"On this uncomfortable snowstorm evening,

When the snow is on the streets

Put it on, dear, on your shoulders

Orenburg fluffy scarf.


The legend

... As the legend says, the frozen steppe began to complain that it will die from the cold. She was heard by a stone woman (as people call the huge boulders that are often found in these open spaces) and regretted - she wove a fluffy and warm scarf from the clouds and covered the steppe with it.

According to one version, it is a snow cover, so the knitting patterns seem to repeat the tracks in the snow - they are called “cat paw”, “mouse print”, and also “deaf” (dialect: black berry - blackberry or black currant), “ honeycomb", "fish". According to another version - steppe feather grass with its white airy “wadding”). People liked this miracle so much that they began to repeat patterns and knit scarves from delicate goat feathers.

Other legend

It all started over two centuries ago. According to legend, the first Russian settlers who arrived in the Urals were surprised by the light clothing of the Kalmyk and Kazakh horsemen. As a lining for their light clothing, they used scarves knitted from goat down. Then the scarf had only one function - to warm, and was sewn "deep", that is, without ruffles and fancy patterns.

Later, Russian Cossack women turned a downy shawl into a real work of art.

According to legend, she liked the shawl created by the Ural Cossacks for Catherine II so much that she ordered the craftswoman to be blinded so that she could never create the same unique product and no one could repeat her masterpiece.

However, the daughter, trained by her mother, told other Cossack women the secrets of down knitting, so shawls with unique patterns continued to appear in the Urals, delighting everyone with their unique beauty.

Warm, dense shawls and light, airy, gossamer “spider webs” have been knitted by Orenburg craftswomen since the third century. The Orenburg goat breed is special - with a short, but lush undercoat, thanks to which the openwork "web" became possible: if the pile of threads were long, it would close the pattern.

In the Orenburg steppe -40 °C in winter and +40 °C in summer are common. Thick down helps goats endure the harsh climate with ease.

“How was the famous Orenburg downy shawl born?

The headscarf was an obligatory part of folk costumes - the name "Orenburg down shawl" combines two types of shawls: a warm shawl - a shawl and an openwork shawl - "gauzy". The pattern of the latter changed every decade: at first it was small weaves in shawls, then it became more. The teeth of the “spider web” appeared only at the end of the 40s of the last century, because after washing the scarf was stretched on a wooden base - on the hoop and fixed with cloves so that it did not lose its shape. And from these carnations, carnations remained at first, which, when worn, straightened again. But the craftswomen liked them so much that the needlewomen began to knit them. The pattern allows you to determine the years in which this product was knitted.

Previously, the quality of scarves was checked by passing them through a wedding ring: for a product with a side of 1 m 30 cm, a ring of size 16 was taken, and with a side of 1 m 80 cm - 22 sizes. Another criterion for excellent work was ... a goose egg: whether a cloth fits inside.

The production of a real Orenburg scarf is purely manual work.

In short: the animals undergo a complete haircut only in the warm season (in our country from mid-spring-summer to mid-autumn). This haircut does not harm the animals, but, on the contrary, allows them to shed their hated hot wool in the warm season.

The knitters, in turn, subject this down to several cleaning stages and in the final cycle we get natural goat down of the highest quality. They spin the down onto a silk thread. When ready, it is spliced ​​with another - silk, for strength. It takes a skilled craftswoman up to a month to knit a large shawl or stole.

“In order for a scarf to be worn for a long time, it has to be washed properly. Water should not be higher than 40 ° C, it is better to use shampoo, not rub, but gently rinse. If you had a wooden frame the size of the product, there would be no problems: you would dry the scarf on it and pull it over the cloves.

What to do if there is no frame?

First you need to thread a thread along the edge - along the border, without tightening it. Wash. Spread the scarf out on a large towel or sheet and pick up this thread with pins. The next day the handkerchief dries without losing its shape.

Traditional Orenburg cloths are gray and white, i.e. natural, not dyed. But somehow the craftswomen received an order from Japan, where white is the color of mourning, so the knitters found an original way out: they spin a white fluffy thread onto a red silk thread - it turned out to be very original.

The Orenburg shawl consists of three parts: a rhombus, which the craftswomen call a circle, since the ancient roots of the pattern lead to paganism and the supremacy of the sun, is framed by a stripe - the so-called lattice, followed by a border in which the pattern repeats itself. What is interesting: scarves are knitted and crocheted only with the front part. There are no outliers. This is regular garter stitch, the pattern is knitted by playing with crochet.

Since the fluff is also spun by hand, and the thread can be of different thicknesses, the craftswoman knits with several balls at once, knitting a certain number of rows with each thread. Thus, the canvas is smooth. Knitting needles are taken small - hosiery.

If the scarf is large, then for convenience when knitting it is twisted into a pigtail. I have to say that the new edition might not look very nice at first glance - its beauty only becomes apparent later, when worn, when the scarf really puffs up.