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Love for hand-knitted & -crocheted beauty. Proud designer & founder of LN|Beanies and LN|Andes, my two knit brands, my two loves.

Finally, back to writing. We have been extremely busy these past few days. The busier, the better, so we like!

Let’s start off with day 16. Last Wednesday was the first day that me and Griet had to work apart from each other. Griet is namely not only here in order to take stunning pictures for LN|Andes and LN|Beanies, but also for Solid International. So in the morning she went to the ‘campo’, and I finally had some time to sit down and work. And so I did, in the sun, on the terrace, it’s not bad working here I must say!

In the afternoon I was hunting delicious pies since I wanted to do and bring something for my beloved young girls and elegant ladies. Armed with which I recon 4kg of Peruvian pie I headed towards DIA to participate in a second workshop and, of course, to share the yummy-treat!

Again I was warmly welcomed by everybody present at DIA, from the staff to the girls, to the ladies and even to the babies. The workshop that day was all about quality. It’s namely way more important to do a job well, with eye for details, than to do it too fast since this will lead to a loss in quality.

We had to pretend that we were jewellery makers, making necklaces and bracelets by hand, made from pearls. We had to guess how many bracelets we could make in 20min time, making sure we used the right quantity of pearls and respected the right rank of colours. My team did a great job! Only 1 silly chicka wasn’t able to respect the rank of colours and therefore made a bracelet that wasn’t good enough for selling… Ahum, guess who that moper was… Haha, what an example to give! Lord…

After the workshop I had to give a little speech to my ‘crew’, in Dutch of course, kindly translated by Karin, head of DIA. I said that these past few days I was really touched by their enthusiasm and their warmth. It’s so nice to see that they love to knit and crochet and that they wish to have as much work as possible. So that will be my plan for the following months. Try so sell as much of my beautiful LN| products in order to create as much work as possible for my lovely ladies. If I don’t sell, they won’t produce and therefore won’t have a steady income… Quite a bizarre feeling to be honest, feels like a lot of people are depending on me. It creates a positive stress!

As a thank you gift me and Griet received a 100% natural baby alpaca beanie, hand-knitted by our beautiful knit & crochet teacher at DIA. How sweet! Thanks again for the lovely gift!

The next day we had to get up early, as always, in order to get ready for our ‘2-days-scouting-feel-trip’ to the campo! We pretty much got a free ‘power plate-session’ for a day or two, bumpy roads it was! Nice! We went to visit the farmers for a project of Solid. High up the Andes the weather was quite rough. Cold, wet and windy! We spent the night in a real cabin, scouting-proof. Top chef Roeland, head of Solid in Ayacucho, prepared us a ,hmm, delicious heavy meal of spinach-purée, tomato & onion stir fry, and for the meat-lovers, stewed meat or ‘stoofvlees’. Completely starved and frozen, it tasted like heaven!

After a chilly, yet good midnight rest in our cabin, we could enjoy another heavy breakfast, this time not prepared by Roeland, but by 2 very kind local ladies we met the day before, gathering flowers from weeds. Do you know these beautiful yellow flowers that grown in your garden sometimes? Well, seems like the flowers and their leaves are edible! Kind of tastes a bit like spinach. So there they were, punctual at 7AM, with weed-mash, steamed beans, corn and local brewed sweet tea. More than filling!

We got back in Ayacucho in the afternoon, completely ‘gaga’ from driving and completely black from all the dust. The shower afterwards was one of the best I ever had! Can’t go a day without showering… Griet seems to have fewer difficulties with it, hehe.

Since we didn’t had to wake up in the middle of the night today we literally planned to ‘have a night out’ and go for a jar of sangria. Is it the altitude or is it the fatigue, we don’t know, but 2 glasses each and we were quite tipsy. Wussies that we are! Again, it’s so much fun with Griet. It’s going to be strange not to have her around anymore when we get back to Belgium (next Wednesday that is…). Made a friend for life!

Of course, 6AM, wide awake. No sleeping late for LN! Me and Roeland went for a run at the local sport complex. Packed with healthy, sporty Peruvians I managed what was maybe a 5km run. I blame the altitude, again. Hihi.

