Lace knitting traditions in former USSR territories

There are several regions on the territory of the former USSR that have rich and long standing lace knitting traditions. Three that come to mind are Orenburg region  (map), Estonia (map) and Ukraine (map).
Here are examples of antique and modern samples of these lace styles:
Modern example from one of the shopping sites:

Antique Orenburg shawl (ca 1880)

"Greta Garbo" 1936 (picture from the  site of the Laanemaa Museum)

Here is an absolutely stunning modern example by Rees

Modern example

  • In all three cases the tradition started from the necessity to bring extra income: women knitted shawls to sell.
  • The big difference is that Estonian knitters used sheep wool yarns while Orenburg and Ukrainian ones were hand spun out of goat's undercoats (gossamer).
  • Orenburg region of Russia developed this craft into industrial scale operation.
  • Estonia had at some point (during the Soviet era) a knitting collective that produced shawls on semi-industrial scale.
  • Ukrainian knitted lace production (to my knowledge) is mainly family-based businesses. 


  1. Hi. I'm interested in learning more about Ukrainian lace. Do you have any leads? That's amazing!

    Donna Druchunas

  2. I am also very interested in learning more about Ukrainian lace and how to knit it.