This is the newest member of the Manos del Uruguay family of yarns. I love Manos. I used their yarns for both of my books and I’ve done… well, I don’t know off hand, but a number of yarn reviews for lines as they’re released to the public. Alma arrived on my doorstep a few days before it was due to arrive on the shelves of your local yarn shop. Manos provided two hanks for review and I selected colors L2241 and L2540; Humility and Perseverance, respectively (two of my favorite human qualities).
Now, for those all-important yarn stats:
Fiber Content: 100% superwash merino
3.45 oz/100 g skein = 546 yards/500 meters Light Fingering weight (16 wpi)
Recommended needle size: US 1-4, 25-30 stitches per 4”/10 cm
Care Instructions: Hand wash or machine wash in cold water, do not twist, dry flat for best results.
You know I’ve had a weird love/hate relationship with superwash yarns in the past, and one of the big reasons — the thing that with irritate me without fail — is if the yarn doesn’t block nicely. You’re here, so you know me, right!? I love to block. When I have a fickle superwash that doesn’t like to behave, it makes me hot. I wound the first ball by hand to get a feel for the single ply. Many single plys don’t have spring and can have a pronounced twist that causes the finished work to slant drastically when knit. I was first pleasantly surprised by the amount of bounce this little strand has — and, though there is a slight slant in the finished swatch, it isn’t as pronounced as in single ply yarns I’ve used in the past. The yarn is soft, subtle, and has a delicate halo that blooms slowly as you work. The swatch was also surprisingly stretchy when it was all said and done. My gauge is usually dead on, but this piece (after blocking and sitting on my desk for a few days) ended up measuring at 28 stitches and 40 rows/4” in St st on US 4 needles. This is a much finer gauge than I had expected using the largest needles recommended. I would also like to point out that when I was winding the color Humility to work up the swatch, I noticed pink bits and flecks here and there however, the finished swatch doesn’t represent those little splashes at all. After swatching, I was really curious about how the color will present or shift as I worked it into a larger piece!
If you took note of the yardage provided per hank of Alma, you know I have a whopping 1092 yds to play with here! I considered knitting a great many things with such a large sample, but in the end I settled on a shawl. Not just any shawl though. This Alma yarn is just such a nice little line that cried out for stripes, and who was I to ignore it!? As I worked, my hands were awash in soft sweetness - a feature I don’t normally expect from a superwash yarn. In fact, I was on the phone with my mama and I had mentioned the review. My mother isn’t a knitter, though I did teach her the motions many years ago, and yet, her first question was, “What’s the feel?” That ever-so-important detail when the fiber is against your skin for… well, probably for more hours when knitting the garment than when wearing it!
Knitting along, the yarn didn’t split, but as you would expect out of a single ply wooly yarn (and as the swatch hinted at), there was some blooming and a bit of fuzziness working out of the fabric as I ticked along. It wasn’t enough to take away from the stitch definition or muddy the graphic look I was aiming for. All in all, the knitting was extremely easy and pleasurable. I would like to note that I had intended on working the frilled standard bind-off, but decided about half way through that it wasn’t needed for the edge I was after. Working back was tricky and the yarn wanted to cling to itself rather than unravel. Depending on how you look at it, that could be both a curse and a blessing. In my case, getting back to the beginning of the bind-off forced me to tap into my most patient self. Unraveling portions of the knitting before that went much more smoothly. My take away is that when this yarn is knit tightly and with lots of knotty bits, it’s not easily undone.
What an absolutely stunning outcome, wouldn’t you agree??
The yarn behaved just as I had anticipated for the shawl as when I swatched! It blocked nicely, but not crisply. As I mentioned previously, I expect that from a superwash, however if you’re not a blocking obsessed crazy person like myself, let me explain. Some yarns, when washed and pinned (or steamed or however you do you) will hold every pin dent and mark once dry. I think of this as a crisply blocked yarn. Most superwash yarns will not block crisply and some really don’t like to behave at all — Alma was a nice mix of blocking nicely, laying flat and holding it’s shape, while springing back enough that the pin marks didn’t stay put. Once dry, the fabric was so, so soft, extremely stretchy, and had lovely drape just as the swatch did. Two things I want to circle back to before wrapping up are the bias and the color — I spoke a bit about the slant of the finished swatch (the bias), but if it appears at all in the finished garment, I can’t tell. This may be more pronounced in a cowl with vertical stripes or ribbing, but it has had no affect on the shawl. As for the color, though the hanks have a fair amount of that yummy kettle dye look, the variation isn’t noticeable on this piece. That may have something to do with the colorwork. I’m sure that if I had worked the darker color even, the variation would be slightly more noticeable. The lighter color turned out very even and I don’t see any of the color flecks in the finished piece that I saw when it was in a hank.
In closing, I am positively smitten with Alma. I love the weight, I love the colors, I love the NAMES of the colors, and to be honest, I actually want to knit another one of these shawls using this divine yarn. If I was a bit more brave, I’d try a bit of Resilience with some Inspiration!
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>>I’m sure you’re wondering about the shawl pattern. As I so often do, I’ve written the pattern specifically for the review. This one, I will be making public, so make sure to join my mailing list or follow on IG for updates<<
Disclaimer: I received no monetary compensation for this review; I did however receive the product in exchange for posting my honest opinion and review. I am in no way affiliated with the company mentioned in this post. Your experience with the reviewed products may differ from my own.