This and That

Random bits of my life

Posts Tagged ‘orenburg shawl’

Good-bye, Orenburg Shawl (= Starting Over)

Posted by Avital Pinnick on November 11, 2012

Last look at shawl

Here’s a photo of the shawl before I ripped it. Why did I decide, in the end, to rip it instead of repairing the hole? I was extremely nervous about the fact that (a) the hole was close to the start of the shawl and (b) this has never happened to a project of mine before. It occurred to me (and a friend suggested it) that the yarn may have weakened over time. I’ve had this cone of lace-weight wool for close to 20 years. So I ripped out the entire shawl (took several hours, believe it or not!) until I reached the hole, only about 3 inches from the start of the first edging. Sure enough, the yarn was slightly brittle. I reeled and tested, reeled and tested, until I got through about 20-30 yards. When the yarn seemed to be reasonably sound, I cast on and started knitting again. So far, 10 teeth of the edging. Another 26 teeth to go, before I turn the corners. This is truly a long-term project!

Posted in Crafts, knitting | Tagged: , | 6 Comments »

The Cursed Shawl….

Posted by Avital Pinnick on November 7, 2012

Hole in Orenburg Shawl

I almost finished the body of this Orenburg Square Medallion Shawl, when I saw this big hole in the edging, near the lower right corner (i.e., near the start of the shawl). It isn’t a dropped stitch. It looks like something cut or tore several threads, so I must have caught it on something.

I haven’t decided what to do — sort of wavering between tearing it out now and undoing months of work or just photographing it and going to bed. And I noticed that my camera shutter button is behaving a little strangely, so I’d better dig up that warranty just in case.

Hole in Orenburg Shawl

Update (Nov. 8): Close-up of shawl showing scale:

Hole in Orenburg Shawl

Posted in Crafts | Tagged: , , , , | 13 Comments »

Orenburg Square Medallion Shawl – Approaching the Halfway Mark

Posted by Avital Pinnick on February 12, 2012

Orenburg Shawl

Update (Feb. 16): As Isabelle and others have noticed, there are mistakes in the pattern. Fortunately, Mairi has written corrections on her Ravelry page.

I just realised that I’m long overdue for an update on this project. The pattern is the Square Medallion Shawl from The Gossamer Webs Design Collection: Three Orenburg Shawls to Knit. I was starting to despair of this shawl ever being finished.

I started knitting this shawl in linen and realised that linen isn’ t stretchy enough for Orenburg shawl construction, although it would have been fine for a Niebling doily. So I ripped it out and started over, using a lace-weight off-white wool (Botany Bay, probably a knitting machine yarn).

Then I found a hole:

Hole in Orenburg shawl

It was too large to ignore, so I ripped back 60 rows. That was painful. The wool was so springy that picking up yarn-overs proved tricky. In the photo below I ran a 1.5 mm circular needle through the stitches. Even working under a magnifying glass I still ended up with half the stitches from one row and the other half on another row.

Almost ripped back

After ripping out thousands of stitches (60×200 rows or so), I put away the project for a while. I resumed it after the pain of ripping out all those stitches had faded.

Have you tired of my knitting posts yet? 🙂 I was housebound for two weeks, so there wasn’t a lot to photograph. Now I’m back at work, with less time to knit.

Posted in Crafts, knitting | Tagged: , , , | 9 Comments »

Sometimes Things Don’t Work Out…

Posted by Avital Pinnick on August 22, 2010


This is the square Orenburg shawl, moments before it was unraveled. It didn’t work out. See those deformed cats’ paws near the needle? That was the final straw. I finally faced the fact that this yarn, needle, and pattern were not a happy match.

The linen thread was working but not quite. It’s a little too slubby to knit up evenly. Sometimes I had to peel off 3-inch-long bits of unspun flax. I’m not sure the 2 mm nickel-plated Inox needle was such a good choice. It was a bit too slippery for me to knit fine yarn evenly and I think possibly it was a bit too small, although I did like the hole size in the swatches. The flip side is that if I were to have chosen a larger needle, the finished shawl would have been the size of a tablecloth. So either way there’s a trade-off. One thing’s for sure — I’m going to go back to my trusty, ancient aluminum-coated needles for my next attempt. You haven’t heard the last of this!

Shawl being unraveled with a ball-winder:


The former shawl, reduced to its elements. The linen is a nice yarn but better suited for fine weaving. NO, I am not going to look for a 32-dent reed for my table loom so that I can knit a bunch of napkins. This thread would work for a doily or tablecloth, preferably knit from the center outwards. The thread doesn’t have enough stretch for knitting off the edging selvedge.


