Orenburg lace shawls are usually square shawls worked on garter stitch ground. Essentially all their lace stitch patterns are based on different orders of yarn over (YO) and knit two together (K2tog) stitches.
The history of the creation of these shawls goes back to the unique breed of goat found in the Orenburg region, which has both firm and soft down. The local goats have long since adapted to the harsh winters with snowstorms and very low temperatures. Their hair is 17 micrometers thick, which is four times thinner than human hair and 1.5 times thinner than the hair of an Angora goat.
There are ten basic stitch pattern elements in Orenburg shawls which can be combined to form beautiful and sometimes complex lace designs. Orenburg shawl knitters learn these patterns and knit them from memory.
Basic Orenburg Lace Stitch Patterns
Peas are patterned on both right and wrong side rows. This element fills up corners, forms rhomboids, and is extensively used in borders.
The honeycomb is patterned on both right and wrong side rows and common in virtually all lace knitting traditions. It is mostly used as an allover pattern in all shawl segments.
3. Fish Eyes
Fish eyes are patterned on both right and wrong side rows. Combinations of fish eyes can be used in every shawl element.
4. Mouse Prints
Mouse prints are patterned on right side rows only, wrong side rows are knitted. They are often used to fill borders and corners.
Strawberries are patterned on right side rows only, wrong side rows are knitted. It’s a popular element used in all shawl sections and common in all knitting traditions with minor variations (cdd instead of k3tog, for instance).
6. Large Strawberries
Large strawberries are patterned on right side rows only, wrong side rows are knitted. Combinations of large strawberries form diamonds, for example.
7. Cat’s Paws
Cat’s paws s are patterned on right side rows only, wrong side rows are knitted.
The accordion element is patterned on every row and used in frames and corners.
9. Chain Hearts
Chain hearts are patterned on right side rows only, wrong side rows are knitted. They can be combined easily to form stripes.
Diagonals are patterned on right side rows only, wrong side rows are knitted and form diamond patterns for shawl centers.
How The Patterns Look Like – Knitted, Not Charted Only
I’m sure you’re eager to see how all these lovely stitch patterns look knitted up. My knitted samples are still drying on the blocking board, so unfortunately you’ll have to wait another day or two until I can include them in this post – I’ll notify you as soon as it’s been updated!
Happy knitting! -Julia