Yup. My anxiously-anticipated colorwork kit is for a Bohus sweater.
Some background info first.
I first heard of Bohus knitting when I read an article about it written by Margaret Bruzelius in Threads magazine back in 1986. (The article is included in the 1993 Threads’ book Knitting Around the World.)
Since then, I have yearned to make a Bohus sweater. When Wendy Keele’s excellent book on Bohus knitting, Poems of Color, was published, I bought it immediately. In additional to all the wonderful historical information in the book, it contains patterns based on some original Bohus designs. But at the time the book came out, there were not a whole lot in the way of online yarn shopping resources, as I recall. So I didn’t pursue trying to find the yarn for a Bohus design.
Recently, my friend Johanne in Sweden pointed me in the direction of the Bohus Museum website. Specifically, their page about Bohus Knitting — here’s a link to the English version of that page.
This page gives a brief explanation of what Bohus knitting is.
And if you read that page, you will see that there is a new collection of yarns and patterns that have been developed by Solveig Gustafsson based on the original garments. Johanne conveniently had Solveig’s contact information, so I shot an email off to her inquiring about buying the kit for my favorite Bohus design — Skogsmörkret (Forest Darkness) — the last photo on the museum webpage.
Solveig responded to me with ordering information, and the same day I sent my inquiry to her, put my kit in the mail to me.
Forest Darkness and Blue Shimmer are the two patterns that have been translated into English at this point (more are in the works) and I was delighted to find out that the translations had been done by Susanna, of One of Susannas, who is one of my email knitting friends. It’s a small world, eh?
I emailed Susanna to tell her I’d ordered the kit, and she responded with a wealth of interesting information about these Bohus kits. She told me that Solveig dyes the yarn for these kits herself and I can attest to the fact that her dyeing skills are indeed superb. The yarn is exquisite. Susanna told me that she has seen original garments and Solveig’s reproduced versions side by side, and there is no way to tell them apart.
The yarn is 50/50 merino/angora blend and it is indeed luxurious.
Here’s a photo that Susanna took and very kindly sent me of Solveig at the dye pot:
Here is a page of Solveig’s notes on the dye process:
And lastly, Solveig is standing next to Skogsmörkret (Forest Darkness) and next to that is one of the new garments (Palmen Röd, the Red Palm) that hasn’t been released yet.
Each skein of yarn in my kit is labeled with the color number, which corresponds to a key on the chart, which is in full color. A sample of each color is attached to the key so there is no mistaking which color yarn matches which color on the chart.
I know there are Bohus kits available in the United States from Kimmet Croft. These kits are knitted at a gauge of 7 sts/inch, I believe (correct me if I am wrong). My Forest Darkness kit is knitted at 8.5 sts/inch on size 2.5mm needles. Yipes! I cannot wait!
Want your own Bohus kit? You can order them from the Bohus museum (there is an email address and phone numbers at the bottom of the museum page I link to above. However, I emailed them first with an inquiry, and have yet to receive a response.)
Or you can order from Solveig (website: www.solsilke.se). The Bohus kits do not appear on her website at this time but you can order them by emailing her here. (If you are unable to use the email link, let me know and I’ll send you her email address.) As I mentioned above, the Forest Darkness and the Blue Shimmer (both shown on the museum page) are available with English translations. And translations of more designs are in the works. I do think I’m going to have to knit Blue Shimmer as well at some point.
So. Will I stick it out and finish Bettna (and thanks to Margaret for pointing out to me that I have been spelling this wrong all along — doh!) before I dive into the Forest Darkness? Will the siren call of Bohus overwhelm me? Tune in tomorrow!
Okay . . . I need to breathe deeply and concentrate.
I didn’t get much knitting done last night because I was busy fondling my Bohus yarn. But I did start a Bettina sleeve. The sleeves are humongous, because they extend into the top of the sweater, much like Klaralund’s sleeves do.
A question from the comments: Mandella asked:
Related to your answer to the blocking question. What about sewing up? Am I correct in thinking that you usually use backstitch, and if so, are you happy with your own efforts? I’m making something up with backstitch at the moment, and whilst the seam seems stonger than a mattress stitch one, it definitely isn’t as pretty.
I used to backstitch everything, but have been using mattress stitch more and more because it does, indeed, look better. On heavier gauge knits I find it almost a necessity, as backstitch looks really heinous on bulky yarn!
I was wondering if you ever have any allergy problems with Noro yarn. I knit with it a couple of years ago and I thought I had an eye infection. I went to the doctor and was prescribed some expensive eyedrops. I was very worried I was allergic to wool – but suspected it was the Noro. Monday, a couple of skeins just convinced me that they wanted to come home with me again and I thought I would give it a try, but after one night I woke up with bloodshot eyes again and had to use eyedrops continuously all day yesterday. So it is definately the Noro.
I decided to pack it up and not continue knitting with it because I work in the yarn store now and I don’t want it to become over sensitised to it. I have noticed that when you open a fresh bag of Noro there are some moth ball type odors associated with it. I’m thinking that it is not the wool, but something else that they do in the processing or packing of the yarn????
Yikes! How awful for you! Thankfully, I’ve never had any problem like that. Hmmmm, I have some unopened packages of Kureyon. Perhaps I ought to open them and let them air out. I do tend to be overly-sensitive to a lot of chemicals, so it would not be a bad idea.
Oh, and in case you wondered? I feel myself weakening. I think Bettna will just have to wait for me while I knit the Forest Darkness, right? And really, what choice does she have?
Lucy is wondering why I won’t let her play with my Bohus yarns.