Made in Peru

I’m a shopper.  Always have been and always will be.  This was frustrating to my parents when I was a child — no gift shop could be passed up, every excursion required a souvenir (even just grocery store ones), and infomercials…let’s just say they were dangerous.  Now that I have grown up and the urge to shop has not receded, they have accepted my habit.  (Though my mom still tries to push her budgeting advice…  No one uses a checkbook ledger anymore, Mom.  Sheesh.)  Knowing what was in store for our Peru trip, they accepted their fate and dutifully traipsed through market after market until there was literally no more to be seen.  (Thanks family!)  As I am thoroughly excited and overly entertained by my new acquisitions, I thought I might show some to you all and share a little bit more of this colorful culture.


 

Peruvian Acquisitions: Part 1 of 53

(Just kidding  : P)

Of course, me being a knitter and it being Peru, shopping for yarn was top of the list.  For most of the trip there was not a skein to be found, but — thankfully — on our last day in Cusco, we happened to drive past the only yarn shop for miles.  (I think I was being drawn there.)  While I’m a big-time knitter and very passionate yarn buyer, I generally don’t have the budget to purchase large quantities of yarn at a time.  (This is partially why I have never knit an adult sweater…)  However, this shop was different.  This shop had 10-ball packs of baby alpaca yarn for $30.  I could hear the Hallelujah chorus.

Yarn1Apologies for the *shine* in the photos from the packaging…this is due to my unwillingness to try and deal with 40 loose balls of yarn on my back porch.  There are dogs…you understand.  : P

Yarn2
Look at the Peruvian girl with her little alpaca friend on the label! So cute!! 🙂

Wanting to make the most of the opportunity, I made sure to purchase a lot.  I toyed between four & five packs for a while, before finally settling on four due to lack of available suitcase space.  What I ended up with: two packs of natural/undyed, one pack of dyed grey, and one pack of burgundy.  It was a good day.

As I mentioned in my Peru Re-Cap post, I didn’t find any yarn until the very end of the trip — this bunch was actually purchased on our very last day in Peru, just minutes before we went back to our hotel to begin packing.  (Talk about under the wire.)  As such, there was quite a bit more shopping that occurred throughout the rest of the two-week excursion…

Scarves1

A favorite item of mine were these beautiful woven alpaca scarves — these were found and any and every market we passed…(talk about enabling).  I have never tried weaving and, honestly, the mechanics of it totally baffle me.  So to me these seemed like art.

Scarves3
Such intricate patterns…

For most of the *cough* four scarves that I bought, the seller claimed they were hand-made.  (I question this, but chose to buy them anyway.)  As I’ve mentioned previously, the prices of goods in Peru are extremely cheap compared to American standards — especially for hand-made items.  These scarves cost an average of around $7 each.  (Incredible!)

Scarves2
Ahh, 100% Peru…. (Ha!)

Because of the intracity of these patterns, the fabric of these scarves is pretty dense — but they’ll be perfect to bundle up under a coat collar this winter.

I also managed to snag this super soft & comfy woven blanket.  Now I KNOW this one isn’t hand-made…but it was so colorful and so squishy that I couldn’t resist…   I can’t wait for it to be cold so I can cuddle up in this!

Blanket

The last large item that I managed to grab — my pride & joy of the trip — was a “hand-knitted” alpaca sweater.  (Again, I question the truth of this claim…) I was told before leaving that Peru had beautiful knitted sweaters and that I should plan on buying one while I was there.  Therefore, I was constantly on the lookout for the *perfect* sweater — it must be hand-knit, it must be cozy & fit well, and it MUST have alpacas on it.

After searching markets and stores for over a week, I finally ran across this one hanging up in a shop that we entered somewhat unintentionally.  (It was fate.)  It fit very well — in that way that makes you want to curl up beside a fire somewhere — and the seller claimed it was hand-made.  (As a knitter, I did check this out, but the results of this examination were inconclusive.)

Sweater1

Sweater2
See that little fair-isle mistake? Hand-knit, perhaps?

Either way, hand-knit or not, it was perfect.  I snatched it up immediately and wore it for the rest of the trip.

Those who know me in real life know that I have weaknesses just like anyone else — (as much as I try to hide these online).  One of these weaknesses?  Trinkets.  Especially when the trinkets cost less than $2 per item.  Here is a small (really small) selection of the neatest small things I picked up:

Trinkets1

Trinkets2
I may have developed a somewhat unhealthy obsession with these little guys. I now have…oh, about 50.

Bet you’re wondering how I got all of this in my suitcase, aren’t you?  Well, let’s just say, I know what’s really important.  Dirty laundry?  Nah…  Ha, just kidding.  But we did actually buy big duffel bag for extra space.  It was necessary.  Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the shopping in Peru.  Seeing the different styles of garments and accessories was another really interesting way of experiencing the culture.  I may have overloaded just a bit…but hey, when am I going to be in Peru again?  😉

What’s your favorite of my Peruvian souvenirs?  (Hint: Maybe a giveaway soon?)

Happy Saturday!

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