A simpler way.

jenjoycedesign© unplying Soft Donegal.JPGI’m halfway through unplying my three balls of Merino Tweed, in natural white, beige and brown (my newest technique posted previously.)   I will over-dye the beige and brown with pink, and also with green, resulting in a light and dark variation of the colors. You can dye once and if you vary your yarn ‘base colors’ and the result is like having dyed many colors ! I plan on a project which will have a dark and light pink, and a dark and light green, and natural white. Watch this space for continued progress posts!

Meanwhile, as I unply on the drop spindle, I have been educating myself endlessly watching Nilda’s film…

Nilda so deftly prepares fleece without carders — the Andean way — then spins into fine single plies, then single plies into yarn, expertly without ever using anything other than the most basic tools and her own hands.

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She is one person I would love to walk  and spin with, for in her culture moving is intrinsic to spinning … out to the herds, up the mountains and down again, strolling and spinning, a constant activity for the women & girls.

Continually spinning or plying means it is necessary to simplify the process and limit the tools to what a person can carry, using unique & interesting techniques of how to not let things get tangled,  and spin while tending the flock, keeping drafted fleece or hanks of single plies ready for plying neat and attached to the body.

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I highly recommend Nilda’s film “Andean Spinning with Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez”  , a film which has reaffirmed my notion that working with hands really does belong with walking ~~ as if  double tasking was invented in the Andes!   I relate very much to Nilda’s teaching that in her culture one spins constantly, for it is necessary, and one does it while moving from one place to another, or visiting with friends, or just meditating quiet moments. I translate it of course to knitting and walking, but I think once I really give the drop spindle a good practice, I will be walking along side Nilda in spirit.

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I will leave you to check out the links and discover for yourself just how elegant Andean spinning really can be!

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Last spring I made a series of posts about the weaving in Cusco & Nilda’s work with the Center of Traditional Textiles of Cusco ,  and I’m really looking forward to one day having my upstairs loft studio again wherein I can organize it to work while letting the Andean’s utmost simplistic methods show me the way ~~  to a truly refined Less Is More way of making things.

Un Chullo

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Another birthday chullo for my brother.  He just loves them so much, he wears them like hair.  For this birthday I chose to make an anniversary of last April’s Camino Inca Chullo pattern release, knitting from the pattern. This one samples the Incan wave motif, and I knit it up in some lovely soft Juniper Moon “Herriot” yarn, which is 100% undyed baby alpaca, and this baby is soft!    My brother likes the folk look of the ‘gnome’ crown, so I worked the option for slower decrease and it is just a bit gnome like…
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Its the tassels that my brother really loves, and with a brow/mustache comb that has needle-sharp brass teeth, I am able to comb through the pompom fringe and fluff up the fine hairs to a really fine furry puff …

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Voila!  I even tied on an extra bit of yarn to comb into a tassle at the tip of the earflap.

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This being the last of the deadline knitting, I am now able to spend some time experimenting with the traditional “mens”  chullo ~~ the varied regional methods of picot edges, and knit with needles traditionally made from  bicycle wheel spokes!     When time, opportunity & energy come together in the near future,  I will continue where I left off, and embark on a new chullo knitting adventure !    But for now I will leave you with an artful & inspiring short travel ad film  which gives glimpses of the wild landscape and colorful textiles of Peruvian Highlands that I have been so very drawn to …

 

The Textiles of Cusco 2

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I am very much enjoying learning about Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez and her life’s work establishing the Center of Traditional Textiles of Cusco , and keeping part of the past alive.  She has fought an important battle bringing  back the straying generation which nearly put an end to the skilled weavers of the Cusco region, and result has established institution and industry in Cusco,  while  bringing next generations back into the nest of tradition.    Nilda, you go girl!

I am deeply inspired by the imagery of the Andes mountains,  and of industry in spinning, weaving, and knitting  from the Cusco region.  It is obvious that I romanticize their more provincial lifestyle, although I do consider myself very lucky that I can set my feet into a degree of provincialism while at the same time choosing what I like from convenience of the modern world.  I know from my own that it is hard work refining a life in craft has nearly in itself become a novelty in the modern world.   A work ethic in craft is to me all consuming, as I savor and enjoy growing the goodness of making.

Here are a few short interview films about Nilda and her work…


I have found and purchased out one of Nilda’s  books and am looking forward to it arriving by mail, and of sharing it here forthcoming .  I am fascinated in  weaving, and the colors create from natural dyes (as well as natural un-dyed yarns) , but as I am committed to knitting, I hope the muse touches me and brings more ideas into the knit  design that I do.  More to come about my views of the richly exotic textile traditions in the nest of the Andes, so watch this space!

