Silken Fog: Drawing Knitting Inspiration from Nature

Learn how to knit this lighter-than-air Silken Fog Stole!

Inna Voltchkova’s lighter-than-air wrap.

We had a solid week of rain in Fort Collins recently, accompanied by a fair amount of clouds and fog. I couldn’t see the mountains for days. At first, their invisibility bothered me; having lived in Kansas for the last fifteen years, elevations* in the landscape thrill my soul. Then I started to notice how bits and pieces of the Rockies peeked through the misty air. When the sun finally came out over the weekend, the Front Range looked even more beautiful because it had been barely visible for so long.

The same kinds of contrasts emerge in Inna Voltchkova’s Silken Fog stole. I would never have thought the words “silken” and “fog” could go together, but of course they do. When fog closes in on us, it might feel cold and clammy (or scary if you watch certain movies). But fog can also sharpen colors in the landscape and soften harsh lines. Some of the loveliest vistas I’ve seen in Colorado were also the foggiest. Throw silk into the mix and fog might even seem warm and comforting. Inna’s chosen yarn combines fibers from two of the most different critters on the planet–dainty, fragile silkworms and huge shaggy yaks–making this wrap soft, snug, and strong without sacrificing delicacy. Lace itself plays off knit stitches collected around negative space. With Orenburg knitting, these lace elements come from everyday experiences and get names like Peas, Flies, and Spiders. When else might you feel comfortable with flies and spiders on your neck? Lastly, the stole will impress everyone who sees it with your knitting ability, yet Inna used only the simplest stitches for the elements.

The next time we get a lot of rain (probably later this week), I’ll remember these contrasts and try not to grumble. It would help if I had this stole in my closet, ready to shelter me from the weather. Looks like I’ll be buying a kit soon!.

If you haven’t tried lace knitting, or Orenburg lace, join me starting June 23 for an online course, featuring a video lecture by renowned Orenburg expert and designer Galina Khmeleva.

Happy lace knitting,


* In 2003, researchers definitively proved that Kansas is flatter than a pancake. Google “Kansas pancake experiment,” and you’ll find numerous links.