Breaching the green waters of Peru’s Lake Titicaca is the little mound island of Taquile where the local villagers have created a steady industry of knit handicrafts, which are knit by the men of the community.
The fine textiles that come out of Taquile are renowned the world over and are even protected as a UNESCO world heritage subject. However unlike the often tragically traditional view of knitting and textile work as the demesne of women, it is the men of Taquile Island do much of the delicate thread work.
The craftwork is divided between weaving and knitting; women do the weaving, while the knitting is man’s work. The tradition begins when they are young as boys on the island begin learning their trade at the tender age of 8. Chief among these crafts are the iconic chuyo hats that many of the locals wear. Women can also be found making yarn and other tasks surrounding the creation of the items.
The 2,000-some residents of the island are well aware of the tourist appeal of their lovely island and its traditional Spanish garments. They have gone so far as to create a rather unique model for their visitor industry where the villagers act as a community to manage the comings and goings of tourists as well as the attractions they offer. This was in response to outside interests taking control of the island’s tourism when it initially began in the 1970s. The people of Taquile Island are a force to be reckoned with.