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"A truly beautiful shade! A cloth of smoked grey, shot with flame colour!"

—Gogol, trans. by D. J. Hogarth

'Shot' is what is confusing me. In my mind I imagine it refers to a repeated pattern. My best guess as to what it would look like is this, on the right:

Image of silk scarves

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The page you link to doesn't show anything in my browser like what you are talking about. Sometimes web links, especially to online shops, don't transfer well between computers; it would be better to use an image, if you think one would be helpful. –  Mark Beadles Jan 4 '13 at 16:40
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Was just doing that... –  Andrew Leach Jan 4 '13 at 16:42
    
slowlikemolasses, I appreciate your effort at presenting the question in good detail. However, you should have put in as much effort at finding an answer or at least some leads, rather than 'imagining' and 'guessing'. On ELU, askers need to show some background research. –  Kris Jan 6 '13 at 12:07
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1 Answer

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Shot in ODO

1 (of coloured cloth) woven with a warp and weft of different colours, giving a contrasting effect when looked at from different angles:
a dress of shot silk
- interspersed with a different colour: dark hair shot with silver
- (shot through with) suffused with (a particular feature or quality): the mist was shot through with orange spokes of light

It's not a repeated pattern; it's a highlight of some sort, either the odd thread, or the entire warp or weft.

In the quote, it could be either, but since a different warp and weft would give rise to "a truly beautiful shade," it's probably that: woven throughout with two different colours.

I couldn't find an example of grey and red, but here's blue and red from the blog Snoring Scholar:

Shot silk

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From the Robert Maguire translation: "A splendid hue. Cloth of Navarino smoke and flame." This sounds like your guess is right. And "smoke and flame" definitely sounds more symbolic (of something) that "smoked grey shot with flame colour". –  Peter Shor Jan 4 '13 at 16:55
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There was also a battle of Navarino, in which Russia was involved, and where dense smoke was present. –  Peter Shor Jan 4 '13 at 17:00
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The original Russian is "Вот-с сукно-с! цвету наваринского дыму с пламенем", Vot-s sukno-s! Tsvjetu navarinskovo dymu s planjenjem, which is literally "Here's the cloth! The color of Navarino, smoke with flames!" @PeterShor, this does refer to the battle. I suspect the choice of the word "shot" was a bit of translation double-entendre. –  Mark Beadles Jan 4 '13 at 17:04
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@slowlikemolasses(inJanuary?): Here is an entry in a sewing blog where you can see pictures of the effect of different angles with shot fabric. I guess from some angles you see more of the warp and others more of the weft. –  Peter Shor Jan 4 '13 at 18:04
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@slowlikemolasses: Fabric is three-dimensional - there are threads that are lower down and threads that are higher up. Thus, you don't always see the warp and the weft equally. (In fact, there are weaves where you only see one or the other.) This is why some fabrics can appear to be different colors depending on your angle of view. –  Marthaª Jan 4 '13 at 18:26
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