Yarns (really good quality ones, at least) have been elusive so far here in Peru. I’ve found lot of natural alpaca and wool in Hualhuas, but the yarn has been spun unevenly and is full of bits of vegetation from the animals romping around in the fields. It’s nice to know that the yarn is completely natural and to also know exactly where the fiber is coming from, but there is something frustrating about picking out the little pieces of grass and dealing with the uneven yarn while knitting it up. After three long months, I finally turned some undyed alpaca yarn from Hualhuas into a sweater for Chris. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind garment with the striping occurring naturally due to the variation in coloring of the alpacas. (For those of you with Ravelry accounts, you can see my full project notes here.)
While it’s a wonderful keepsake from our time here, I have been dying to get my hands on some really nice quality yarn. On our trip to northern Peru we stopped in Lima both going and returning, so I finally had some time to hunt for yarn shops! I am happy to report that I found two places with beautiful yarns. Neither is an exclusive yarn shop, but both had just what I was looking for!
The first yarn I found is at a high-end shop, Sol Alpaca, which sells clothes made from Peruvian alpaca and vicuña fibers. It’s located in the Larco Mar shopping mall in Miraflores. Buried in the back, next to the novelty shirts and socks, were skeins of yarn! They had two varieties, a worsted weight made from baby alpaca and silk, and a bulky weight made from alpaca. I opted for the worsted weight version and bought 3 skeins each of a mellow cream and vibrant turquoise color. It’s a little on the pricier end ($8.65/skein), but that’s still pretty good compared to what a similar skein would cost in the States! It’s so so so soft and shimmery thanks to the bit of silk in the yarn. I couldn’t wait to knit it up, and as soon as we got home from our trip I whipped up a Hudson cowl by Alicia Plummer for Quince and Co. I love, love, love the way the cowl turned out and how it feels against my skin! It’s nice that it can be worth just draped once around the neck or doubled-up for a warmer version. I have a feeling I may whip up another one with the remaining yarn! (Full project notes here.)
My second yarn find was at Dédalo, yet another high-end shop/art gallery in Barranco. The shop is located in an old house with each room featuring a collection of different items, from jewelry to textiles. I spied some handknits in one of the rooms and was surprised to find a stash of yarns tucked away on some shelves! The yarns are by Ecotintes (a company committed to using natural dyes) and came in different weights of wool or cotton. I opted for four skeins of a fingering weight wool in a dark blue/green color. The skeins were more reasonable at $4.15/each. I’m still thinking about possible patterns to knit up with this soft and beautifully-dyed yarn… but I’ve kind of fallen in love with the Camilla Shawl from Madder’s Anthology 1 (so many beautiful patterns in there!). Can’t wait to see how it knits up!