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Posts Tagged ‘Orenburg shawls’

Turned Two Corners of Orenburg Shawl

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 14, 2010

Orenburg Shawl

Yay! I finally started the body of the shawl. The photo above shows the edging. I knitted 34 repeats of the edging pattern, turned the first corner with short rows (half a repeat), picked up 273 stitches along the edge, picked up the cast-on stitches, turned the second corner, and started the body of the shawl. The cable of my circular 2.25mm needle feels rough. I suspect that it may have tiny breaks in the plastic. It’s an old Inox needle and I’d hate to have it fall apart while this shawl is on the needles. Fortunately, I have another circular needle this size.

This is the ill-fated Square Medallion Shawl that I began in April, 2010, in a linen thread that didn’t work out. The linen thread would probably have worked for a center out design, but it wasn’t elastic enough for picking up stitches from the edging. The pattern is the Square Medallion Shawl from The Gossamer Webs Design Collection: Three Orenburg Shawls to Knit.

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Finished Orenburg Shawl

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 31, 2010

Orenburg shawl

On the blocking wires:

Orenburg shawl

I’m not sure when I started this shawl but it’s been on the needles for far too long. Last night I realised that I only had another 7 inches of the upper edging, so I sat and knitted it until I came to the end. Then I turned the corner and grafted the last stitches. Ugh. I don’t think I will ever love the Russian method of grafting stitches!

The mitered corner is, in my opinion, a bit too tight for a 45-degree corner at the ends of the triangular shawl, although it works for the 90-degree corner at the bottom. I had to block the corners into submission to get them to lie flat. I also had difficult with the length of the edging matching the diagonal upper edge of the shawl. Maybe I knitted the edging tighter than the body but it had to be stretched rather hard during the blocking stage to eliminate puckering.

The shawl pattern is from Gossamer Webs Design Collection: Three Orenburg Shawls to Knit. I will probably try the square medallion shawl in this collection in the future.


I just had a look at my previous postings on the subject. It looks like I started in August.

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Orenburg Shawl Update

Posted by Avital Pinnick on December 16, 2009

Orenburg Triangular Shawl Update

On the home stretch! I’ve worked about a foot of the last edging. I wasn’t sure of my Russian grafting abilities and, to be honest, it seems a little vulnerable to have the entire diagonal edging attached by a chain of stitches that would unravel if one of the strands broke. So I decided to knit the edging onto the edge stitches. Every third row, one selvedge stitch of the edging has to be grafted to two stitches of the body. To keep track of those two stitches, I ran a couple yards of waste yarn along the edge to remind me.

This triangular shawl pattern is from The Gossamer Webs Design Collection.

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Orenburg Shawl Update

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 14, 2009

It always takes me a little while to get back to the craft projects that have to be put aside for Sukkot and Passover. Washing the accumulated laundry and packing away sukkah decorations takes priority. I snapped a quick photo of my shawl in progress, from The Gossamer Webs Design Collection.

The main part of the shawl is about 3/4 finished. I haven’t decided how to attach the lace edging to the diagonal edge. The instructions specify Russian grafting, which always makes me nervous because it’s a long chain of linked stitches. If the yarn breaks at some point down the road, the whole edge will part company with the edging. Luc C. knitted the edging to the body as he went along, so I may try that method.

Orenburg shawl in progress

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Orenburg Warm Shawl

Posted by Avital Pinnick on September 2, 2009

This is an update on my previous Orenburg shawl blog entry. I was very lucky that Masha hadn’t yet taken her grandmother’s shawls home. I had a closer look at the grey shawl, which I had originally assumed was machine-knit. I wanted to check the borders to see whether they were hand-knit and I discovered that the entire shawl is a hand-knit “warm” shawl. It was carelessness on my part, but I had assumed it was machine-knit because of its very fine gauge (9 stitches = 1 inch over the garter stitch center) and exceptionally even tension in the lace sections. Also, the fuzziness of the goat hair made it difficult to see the stitches clearly and even more difficult to photograph them. Masha saw me struggling with the shawl corner in one hand, the camera in the other, holding them in front of the window so that the light would shine through the knitting, and she offered to be my extra pair of hands.

Corner detal:

Orenburg warm shawl

The grafting, which is how Orenburg shawls are finished, is visible in the upper right. The seam at the right side of the photo shows where the shawl’s stitches were picked up from the edging but, interestingly, the side edgings were not knitted at the same time as the main body of the shawl, from end to end. The were grafted on afterwards on three sides, it appears. If you have difficulty finding the references in the photo, click the photo to go to the original Flickr page. I’ve provided notes on the photo itself.

Where the goat’s down has worn away in spots, it is possible to see the grey cotton thread that was plied with the strand of goat’s down. The border pattern is simple but qutie attractive.

Orenburg warm shawl

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Orenburg Shawls

Posted by Avital Pinnick on August 31, 2009

My Russian office mate, Masha, brought in her grandmother’s shawls. Vera moved to Orenburg from St. Petersburg in the 1950s as a newlywed, with her husband and mother (Sonya). The shawls all date from this decade. Vera’s husband was working on the St. Petersburg – Orenburg phone line and Vera lived for most of her adult life in Orenburg, until she emigrated to Israel in 1991 (she is now 83 years old; her mother Sonya, who also moved to Israel, died 5 years ago).

Sonya’s Shawl

This shawl belonged to Masha’s great-grandmother, Sonya, and was probably purchased in Orenburg. It is knitted from a strand of spun goat’s down plied with a silk thread. The design is made up entirely of diagonal holes. There are no peas or fish-eyes. The border is the characteristic 5-tooth border.

Hand-knit Gossamer Shawl

Hand-knit Gossamer Shawl

Hand-knit Orenburg Shawl

Vera’s Shawl

This shawl was knitted by a friend of Masha’s grandmother, Vera, as a gift. Although it is also made of goat’s down plied with silk, it is somewhat “hairier” than the purchased shawl. I’ve never seen the central gathered stitch in a diamond frame in any of the books on Orenburg shawls. The border is a simple diagonal border.

Hand-knit Gossamer Shawl

Hand-knit Gossamer Shawl

Machine-Made Shawl

Cheap, machine-knit shawls were made in the Orenburg region from the 1940s onwards.

Update: This is not a machine-made shawl! Its gauge is so fine (9 sts/inch) that I had assumed it was machine knitting but it’s actually hand-knit. See my later posting for details.

Machine-knit shawl

Machine-knit shawl

More information on Orenburg shawls

  • Gossamer Webs: The History and Techniques of Orenburg Lace Shawls
  • The Gossamer Webs Design Collection: Three Orenburg Shawls to Knit

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