'Ollantaytambo' Beret Hat

'Ollantaytambo' Beret Hat


I am so excited to share my ‘Ollantaytambo’ beret hats:

After my trip to Peru last year, I have begun work with ‘Awamaki’, a non-profit organisation based in Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley, north of Cusco. Awamaki work with 9 World Fair Trade Organisation cooperative women’s groups, specialising in either weaving, knitting or spinning. The yarn for these hats is made within a handspinning cooperative. The hand spun alpaca yarn I work with is spun by the ‘Puskariy Tika’ cooperative within the ‘Huilloc’ community.

Marta, Gregoria, Virginia, Hilda, Dionicia, Francisca, Exaltacion, Simeona, Flora, Paulina, Nicolasa, Benita and Damiana are the 13 members of the cooperative.

The yarn is hand spun using traditional drop spindles with yarn from the local families alpacas.

Alpaca is a hypoallergenic fibre more valuable than silver or gold in traditional Incan society in Peru, known as 'fibre of the gods', 'La Lana de los Dioses'. Softer than cashmere, 3 times lighter than sheeps wool, and without lanolin that causes itching, it has temperature regulating properties, with the only fibre that's warmer being polar bear fur. Alpaca also holds on to less water than other wool, so dries quicker, and is self cleaning and odour resistant. As well as therefore being practical, it is also a more sustainable choice as up to 4 jumpers can be made from one fleece of an alpaca, that's a lot of hats! Compared to cashmere where several shearings are required, Alpaca is a more sustainable choice.

All hats main colour is the undyed natural white of the alpaca, and the coloured bobbles and trims are made with slaughter and cruelty free, single farm, traceable Shetland and Alpaca wool and naturally dyed by Paula at Moel View Yarn. The yarn for the natural white, dusk pink and indigo comes from a single farm in Richmond, North Yorkshire, and is dyed using Fairtrade black tea and responsibly sourced Lac and Indigo. The Charcoal is undyed and comes from a single small holding of alpacas in Denbighshire, North Wales. More information about my yarns is available here

Once the yarns are returned to me after dyeing, the hats are then hand made by me in my studio in Cardiff and come in one size. They fit a little snugly the first time you wear them, but have ease and so will give to the size of the wearer after the first wear, crocheted in a half-treble stitch they are maleable and are then then finished with a single crochet trim that holds its shape well.

Until the 21st December the Ollantaytambo hats are also available at The Oasis: Gifting edition, an ethical and sustainable pop-up shop curated by Artisan and Fox, based just off Brick Lane, at 63 Hanbury Street, London.

Order online before 16th December for Christmas delivery.

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