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Folk Crafts

Crocheting Woolen Stockings

Among the plenty of articles manufactured by Cossack women in the Upper Don region late in the XIX–early in the XX centuries, there were crocheted socks and stockings made of coarse woolen thread which caught the fancy of Cossack men. In the novel “And Quiet Flows the Don” M.A.Sholokhov often mentions this article of clothing:

 “Miron Grigoriyevich, dressed as for death in all the new, in tanned sheepskin, shoes and clean white stockings tuck-in, was sitting next to old man Bogatyryov and Matvey Kashulin.” (Sholokhov M.A. “And Quiet Flows the Don”. Book 3, part 6, chapter XXII).

Woolen coarse crochet stockings though prickly, were thick, warm and comfortable. They were made without heels, and if they were worn out in one place, they could be turned to another side. The Upper Don Cossacks had a fashion to wear white coarse socks with wide trousers tuck in them and with low-heeled leather shoes called “chiriki”.

Now Cossack women do not make woolen stockings and only few of them remember the crocheting technology handed down by mothers and grandmothers. One of the keepers of the traditional Cossack women’s needlework is Anastasiya Andreyevna Vorobiyova, born in 1936, in Yerin Village, now living in Stanitsa Vyoshenskaya. Anastasiya Andreyevna learned to spin and knit from her aunt and grandmother. In her childhood she knitted socks, mittens, gloves, later she could make openwork scarves and fine downy shawls.

By the request of the museum-workers A.A.Vorobiyova told about and showed the technology of the traditional crocheting of Cossack woolen stockings.