making memories

One of the defining elements of 2019 was a trip my husband and I took. We never did the "gap year" or "travelling experiences" some of our peers did; our lives - with my transatlantic move, the costs of visas, etc. - took a very different path. But we still wanted to be participants in the world, and spent the past 2 years aggressively saving to take a 6 week sabbatical from work to visit South America. It was a Big Deal, and really the memories that we made during our adventures will last a lifetime.

But this isn't a travel blog, and I'm not a travel blogger (though I would encourage anyone to visit South America). What does this have to do with knitting? 

We spent quite a bit of our trip in Peru - a place I had always admired because of it's rich fibre history), and I wanted to find a way to capture my feelings and experiences of the place in the best way I knew how: knitting.

I sought out alpaca yarn in particular; the animals are such an important part of the culture and economy of Peru, and you could really feel that as you travelled through the country. I studied the patterns and motifs of local knitwear (don't worry, I also supported the economy by buying plenty of it too!), and sketched out my own patterns based on what I saw, the memories and stories that stuck with me, and even chose the colours based on what I experienced and felt represented the places I saw. I started knitting it in the jungle of Peru - which got a lot of questions, but also started some wonderful conversations with our hosts and fellow travellers. Even the knitting needles have their own story. I hadn't brought any with me since we were travelling in backpacks for an extended amount of time. I had to try and find a local yarn store - not easy! - and try and explain in Spanish (in which I am not fluent) that I was looking for needles. The owner was vry apologetic, they didn't have any for sale - however, she took out her own personal project bag, asked what size I was looking for, and said that she had lots of spares at home, so if there was a size that she had duplicates in, and I didn't mind not buying new ones, she would sell me hers - I obviously obliged, and we found the perfect compromise.

I absolutely love the end result, and all the happy memories that come with it. These pictures might not be great (and they definitely don't show how gorgeously soft and tactile and touchable the yarn is), but they represent an amazing part of the past year for me. I wonder what 2020 will bring?

Happy stitching,
Molly x


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