South American Knitting

From the Textile Museum of Canada collection, these are a variety of knitted South American knitworks I took photos of several years ago for an online display.

Special thanks to Roxane Shaughnessy, (Curator, Collections & Access, the Textile Museum of Canada) for the links to the items in the museums’ collection, given below each item. There are more details about each piece at the museum site, plus the exciting bonus of being able to zoom in for a close up look to see the stitch details.

Enjoy! Marsha

Woollen Bag from Guatemala
Knitted bagIn many of the textiles of South America, images of animals are incorporated into their designs. This design includes images of horses with their riders prancing across the bag, with a broken arrow design in the middle of the bag.

Woolen Bag, wool, natural colours, double knit, from Guatemala, 27.5cm long x 25 cm wide- 11″ x 10″
Textile Museum of Canada details

Sleeve HuancauelicaThese brightly coloured sleeves have stripes of stylized bird motifs and many bands of 2 colour geometric patterning. Note the ‘Star’ patterning, a geometric design common to so many different traditional knitting patterns.

wool, mid 20th century. from the Huancauelica People, 35cm long x 17 cm wide- 14″ x 7″
Textile Museum of Canada details

Peruvian Child’s Hat (Ch’ullu)
Chuullu childsChuullu childs detail
This colourful children’s hat, or ch’ullu is made in Peru. The knitting gauge in the traditional ones can exceed 16 st per inch and are often worn by young men. They often have finely detailed animals and geometrics in colourful designs.

When observing a Quechua woman knitting one (she had a weaving workshop at The Textile Museum in 1995), the writer was amazed to see her knitting facing the wrong side of the pattern and carefully twisting yarns after every stitch. The hat was destined for her young son.

Child’s Hat, made in fine wool (chemically dyed), from Peru, 41cm long x 50 cm wide- 16″ x 20″
Textile Museum of Canada details

Knitted Bag from Guatemala

Knitted bag GuatemalaThe simple geometric shapes in this bag result in a bold pattern, which also share some design elements from other countries and other textile mediums. The geometric shapes in this design, alternating ‘x’ and ‘o’ s, are also used in Fair Isle patterning, though in Fair Isle the ‘x & o’s are done in multiple colours and combined with other geometric designs. The pattern of the colour joins in the bag, with it’s alternating squares of the 2 colours, is similar to designs used in weaving.

Knitted Bag, late 19th century, handspun wool, natural colours, from Chichicastenago, Guatemala, 32cm long x 32 cm wide- 13″ x 13″
Textile Museum of Canada details