The Knitting Men of Taquile, Peru
The last stop on our Lake Titicaca adventure was the Taquile Islands, and for me, it was the most beautiful of the three we visited.
The main village 4000 metres above sea level could only be reached by climbing up 535 stone steps, and as we ascended laboriously upwards, we were treated to views of never-ending blue waters, and the symmetrical beauty of the Taquileno’s farming terraces.
Famous for it’s handwoven textiles and clothing, Taquile’s textiles were declared “Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO in 2005.
Fascinatingly though, knitting in Taquile is performed solely by males, starting from the age of 8. The Taquileno women are responsible for making yarn and weaving only.
All of the men wore colourful hats that they had knit for themselves, with the colour of the ball on top of the hats denoting their marital status (though we were never able to find out which colour meant what). When the Taquileno men hitched a ride back to Puno on our boat later on in the day, we also discovered that they store their supply of coca leaves in the top of the hat as well. That is one multi-purpose accessory!