Monday, June 14, 2010

A Knitting Tour of Uruguay, Part I

I have been increasingly surprised by the generosity of the people here, especially amongst those that are considered my Uruguayan family, and their friends. Still, it was a surprise to me when another Ravelry member contacted me (she's from here in Montevideo) and offered to take me on a day through the various knitting stores in the area. While Montevideo is the source of several huge knitting companies -- Malabrigo, Manos del Uruguay, and a few others -- it has surprisingly small selection on the point of woolen yarn, though the cotton and acrylics are wide and varied. This is because Malabrigo in particular has their yarn labeled as an export-only product to escape the hefty Uruguayan taxes for selling in-country. Not to mention that while there are surely a few choice knitters who would love to buy the softest merino known to man, most seem to prefer acrylics for their easy care.

Veronica took me on a three-store-tour, starting with one of the largest 'big box' style stores -- Balitex. In spanish, 'helidos' means yarn, and 'lana' can mean both wool or woolen yarns. Balitex carries a small selection of woolen merino yarns, under the brand name Abuelita (which means 'little grandmother'), and there were also several bulky corriedale yarns for sale, though most of the stock is a vast array of cotton (I will have to go back and purchase some, really) and acrylic.

I ended up buying two skeins of merino, in a middle-weight (somewhere around dk, I think) -- a total yardage somewhere around 1000, for only around $5 US (U$ 100 or somesuch) each. It's a deep, rich, burgundy color -- but I'll have pictures for you tomorrow. What I particularly loved about this yarn store was that it had such a wide array of color, all displayed so you could see it. We went in another, smaller, store later in the day, and I only purchased ribbon, but they had all the yarn bagged so it was 'protected'.

Afterwards, we met up with some other Ravelers from Argentina, and went to the Manos del Uruguay outlet. Here in Uruguay, Manos not only makes yarns, but also has a clothing and product line -- they're an entire brand. They sell yarn and cones of yarn at the outlet, upstairs, and it was so exciting to dig through the giant bins and see what you could find. I felt a little guilty for 'cheating' on Malabrigo, but since I only bought colors the company doesn't have, and some of them were gifts, it was easy to convince myself that the U$140 pesos a kilo was an amazing deal (I got three skeins of yarn for somewhere around $10 US).

Last, but not least, we went to the yarn store that was closest to those we have in the states. I am not sure what the whole name means, but a 'punta' is a stitch, or point, so obviously it's a play on knitting. They had largely an acrylic-blend selection, and also sold several knitted items in addition to yarns. I didn't end up buying anything, though. Even though my money goes very far here (in terms of yarn) I felt a little like I'd splurged all day.

Pictures of the yarns in part two!

1 comment:

  1. Puro Punto means "Pure Stitch" and they are the people that make Punta Yarns :)

    I'm glad you enjoyed the tour!


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