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SecretsSecretsCALLANAUPA ALVAREZ, Nilda and the Weavers of the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco (2017). Secrets of Spinning, Weaving, and Knitting in the Peruvian Highlands, Loveland: Thrums Books. ISBN 978-0998452357, soft cover, fully illustrated in colour, glossary (with Quechua and Spanish words) , a list of further resources and map, 138 pp. Price: US$ 24.95.

The Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco, Peru, works with ten communities in the region, in order to both preserve and promote traditional weaving. The reader will meet many of these weavers, both women and men, in the pages of this excellent book. Special attention is focused on the members of the Young Weavers Groups. The main focus of the book, however, is on how specific textiles are made.

The book begins with spinning (alpaca, llama and sheep’s wool). Step-by-step instructions are given (and illustrated with full colour photographs), from preparing the wool and the roving, to skeining and plying. Spinning is done with a single stick or using a pukhu (a small bowl for support). There are similar step-by-step, fully illustrated instructions for weaving (plain weave; complementary, supplementary and discontinuous warps. The chapter on knitting includes instructions for knitting the iconic chullo hat, and for making a bobble; scallop cast-on techniques, complete with details on borders. The last chapter is on finishing techniques, such as tubular borders, joins, seams, embroidery, tassels and pom-poms, and the sling braid.

Recommendation: This is a concise and practical how-to book, which will be of interest to curators and creators alike, and to anyone interested in how specific textiles are constructed.

Shelley Anderson, November 2017

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The TRC is dependent on project support and individual donations. All of our work is being carried out by volunteers. To support the TRC activities, we therefore welcome your financial assistance: donations can be transferred to bank account number NL39 INGB 000 298 2359, in the name of the Stichting Textile Research Centre.
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