Andean knit hat, chullo, lluchu, fantastic creatures!

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Vintage hand knit Andean hat, chullo, lluchu


Some years ago, US Customs agents laughed when I brought 30 chullos home from Bolivia.  “Really, 30 hats?”  “Yep.”  I still love them but I am now parting with a few.

This is a wonderful hat with very detailed figures that include a “Diablada” from Carnaval, animals and human figures.  Plus, areas of added embroidery that patches a hole or, near the top of the hat, seems to be just decorative.

These Andean knit hats are descendants of the textile traditions of the Inca, who created and used some of the finest textile techniques ever known.  Hats like this are made of commercial yarns that are re-spun before they’re used to make the yarns strong and thin enough to use for these tight, detailed knits.  Note that the men knit these hats.  I watched a man at a train station in Bolivia.  Waiting for a train and wearing a chullo, he was knitting another hat, almost without looking at what he was knitting.  Habit and skill.   Women make amazing hats also but usually a very different style, made for young women.

This hat measures about 14 1/2″ from the bottom of a flap to the top by about 19″ circumference.  Note that these hats are made to be worn high on the head, not pulled down over ears as people want to wear these.  For me, this is an art piece with cultural creation, use and information.

The chullo is in very good, used condition.  Some soil and one tassel on the flaps has been replaced when it was still being used.

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