Medallion Russian Shawl by Inna Voltchkova

Medallion Russian Shawl

August 2015
Thread ?
22 stitches and 44 rows = 4 inches
US 1 - 2.25 mm
1630 - 1670 yards (1490 - 1527 m)
Finished size: 100 inches (254.0 cm) wide and 44 inches (111.8 cm) long, blocked
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In Russia, you will not find anyone who has not heard of an Orenburg “downy” shawl—the warm, heavy shawl and the light, delicate lace-patterning called “cobweb.” Downy shawls are distinguished by a center design.
Every Russian also knows the song “The Orenburg Downy Shawl” (composed by G. Ponomarenko/V.Bokov, and performed by L. Zykina). It is a lyrical story of a daughter, who, feeling infinite honor for her dear mother, sends her a present, an Orenburg downy shawl. The song’s story embodies the endless obligation to the mother who gave us life, raised us, loved us, and taught us our values. This song forever united the image of the mother and the shawl in one.
The book The Orenburg Downy Shawl by Irina Bushukhina, published by Orenburg Publishing House in 2012, describes the history of downy shawls from the seventeenth century to today. Bushukhina is the art historian and director of the Orenburg Shawls gallery at the Orenburg Regional Museum of Fine Arts.
Both the song and the book inspired this Medallion shawl project. In geometric Orenburg shawls, the leading role belongs to the Diamond element. A large diamond (a square placed at an angle) decorates the center of the shawl; all other elements are arranged in relation to it and are dependent upon it.
In Slavic folklore, the diamond represents the sun and the solar cycle. The diamond pattern in the middle of this shawl symbolically represents the concepts of home, sun, warmth, and well-being.
In addition to the central diamond, I included variations of the Heart element—there are 153 hearts on this shawl! Some were made with yarnovers; others are shadow-patterned. I also used Peas, Beaded Way, Strawberry, and Flies elements.
I believe that one day your Medallion Russian Shawl will protect you from the vicissitudes of life!