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Vologda flax

Vologda flax

Vologda flax

Vologda is famous for flax. Flax fiber is in great demand over the last years in spite of the large-scale production of synthetic fabrics.

According to the historians’ opinion flax was cultivated already when Russia came into being: first around Pskov, later – in the Novgorod, Suzdal, Vologda and nearby lands. In the 19th century the first flax mill was opened in the village Krasavino (Veliky Ustiug district).

Flax is a hardy plant. It needs only long daylight hours and damp climate. But it is not easy to receive high-quality cloth from it. The technique of flax procession didn’t change over the centuries. First of all, a mature plant is pulled up with the roots. It is dried; the seeds are removed from the rest of the plant which is then thrashed. It is interesting that after these procedures flax is laid out on the grass for the stem to collect dew on it. The dew activates microorganisms inhabiting flax stalk. They destroy adhesives inside the plant and it enables to separate fiber from the stem. Field retting can take several weeks depending on the climatic conditions. From time to time flax should be turned over to ret the stalks evenly. The received fiber is raised and dried and then it is braked and scutched scraping it away from stiffened part of the stalk. Scutched flax is heckled and drawn out into a thin twisted band – a rove. Now it can be spun into linen.

Vologda flax

Linen cloth is manufactured of flaxen yarn mainly by linen weave. It has unique ecological quality. According to medical researches articles made of linen cloth are hygienic and durable, they promote more intensive circulation of the blood, reduce fatigability of the organism. Sufficient tightness to air, hygroscopicity and water absorbing capacity remove heat and liquid from the man’s body quickly. Thick linen cloths reflect well almost the whole spectrum of ultraviolet radiation. They don’t turn yellow but remain white and fresh when being worn and washed unlike cotton goods.

Vologda is the venue of the annual exhibition – fair “Russian Flax”. The Vologda flax mill has been producing linen cloths for more that 70 years. Shops specializing in linen goods are opened. Fashion designers create modern, comfortable, high-quality collections sewn of linen cloths (“Voltri-Eurodesign”, “Nerum”) which take first places in different contests and shows.

Vologda lace

Vologda lace

Vologda lace

Vologda lace is the beauty and pride of the Vologda land. Continuous non-crossing smooth line forming a pattern of Vologda lace is a woven braid over a fine openwork net. The art of lace making goes back to the 17th century. It was formed into trade in the Vologda region in the first quarter of the 19th century. At that time lace makers started to create articles in the form of tender stars-snowflakes. Vologda lace reminds the patterns made by the frost on a windowpane disappearing with the first March sun rays or the thinnest cobweb which will tear with the slightest puff of wind. Even in the 21st century Vologda lace amazes the world with its charm and kindness.

The secret of Vologda lace is delicate combination of the lace maker’s soul and her skill. Plenty of threads – their number can reach 60 and even more in large-scale works – are used to make lace. Every thread is reeled on a separate wooden stick - a bobbin. The lace maker fastens the thread on the bobbin, put it on her knee and rolls several times until the thread occupies a special deepening. One more necessary thing for lace making is a pillow-roller - a cloth roller stuffed with straw, which is placed on a stand. A technical drawing of lace made on thick cardboard with pierced holes is fixed to the pillow-roller. The woman intertwines threads inserting pins into the holes and throwing over the bobbins according to the drawing.

Vologda lace

In spite of the technological progress development, lace patterns are still made by hand according to the historically formed technique and artistic traditions.

People are trained to make lace in the school of traditional culture in the city of Vologda and in the museum studio “Vologda paintings”. The Vologda lace is made by the close corporation “Vologda lace firm “Snowflake” www.snejinka.ru, which is still the leading enterprise among traditional crafts of Russia. It is considered that it owes its name to the famous tablecloth “Snowflake” created by Victoria Elfina.

Vologda butter

Vologda butter

Vologda butter

Vologda butter (“Vologodskoye”) is the pride of the domestic dairy industry. It is distinguished by peculiar nutty flavour achieved as a result of heating of high-quality cream up to 98ºC during 10-15 minutes. A new method of cream processing under the influence of high temperature was invented by Nikolai Vereshchagin in the 1870-s. The use of pasteurized cream as primary product for the manufacture of butter was a breakthrough both for the Russian and the world butter industry. The butter according to Vereshchagin’s recipe was produced not only in Russia, but in Scandinavian and European countries as well. However, only the butter which was made from milk got in the natural and climatic conditions of the Vologda province acquired distinct “nutty flavour”.

Nikolai Vereshchagin called this new product “Paris butter”. As it was exported to other countries from Saint-Petersburg, it was known abroad as “Petersburg butter”. In 1939 “Paris butter” was renamed “Vologda butter”.

The real Vologda butter is made from fresh selected cream received in the summer period. The fat content is not less than 82,5%, the mass portion of moisture is not more than 16%.

Vologda butter

In the 19th century the technique of the Vologda butter making was the following: first fresh milk was settled at the temperature of 13-150 ºC during 24 hours to get cream. Then cream was churned manually (60-70 swings per minute; the speed was slowed down by the end). Butter granule was formed 25 minutes later. Buttermilk was removed; butter granule was washed with water. Butter was worked by a smooth ribbed roller: it was rolled with pressure several times (excessive moisture was removed). Drops of moisture were taken away from butter surface with cloth rags.

New more modern methods of Vologda butter manufacturing which maintain its original flavour and quality have been developed in the 21st century. The construction of butter producer includes an agitator, hydraulic gear, a rotating separating cylinder and a butter processor. The separating cylinder has sections to whip cream, to separate buttermilk, to wash butter granule. Fat content of cream is 34-45%. The fatter the cream is, the lower the whipping temperature is. Cream is fed to the churn by a crew pump. Then granules are separated from buttermilk in the separating cylinder.

Only producers from the Vologda Oblast have a right to use the trade mark “Vologodskoye”. At present “Vologda butter” is manufactured by the Vologda Dairy Plant www.vmk-vologda.ru and the Federal state unitary enterprise “Experimental Dairy Plant” of Vologda State Dairy Farming Academy named after Nikolai Vereshchagin” www.moloko.vologda.ru.

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