Although they grow abundant maize, potatoes, wheat and barley, most of Taquile’s population of 1200 people are also weavers and knitters of fine alpaca wool, renowned for their excellent cloth. You can still watch the locals drop-spin, a common form of hand-spinning that produces incredibly fine thread for their special cloth. The men sport black woollen trousers fastened with elaborate waistbands woven in pinks, reds and greens, while the women wear beautiful black headscarves, sweaters, dark shawls and up to eight skirts at the same time, trimmed usually with shocking-pink or bright-red tassels and fringes. You can tell if a man is married or single by the colour of his woollen hat, or chullo, the former’s being all red and the latter’s also having white; single men usually weave their own chullos. The community authorities or officials wear black sombreros on top off their red chullos and carry a staff of office.

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