My current work in progress:

1. "T-Rex," designed by Rebecca Danger, knit from Blue moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock in the "Lucky" colorway on U.S. size 3 needles.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

It’s a Bohus, Baby!

Yup. My anxiously-anticipated colorwork kit is for a Bohus sweater.

bohus120705 Its a Bohus, Baby!

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.

bohusyarn120705 Its a Bohus, Baby!

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:

Solveig by dye pot Its a Bohus, Baby!

Here is a page of Solveig’s notes on the dye process:

Dye notes Its a Bohus, Baby!

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.

Solveig next to garment Its a Bohus, Baby!

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.

bohuschart120705 Its a Bohus, Baby!

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.

bettna120705 Its a Bohus, Baby!

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!

Tamara asked:
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????

Just wondering:)

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?

lucy120705 Its a Bohus, Baby!

Lucy is wondering why I won’t let her play with my Bohus yarns.

Comments

  1. Those are just beautiful! I think I may have to break my sweater-phobia with one of those.

  2. Wendy – I love the Blue Shimmer! What is different about the Bohus designs compared to a standard Fair Isle Yoke sweater? The yarn is gorgeous too!

  3. The Forest Darkness is glorious. I have been wanting to do Bohus work for ever so long…. You Must be working on it tonight! Lucy is probably awaiting her sweater bed since she knows another storm’s coming in starting tomorrow night here (PA).

  4. Wendy, I’m so looking forward to how your Bohus experience goes. I saw the class listed with the Stitches West stuff, but decided against it in favor of two different classes. Looks very interesting, indeed…

  5. No wonder you kept her a secret. I would dive right in…why wait? Bettna will be there for a quick finish when the Bohus is done!

  6. The yarn for the Bohus sweater looks exquisite. I also have the book, Poems of Color and have always wanted to knit one of the sweaters. With the links you shared with us, I will definitely look into this venture. Good luck with it and will anxiously await your blog every evening until it is finished.

  7. Heresy! You are the famous one-project-Wendy who always finishes a sweater before starting another. You have to finish Bettna/Bettina/whateverthehellit’scalled before you start something new. We rely on you for constancy. Besides, the specter of Celtic Dreams will haunt you if you don’t. (No, I am not an emissary of Satan, but thanks for asking.)

  8. OMG! I’ve been wanting to knit one of those sweaters ever since I got Poems of Color, but I had no idea where to get the yarn. Thank you so much for listing these resources!!

  9. The Bohus kit would be *very* hard to resist. Poor Lucy looks kinda sad there.

  10. Argh. I had erased my memory of those Swedish Bohus kits. I learned about them from Susannah in an AWESOME finishing class with her two years ago, before she had translated the patterns. I must must must knit one.

  11. Those sweaters looks so soft and warm! And Forest Darkness is my favorite – I’m so glad you picked it! I can’t wait to live vicariously as I watch your progress. Enjoy!

  12. The Bohus designs does look very beautiful. And the colours for the Forest Darkness…aaahh, how lovely!
    Lucy poses very artistically for a silhouette pic.

  13. ” Will I stick it out and finish Bettna … before I dive into the Forest Darkness?”

    Are you kidding?

    Go, Wendy!

  14. I am so excited you are going to knit a Bohus :)

    I have the book ‘Poems of Color’ and I just Love it!
    I read it cover to cover and then read it again!
    I love the history, the stories, the pictures, the patterns and the whole process.
    I want so badly to knit a Bohus sweater but feel I need to knit a few more sweaters before I tackle such a luxury knit. I also had no idea where to buy those wonderful yarns that are described in the book. Thank you so much for listing all the sources. Maybe I will practice with a Bohus hat. While I improve my knitting skills.
    I am so excited to watch your Bohus knitting adventure. Oh and I just love the colors you chose!

    By the way; Do you think you would host a Bohus Knit Along?

  15. Laura DeFlora says:

    I almost fell out of my chair when I read your Bohus post! Believe it or not, tonight I logged on to find a Bohus kit to add to my Christmas list, decided to read your blog first, and there were all of your wonderful Bohus resources and photos of the delicious Swedish yarns. I’ll take that as a sign :). Can’t wait to see your sweater in progress.
    Laura

  16. Beautiful kit – I just love the colors and the yarn looks yummy!

    Don’t wait – it is calling you to cast on!!
    :) Dene

  17. Love the Bohus – I can’t wait to see it!

    About the Noro allergy…I have the same problem with Cascade 220. Once it’s washed, it’s fine. It’s a machiney-mothbally smell that I think she’s talking about, and it really bothers me. But washing takes care of it, as far as I can tell.

  18. On the Noro odors, my LYS owner just told me last night that they recently had a shipment from Noro that had a terrible moth ball odor and they sent it back. Noro took it back with no problem and is sending them a new shipment. I wonder how widespread this is?

  19. Beautiful yarn, and even more beautiful patterns. Can’t wait to see the sweater being knit up.

  20. Lovely colours! Can’t wait to follow you on your trip into the dark, Sweedish forests…

  21. For the first time it is not the green one I want. Oooh oooh I want the large collar.

    you are evil for introducing such things into my mind… now to see how many kroner I need to steal.

