Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Strawberry Scarf

I attended a lace knitting workshop in April 2012, sponsored by the Fremont Fiber Arts Guild.  Our guest teacher was Galina Khmeleva, a knitter from Russia who is working very hard to keep the Orenburg Knitted-Lace Tradition alive.  She currently lives in the U.S., owns the company Skaska Designs,  and gives workshops across the country.

It has taken me about 2 1/2 months, but I finally finished my first Orenburg lace scarf. It is made of 50% silk and 50% merino wool, and it measures about 15" wide and 60" long.  I actually made it about 10 inches longer than the pattern required because I wanted to be able to wear it more like a shawl than a scarf.  It's a challenge to get a good picture of it, but here's a shot.

The Strawberry Scarf 

I have to say that I really enjoyed knitting this scarf.  Some lace projects, not so much. ( For instance, I still have a beautiful raspberry-colored  lace shawl on the needles...which I started 2 or 3 years ago.  I supposed most knitters have one of those projects waiting for them to return.) However, one of the things about Orenburg Lace that I really like is that it looks the same on both sides; there is no wrong side. Russian women would often have to wrap themselves in their scarves or shawls before sun-up, and with low light making it difficult  to see, they didn't have to worry about whether or not the right side of their lace would be facing out to be admired by others; it would always be the right side. Secondly, these patterns have knit stitches only--no purl stitches!!  Yahoo! Another fun characteristic of a well-made Orenburg scarf is that the holes must be small enough that your little finger cannot go through them. Evidently, good Russian mothers would check out the handiwork of their sons' potential brides for this kind of workmanship!  The saw-tooth edging may look a bit complicated, but it's easy and frames the scarf beautifully. 

Many thanks to my friend Julie, who walked me through the last steps of "turning the corner" and putting the lace edge on the end of the scarf.  It did take some "ripping back," some questions and  grumbling by me, calm words of encouragement by Julie...oh, and refreshment in a red solo cup.


  1. Bravo, Nancy! It's beautiful.

    My project is still in the "sample" stage. One of these days, I will be brave enough to make a scarf.

    1. Thanks, Nancy! When you're ready to go beyond the "sample," just give a holler!

  2. You did it. Nice job!