Silken Fog: Drawing Knitting Inspiration from Nature

The Orenburg knitting technique makes this delicate knit wrap lighter than air.

Piecework Editorial Staff Jun 9, 2023 - 3 min read

Silken Fog: Drawing Knitting Inspiration from Nature Primary Image

Inna Voltchkova’s Silken Fog stole is lighter than air! Photo by Joe Coca

We had a solid week of rain in Fort Collins recently, accompanied by a fair amount of clouds and fog. I couldn’t see the mountains for days. At first, their invisibility bothered me; having lived in Kansas for the last fifteen years, elevations in the landscape thrill my soul. Then I started to notice how bits and pieces of the Rockies peeked through the misty air. When the sun finally came out over the weekend, the Front Range looked even more beautiful because it had been barely visible for so long.

The same kinds of contrasts emerge in Inna Voltchkova’s Silken Fog stole. I would never have thought the words “silken” and “fog” could go together, but of course they do. When fog closes in on us, it might feel cold and clammy (or scary if you watch certain movies). But fog can also sharpen colors in the landscape and soften harsh lines. Some of the loveliest vistas I’ve seen in Colorado were also the foggiest. Throw silk into the mix and fog might even seem warm and comforting. Inna’s chosen yarn combines fibers from two of the most different critters on the planet–dainty, fragile silkworms and huge shaggy yaks–making this wrap soft, snug, and strong without sacrificing delicacy. Lace itself plays off knit stitches collected around negative space. With Orenburg knitting, these lace elements come from everyday experiences and get names like Peas, Flies, and Spiders. When else might you feel comfortable with flies and spiders on your neck? Lastly, the stole will impress everyone who sees it with your knitting ability, yet Inna used only the simplest stitches for the elements.

The next time we get a lot of rain (probably later this week), I’ll remember these contrasts and try not to grumble. It would help if I had this stole in my closet, ready to shelter me from the weather.

Happy lace knitting!

Want to try your hand at knitting in the Orenburg tradition? Inna’s beautiful pattern can be found in the May/June 2015 issue of PieceWork.

Also, remember that if you are an active subscriber to PieceWork magazine, you have unlimited access to previous issues, including May/June 2015. See our help center for the step-by-step process on how to access them.

Deb Garish is a former content manager for PieceWork magazine.

Originally published June 2, 2015; updated June 9, 2023.