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Manos del Uruguay Pop Up Shop
Manos del Uruguay is an artisan-owned cooperative that has been making yarn by hand for 50 years. Join us for a pop up shop of all 14 of their yarns and fun kits. Be inspired by a trunk show of designs. Shop the largest range of Manos yarn you will ever see!
With each purchased skein of Manos del Uruguay yarn you will be helping a woman to support her family. Each skein is signed, so you will know who made your yarn, and from which village it came. You will be supporting the hand-crafted rather than mass-produced, and contributing to an economy where the workers control the means of production. You, as a handknitter, crocheter, or weaver, will be contributing to women’s careers in harmony with family life, and contributing to the landscape and cultural heritage of Uruguay.
The Manos Cooperatives were founded in 1968, begun by five women whose goal was to develop economic opportunities for women in a country where there were, and are still, few opportunities for work.
They began modestly, by selling handcrafts at local shops and the annual agricultural show in Montevideo. In time spinning, dyeing, weaving, and knitting became the focus of the Coop’s efforts. Initially the “faded”, striated colors of Manos yarn were the result of heating yarn for dyeing in large, iron kettles over wood fires. Over the years, the dyeing process has been refined to provide consistency of color without losing what has become the trademark stria shading.
Continuing to develop its reach while helping to organize the working women of Uruguay both socially and financially, the Manos Cooperatives opened a showroom in New York City in 1976, selling knitted and woven garments as well as yarn for handcrafters. (This showroom closed in 1986.) Since then, the Manos Cooperatives have expanded to encompass 17 individual cooperatives, employing 350 artisans.
While the Cooperatives, collectively, are a large and well-organized business, each individual coop is still very much a small local business. At the Fraile Muerto Cooperative, in fair weather, chickens wander around the yard beneath the drying yarn. In the winter, production schedules have to allow for increased drying time, because there are no indoor drying facilities; all the yarns are still line-dried out-of-doors.
In addition to creating yarns for handcrafters, the Manos Cooperatives have continued to produce ready-to-wear pieces for designers and department stores such as Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, Nordstrom’s, and Sak’s.