Tapestry Crochet in Morocco

The Internet and tapestry crochet did it again! This time they introduced me to Bronwyn Menton from Australia! What a happy surprise to receive an email from her with the picture of the young man (below) tapestry crocheting in Essaouira, Morocco.

Crocheter in Morocco
This hip fellow listens to music while he sells and tapestry crochets hats like the one below (Bronwyn 2006).

Slip stitched hat from Morocco
He tapestry crochets with slip stitches.  It is impossible to carry the other yarn with the slip stitch, so . . .

Inside view of Morocco hat
. . . the other yarn runs along the back of the stitches.

Bronwyn explained, “The hats that the young lad was making I think were for the beanie wearing fashion conscious adolescents, fishermen and tourists – or maybe just for people to keep their heads warm rather than for cultural reasons.  Essaouira has a very hip culture musically (Jimmi Hendrix, Cat Stevens and Leonard Cohen all spent a lot of time there) and is a centre for African music festivals.  It also has a surfing culture – even saw a surf shop with its own brand of clothing to rival our Aussie brands.  But the main thing that happens in Essaouira is fishing and I reckon it would be mighty cold out on the Atlantic in those little blue boats!  Hence my opinion about who buys the woollen hats. The wool used in this beanie, and many others is often what the Moroccans call ‘dead wool’.  This means that it is wool that has been taken from sheep already slaughtered for meat.  The wool is of a poorer quality than ‘live wool’ and usually has a very unpleasant smell.  I had to wash the beanies several times to get rid of the smell!”

Wool in Morocco
Bronwyn saw both natural and synthetic dyes being used to color wool (used primarily for carpet weaving) in large ceramic vats at Djemaa el-Fna, the huge market in the heart of Marrakesh.

Market in Morocco
The market she visited sells both raw materials and the finished products.

All of the hats that Bronwyn saw for sale in Marrakesh were tapestry crocheted with acrylic yarn and often included gold or silver thread.

Bronwyn buying hats in Morocco
So many choices! Bronwyn met the challenge with flying colors in Marrakesh.

Tapestry crochet hat from Morocco
This is the icing on the cake! Bronwyn gave me this Moroccan hat!

Detail of a hat from Morocco
This hat was double crocheted with fine acrylic yarn and metallic thread.

Bronwyn’s last email said, “. . . I so want to go back there!  It was a really fascinating place – so colourful, varied and culturally rich.  I was looking at the mosaics in the Blue Mosque in Casablanca and they reminded me of the photos you posted from Spain.  There is just so much to see and so little time . . .”

Until I heard from her, I did not realize that tapestry crochet was done there. This fantastic news moves Morocco towards the top of my list of places I HAVE TO VISIT SOON. Thanks so much, Bronwyn!

16 Responses to “Tapestry Crochet in Morocco”

  1. Von says:

    Carol, I don’t know how you spend so much time traveling, but I’m glad you do! The more I see/learn, the more fascinated I become. :)

  2. I have traveled a lot, but I haven’t been to Morocco. Actually, I was there as a child with my parents on vacation, but all I remember is the camel ride! It’s time to go back as an adult!

  3. Bobbie Mills says:

    I love reading your blog. I feel like I’m taking a virtual tour of the world and learning some very interesting facts about tapestry crochet. I love the insight into the various cultures that use that form of artistic expression and seeing how they incorporate beautiful designs into the process.

  4. Khadijah says:

    Thanks for the beautiful photos.
    I have been to Morocco many, many times since 1977 and I am married to a Moroccan from Casablanca.
    Just to let you know, the hats ARE cultural and not just for “fishermen” . All Muslim men cover their heads ( except for the modern ones who have been influenced by French culture). You see men wearing these hats ( called “kufees” ) everywhere in Morocco.
    My father in law crochets them himself.
    With salaamz, Khadijah

  5. Great post! I’ll probably blog something similar later. Crocheted Beanie Hat

  6. syeda says:

    i likee morracain hat .Its realy very nice, please sombody or owner of this website or pattern owner send me this pattern. I will be very thankfull.

  7. jeanne says:

    Hi, I love these crochet patterns and the tapestry is something I would love to try. I was greatly impressed by your pages on crochet. Thanks for putting them here.

    Jeanne

  8. GerriAnn says:

    This is all lovely work and I am very interested in learning how to tapestry crochet. I’m a spinner/weaver/knitter and seeing all that yarn hanging from the rafters was like eating chocolate. Is it possible to buy yarn from Morocco?

  9. I liked your post about tapestry crochet in Morocco. Recently I lived in Morocco for two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer where I worked with a women’s handicraft cooperative. One of my main projects with them was product development. As part of that I taught them how to do tapestry crochet and make small coin purses. Here’s a link to the work that they’ve been doing:
    http://emily-jon-morocco.blogspot.com/2010/09/new-inventory-for-fall-2010.html
    Enjoy!

  10. I worked with a backstrap weaving cooperative in Guatemala as a Peace Corps volunteer in the late 1970’s – helping with product development, marketing, shipping, and preparing them to run the organization. So I’m especially happy to congratulate you! Well done!!!!

  11. Nancy Rubio says:

    Yes, i would like to commend this young man of his crocheting gift.
    I would love to see him make a market to sell them here in the united states, maybe an idea.

    Or to hospitals where cancer patients can use while they going through
    their treatments, Who knows where it could lead.

    Keep up the good work the hats are beautiful, i crochet but nothing like that but i’m going to try though. I learned from my grandma, but never learned how to read the patterns.
    Keep it up/ an may God bless you an your talent that you have.

  12. […] to go to Morocco for some time now, especially since Bronwyn introduced me to the interesting tapestry crochet hats made and worn there. Fortunately, my husband and I were able to join Susan Schaefer Davis during […]

  13. […] Ribatallah has really grown up since Bronwyn met him in 2006. Maybe that’s why he and his Father were able to change places. Othman now runs the family […]

  14. JamJarv says:

    http://www.tapestrycrochet.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/scannedmoroccohat.jpg

    Do you have a pattern for this style of hat in any of your books / online?

    Thanks

  15. Unfortunately, I have not yet published a pattern using slip stitch tapestry crochet.

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