Llama Mania (of the sewing and real life varieties)

Monday, January 20, 2014

overlooking Machu Picchu

In September 2012, Jon and I spent 10 days traveling around Peru. We landed in Lima and then travelled to Cusco, Machu Picchu, Puno and Lake Titicaca. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking as Peru is known for having 28 of the 32 different microclimates in the world.

Lake Titicaca

Hand Knit Hats on Lake Titicaca

We were enamored by all of the artisans we saw. Weavings, hand knits, hooked rugs and dyes were available for sale.

Natural dyes for sale at the market

Jon with an alpaca and lamb

Of course, we loved seeing an abundance of sheep, alpaca and llamas. We quickly learned that photo ops like these were one of the top tourist traps.

Endless things (and photo ops) for sale

woman with her alpaca


massive Andes

We spent two days exploring Machu Picchu and attempting to overcome our fear of heights with lots of hiking mountain climbing (it didn't really work!). The actual site of Machu Picchu is surrounding by the Andes Mountains and makes it feel really intimate.

Llama stalking

We pretty much spent our second day stalking the llamas on the site. They are so cute!

Llama at Machu Picchu

Lauren, from the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild, wowed us all with her intricate llama paper piecing at our November meeting. There was a loud gasp from all the members as she held it up during show and tell. I had never really heard of or understood paper piecing before, but her project gave me the impetus to learn!

Paper piecing setup

The pattern is Leonard the Llama from Sew What Sherlock. I set up my sewing table with my light box, glue pen, add-a-quarter ruler and iron and ironing board and got to work. It was overwhelming at first, but once I focused on a small piece at a time, it came together during a day off from work.

Detail of Llama head

My assistant

Llama paper piecing

Pillow Covers

I free motion quilted around the llama and turned this into an envelope pillow case for our newly acquired down pillow forms from Ikea. I backed it with this llama fabric from Laurie Wisbrun. In addition to the llama, I made a contrasting pillow with some new Botanics fabric quilted in a random grid pattern. It's nice to have some fun new pillows that remind us of our trip to Peru!

Laurie Wisbrun Llama fabric


  1. It looks like you could use the face of the lama, shorten the ears a little and make a small body minus the neck and you'd have a paper pieced pug! Very cute llama though! And your trip looked amazing :)

  2. Thanks for sharing my pattern, it really turned out great!! I love the colors you chose, and I love that backing, wish I could muster the guts to buy some of my own!

  3. gorgeous gorgeous photos from your trip!
    loving the llama cushion cover! that's amazing for your first paper piecing ever!


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