The next possible substitute. I’ve had this yarn in my stash for about 15 years. It was an impulse buy in London on one of my first visits after I married an Englishman. Tonight I’ll cast on some stitches and see how the tension works with a 3 mm needle. Or maybe 2.5 mm.


Posted in Crafts, knitting | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

Square Medallion Shawl Update

Posted by Avital Pinnick on May 9, 2010

Edging of Square Medallion Shawl

I’ve completed 18 of the 35 teeth of the first edging of this shawl. Just over the halfway mark! The shawl is the Square Medallion Shawl from The Gossamer Webs Design Collection: Three Orenburg Shawls to Knit.

The yarn is a very fine unbleached linen. It’s on a cone with no label, so I suspect that I picked it up in a weaving supply shop at some point, perhaps on one of my first visits to London.

Posted in Crafts, knitting | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Square Medallion Shawl

Posted by Avital Pinnick on April 16, 2010

I’ve started a new knitting project because I need some relatively mindless follow-the-pattern knitting that I can pick up when I don’t have time to set up an embroidery frame or other craft thing. It’s also a useful thing to take to meetings (“Why do you always knit in meetings?” “So I won’t stab anybody.”).

I found a cone of what I thought was oatmeal-coloured wool, probably for machine knitting. When I started the swatch, I realised that it was not wool but some cellulose fiber, probably linen. In order to confirm that it was linen and rule out shatnez. Shatnez is the fiber mixture of wool and linen that Jews are forbidden to wear. Please note: this does not mean that all plant/animal combos are forbidden; that is a common misconception. Also, the prohibition applies to clothing and not to, say, carpets or cushions because they do not come into contact with the body, although some stricter opinions say that its better not to have them.

Here are the results of the burn test. The yarn burned cleanly, with little ash, and its smoke smelled like paper or wood. The fiber has slubs and bits of plant matter, so I’m positive that it’s linen. It isn’t smooth enough to have been spun wet, so it’s a bit hairy. Spinning flax for a smooth thread is a very messy business because you have to keep your hands wet and you end up slopping water all over the place. That’s one of the reasons why flax is not one of my favourite fibers to spin, although I have done it (after cleaning my wheel very thoroughly before and after of the wool fibers). Flax spinning is also very hard on the hands, especially when dry-spun like this thread was, although it was obviously spun by a commercial mill.

Burn test of fiber

Here’s the swatch I started of the edging. I’ll post more about the pattern later when I have more time. The needles are 2mm (size 0), which seems right for this weight of thread. I started the swatch on the Aero coated needles below but later switched to Inox nickel-plated needles because the points are sharper, which makes it much easier to knit 2 or 3 stitches together.

Swatch for Orenburg shawl


Posted in Crafts, knitting | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Locked Out & Modeling the Orenburg Shawl

Posted by Avital Pinnick on February 1, 2010

Masha and I got locked out of our new office this morning.

Wait, back up, Avital.

In our last installment of the Adventures of Yinnon and Masha (Yinnon’s birthday party), I mentioned that Yinnon and Masha were moving out of my room to the seventh floor. They finally moved at the end of last week. The big surprise was that I went with them. Two other technical writers were asked to move into the new room so that their seats could be given to systems engineers. One of the writers got quite upset about having to move. I had a look at the new room and decided to offer my old place to the miffed tech writer and move upstairs to be with my old office mates. (I wouldn’t move for just anyone, guys! I’ve been in that room for three years and loved it.) The fourth person, Chaim, was also a former office mate in that tiny office in the corner, so we all know each other’s foibles.

Chaim gave me a key to the room last night and I left it on my desk. We never locked our old room, so it never occurred to me that I would actually need to use it. Masha hadn’t yet come in since last week so she didn’t have a key. Chaim left last yesterday and locked the door.

We called security and waited. And waited.

I set up my tripod (which just proves that a girl should never go any place without her tripod) and cable release while the executives started arriving and went into the conference room at the end of the hall. We have a room in executive row, which is why we have a nice couch and painting above it; the rest of the building doesn’t look like this.

I took pictures. We were feeling sorry for ourselves. I’m on the right, in the green hat.


Locked out of our room


Locked out of our room

Security guy: “This is really your room?”


The real reason I brought in my tripod and cable remote was so that I could photograph myself wearing the new shawl. So here it is, folks — me and the shawl.

Orenburg shawl

Oops — camera angle is a little low. Took this shot before I remembered to raise the tripod.

Orenburg shawl

Orenburg shawl

Posted in photography | Tagged: , , , | 15 Comments »