Knitting Orenburg and Santa Fe Together
I had the pleasure of meeting Mara Bishop Statnekov and other lace knitters at one of Galina Khmeleva’s lace knitting events last spring. While it was unmistakable that each one of the 50+ women in attendance was serious about studying and perfecting her Orenburg lace knitting skills, it was interesting to see each knitter’s personality came out in her craft.
Some of the knitters only knit in bright colors while others stuck to the traditional, neutral hues. Some found pride in perfectly reproducing authentic Russian patterns and motifs while others took inspiration from Orenburg and created their own patterns. One woman knit only with her own handspun, gossamer-lace yarn, and sat quietly spinning a few fibers at a time on her Russian spindle.
Not only did I admire these women’s dedication, skill, and patience, but I revered their strong friendship. Their relationships had been forged through many years of knitting lace together, whether at a retreat or across the miles during their online knit nights. Such a group could be cliquish, but they weren’t. I was so grateful for their warm welcome.
I loved sitting down with Mara and her friends, flipping through lace patterns and photographs, and discussing the history and inspiration behind each design. Mara told me much of her design inspiration comes from her home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, an area where she has lived for almost forty years. She combines traditional Orenburg gossamer lace construction with geometric design elements from indigenous peoples of the American Southwest.
I encourage you to check out Mara’s exquisite pattern in PieceWork’s newest kit—the Santa Fe Scarf. This piece is characteristic of Mara’s work, combining Orenburg-lace techniques and construction with geometric motifs inspired by her New Mexico home. Plus, I love the soft merino/silk yarn and rich turquoise color. The kit contains the yarn and a digital edition of the March/April 2017 issue of PieceWork with Mara’s pattern and charts (this stunning project is on the cover!). Here’s a treasure to knit for your own collection or someone you love.
Featured Image: Detail of the Santa Fe Scarf from PieceWork March/April 2017. Photos by Joe Coca