Spotlight on Grace Akhrem
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!