Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Somebody Else's Knitting

One of my colleagues recently returned from her own stint as an alumni tour host. Around the same time I found out I was going to the Aegean, she got orders for a cruise through Russia. I suggested she keep an eye out for knitted lace, and wouldn't you know, she listened to me.

Katie acquired a palatine (aka knitted lace stole) during a stop at an artisan's colony somewhere near Moscow and was kind enough to bring it to the office so I could fondle it, examine it, and take a few photographs to share with y'all.

The lace is not from Orenberg, but it was definitely worked using the Orenberg construction method as outlined by Galina Khmeleva. I found the cast-on on the bottom edge, and the final border graft near the upper left corner.

Katie's Stole 1

Here's part of the bottom edge - with tassels attached. Hadn't seen that before. The yarn is a loose ply of a variegated silk singles and a very fine rust-red mohair singles.

Katie's Lace 2

The entire center was worked with this stitch pattern, which looks like droopy vine leaves. Not complicated, but very pretty.

Katie's Stole 3

Interestingly, although the top and bottom borders both had the "five-hole teeth" that Galina says are characteristic of all Orenberg borders, the sides of the stole had only four holes per tooth. [Note to non-knitting readers: Yes, that is interesting. Shut up.]

Katie's Stole 4

Russian lace becomes her, does it not? And she got a good price, too: a bargain by American standards, but high enough to be fair to the knitter. It sounds like the knitters (and the other artists) sold directly to the public, with no middleman to grab the profits.

Word from Dolores

It was the work of mere minutes to alert American Express that my card information was on the loose, but by that time there were already unauthorized charges to a luxury car rental company, several roadside restaurants and bars, and finally a "sheep only" nudist resort somewhere on the outskirts of Las Vegas.

The phone rang at about 2 a.m.

"Wazza?" I said.

"Cupcake, there seems to be an issue with this credit card of yours," said Dolores. In the background, I could hear somebody bleating angrily in French.

"Hey, you fluffy old thing," I said. "How's Victorine enjoying Las Vegas?"

"Well not too much, sweetheart, since we are trying to get hot stone massages and your naughty little credit card has suddenly stopped working. Marco and Rufus are not amused. You see our difficulty?"

"Say, did you take my Aeneid with you? I need to look up a reference."

"It's in my bedside stack under a packet of letters from Ann Coulter. Are you listening to me? Your card is no good. I need you to call AmEx and sort it all out before these boys go off the boil."

"That reminds me. Since you're away, do you mind if Jon sleeps on your cushion while he's here next week?"

"Franklin! Pay attention!"

"Gee, the connection's breaking up, Dolores. Are you driving through a canyon?"

"No! I am standing here with two short-tempered masseurs who are waiting for a deposit! Now hang up the damn phone and–"



I can hardly wait for the postcards.


Anonymous said...

I really, really, really enjoy reading your texts!

Villasukka = woolly sock (from Finland - beside Russia)

Anonymous said...

boy are you gonna be in trouble...

Anonymous said...

Do they need to be shorn or just not wear clothes ? I am beginning to really believe in Dolores what's the betting that a little bit of you misses her somewhere in your imagination?

LaurieM said...

That's telling her.

BTW-like the way you slipped in the references to your real life into the fanasy. Elegant.

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing the lace...however it did not prepare me for chortling out loud about delores'current dilemma...thanks for the update on her travels, she is quite entertaining...wink wink

Carol said...

You mean she didn't bring anything back for you?! hmph.

By the way, sugar, there are at least 3 skeins of wool/nylon at Black Bunny right now in guy-friendly colors: charcoal, olive and brown/black, with a denim-y blue coming soon. So there.

Helen said...

I am struggling through my first pece of Shetland lace at the moment so your photographs of that heavenly shawl fill me with awe, admiration and a great deal of despair. But thanks all the same.

dpaste said...

I sense some baaaaaaaaaahd karma is coming someone's way.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that Dolores has ever had to pay for a massage.

MonkeyGurrrrrl said...

that lace is drop dead gorgeous by itself, but when Katie put it on, it takes on a whole other dimension. Stunning. Thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

I'm most impressed with the Orenburg-like shawl. The colors are truly stunning, and the workmanship looks just beautiful.

I'm going to have to do something like it with my current spindling project.

Freyalyn said...

Don't you mean 'pelerine' rather than 'palatine'?

And surely, as Jenn says, Dolores can manage to get a massage without paying? If she's all she claims, she should be getting paid.

Franklin said...

Nope, I mean "palatine." That's the term given by Galina in her book on Orenberg knitting. The smaller shape was developed to meet a demand for lower-priced lace pieces in Russian department stores.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious about the 4-hole teeth running up the sides of the piece. Did you get any sense that 4-hole teeth would fit the pattern repeat(s) used in the body of the work more easily than 5-hole teeth? (A 4-hole tooth would be a repeat rows(?) while a 5 hole tooth would be over 16 rows. I think.)