Read more about Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez…

 Nilda’s Wikipedia
Nilda’s books on Amazon
Interview with Cloth & Clay
Interview with World Strides
Smithsonian Folk Life Festival

The Textiles of Cusco

What do you get when you bring together a remote and rugged high mountain range, herds of soft downy llamas, alpacas, sheep, and an indigenous people who’s thirst for artfulness is apparent in all they do?   You get beautiful textiles steeped in ancient traditional, as in the Cusco region of Peru!

I’ve been watching this video over and over, fascinated in the weavings of the Cusco region, and life’s work of Nilda Callañaup Alvarez ,  while I knit and think about All Things Peruvian.  So much that I’m feeling a deep inward shift in this direction. But that is all for now, more to come later, on Nilda and Traditional Textiles of Cusco!

Soon I will have to put everything down to make my brother a chullo, which I knit nearly every year around his birthday, and I am giddy because this year I will get to knit one from my own design.

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News: I am happy to say that we got the quote from the building contractors, and we’ll manage to build our house again!  We will have to do some of the finish work ourselves, like flooring, and who knows what else, but that is nothing like when we built the whole house before. The timeline of starting date is still unknown, as is an estimated time of finish,  and I suppose everything is getting queued up for a fast and furious build sometime this upcoming spring.  I find it so difficult to blindly wait without knowing when I will go back home.   Anyway, the  very best-case scenario, if everything goes well, and which I am visualizing for dear life,  is that we could very possibly be moving back into our rebuilt house this …  coming …  Autumn … ?

Next…

jenjoycedesign© handspun mitt

I am knitting this last prototype of a pile of samples which are from my next pattern, and which will highlight this Autumn’s designs ~~ a set of mitts & hats! Just had to photograph a little teaser, because the sun was streaming in through the window and making my yarn glow, a bit of a yarn-henge moment!

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I do love this yarn, which is such a surprise, from wool I made on blending board and spun up  into this very tweedy yarn  last weekend. But by next week I will have this pattern up and running with legs, thanks to Wendy, Yvonne, Jane & Dawn for test-knitting!

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Colors of Cusco

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These handwovens are among some of the beautiful things brought back from Jeff’s trip to Machu Picchu, cloth woven at the Center For Traditional Textiles of Cusco (click and read more about the mission of the Center!)

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I find it intriguing and so endearing that these woven items have tags which include pictures, names & birth dates of the weavers!

jenjoycedesign© weaver Gregoria

jenjoycedesign© weaver Luciana

But I find it even more intriguing that these two weavers share the same birth year, and that this year is the very same as my own, and believe me, I seem to be the only one who finds this to be an uncommon coincidence. Oh, but just look at the weave, detail….

003 By the way, Jeff has come back fit as a fiddle,  and the three of them had a wonderful time.  I can’t believe it is now already two weeks since he was in the middle of the epic trek along the Camino Inca, and I was in a frenzy knitting, pattern writing, and submitting the designs ~~ so perfectly timed was the Camino Inca Chullo submitted when he arrived in Cusco, and the Camino Inca Ponchito when he was actually at Machu Picchu~~ like the ancient Incas, maybe, and the suns rays, I put so much significance in these events to be coinciding simultaneously.

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I have a photo shoot on the calendar for beginning of June with my nieces, where these latest Camino Inca ponchitos  will be modeled and I can’t wait to come back and show them off!

Camino Inca & Pattern #2

624x468Read about how the  textiles tradition is still alive & kicking in Peru.

Jeff boarded the plane in Cusco to Lima this morning and right about now is leaving Lima on his way back home.  He has had an amazing time walking the Camino Inca to Machu Picchu  and was with a great group of trekkers.  He texted me, and sent me this photo from his phone before having to leave. It is at a weavers shop, where they are making traditional Peruvian cloths…

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See the women in the lower right of the photo? I can see the simple way the pieces of cloth are sewn together to make a poncho sort of thing, worn as an outer garment.11167787204_112e122c85

Curious about the names of the Peruvian Dress, I found a great & interesting source which gives names to all the pieces of traditional clothing.  As an alternate, or in addition to the “Lliclla” , I do think my new design would look terrific with the Peruvian ensemble….

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Introducing Camino Inca Ponchito & Cowl!

(photo shoot of all Camino Inca ~ modeled HERE)

This design collection begins in previous post with Camino Inca Chullo and now this is the second in the collection.  One can make a simple straight cowl, or go for the more shapely ponchito….

