Doha Laghrari: Making Seamless Connections
A qualified engineer, Doha Laghrari draws up projects on a daily basis that drive her team and her clients. While she weaves with them their success through technology, our expert also knits strong links with two needles. Meet a rigorous leader who is reviving and rethinking an ancestral tradition.
Needles are clicking again; knitting is on the rise amongst newer generations. Why? Could it be because of its now-established benefits for health, happiness, and confidence? For our expert Doha Laghrari, she first got serious about knitting during her first pregnancy. Complications had left her bedridden. Immobilized, her belly growing, she unfurled her hands in yarn and wool. Repeating the same gestures, knitting grew, stitch by stitch, and so did her passion. This kind of time is precious to devote oneself to this activity that demands perseverance. Today, however, time is scarce. So when it’s vacation time, Doha makes the most of it. She knits sweaters, dresses, even plaids for her daughters, or a scarf for her husband. She also knits patterns for friends’ children. And while her hands knit, her head plans a project that will bring people together. What if her passion could empower people with limited mobility? In this new interview in the Humans above all series, our project manager Doha Laghrari shares her passion. This knitter tells us how, by clicking her needles, she creates ties and a dream of solidarity.
Doha Laghrari joined our team as project manager in May 2021. Then, in January 2022, she was named coordinator of managed services. Living in Marrakech, our expert works closely with our talents in Morocco.
10 questions for Doha Laghrari
1. How did your knitting story begin?
I really started knitting when I was pregnant with my first daughter, Neila, who is now 7 years old. I’d already learned some techniques from my aunt, who’d been knitting for years. During my pregnancy, I knitted a lot because I was bedridden.
2. What was your most memorable knitting experience?
I taught knitting to a woman who had a physical disability. She lost her mobility after a fall. She had been working at my sister-in-law’s, but could not anymore. When I have orders, I offer her to work for me. And one day I would like to start my own business.
3. What kind of business would you like to start?
My dream is to start a business and employ women. I see a lot of potential for people with physical disabilities or mobility problems. They have no real access to work. It would be a way to combine passion and solidarity. If I could get them to work there, that would be my dream. That’s the business I’d like to start. There’s already this woman with a disability whom I taught to knit. The idea is to get more people in this situation and make it a real business. Of course, it takes time to set up this type of business. So, it’s a project for later… It would be for when the kids are older, or for my retirement, or… if I win the lottery!
4. Knitting has many benefits. What benefits does it bring you on a daily basis?
It allows me to relax, to unwind. When the girls are asleep, I take out the knitting. I can even do it while speaking with someone. The act of knitting, of following the pattern, of repeating movements, it’s relaxing. You stop thinking. You can chat while you work. Of course, if I do it for too long, my hands get sore! But in general, it’s relaxing. It helps me relax. But it doesn’t really help you sleep. Sometimes you get so caught up in the project that you have to force yourself to stop!
5. How do you create your patterns?
I don’t have enough experience yet to create a pattern from scratch. The tricky part is knowing how many stitches you need to get the right length and width. So I look up pattern explanations to find out the size. I don’t need a pattern to knit blankets. But I prefer to knit them in baby size. (Otherwise it’s too long!) I once made one for myself: I worked on it for 2 years straight! For the motifs on the blanket, I first draw them on paper and then I transpose them.
6. In what context did you knit the pieces in your photos?
They were gifts that I had made for friends. I’m very proud of them. It is a personalized gift, rather than something that is purchased. Sometimes it’s because I love a pattern, but my daughter is too small or too tall! People are often very happy to receive a handmade gift.
7. Do you ever knit with others?
My aunt and grandma knit. When I lived in Casablanca, I’d go to my granny’s house. We’d spend the whole afternoon just the three of us, knitting together. Now that I live in Marrakech, I sometimes knit with my sister who is also a knitter.
8. For those who would like to try their hand at knitting, how can you learn?
Back in my aunt’s and mother’s day, everyone knitted. It was the generation in which everybody knew how to knit. My mother’s generation knew how to knit, embroider, sew… It was even taught in school. At least it was at her school! My grandmother still does it to keep herself busy. After getting pregnant, it was something I just wanted to do.Today, few people know how to knit. My sister liked what I was doing and then she picked it up. She now makes her own clothes. She’s more active than I am! You can get started by watching a few YouTube videos.
9. Do you create other forms of textile art?
I’m sticking to knitting: I have a hard time learning crochet. I’m not sure why. My sister started with crochet, then switched to knitting, with both needles. The nice thing about crochet is that you don’t have to sew it all up at the end. I don’t like sewing at all! I’ve sometimes knitted the whole project and then handed it to my aunt to sew! That said, I also really enjoy baking.
10. For anyone thinking of starting to knit, what sites would you recommend?
Several sites sell wool and offer beautiful patterns. For instance, you can find patterns online (in French) at:
Tying it all up
Engineer, project manager, wife, mother, sister, daughter, niece, friend, instructor: Doha Laghrari creates strong ties across the board. You can see it too in the repeated, meditative gesture, the know-how handed down from her aunt, from generations before. Here too, Doha is forging links. After all, knitwear doesn’t just warm the body or dazzle with its finesse and intricacy. It tells of the hands that made them. It holds hours of reflections, dreams, conversations, and beginnings. And it bears the lasting joy of making a very special gift for someone. Another gift is to pass on the joy of knitting to anyone who can handle needles. As Doha observes, there is great potential in knitting for the integration of people with reduced mobility in Morocco. Not only is it a rewarding art, it’s also a way to anchor oneself in one’s community through one’s hands. We are inspired by Doha’s dream of rethinking knitting to include people with limited mobility. May this project flourish as it continues to grow. Incidentally, the expression ‘close-knit’ really applies here. Thank you to our expert Doha Laghrari. Thank you for inspiring us by sharing your passion and dream in this Humans above all interview.
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