In 2011, driven by my compulsive need to find wool in Argentina, I first traipsed my husband through the streets of Buenos Aires.
We found some hand-spun at the indoor market in San Telmo. For those visiting: this market has the best bakes, fruit, veg. The bustling informal cafe selling empanadas & great coffee is a must!
From BA we flew to Cordoba where I found an elderly lady selling some lovely soft merino yarn on the weekend market..
We set out hoping to get all the way up to Salta, but it was just too far for our time constraints as we had limited time until we had to turn around and get back to Cordoba for our flights back to BA.
The quest for rural yarn sellers was looking dismal until, at a restaurant in La Rioja, we found a booklet with 2 tiny advertisements which looked like they were for a yarn store & a family farm with llama in Santa Maria in Valles Chalchaquies in the Catamarca province. So on we drove, hesitantly passing the very alluring signpost to the magical sounding Antofagasta and onward towards Santa Maria.
We found a shop called Textil Artesanal – There was a lovely selection of natural yarn and textile craft.
They closed up shop for twenty minutes to show us their massive factory machines which process wool fibre in to beautiful yarns – what a treat to see this high-tech process!
From high-tech, we went down the road to Telar de Suriara – Suriara meaning “Suri’s Nest” is a family enterprise with members participating in the ancient techniques of spinning and weaving. The secrets of raising llama, spinning and weaving, (their rustic ancestral activities) are passed down from generation to generation.
It was wonderful to be invited in – to see, however briefly, their lives tangled with the fibers of their animals. Unique garments are woven and knitted by family members & sold in this special place – I bought a very special woven llama yarn poncho here.
Our little rental car climbed higher and higher into the mountains – through ‘pincushion’ hills of cactus plants… to where they couldn’t grow as the air became too thin and the clouds glowed, white against the ice-blue sky. We came apon El Infiernillo – a quiet, almost forgotten place with a huge sign & llama roaming free…
and finally traveled down a steep and winding road, through Tafi del Valle and headed back for Cordoba to catch our flight back to BA:
Yes sir: 3 bags full!