INTI is the sun god of the Incas. In 1993 the founders of INTI Leon and Anna Cales set off to South America as adventurous backpackers. It was love at first sight.
INTI develops items that are handmade with respect for nature, cultures and people. Stitch by stitch and stitch by stitch, each knitted piece is lovingly developed from quality materials on two needles by local knitters in their own homes.
For the woven products, the wool is still handwoven in the traditional way, which preserves its characteristic structure. Weaving is a labor-intensive process: INTI's weaving takes place in Fabian and Elsa's weaving mill in Ecuador. Fabian warps and weaves a wide variety of colors on the loom. When the weaving is finished, he combs the shawl with a large card. This creates an amazing effect: the color mixture is always a pleasant surprise.
The materials and garments are made from the highest quality baby alpaca wool from Peru. Each knitter keeps a small amount of this exclusive yarn for their own use. The rest is carefully weighed and processed into INTI items. The idea here: to make beautiful things and to do it with joy.
The alpaca is a camelid native to South America. Not to be confused with its relative, the llama. The petite alpaca has straighter, smaller ears and has been carefully bred and domesticated for its luxurious single-layer coat, its fiber fit for royalty, for no less than 6000 years. Similar to fine merino wool (sheep's wool), alpaca wool is warmer, less prickly, contains no lanolin (making it hypoallergenic) and is naturally water and fire resistant. The wool comes from small, species-appropriate herds and is museling-free.
Social Responsibility: Anna and Leon still spend about half the year in Otavalo in northern Ecuador to support the production and the team of around 700 knitters. In addition, they are closely involved in every step of the production process, from the design phase, to the dyeing and knitting of the wool, to the distribution of the products. They spend the other half in the Netherlands, visiting shops, events, trade fairs and companies.
The women INTI cooperates with live in rather deserted villages. Their husbands often work in the cities and are gone during the week; the children are at school. Working on INTI items gives these women a purpose and a source of income of their own. They are free to plan their workload according to their needs and wishes. This resulted in some very vibrant communities of women sharing guidance, experiences and techniques, checking things out and collaborating. Some of them have been knitting for INTI for over twenty years.
All INTI items are handmade in Ecuador from natural yarns and are part of a limited production. Any imperfections should be considered as part of the uniqueness. We hope you cherish them as much as INTI cherishes them when making them.