Hidden in the soft shadow of the green hills of Puno, welcomed by the dance of the beautiful grass that whispers to the air, is the existence of a technique of ancestral weaving that has been preserved for years, passing from generation to generation below Lake Titicaca.
Various communities of women from Puno use a meticulous method of weaving with great precision to obtain a garment rich in details and of great quality thanks to the materials used (alpaca wool and Pima cotton), this work cannot be done overnight since they are prepared from youth in their community to perfect this technique.
For such delicate work, they need a great deal of cooperation amongst the members of the community, so each one is responsible for performing a different part of the process.
Selection of wool
Equipped with tables for the categorization and classification of fleeces, the working area must be well ventilated with good lighting and protected from the outside environment to avoid contamination with impurities (straw, soil, etc.).
Cleaning and preparation of wool for spinning
They must follow certain rules so as not to damage the wool, seeing that the fibers are not agitated, twisted or rubbed, nor exposed to big changes of temperature, then they proceed to remove the residues of the vegetable material that adheres to the wool to initiate the pre-soaking in hot water.
It is time for the washing, process, so place the wool in a container leaving room for the fibers to move freely and let it soak for about 20 minutes, then proceed to rinse 2 times in a row and perform the drying on a wire mesh in a clean and sunny spot.
Dyeing of wool
There are 300 plants that grow in the vicinity of the hills of that area and are collected correctly, passed through a selection and then boiled in order to be added to the fabric.
Finally, to start weaving, use four stakes and two horizontal sticks to stretch the threads in the loom from top to bottom, this action is called “Allwyi” and proceed to pass the warp (set of threads) above and below the threads of the weft, forming the designs that will make a unique gift.
These garments carry the beautiful traditions of a city in every stitch!
Juan David Rojas Arrunátegui