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Alpaca Possiblities
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Alpaca Possiblities

Right off of the Plaza de San Francisco in downtown Cusco, we found a little yarn shop. There were cones full of alpaca and wool, and a variety of blends. One wall was dedicated to naturally dyed (or undyed) yarns, while the others used synthetic dyes. And in the display case below, there was a treasure trove of baby alpaca. Neatly arranged in bags of ten.

Yarn Shop in Cusco

TEN balls of beautiful local alpaca for about $25. $2.50 a ball. Yeah, that was worth it. I bought three bags.

This was the only “commercial” yarn shop I found in the city – and I got this tip from one of the women working at the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco. The yarn that is produced by all of the spinners on the street is immediately put to good use by the family – whether for weaving, crochet, or knitting. Yarn is not seen as a profitable product – only the finished textile. Luckily I found this place, who seemed to cater to wholesalers and larger mill shops.

It was at the Pisac Market that I found the last bag of yarn, just slightly more expensive, but in a beautiful blue shade. Four bags seemed more than adequate.

The wheels in my head started turning – I needed a project for all of this yarn. I remembered the RYC Classic Alpaca collection that I picked up last fall, and my mind was racing… once I got home to Maryland, I confirmed that this yarn would be the perfect substitute for the RYC’s Baby Alpaca DK, with a little added yardage too! (and about five times cheaper than the Rowan equivalent…)

Peruvian Alpaca Peruvian Alpaca

The idea of stripes immediately appealed to me, and I asked Kris how he felt about the Oxford sweater. (The colors were almost a perfect match.) I didn’t get an enthusiastic response, so I regrouped and thought that one of the natural shades would actually make a perfect Linden pullover, one of my favorite patterns in the book…

Linden Pulli
Nice, right?

…and the stripes are for me too! I do love the Oxford, so why not the charcoal and blue version for me?

Women's Oxford

I am feeling a very strong pull to this yarn – I think I just might be spontaneous and cast on with it soon… jumping over the other beautiful knits in my queue.

Which one should I cast on for?


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69 Responses

  1. allison

    Ooh, start with stripes – perfect for fall! Linden strikes me as more of a cozy winter sweater :)

  2. Mom

    Lol!!! Amazing “Lolly” Blue,… even in Peru. Do they call it “Lolly” azure there? ;-)

    I think the Linden and maybe in the blue, but you know me, I’m all about blue. The stripes would work better in muted, subtle shades. Either way, they will both be lovely! XXOO

  3. leslie

    how awesome was that little “shop”!!!!

    I vote for the Linden! I love it!

  4. Tracey

    You’re on your own sister. I can’t decide between the two. Those bags of alpaca are a steal! What a great price, and when you’re done, what a great souvenir.

  5. KnitPastis

    What a place to shop!! I love the Linden !!
    I think Baby Alpaca yarn is one of my favorite yarns so far. It’s so squishy soft:)

  6. Debby

    The Linden. I love the lacy effect. It will be pretty on you.

  7. Rebecca


    I vote for Linden.

    I forgot to tell you my blog address this afternoon, so here it is. And I’ll email for directions to that shop–if we can coordinate it (the work part of our trip is to Lima) we’re going to Cusco.

  8. Janet

    That’s easy. Linden :-)

    What a wonderful little shop — I love the photo! It sure makes me appreciate the selection we have here, but glad you got to contribute to the local economy there.

  9. Kristin

    The stripy one! Stripy, stripy, stripy.

    I was looking at the exact same pattern today thinking a) I want to make this, and b) I’m sure I’ve seen this somewhere recently. Yep, on your blog!

  10. Romy

    I’m loving the oxford!

  11. Meem

    Ha! My husband visited that shop while in Cusco! (I told him he’d better not even THINK of coming back without yarn!) He took a picture of that same man and all the yarn, too! He also brought me a bag of the baby alpaca and a cone of dark green alpaca. I used the baby alpaca to make the Icarus Shawl from Interweave and found the yarn to be buttery soft and VERY warm. A little splitty, but not too bad if I paid close attention. Happy travels!

    p.s. I vote for Linden!

  12. amisha

    stripes! stripes! i love that sweater and it looks so wearable and fun.
    and heavens… i think i would have fainted in that shop :)

  13. mrspilkington

    the linden is gorgeous!
    and thanks for the pictures and stories from your trip. definitely heartening.

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  15. Alice

    Gosh, what a steal on that yarn! My vote is for the Oxford… I love the men’s version too, I may have to show that to my hubby!

  16. Wanda

    Either one is a great sweater. I think you would be pleased with whichever you start next.

  17. ck

    I’m partial to the first one but either would look good on you.

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  19. Stacey

    I was in Peru in April of 2007–I ended up buying 10 pounds of alpaca yarn! We had to buy a duffel bag to bring it all home.

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