Keepers of the Sheep: Knitting in Morocco’s High Atlas and Beyond

Keepers of the Sheep: Knitting in Morocco’s High Atlas and Beyond documents the knitting tradition of shepherds in Morocco’s High Atlas mountains. It is the culmination of three years of research, interviews, participant observation, and writing. Seven essays and thirteen patterns give the reader a glimpse of life in a High Atlas village and theContinue reading “Keepers of the Sheep: Knitting in Morocco’s High Atlas and Beyond”

Washing Wool in the High Atlas

How do Cooperative Ibilou artisans create such fluffy, clean clouds of carded wool for spinning? It all starts with a walk to the river with a bundle of fresh High Atlas sheep wool. You can read more about the washing process and how the wool is spun in my article published in Ply Magazine’s SummerContinue reading “Washing Wool in the High Atlas”

Morocco’s Knitted Pants

Melting snow dripped from the eaves of the rammed-earth homes. My friend and I carefully picked our way through the slick mud of the narrow path that wound between the multi-storied buildings, trying our best to avoid the bone-chilling drops. Eventually, the path widened to a small square flanked on all sides by dwellings withContinue reading “Morocco’s Knitted Pants”

Men Who Knit: A High Atlas Knitting Tradition in Morocco

  “I learned to knit from my father, and he learned to knit from his father who learned to knit from his father going all the way back before people can remember. As far as I know, people have always knit here.” Hussein holds his skinny, double-pointed needles in his hands as he recounts whatContinue reading “Men Who Knit: A High Atlas Knitting Tradition in Morocco”

Spinning Yarn in Morocco’s High Atlas Tradition

Those who weave in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco are often proficient spinners, as well. From a young age, girls learn to spin all types of yarn to produce different kinds of textiles for the home. You can read a bit about High Atlas textile usage in this blog post here. However, as moreContinue reading “Spinning Yarn in Morocco’s High Atlas Tradition”

How the Amazigh Use Their Famous “Berber Rugs”

Berber-style rugs from Morocco are extremely popular around the world. You can find photos of them on Instagram and Pinterest decorating living rooms, bedrooms, and even bathrooms. Danielle Blundell from Apartment Therapy shares her hypothesis for why in this comprehensive piece that also includes a photo of a Citizenry rug made by artisans of the Anou communityContinue reading “How the Amazigh Use Their Famous “Berber Rugs””

Yarn Weights in Morocco’s Middle Atlas Mountains

In many countries around the world, knitting yarn is available in different thicknesses or weights. Each weight has its own name, so it’s easy for knitters to describe exactly what they’re using for a given project. A knitter might choose a fingering weight yarn for socks or a light shawl; a sport or DK weightContinue reading “Yarn Weights in Morocco’s Middle Atlas Mountains”

Spinning in Morocco’s Middle Atlas Mountains

Last week, I spent a few days with Mustapha, an Anou artisan leader, and his family. They live in a small Middle Atlas town near the Ifran river. The goal of my trip was to learn about the spinning techniques used by the women in this area. After some mint tea and under the watchfulContinue reading “Spinning in Morocco’s Middle Atlas Mountains”

Notes on Wool: Sample #1

Through my Notes on Wool series, I explore various types of wool available in Morocco. As a new spinner, I am also using this opportunity to learn about the process of turning raw wool into yarn suitable for knitting (my preferred craft medium). What follows are the steps I took, their results, and my observationsContinue reading “Notes on Wool: Sample #1”

Time Traveling to a Green Sahara

“You see those tiny rocks there? Those used to be plants,” said Dr. Paul Adderley, a soil scientist who was giving me a tour of Gobero, a 10,000 year old world in the middle of Niger’s Sahara desert. We were standing on a low ridge looking across the barren earth stretching far beyond the horizon. AsContinue reading “Time Traveling to a Green Sahara”