Galina Khmeleva? She’s complicated. Like those many-layered Russian nesting dolls, those intriguing matryoshka. She’s a deeply skilled spinner, designer, and knitter of traditional shawls. She’s a seriously tough businesswoman, an endlessly generous teacher, an effective promoter of the knitters in the small villages in the Orenburg region of Russia, a woman of clear and outspoken opinions. She gardens, bakes, knits. She has a wicked sense of humor. She pampers her cats.
Spin Off editor Kate Larson chats with Galina during the 2021 SOAR event (left); courtesy of Tiffany Warble. A sampling of spindles from Galina’s class, Supported Spinning in the Orenburg Way (right); courtesy of Long Thread Media.
Galina’s fascination with the shawls of Orenburg began as a young professional woman when she spent two months’ salary buying one, just because it was so beautiful. Later, with the help of a USAID scholarship, she delved into the history, the techniques, and the traditional patterns and became PR director of a program aimed at introducing the shawls to the world at large. Since moving to the United States, she has made a career of teaching others how to spin the exquisitely fine threads and how to knit the intricate patterns. Her book, Gossamer Webs: The History and Techniques of Orenburg Lace Shawls, has introduced thousands to this lovely craft and the people who developed it over the centuries.
In this short video, Galina demonstrates how she spins incredible fine yarn for her Orenburg lace shawls. Watch and enjoy her seemingly effortless method for adding twist using her supported spindle.
For more from Galina, check out two of her video workshops, Spinning Gossamer Threads: The Yarns of Orenburg and Orenburg Knitting: Knitting Gossamer Webs, where Galina will teach you how to spin elegant yarn into lace patterns to create your own piece of Orenburg history.
As this month’s bonus for All Access subscribers, we’ve gathered two of our favorite Orenburg lace patterns by Galina: An Orenburg Warm Shawl to Knit and the Pine Tree Stole.
Current All Access subscribers can log in below to instantly access and download instructions for these two beautiful projects.
An Orenburg Warm Shawl to Knit and Pine Tree Stole PDF Downloads
Enjoy this collection of Orenburg lace patterns in this All Access exclusive.