Fibers at Fraile Muerot

The Fraile Muerto cooperative is about 90 miles from Montevideo. Above, you can see Rosa spinning and Blanca winding newly-spun yarn into a skein for dyeing.  Rosa’s mother worked for the coop too, and Rosa remembers back 40 years, to when they would spin the yarn in the grease and then take it to a stream in the woods to wash afterward. Patricia and Vanessa work on a batch of Maxima from one dyebath to the next. Fans of Manos yarns know that the tag on their skein of yarn is signed by the artisan. On this trip, knitters had the opportunity to meet the artisan in person! In the lower right, Blanca and Suzanne admire each other’s work: Blanca made some of the Silk Blend Suzanne is using in her Grandpa Cardigan project (3029 Steel, for those who like to know). 

The trip was a wonderful success and enjoyed by all.  We will definitely do it again, and we hope you’ll join us next time.  Meanwhile, we’ll continue to share photos from the trip on Facebook, Instagram and Ravelry; enjoy!