manos del uruguay | cabrito

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First Impressions

I’ve reviewed yarns from Manos del Uruguay before, I’ve used their yarns in many of my designs, and the company is always generous about providing support so you will see Manos Yarns included in my upcoming book. I think it’s safe to say I love the company and the quality of the products they produce. Rather than link you back to one of my previous reviews, I’m just going to pop some information about the company here:

THE MANOS DEL URUGUAY STORY

Manos del Uruguay was born in 1968 out of a simple question: How can we improve the life of the Uruguayan rural women?

Manos was then founded to give the women jobs that would allow them to provide for their families, be independent and self-develop while staying in their home villages.  Since then, Manos has grown to be a very special Yarn Company focused on a product that is sustainable, ethic and beautiful.  We are organized in small cooperatives located in remote villages, where the artisans spin and dye our yarns. In 2009 we were certified as a member of the WFTO World Fair Trade Organization.  Our yarn is renowned by its wonderful hand-dyed colors and its crafted nature. We aim at knitters that value the natural high end quality of our yarns and the social aim of our company.  We are very proud that our yarns are now available worldwide; this has helped us to carry on and expand our social project.

You can learn more about us at www.manosyarns.com

For this review, Manos was offering sample hanks of their newest line, Cabrito on its own or a single hank of Cabrito paired with one of their other yarns. I selected the Cabrito in Butternut along with Alegria in Leo. I don’t know about you, but I fret over color selections like crazy (especially when I have to depend on my computer monitor for color correctness) and this was no exception. When the package arrived, I held my breath for a moment, hoping the two colors weren’t going to clash terribly. I was pleasantly surprised by how perfectly matched the colors were. And you know, I never used to use any colors in the red/orange family for anything, but the introduction of gran’s rusty orange couch and these warm wood floors sort of transformed my color life. Now, I can’t seem to escape the rusty copper colors!

At first glace, Cabrito is what you expect from a mohair yarn — light as air, warm and soft, brimming with fuzz. The color variation is subtly shifting, gentle, perhaps even graceful when held double with the Alegria, however when swatched alone, the dashes of color change are far more apparent. I’ve always thought that hand-painted yarns are like little masterpieces all on their own and this is no exception.

the yarn specs

80% kid mohair, 20% polyamide; aprox. 210 m/230 yds per 25grs/0.88 oz skein 

20 - 26 stitches in  4"/10cm

Needle: US 4 to 6/3.25 to 4 mm 

Hand dyed yarn

Process

To be honest, I’ve been absolutely horrible about taking in-progress pictures of my work lately. I think it might be attributed to the fact that I’ve bee really enjoying the process without the pace and restriction of for-publication work the past month or so. The day I sent in my request for the yarn, I already knew what it would end up. A fuzzy little bobbled hat with a lace brim was floating around in my mind with every detail worked out to the smallest detail. By the time the package of yarn hit my mailbox, I was ready to cast on!

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I wondered how the yarn held double would work up with all of those bobbles and I hoped I wouldn’t be cursing and ripping it out after the first bobble round. Fuzzy yarns can be tricky to work with — you know, the fluff can get sort of snagged up in the knitting, spilling out of the boundaries that you expect from “regular” smooth yarns — however, the mohair produced the warm, soft, fuzziness you would expect without being unruly and lawless. Holding the Cabrito together with the Algegria certainly helped keep everything tidy, but my mohair-only swatch didn’t give me a lick of trouble either. Needless to say, a day of knitting past and I suddenly realized I was ready for the crown decreases. I set the hat aside thinking I would come back to it in the morning, take some progress pics, and button it up. I got home from dropping Mae off at school, sat down with some coffee, a podcast, and knocked out that crown and brim before I remembered that I forgot to take pictures. I’m calling it a win.

Results

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Clearly, the hat turned out cute as a dickens! So fluffy and warm and darling as can be. Even though I often think of mohair yarns as being so, so fuzzy that it camouflages the majority of the stitch definition, I would say this is subtle enough that some definition is retained. Of course, it was helped when held double with the Alegria, but I found the stitch def on the mohair-only swatch to be pretty great, too! Now, I broke one of my number one rules with this hat and I didn’t block it (at first). The above pics were all taken pre-blocking and you can clearly see that the hat has a nice shape as-is with even, crisp stitches. I later thought I had better block it and see how the fabric would respond because sometimes a swatch isn’t a great indicator when it comes to hats. Honestly, I just loved the fit as-is so much that I was hesitant. I rinsed the hat gently and squeezed the water out before laying it flat to dry. I didn’t stretch or shape it other than to make sure it was laying flat, but the fabric grew quite a bit. As you can see from the pic on the right, there was very little change after the hat dried. The biggest difference for me is that it lost some of its structure and became a bit floppier — almost reminding me of a rasta tam if stretched out. I have a feeling that the wool will recoil a bit more in the next few days as it settles into its new configuration and will likely loose some of the slouch created in the blocking. The springy Alegria seems like the type of yarn that will behave that way.

I loved swatching the Cabrito on it’s own, too! So light, so fluffy, almost gravity defying. It should also be noted that I worked the mohair-only swatch at the far end of the recommended gauge using size US 6 needles so it is rather open and floaty.

For those scouring this post looking for a link to the pattern, I’m sorry to say there isn’t one (available to the public anyway). I’m going to send the pattern out to my newsletter subscribers for FREE on December 7, so if you’re a subscriber, keep a lookout for the Palombella Bobble Toque! Still need to subscribe? Keep scrolling and you’ll find the sign-up form. I’m still thinking about how I will release the pattern to the masses. .. I realized there is another hat pattern that was released, similar enough that it makes me a bit uneasy about releasing this pattern for sale (mohair yarn held with another yarn and the body of the hat is worked in an all-over bobble pattern). I’m having a moral conflict about it even though the patterns are different and I had designed this before seeing the other one… anyways, it will be sent out to my newsletter folks regardless.

This year I’ve been using more and more fuzzy, fun yarns and I’ve been bubbling over with ideas for using these yarns in my designs. I’ve declared 2019, year of the pig, as year of the mohair. I’m officially hooked and looking forward to getting my hands on some of the other color offerings… I mean, how gorgeous is the Wildflowers colorway?? How cool is Steampunk? See the full line and all color options on the Manos del Uruguay website.

Check out what people are doing with Cabrito on Instagram using #manoscabrito.

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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.