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Design Studio Esty

Shawls and scarves from Orenburg are knitted garments made of goat wool of the Russian regional arts and crafts. The special thing is that they are made from handspun goat winter hair that is combed out the animals.

Orenburg shawls are warm, lightweight, soft and fluffy.

These great in "Orenburg style" knitted scarves are traditionally made in the Russian city of Orenburg and are worn, depending on the style and size, as a shawl, scarf, cape towel, poncho or stole thrown over your shoulder.


The beginning of Orenburg knitting can be traced back 250 years, until the 18th Century. In 1743 the fortress and the city of Orenburg was founded. The Orenburg Cossacks settled since 1574 in this region of the Ural Mountains. The Cossacks took over from the indigenous population, the art of knitting with goat wool, to protect themselves against the harsh climate. Manufacturing Orenburg shawls and headscarves became a popular craft among the Cossack women.

Because artistic scarves made by the special knitting technique came from Orenburg, and the best adepts of knitting technique lived in the city of Orenburg, gradually all by this knitting technique manufactured scarves were preceived as a Orenburg scarf. In old Russia, the wealthy people bought for their wives shawls from Orenburg, as they protect very well against the severe cold in Russia. Due to its fluffy consistency, they are comfortable to wear and keep warm.

At the Paris World Exhibition in 1855, the Orenburg shawls were first exhibited to an international audience. On the London World Exhibition of 1862 the knitter M. Uskowa, a Cossack woman, was awarded with a medal for her shawls made from goat fluff.

There are different types of Orenburg shawls:

Simple shawls - mostly black, rarely white, thick warm blankets. With the production of the Orenburg shawls the history of knitting crafts began. These shawls are the wormest type of Orenburg knitwear, they are worn as everyday clothing.

Scarves - Ajour embroidery made of very finely woven goat's wool on silk fabrics (rarely rayon or cotton). The wool contains mostly 2/3 goat fluff and 1 / 3 silk. Such pieces are not worn as everyday clothing, but as an accessory for ceremonial occasions. They have much more complicated patterns than simple scarves. Usually a purer and softer goat wool is used, so such items are additionally expensive. For scarves in Ajour embroidery instead of silk a cotton fabric is used as a basis for the embroidery, as they are durable.

Stole - a thin scarf or cap, similar style such as scarves
Whether a scarf or a shawl from Orenburg was manufactured particularly thin, you can check with two simple tests: 1. Can it be drawn through a finger ring?
2. It is not bigger than a goose egg when you crumple it?

Orenburg goat

The wool for the Orenburg shawls is obtained from the Orenburg goat, for this special purpose bred breed of goats. The downy hair of Orenburg goats is one of the world's thinnest. They have a thickness of 16 to 18 micrometers, while the angora goat has downy hair with a thickness 22 to 24 micrometer. Therefore, from Orenburg goat wool knitted products are particularly tender and soft. The strong growth of warming fur was marked by the dry and frosty winter of the region, accompanied by snow storms (Orenburg Buran) and also of the plant food of the steppe of the Ural Mountains. The goat's wool is more durable than sheep's wool.

The Orenburg region has long been known for their extensive goat farming.
The Orenburg goat thrives only in the Orenburg region. Attempts by the French in the 19th Century to keep them in France, outside of Powolschje region from which they originate, were unsuccessful. They lost in France very quickly their downy hair and got an ordinary thick fur. In the 18 th and 19 th Century Russia exported tens of thousands of pounds of wool to Western Europe. Also in our days considerable quantities are exported to Western Europe.

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