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Cactus Silk Cords

Here in Morocco, the silk that is used in weaving is not from caterpillars, but from the fibers of the Agave cactus plant family — the Aloe Vera cactus, the same plant that gives a sap valuable for creating a salve for sunburn.  Besides using the “silk” to make cloth, Moroccans also make the cording for the decorative edging of the djellabas — the Moroccan robes that both men and women wear.  The traditional way to make the cords is by hand:  an artisan ties a number of fine strands to a iron spike hammered into a wall in the medina and then the strands are twisted into thread down the expanse of the wall.  Once the threads are created, they are woven together until the silk cording is the desired width.

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