Over the years, Inna Voltchkova’s exquisite lace knitting has graced the pages of several issues of PieceWork. Her latest contribution appears in the Winter 2018 issue. Her Festival Lace Mitts were inspired by a pair from a photograph. Here’s Inna to tell us more.
I have traveled to St. Petersburg, Russia, many times and have been able to visit many museums. Highlights at the Hermitage Museum include the Gates to the Winter Palace, Leonardo da Vinci’s painting the Madonna Litta (which surprised me with its unexpected colors and its size—just 16½ by 13 inches [42.0 by 33.0 cm]), Edgar Degas’s drawings of dancers, and opulent rooms with royal decorations. At the Russian Museum of Ethnography, highlights include the Marble Hall and the ethnic costumes.
N. M. Kalashnikova’s book Perchatschki da rukavitsy, chulochki da nogovitsy—Aksessuary Traditsionnogo Kostyuma iz Sobraniya Rossiiskogo Etnografi cheskogo Muzeya [Gloves and Mittens, Stockings and Leggings—Traditional Costume Accessories in the Collections of the Russian Museum of Ethnography] (Moscow, Russia: Russian Museum of Ethnography, 2015) delves into the Museum of Ethnography’s collection. Among the more than two hundred photographs in the book are images of “clothes for hands,” which were worn in everyday life and on festive occasions. Included are gloves of two types (with and without fingers) and two lengths (short to the wrist and long up to the elbow). Usually knitted from thin white cotton thread, the gloves were made at home or bought ready-made in shops and at fairs.
One of the images from Kalashnikova’s book shows young women in festive dress from Arkhangelsk Province. I think the women were celebrating a church wedding ceremony for a friend. It inspired me to design and knit these festive fingerless gloves. I hope you will knit your own Festival Lace Mitts for a special occasion in your life.
Inna Voltchkova was born and raised in Kiev, the oldest city in Eastern Europe, and started knitting when she was ten years old. She is a graduate of the Kiev National University of Technology and Design. A 1991 trip to Chicago introduced her to the love of her life, and she moved to the Chicago area. For the past twenty years, her passion has been lace knitting, especially Russian-style lace. She has worked with Galina Khmeleva’s Skaska Designs for many years. Follow her at Russian Knitting Design on Facebook.
Featured Image: Inna Voltchkova’s lace mitts shown on and with handmade wooden gloveboards (made by a friend’s father).