The Weavers of Chinchero
The alpaca wool is washed in a detergent made by grating a root into warm water. The all natural plant and cochineal dyes (516/517) are permanent once they have been boiled into the wool. Cochineal beetles live on the prickly pear cactus in what look like webs of puffed of talc. The ladies still use the dye as lipstick as well.
Their finely woven fabrics are used in commercial as well as tourist outlets. What made this a memorable experience for us was the warmth and friendliness of these industrious ladies.