Technique: Alpaca Knit
THE TECHNIQUE : ALPACA KNIT
Indigenous to the Andean highlands, luxurious alpaca wool is highly prized for its warmth, strength, and lightweight texture. Alpacas have been bred for thousands of years for both their meat and fleece, and comprise a large component of traditional South American culture. The Inca civilization was primarily based in textiles made from alpaca wool, making the fabric an integral part of the rich history of the Andes.
Each piece from Artesania Sorata is made by hand in Bolivia. The female artisans dye the wool by hand using natural dyes made from local ingredients, such as walnut leaves, thola, and cochineal. The natural dyes are environmentally friendly, sustainable, and soft on the wool. With this soft yarn, the artisans knit each piece by hand. Each artisan has a unique style, and often adds embroidered patterns inspired by traditional weavings, geometric symbols, animals, or birds.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ARTISANS
Founded in 1978, Artesania Sorata provides work for families with low income in Bolivia. All products are made entirely by hand and generate an income that enables the artisans to provide a higher standard of living for the artisans and their families. Artesania Sorata supports adult literacy and health programs as well as creativity workshops in state children’s homes and a children’s hearing program..
The Artisan Women’s House, apart of Movimiento Manuela Ramos, began in 1993 with the goal of improving Peruvian artisans’ quality of life and to promote the consumption and value of these artisans’ work. Manuela Ramos offers a line of accessories, such as hats and mittens that are 100% alpaca, along with dolls made in fine natural fibers. All of their products are hand knit by women in Puno, an Andean region in the south of Peru known for the quality of its textiles. The women here, aside from knitting, also tend livestock, work in agriculture, and care for their families.