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What is a “ponchito” you may be asking ? I like to think of it as a “little poncho” , just big enough to fit over shoulders, draping in warm folds to cuddle up to neck, but maybe one should think of it technically as a hybrid between a shawlette and cowl, all depending on which size is made. Here it is shown in smallest size;  35″ circumference at bottom, and 22″ circumference at top, and 11″ in length from bottom to top.  In my own colorwork with lovely bobbled bands it is rather sizzling I think…

jenjoycedesign© Ponchito detail

Edit In: The straight cowl for this design, is as basic as can be, with garter stitch edging… and here with colorway and no stripes between makes a clean playful edition!

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The design collection is still underway, with a photo shoot sceduled for kick off for my nieces’ summer vacation, when  I will be hopefully be finished with the whole Camino Inca collection.

Please come see the pattern HERE,

And please join in my promotional pattern release give-away ~~ in the spirit of Autumn in the Andes,  heading toward winter! Details on my Ravelry group HERE.

All posts related to ” Camino Inca ” designs HERE

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Camino Inca & Pattern #1

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The Camino  Inca,  also known as the “Inca Trail” or “trail to Machu Picchu”, is a road built by the Incan Empire long long ago, and much of it is still of original Incan construction and still traveled today!  Many of you already know that is what Jeff is gearing up to do as I post this….

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They are about to  embark on an epic trek along miles of these very poetic ancient stone roads….

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Jeff, his son & daughter are in and around Cusco Peru these last couple of days while acclimating before their big trek to Machu Picchu, and here is a photo just sent from Jeff’s phone, of a dyer’s booth of  natural dyes!  These are the signature color palette  of the Peruvian traditional textiles; crimsons, pinks, purple, gold & orange….

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And earlier, he sends a photo of a bright ensemble of some hats & bags from the market. Peruvians have made a solid industry around making & selling authentic handmade items for the tourists & trekkers who come from all corners of the world …

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I have been making a series of posts up to this one, starting from a few weeks ago leading up to this week, where I have timed it to submit my Camino Inca Designs ~ one by one~  while they are walking  the actual Camino Inca.   And  I have the first in the short series ready !

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It all began from my wanting to replicate an authentic Peruvian chullo my brother has had for decades (I talk about that in this post a few weeks ago) , but it grew and became an opportunity to design my own colorwork …

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as well as a  Mix-Your-Own with many Andean style motifs I have charted and included in the pattern ….

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And with many options, including Peruvian chullo embroidery & bling…  jenjoycedesign© Camino-Inca-Chulo4

and with a size to fit every head possible head …

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I also included a gauge substitution chart to adapt to fingering weight to bulky weight yarns. I felt the hat needed an option without earflaps and came up with a nice bobbled band (which incidentally Jeff called ‘the crown’) . Here is the Camino Inca ‘corona’ in a tiny size barely big enough for a couple of bands of colorwork , with a bobble top …

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I think I finally managed to round it all up and get ‘er running. Please come see the pattern HERE, and join in on the excitement & promotional pattern release give-away ~~ in the spirit of Autumn in the Andes, which it is, and heading toward winter! Details on my Ravelry group HERE.

All posts related to ” Camino Inca ” designs HERE

embellishments

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I have made many hats & many embellishments.  I’ve experimented for a while and learned some new techniques… and now just putting it all together. One of the signature ornaments for upcoming design is a well-groomed pompom attached to a nice plump i-cord.
jenjoycedesign© pompoms

With all of these pompoms on i-cord,

I am reminding myself a little of Horton Hears A Who…

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Anyway, I have decided the best way to make pompoms involves some felting, and a lot of trimming, and last a good brushing with a rigid brow or mustache comb, as I am doing for these braid tassels…


Jeff is now in Cusco, and I have the whole thing planned to run with legs when he, his son & daughter begin their trek to Machu Picchu, and all the while I am working at this frantically most all of everyday.

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Hermit-ing out in the mountains with Emma, the cool has receded and the sun has finally arrived.  Everything in its place, and life is good.

Peru’s Dama de Bohemia

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Peruvian fashion designer Naty Muñoz  is a modern ” Andean Bohemian”.  She is a brilliant designer, for Vogue and beyond, and also an ethical designer working with organic fibers, much of which is alpaca, wool, and cotton. I love her work in this ensemble of colorful, embroidery & splashes of knitted bobbles, set against a breathy feathery downy white, quite frankly tickles a spot for me.

