We continue our world tour of wool? After Morocco, Japan and Iceland, we will go to Russia! Ready to ship?
Ladies and gentlemen, please fasten your belts, we will take off 😉
History of knitting in Russia
Did you know that the first mention of knitting in Russia dates back to 1578? This term was discovered in the archives of a Russian Orthodox convent.
Unfortunately, there is not much documented history with regard to Russian knitting because very few records have been kept due to lack of organization and the lack of companies that knit clothes.
Knitting was not a very popular activity until the 17th century, when the Russian Orthodox clergy began wearing liturgical gloves. Before that, one wore long dresses that do not require stockings, socks or gloves. If they were needed, they were imported from other countries.
Knitting played an important role, particularly in women’s fashion, which was strongly influenced by Western fashion, particularly in the gloves.
Women have been the main knitters in Greater Russia. Many cases of knitters losing their sight have been identified because of working conditions and huge quantities to produce.
Each city had a small number of independent artisans who made hand-knit clothing. Their numbers were not enough to form organizations or companies, as they were probably independent and solitary artisans. Hence the absence of documents … (elementary my dear Watson!)
In the 1920s after the Russian civil wars, Russians were brought to travel by camel caravans to eastern China. It was at this time that the art of knitting was passed on to the Chinese who had camel hair.
The Orenburg lace is native to Russia and its origin dates back to the 1700s. It is usually used for shawls. The very popular “wedding shawl” (technically, any shawl that can be pulled through an alliance) is a well-known example of Orenburg lace. According to legend, the wives of the soldiers stationed in the steppes of the Urals were so bored that they began to create the finest and most ornate shawls they could imagine to fill the long winter days. Originally, the shawls were made in different geometric shapes from very light Orenburg goat wool yarns and were not dyed. The Orenburg goat has the finest hair in the world (16 to 18 microns!). To give you a comparison, angora has a hair that measures between 22 and 24 micrometers.
Russian knitting technique
Russian knitting is more likely to “pick up” the thread than to “throw” it. The Russians take the thread by moving the head of the needle only.
There is also a Russian technique for joining the threads of two balls. This consists of passing the thread in its own twists and keeping it there. The advantage of using this technique is that there are no ends of wire to enter.
An interesting fact to note: the Russians consider that knitting and crochet are the same thing, it’s just a different execution.
What’s left of it today
Knitting is very popular in Russia, particularly because of the country’s geographical situation and its very low temperatures. When it is -17 ° outside and you are miles away from a big city, the insulating properties of wool are real assets!
With Soviet domination, the Russians have not been able to buy quality products. Russian knitting and crochet emerged from behind the Iron Curtain while bringing with them a wave of creativity shared today around the world.
Where to find Russian wool?
In Russia and more specifically in Moscow, you can always find a small knitting shop with a selection of wool in the malls. Igolochka is one of the most common strings. It specializes in sewing equipment, but also offers a wide selection of wool.
By taking the Semyonoskaya metro, you can discover a factory outlet named Semyonoskaya Pryazha. You can buy wool of all fibers, colors and sizes. This shop also sells patterns, needles and buttons.
If you can not go there, you can still find some balls of Russian wool on Esty.
And now, you just have to go to Russia to meet the knitters! : P Who’s ready to go?