Today we walked to the city center to see Raul Rivera, a long time friend who is a sales manager at Michell, a mill that employs 1100 people. We went through sample cones of mill end and over stock alpaca, silk and wool blends for Discontinued Brand Name Yarn and then went to an appointment at Calicampo, a fair trade yarn co-op that specializes in self striping handpainted yarn.
I met Calicampo’s new manager Andrea at the co-op’s new location, a former private school whose classrooms have been renovated into studio space. In addition to the twenty colorways we have developed in the past, we put together ten new color combinations from which I hope to get five that work well together.
Andrea and I discussed the future of self striping handpaints, whose yards per color are increasing. I call these kinds of yarn “broad bands,” because the colors are going to stack higher and higher until the shades actually seem to shift down a garment.
Raul took us to lunch at a wonderful restaurant downtown where I had been once before called Chi Cha. I had swordfish ceviche salad and Tim and Raul had beef heart skewers. For dessert there was red corn crème brulee and artisan ice cream. Too bad Anthony Bordain who was in Arequipa last week wasn’t here for this culinary experience.
In the afternoon, we toured Michell’s spinning mill to see their new machinery which turns combed top turn into boucle, brushed wool and chained yarn. We saw other yarns dyed and plied for an artisan look. In the finishing room, workers were prepping yarns for Mirasol and Misti Alpaca. Raul introduced us to the man in charge of spinning our Cherry Tree Hill Supersock. What an honor to shake his hand!
On the way back to the hotel we stopped at the new Super Mercado to buy a bottle of Pisco, not knowing there were so many different kinds to choose from. There was even an aisle of powdered Pisco Sour drink mixes. What will they think of next?