As I observe the traditional colors and textiles  of Peru , I am deeply moved by the mountainous landscape of the Andes being an intrinsic part of it all.  Though admittedly, my first observation I felt an awkward reaction to the bright colors, particularly of pinks & yellow-green, the explosions of fluffy pompoms, and seeming oddness of white laced through all of that color.  Fuzzy  and ultra feminine, but really I think this is just characteristic of Peruvian textiles … the ‘white thing’ … in relation to brazen color for me is so captivating.

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But now I think I am ‘getting’ it!  To me the white is altitude, snowy, ethereal, woolly & alpaca-ish, pure, cloud-like, and spiritual, the white is beneath, above, and supporting the colors of the folk textiles & clothing.

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So I am smitten,  as Naty Muñoz’s designs show so well,  by the magnificent Peruvian landscape, its traditional clothing of bright colors, the presence of cuddly alpacas, and find that all of it dazzles because of striking elemental snowy white!

Quite involved in lessons of color & texture for forthcoming knitwear pattern, as you can easily guess, and in metamorphosis  spurred by discovery of Peruvian colors, textures and even discovery of modern designers like Naty… muchas gracias por su inspiración!

Inca Thing

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This is a quick knit I’m letting fly on the needles before Jeff leaves to Cusco to romp the Inca Trail with his son & daughter in only a matter of days.  It is something he actually asked me to make, which is in itself a first! It is a cover for his Kindle.  Awww. So, in the middle of frantic manic knitting of chullos, and trying to reach a personal deadline,  I am just thinking of it as a one-eared version of just another chullo hat.
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The days continue to be gloriously cool, and today fog is rolling over the ridge and cascading down the mountain misting over everything & evoking creativity with sometimes an internal unsettled agitation.   I think I will take this Inca thing, my knitting bag,  and go for a good knit-walk up the ridge with Emma.  We’ll  be back in no time and maybe I’ll have a finished  Kindle cover to post!
Edit in:  I walked & finished knitting,
then felted the kindle cover and here it is…
Cusco bound!
 Pattern: (adapted from forthcoming chulo pattern)
Yarn: Lambs Pride worsted weight in dark & light grey (excellent for felting!

Manic!

jenjoycedesign© chullo madness

Since writing about ‘ an old beloved brown thing ‘  I’ve been pulled into a vortex of unlikely colors;  of cochineal pinks & crimsons, madder reds, purples, citron yellow, and oranges too… all sorts of high altitude Andean colors I am not accustomed to.

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I find myself falling back into the safety of greys, of earthy tones and of muted undyed comfort.  I gotta bust out!  I didn’t realize how sensitive to color I really am, so I am struggling with my habitual knitting au natural , while trying to be influenced by the brazen & magnificent  color palettes of Peruvian textiles.   I am knitting through piles of these South American motifs while experiencing a sensory challenge with color.

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… soon to explode through the surface with a splash!

 (and of course, a pattern)

My favorite manic music of South America (although down in the temperate eastern coast from the Andes)… have a listen & maybe you can pick up some of my manic vibe…

An old beloved brown thing…

jenjoycedesign© 'the original' from PeruMy brother has for decades worn this authentic Peruvian hat,  the Incan motifs have become signature shapes on his head, almost like fiberous tattoos…

jenjoycedesign© original detail 2

I am not sure where he got this beloved brown thing, but it is a cherished possession of his, and he lent it to me over a year ago asking if I might repair the moth holes (again) and… “maybe ‘add some color’ to it?” he asked.

jenjoycedesign© repairs

Made of alpaca, and badly moth-eaten since being repaired long ago, it has become a part of his life, and all of our lives, for as we know him, we know this hat.

jenjoycedesign© original detail

This favor asked of me to ‘fix it’ has apparently grown feet and evolved into a project of my trying not to entirely replicate the original, nay, but to design the Quintessential Brother Article, as he does actually wear these Peruvian style hats ( known in trend as a ‘chullo’) pretty much every day, tucking the ear flaps behind his ears. They are as he puts it, his ‘hair’.

Well folks, if you wonder where I am going with all of this back story, the thing is, I have begun the series of prototypes, and perfectly timed I might add,  for his birthday.

jenjoycedesign© birthday chullo 2017

Actually, I have made him so many of these, but still he is over the moon whenever I make him a new one.

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So, my scheming to create an authentic replica had changed to become something I should really call a design inspiration, more of an impression of the original.

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The design is in process, and a forthcoming pattern soon available!

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The pattern release will be aimed symbolically around a big trip Jeff is taking in May with his son & daughter to Machu Picchu in Peru, and so I have a lot of work to do until then!

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So here is the first in the series of prototypes ~~~ my brothers Birthday Chulo!

Pattern: forthcoming.

Yarn: Malabrigo Rios

Details: on Ravelry HERE.