making Pichinku yarn
Pichinku was inspired by loom weaving, animal husbandry, and natural dyeing, artisanal skills that have been practiced for thousands of years in the Peruvian Andes. Our work seeks to preserve these pieces of cultural heritage, and bring them into the hands of makers worldwide.
Almost everything we know about natural dyeing is thanks to the girls, who manage our harvesting, dye production and quality control. It’s knowledge that has been passed down from generation to generation. For that reason we try to only work with native plant species, assuring that at least for a while longer, these skills will not be forgotten.
We begin with base materials from the most reputable suppliers of tops and yarn in South America. Each yarn has been vetted for its provenance, treatment and certification, assuring our clients of the highest quality and environmental standards.
Our dye materials are harvested according to their seasonal availability and in environmentally conscious quantities. Although some plants grow nearby to our workshop, we often travel many hours into remote corners of the neighboring valleys to find less common materials.
Some plants need to be worked while still fresh, giving us a narrow time frame for dyeing, while others can be dried and stored. All materials are prepared by hand - pounding, grinding, soaking, etc. - before being added to the dye pots, boiled and, in most cases, strained.
We do not aspire to industrial quantities, instead focusing on small batches. Even simple, less involved dyes will take at least three hours to complete before washing and drying. It’s part of our commitment to the artisanship of this work, knowing that each skein of yarn is lovingly made and totally unique.