Orenburg Lace Knitting with Galina Khmeleva

PieceWork is so fortunate to have Galina Khmeleva, doyenne of Orenburg lace knitting, as a frequent contributor. She has been beyond generous in sharing her passion for this type of knitting with us. The following is her introduction to one of my favorite projects—her Honeycomb scarf from our May/June 2010 issue. Please note the family photograph and lacquerware box from her collection in the photographs.
—Jeane Hutchins

Galina Khmeleva

Galina Khmeleva’s Honeycomb scarf shown with a family photograph. Pictured are (left to right) Baba Grunya, her paternal grandmother; Alesander Khmelev, her father; Olimpiada, her sister; and Olimpiada Khmeleva, her mother. The photograph was taken in December 1939 in Rybinsk, USSR. Galina’s handcarved walrus tusk crochet hook from Chukotka, USSR, circa 1950 is on the scarf. Photos by Joe Coca.

According to many of my students, of all the ten basic elements found in Orenburg-style knitted lace, the Honeycomb (Sotki in Russian) motif presents the biggest challenge. Thus, I always recommend that my students begin a Honeycomb lace project by knitting at least one swatch to both develop an understanding of and establish a rhythm to the Honeycomb element.

While participating in a recent Michigan Fiber Festival, I discovered a lovely Honeycomb scarf for sale that a former student had knitted; I was so impressed with it that I purchased it for display purposes. The resulting demand for the written pattern for this scarf was enormous, so I immediately got to work to produce it. I hope that you enjoy knitting this scarf as much as I did!

JaggerSpun Zephyr, 50% merino/50% silk yarn, laceweight, 5,040 yards (4,609 m)/1 pound (160 g) cone, Sage (this project requires about 4 ounces (1,260 yards [1,152 m]) of yarn
Fiber Fantasy Knitting Products Blockers Kit (contains stiff and flexible blocking wires, T-pins, yardstick
Needles, size 2 (2.75 mm) or size needed to obtain gauge (Affiliate link)
Markers, 2, contrasting colors
Crochet hook, size M/13 (9 mm)

Finished size: 70 inches (177.8 cm) long and 19½ inches (49.5 cm) wide, excluding fringe, after blocking

Gauge: 26 sts and 36 rows = 4 inches (10.2 cm) in Honeycomb patt

Galina Khmeleva of Fort Collins, Colorado, is the owner of Skaska Designs and a frequent contributor to PieceWork. She has been teaching the art of Orenburg lacemaking to U.S. knitters since 1996. Visit her website at www.skaska.com.

Download a copy of the May/June 2010 issue of PieceWork to make Galina’s charming Honeycomb scarf for you or for someone you love.

Since Galina lives in Fort Collins, many of us have had the opportunity to meet her in person, a privilege and a delight. Now you can meet her up close and personal and learn more about the ongoing tradition of knitting Orenburg warm shawls in Interweave’s new online workshop, The Orenburg Warm Shawl with Galina Khmeleva. For a preview of the workshop and a lovely tribute to Galina, read a recent blog post, “A Love Letter to Galina Khmeleva & the Orenburg Lace Shawl”. You also can take one of her classes at Interweave’s Yarn Fest, March 27–31 in Loveland, Colorado!

Featured Image: Galina A. Khmeleva’s Honeycomb scarf shown with a Russian lacquerware box from her collection.

Discover more about Galina’s passion for Orenburg lace knitting with PieceWork!


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