After almost a decade in our house, this spring & summer we have finally managed to entice regular visits to our feeders from neighborhood blue jays. Related to a host of other jays, the magical magpies, & even crows, blue jays are highly intelligent & social birds.
They are also incredibly beautiful, especially for someone like me who has an intense love of blues. Yes, it’s true, this bird nerd has a particular love of blue jays.
In a stroke of luck when I had the opportunity to spin up a braid of fiber from the wonderful folks at Fairmount Fibers, I asked them to simply surprise me with one of their twelve colorways to spin for the Tour de Fleece. I really do like surprises! I received none other than this:
As I mentioned in an earlier post, as I opened the package and read the colorway name to my husband one of our local blue jays landed on our feeder. We simultaneously looked from the bird to the fiber and back to the bird. And then we both nodded. The skilled dyers at Manos del Uruguay had really nailed it!
Before I show you the yarn I created, let me take a moment to talk about Manos del Uruguay yarns & those skilled dyers. I have relatively little experience with the company and while I did know it was a women’s cooperative, I had no idea its history. You can read the full story on the Fairmount Fibers website here, but let me give you a few highlights. Begun in 1968 by a group of five women, the Manos Cooperative works to give women opportunities to work in a place where these opportunities simply are not plentiful for women. They started very small, but now include 17 cooperatives made up of over 350 artisans. Each skein you receive is signed by the artisan who dyed it and the village in which she lives. The artisans receive things like health care, paid vacation, and paid maternity leave. The Manos Cooperative also has been certified by the WFTO, or World Fair Trade Organization as a fair trade company. All in all, this yarn & fiber is more than just pretty — it stands for a pretty amazing enterprise. It’s really yarn & fiber you can feel good about purchasing!
Now, what did I made with the beautiful fiber dyed by Kelly from Dragan?
I was pretty nervous — as I often am — spinning up a single, but it was just a truly enjoyable spin with vivid, gorgeous colors. There were a couple spots that I knew where a smidge under-twisted, so I decided to test out a technique I had recently read on Handmade by Stefanie — making a felted single, for which she has an awesome video tutuorial. After all, lightly felting this yarn should help to bind the weaker spots together, right?
Right. It worked like a charm!
Yes, indeed, I could not be more pleased with my first felted single made from my first Manos del Uruguay fiber. So the only logical way to view this is one beautiful Manos fiber colorway down, eleven more to go!