In the Andes of Peru weaving is important to every Incan family. Every village has its own weaving patterns and traditions. There are thousands of techniques, layouts, styles, and practices associated with Peruvian weaving.
CLEANING THE WOOL
A natural detergent is used from a plant called Saqta which comes from the rural regions of the Andes. This substance is used to organically clean the wool. It is shredded into water and the Saqta creates detergent-like suds. The animal fibers come out naturally clean and white. They also use it as natural shampoo and it helps to prevent grey hair!
The spinning process can be done whilst multi-tasking; walking through the village, sitting, talking, or watching over the children. Thread is spun as though it were second nature. With all hands skillfully spinning, it is a daily activity in Andean life.
All colours come from local flora and fauna; indigenous plants, minerals, flowers, and insects. Some of the most common are: Cochinilla, which produces a red colour, Purple corn produces purple, Chilca and Indigo leaves create blue. Maras salt is used to set the colours! Colours can be changed drastically – simply by adding ingredients like lemon or salt into the mix.
The process of weaving a frazada (rug/blanket) can take up to one month (approximately six hours a day), or more depending on the difficulty of design. It can be a highly spiritual and personal journey of creation in which a weaver will draw from their experience of the natural world, their history and memory. That is why every frazada is unique in the world.