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May 11

Knit a Scarf Using Handspun Peruvian Alpaca

Peruvian elders handspinning

Walk, talk, spin. Most likely, there’s other things that Andean women do while spinning. Spinning is so embedded in their every day lives that they don’t think about it, they just do. I can barely spindle spin just sitting still much less engage in multiple activities.

Handspinning on spindle

Nilda Callañaupa, the director of the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco, believes that the elders are integral and important to the weaving communities even though they may no longer have the strength or eyesight to weave anymore. Knowing how adept they are with their hands, she encouraged them to keep spinning on their handspindles. And spinning they have done, creating a softly-spun alpaca yarn for us. We named it Q’aytu (kie-two), the Quechua word for thread. It’s lovely for crochet, knitting or weaving.

Nancy Bush, author of many folk-related knitting books, dreamed up this special knitted scarf using a traditional Peruvian zig-zig motif.

Zig Zag Scarf designed by Nancy Bush

It takes only two skeins of Q’aytu. Now you too can make this scarf—buy two skeins (or more) and we’ll gift you with the pattern to make one for yourself.


This yarn is available in creme, marled, and three shades of brown.

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