While enjoying a Jucho (smoothie), what else, me and Roeland briefly discussed what could be possible in the next few years. We’re dreaming about an Alpaca farm. How cool would that be If we could have the local community of Ayacucho to herd a bunch of Alpaca’s and use that sweet 100% Alpaca yarn for my LN|Andes and LN|Beanies collection? In that way the entire process will be linked to a good cause project, which will make my products even more humane than the already are… This will not be for tomorrow of course, but still, it would be wonderful, wouldn’t it?

Our last day in Ayacucho has arrived… Seems like this beautiful little town is trying to say goodbye since the sun was out early this morning and we were able to enjoy another amazing day. Juchos for breakfast, stroll down the little market, buy (another!) Alpaca sweater, chill out, update the blog, and tonight another finger licking meal at Roeland & Karin’s place. Ayacucho, you will be missed! But we’ll back soon!

Tomorrow at 7AM we have our flight back to Lima where we will stay at the lovely Casa Bella Peru again. At 15h I have my meeting with Mitchel, ready to order my 100% baby Alpaca yarn! Excited day, looking forward to it.

Wednesday evening however, we’re heading back to Amsterdam, back to reality. Looking forward to it as well, ready to get working!

Hopefully we’ll be able to squeeze out one more final ‘Peru focused’ blog post!

Hasta Luegos!

LN

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  1. Marco Palacios #
    April 16, 2012

    Hi Ellen!

    I´m glad to know about your excellent business plans to make more of your products within peruvian land and at the same time to provide jobs to the young mothers and the ladies knitting for LN|Andes and LN|Beanies That´s great!

    And yeah! Welcome back to Capital City cute poodle! Lima rocks! Let´s practice your spanish and my english 😀

    Marco Palacios

  2. Jane #
    April 16, 2012

    Hi Ellen, just had a browse of your blog. Looks like the LN business is in exciting times, que bueno!! Was in Ayacucho a couple of years back, ahh Peru, those alpacas are so damn cuddly. Loving your work! Jane (team mate at TBWA London!) x

    • April 16, 2012

      Hi Jane! So nice to hear from you! Are you still in India? Or back in London? Great that you have been to Ayacucho as well! Such a nice town! Hehe, almost 2 years ago this TBWA grad program! Good times ;-)! Next time I’m in London, let’s meet! Kiss!!!

  3. vero #
    April 16, 2012

    Wauw Ellen, looks amazing!!!! goe bezig!! Succes nog!!

    • April 19, 2012

      Hi Vero!! Super dat je de blog gevolgd hebt! Nice! Thanks ;-)! Veel plezier nog met je unieke LN! En mss tot het volgende martkje! Groetjes! LN

  4. April 17, 2012

    Good luck on your way back home. Again, the photos are spectacular, and what an amazing journey you’ve been on.

  5. April 17, 2012

    Love the photos! You look fabulous in your hat and scarf. I definitely want one of those!

  6. creativity is my thing, you know! #
    April 17, 2012

    ben je nederlands? ik heb ln pas een tijdje terug ontdekt en ontdekte pas dat je nederlands was toen je schreef: we go back to amsterdam, haha! ik vind ln echt super leuk! blijf zeker volgen!

    • April 19, 2012

      Hi! Van België yes ;-)! Héhé! Fijn dat te horen! Zeker doen ;-)! Groetjes! LN

  7. April 18, 2012

    Reblogged this on Kniterly and commented:
    I know I’ve been rebloging lately, but I’ve bee loving reading this vivid photographic journey through Peru focusing on it’s rich textile culture, so I had to share. The author’s company, LN|, sells items that are hand-knitted & hand-crocheted, in Belgium as well as in Peru. In her own words, “whereas in Belgium my beloved co-workers are grannies, in Peru they are young mothers who find themselves in difficult familial situations and rough living circumstances.

    There is a lot of unemployment in Ayacucho, making it difficult to create a good economy. That’s why good-cause organization Solid International, founded in 2000, tries to create employment and better living conditions by combining knowhow and experience from a team of experts. It has no use to just give money to the poor, which is in no means sustainable. Solid tries to find small employees to create employment, and so me, LN|, is one of them.

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