Peru has a long tradition of beautifully made textiles, so one of the main goals of our recent trip to Peru was to learn about traditional Andean weaving techniques. We contacted Kouda Travel, a Peruvian travel company that designs specialized travel packages, and they arranged an afternoon in a small rural Andean village off-the-beaten-path in the Sacred Valley. Women of this area are master weavers using pre-Inca techniques to create exquisite textiles. They are apart of the Associacion de Tejedoras Virgen Purificada”, or the Purified Virgin Weaving Association.
The women start with llama wool. They wash it and then start spinning it into threads. A spinner uses a drop spindle called a puska to make the yarn. Spinners begin at an early age and make yarn anytime their hands free, when they are walking, talking, taking care of children or dancing. Spinning accounts for a majority of the time required to make textiles.
The women use local plants, seeds and insects to make all-natural dye.
Woman boiling down a plant to make blue dye.
They make yellow dye from a local flower.
Red dye is made from crushing a certain insect that lives on cacti.
If you wish to include an environmental conservation or social support activity to your Peruvian trip, just contact Kuoda Travel.