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Friday, February 8, 2013

Orenburg lace teeth layout

In Orenburg lace teeth are counted as 8 stitches of length/width of the body == 1 tooth plus 2 additional stitches for the sides. Often enough these 2 are not counted, or picked to even the lace, or 1 stitch is picked to even the lace.
The teeth and the middle of the center main pattern of the body are aligned. either with the top (5-th hole) or the bottom (between 2 teeth).
An example of alignment for Russian Empire sampler

1 tooth has 16 rows. Holes-based chart shows only odd rows for the tooth. In Russian knitting when one works a simple garter or any other stitch the first stitch of the row is slipped purl-wise. That's why when one would pick up the stitches from the shawl bottom teeth border they end up with a count 8 stitches=1 tooth. 8 'laying' stitches will be used to pick up from the wide flat side of the ribbon side.
The top stitches of the ribbon  become the beginning of the right teeth of the shawl. and from the bottom side the stitches picked (basically as many as one has on the top at the moment when the corners are turned) from the bottom of the ribbon.
"Granny's" method would use additional yarn piece to 'knit' that bottom edge. And produce as many open stitches as the pot of the ribbon has. This method id good for the folk who have tighter cast one. Or they can cast one using 3-4 needles that will make the edge looser and will allow to pick up stitches in a traditional way.

I did see some descriptions of casting on with different yarn the beginning of the teeth ribbon, knitting some rows, unraveling the bottom end, putting the stitches on a stitch holder... To be honest stitch holders I did see in American craft stores that are shown in pictures corresponding to these descriptions is not something I did see back in Russia. I guess tools were just simpler - I mean 2 straight steel needles, a bead glued at the end, or a "fuzz ball" :). And off we go, knit some lace.

At times it's challenging to explain to an English speaking knitter who is accustomed to their own ways that Russian lace is first and foremost is a mindset. Like Russian knitting is a mindset when a knitter does not think about stitch positioning, tension/gauge control and many of other things that seem to be of great interest some very detail oriented English speaking knitters (and it's a good thing also, people become interested in all kinds of things). Russian folk do not think much of it and simply knit. How is it so? It's like .... does one think how exactly do they chew the food how do the jaws move and how exactly do they swallow when they happen to eat and read a magazine in the morning at the same time, or how exactly do they sip that coffee and which exact minuscules do move and how and which ones do not move? Kind of like that. Russian knitting is an activity that is learned by the boy and mind. Like writing, walking and many others a human body has learned to do. It's not a different super complex thing. It's all same kind of a thing - one of fine motor skills. Human bodies are pretty good at these fine motor skills. It may take some time and patience to learn and each learning curve can be an individual thing.
What does it have to do with lace?
The base stitches get hardwired to the point that they become similar to writing letters, on the same level. Practice makes it perfect. After that one puts those base patterns together. Like a puzzle if you wish. That's where fine motor skill and visual tracking skills (same that are used while writing) come together.
Knitting lace is a kind of activity that your body already knows how to do, I mean you are reading this writing, right? Lace is same, it's writing in a different alphabet. The skills that body-mind uses are same.
Think of Russian lace like about a language that writes with holes on garter "paper".
Those shawls one can read and one can write their own shawl after some practice of making simple stories. Making your own story is the goal. For some they may be simple, for some - more complex. It's is the reflection of "you".

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