November Pop-Up Shop: Amano Yarns!

We are very excited to announce our 2020 Pop-Up Shop series! Each month, we will be featuring an indie yarn dyer or company, showcasing their yarn, and highlighting perfect patterns to go with them! We'll also share an interview with the owners and designers here on the blog. All photos courtesy of Amano Yarns.

For the month of November, we are so excited to announce that our Pop-Up Shop is the one and only Amano Yarns! Based high up in the Peruvian Andes, Amano Yarns is focused on bringing the culture and feel of the Andes to makers around the world. 

We caught up with Ellen Saville, the Creative Director at Amano, for a chat about what inspires the fiber blends and soft, rich colorways that Amano produces! Read on for some history, some culture, and of course, some fun!

How did Amano Yarns start?

Amano was born out of a true love and passion for luxury fibers, slow fashion and the traditional culture of the Andes. I joined the project in 2017, and have loved seeing the brand grow over the years, but I wasn’t part of the original team – the brand started in 2014. I was attracted to the storytelling, beautiful branding and fell in love with the unique yarns. My favorite project was my first new development I worked on with the team ’Yana’ – it was our first 100% wool product, and we’ve seen a lot of success with it – so much that now we have a whole ‘Yana’ Collection with four qualities grow from the original yarn!

Where do you find inspiration for your colors?

At Amano, we take direct inspiration from the bounty of nature and the Andes which we call our home.  From the high glacial mountains, to Andean textile traditions, to the rich and vibrant culinary culture, it’s very difficult to not feel inspired by the landscapes and people of the Andes. Each yarn quality takes inspiration in a part of Inca culture, we think carefully about how to tell that story through color and a lot of thought goes into each step of this development. For example, with our new Puna Traceable alpaca, the colors were inspired by the famous rainbow mountain in Peru.

What was the first color that you dyed and why did you start with that?

We started our collection with a very soft and traditional baby alpaca in both its dyed and un-dyed form: Puna and Eco Puna. We consider this fiber to be the heart of our collection and this is why it is part of our Origin Collection. Baby alpaca is luxurious, famous and because of our Andean Heritage, we found it a great place to start our brand.  Puna has now a refreshed color palette and is fully traceable, and we’re very excited to see our humble baby alpaca evolve into a full transparent Project.  Furthermore, its worth stating how Eco Puna is un-dyed alpaca. It continues to be one of most popular yarns, and we’re so proud to show just how incredible the natural fiber is. Did you know that alpaca has 22 natural shades?

When did you first learn knitting or crocheting? Do you do other crafts with your yarn?

I actually learnt to knit in Peru. I consider myself quite a crafty person, and I have always loved sewing and embroidery. Since I was surrounded with such beautiful textiles and knitting is very popular in Peru, I thought it would be a great place to learn – people here have knit for centuries and are very highly skilled. I actually also use Amano yarns now for visible mending and darning techniques too on my knits that need repairing!

And just for fun: If you could design a parade float that was fiber themed, what would it look like?

We would love to make a parade float out of our yarns in a very textured and fluffy Andean scene. I would love there to be a mountain range, with sleepy villages and pastoral scenes below, complete with clouds and the high sun in the sky. This way, we could bring a bit of the highlands to the parade!

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