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April. Andes. Atacama.

greetings from Chile

Los Andes

The Atacama Desert in the north of Chile is the driest place on Earth. It's huge and very different in its beauty.


You can see the crystal clear sky and the terracotta  mountains (kind of the Moon landscape) behind me. It's a high-altitude desert (the bus took us as high as 4,800 km.)


Desierto de Atacama

The Atacama is a  cold desert. The average temperatures range from 0 to 25 Celsius. One of the tours (to the Tatio geysers) was early in the morning when it was 8 degrees below 0.


We didn't take much warm clothes with us to Chile. But it can be quite chilly in Chile!!  So I had to knit something! As you can see, I made these cute wrist warmers. That helped a lot!


The knit pattern: cables and double seed stitch.  Crocheted edge. Plus the colors of the desert....


Click image for more cables and seed stitch


The Vicuña is one of two wild South American camelids, along with the guanaco, which live in the high alpine areas of the Andes.


Vicuñas produce small amounts of extremely fine wool, which is very expensive because the animal can only be shorn every 3 years and has to be caught from the wild.


When knitted together, the product of the vicuña's fur is very soft and warm. It is understood that the Inca valued vicuñas highly for their wool, and that it

was against the law for any but royalty

to wear vicuña garments.

Lana de Vicuña

Vicuña wool is still the finest natural fiber known to man, and the vicuña was nearly driven to extinction in recent times because of it.


Both under the rule of the Inca and today, vicuñas have been protected by law. Before being declared endangered in

1974, only about 6,000 animals were left. Today,

the vicuña population has recovered to

about 350,000.

Artesanal knitting

The small village in the desert - 11 houses only. The men are sheppards. The women work for tourists.

Exotic yarns

To support local knitters, I bought this lama wool ski hat for my hubby :-)


People say that lamas are calm, quiet and majestic. And it's true. And aparently the spirit of the llama is contagious to the people around them.


 llamas are almost always decorated with brightly colored yarn sewn into their ears. Thee yarn tassels are used not only as decoration, but also as a means of animal identification.


Click on image to read more

Lana de llama

Compared to sheep's wool, lama fiber is lighter and warmer, and has no oil, and thus produces

a greater yield (yards of yarn

per ounce of fiber).


Warmer also means that a thinner yarn and lighter garment produce the same heat retention.

La artesanía

You can find lots products in the local craft boutiques - from alpaca knitwear (hats, mitts, gloves, scarves, and sweatersaa) to locally made crafts.


Ponchos and shawls are beautiful too.



Alpaca - high-end fashion fiber

There is a natural elegance to alpaca fiber which makes it highly sought after in the textile market and with many high-end fashion designers. It has excellent thermal properties and comes in a wide range of colors. In fact, alpaca comes in the widest range of colors of any natural fiber. Because of the high demand and relative rarity of alpaca fiber, its value has remained high.



Click on image to read more

Beauty of the desert

Desert can look lifeless, or you can think that you are in another world. But this desert in Chile charms you :-)


The charm is: the change of the light, the color of the lagoons, flamingos, the sculpted dunes,

the breathtaking silence...




Artisaknity • 33 Harbour Sq. • Toronto, ON M5J2G2
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