  22. Oooh, am I ever envious of that yarn! Exactly my colors:-)

  23. Wendy, the sweaters are irrestible. Can you tell us how expensive the kit was?

  24. Kimmet Croft! I met the owner at MD S&W and loved the yarn–besides sock yarn, the only yarn I bought was hers. I’ve made two GORGEOUS scarves from her yarn. The lace scarf that I made was one of my favorite projects ever–the yarn was pleasantly scratchy, like Noro, and very springy and alive to knit with, and then after blocking bloomed into this supersoft garment….stunning.

    I saw her Bohus kits but I dismissed them as too hard…after seeing what you do with yours I may change my mind.

  25. One of my dreams is to own an unopened package of Noro. Boy I love that stuff. The new sweater you are planning is absolutely stunning. I can’t wait to see how fast you finish that up! Give Lucy a big hug –I am so glad she has recovered from her ordeal.

  26. …your post on Bohus is interesting….when on the Scandinavian knitting trip we had a special day at a Bohus museum…..fascinating….the person who spoke used white gloves to explain and show the many samples …they were beautiful….and the bonus was we saw Elton John in a trench coat buying glass sculpture souvenirs in the lobby….he was playing a concert nearby…all fun…

  27. I will certainly knit Forest Darkness one day. Thanks so much for the info. I bought a Bohus mittens kit from Nordic Fiber Arts (catalog only, it’s not listed on the website) and it’s a fun knit.

  28. I did get the same kit from Solveig about a year ago, only with black as the MC – though colours are lovely, I still have not started knitting it, unfortunately. If you like Solveigs wonderfully dyed wools, then try her silk yarns too – wowie!
    Bettina in Denmark.

  29. Wendy, you’ll have to bring the bohus sweater into Knit Happens so we see and touch in person. I want to knit the beret…. And I agree with stinkerbell on the large collar version.

  30. Ooooohhhh…..I’m drooling! I became interested in Bohus from the same article as you and read the Poems book cover to cover! The only thing that has stopped me is my ample size. I am curious to know as you begin this (as we know you will immediately!) whether or not this could be knit yoke down so that the body could be “amplified”? The colors are gorgeous and I can’t wait to see more…but I am also wondering what happend to the Turin/Torino sweater?

  31. I knit Green Apple from Kimmit Croft yarn when the book was first published, and it was the most challenging and gratifying knitting I have ever done. It’s also the only large project with that much angora in it that I have ever done. I’m glad that someone else is reviving the and designs history of Bohus—I’m sure you will really enjoy this project. I would recommend the Kimmet Croft yarns—the quality was very good.

  32. I wear an ample size and since the color work is limited to a shallow area on the yoke and the rest of the sweater is plain, I just ordered extra yarn in the main color and enlarged it. I followed the pattern as written through the yoke area, and changed the rate of increases between the yoke and the underarm.

  33. No wonder you were waiting so anxiously, this kit is for a truly lovely sweater.

    I’d like to chime in with Ricki though, I read the museum article, and its not really clear if the Bohus is a technique or refers to the pattern origin. It seems liek the style is fairly consistent with a scandanavian style fair isle yoke sweater, correct? Are the cardigans steeked?

  34. Oh man, that was definately worth the wait. A truly beautiful pattern and the yarn is gorgeous. I can’t wait to see your progress on such a wonderful project.

  35. 8.5 stiches to the inch! If a year ever opens up where I don’t have any other projects in mind…

    But the colors are truly lovely. Perhaps some Bohus wrist warmers?

  36. hehe if I was lucy I would want to sneak at the bohus too! Also is the pattern for your grape arbor showl going to be in your book? If so I may buy it just for that pattern!

  37. The colors are gorgeous. But I know you’ll stick it out and finish the other project first.

  38. For months I have been trying to imagine what kind of yarn I would use for either Blue Shimmer or Green Meadow. Thank you so much for all the info! I can hardly wait! This is the highlight of my day! Did I say thank you?!

  39. I feel quite faint…

    ;0]

  40. I have a friend that is also allergic to Noro. She bought some Noro Kureyon and when she started knitting with it, she completed blotched up and turned red. Strange… Noro is too pretty to have an allergic reaction to.

    Regarding the Bohus… correct me if I’m wrong, but it looks very similar to Elizabeth Zimmermann’s simple yoke pullover. Is it the same thing?

    Love your blog. I think I want to e-mail you off list to ask your opinion on what to do with ALOT of Noro IRO. Well, the question is already asked. Duh… So, I inherited a whole bunch of Noro Iro and I want to make like a guy thing…. any ideas?

  41. For those that haven’t seen an example of Bohus knitting … I just checked on Amazon.com, and they have a pretty good picture of the cover of the book, (Poems of Color) and you can zoom in on the picture, and see some of the detail… It’s a two-color technique that includes both knitting and purling on the “public side”. The purling adds to the texture and color complexity. When done with a fine yarn with some angora in it, the boundaries between the colors are softened a bit, further adding to the color complexity.

    Brenda – thanks for the tip on up-sizing the body of the sweater (buy the kit, buy extra of the main color, size up the body, when you get there, do the yoke as charted). Brilliant!

  42. I love the Bohus kit that you are going to knit. I would like to order one also but I’m wondering how much they cost and if they are very difficult.