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


Follow Irene Waggener into the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco to learn about a knitting tradition that stretches back in time through generations - possibly to the very origins of the craft.

In this collection of 7 essays and 13 patterns, readers are given a glimpse of life in a High Atlas village where knitting once played a key role in surviving harsh, snowy winters.

The knitting patterns in this book include traditional designs by shepherds who want to share their knowledge with other knitters and future generations. The patterns are presented alongside essays that provide the cultural and environmental context in which knitting was practiced in the High Atlas.

In addition, Irene’s research takes the reader backwards in time as she examines the history of knitting in Morocco and North Africa. Through historical accounts, linguistic clues, and museum artifacts - some of which have not been available to the general public until now - Irene presents a holistic view of knitting in North Africa from Morocco to Egypt. Her research is accompanied by knitting patterns inspired by historical sources, bringing to life once again the skills of early North African knitters.

As requested by the shepherds who contributed to this book, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to the women’s cooperative, Cooperative Ibilou. The cooperative will use these funds for community development projects that will benefit everyone in their village.

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