Vida Huancaína

Our adventure in the Andes

Hualhuas, Peru: The Cradle of Textile Crafts

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We traveled to Hualhuas, Peru yesterday in search of more yarn!  Our host mom had heard about the city on the public TV station and how they spun yarns and also had a knitting NGO that exported their goods to Canada.  The town is about 20 minutes outside of Huancayo by bus and is known as “la cuna de artesanía textil” (the cradle of textile crafts).

Entrance to Hualhuas, "the cradle of textile crafts"

Entrance to Hualhuas, “the cradle of textile crafts”

The town is very quaint, set right up against the mountains that ring the Mantaro Valley.  As you enter town, there are large fields of corn with cows grazing in them and a few homes on either side of the main road. At the end of the main road there is a small, purple church and park that mark the center of the town.

Main road into Hualhuas

Main road into Hualhuas

Cow grazing in the corn field in Hualhuas

Cow grazing in the corn field in Hualhuas

Old, colonial-style homes near the center of town

Old, colonial-style homes near the center of town

Church in Hualhuas

Church in Hualhuas

Park in the center of Haulhuas, with statues of dancers dressed up in traditional costumes

Park in the center of Haulhuas, with statues of dancers dressed up in traditional costumes

More statues of the people of Hualhuas in traditional festival dress

More statues of the people of Hualhuas in traditional festival dress

There are artesanía shops scattered throughout the town. They sell both finished crafts like woven rugs and ponchos, knitted hats and sweaters, dolls, purses, and other traditional crafts from the region, as well as skeins of yarn. We stopped in each of the town’s shops to look at their goods and ask about their yarns.  We found both luxuriously soft alpaca yarns, as well as beautiful, naturally dyed wool yarns (as well as some acrylic yarns that a shop owner tried pass off as natural, but we knew better). My host mom and I were in knitter heaven!

One of the many artesania shops in town

One of the many artesanía shops in town

Inside one of the craft shops

Inside one of the craft shops

After looking in every shop in town that was open, we ended up going back to the very first one we had stopped in near the beginning of the main road into town. The shop was called Tahuantinsuyo and had many old, wooden spindles and spinning wheels set up to spin the wool and alpaca into yarn, and also looms set up to weave the yarn into blankets and rugs.  The alpaca yarns were completely pure, no dyes, no fillers.  The wool yarns were also pure, but dyed with natural dyes from plants and berries from the region.  The yellow yarns were dyed with retama, a beautiful yellow flower that grows on a small tree/bush that we found alongside the main road (photo below).  The purple yarns were dyed with guindas, little reddish-colored fruits that grow on guindo (sour cherry) trees, which also grow alongside the road (sorry, no photo of this one).  After haggling a bit with the manager, I walked away with natural, undyed alpaca yarn for s./ 85 per kilo ($30/kg) and naturally dyed wool yarn for s./ 30 per kilo ($10/kg). Talk about a steal! We will DEFINITELY be going back.

The artesania shop that where we purchased yarns

The artesania shop where we purchased yarns

Looms inside the shop

Looms inside the shop

Top row: naturally dyed wool yarns.  Bottom row: undyed, natural alpaca yarns.

Top row: naturally dyed wool yarns. Bottom row: undyed, natural alpaca yarns.

Alpaca, llama and wool for spinning into yarn.

Alpaca, llama and wool for spinning into yarn.

Retama, for dying yarns yellow, growing alongside the road

Retama, used for dying yarns yellow, growing alongside the road

Beautiful alpaca/llama blended yarns at another shop in Hualhuas, guarded by a sleeping puppy

Beautiful alpaca/llama blended yarns at another shop in Hualhuas, guarded by a sleeping puppy

More yarn puppies.

More sleepy puppy in the yarn scraps.

Sunbathing yarn shop kitten

And a sunbathing sleepy yarn shop kitten.

 

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7 thoughts on “Hualhuas, Peru: The Cradle of Textile Crafts

  1. Fascinating, love the colors.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So much fun reading about your adventures. Would love to be able to visit yarn shops like the ones you went to. Happy Knitting!

    Liked by 1 person

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