My current work in progress:

Tawney Sweater,by Jenni Barrett, knit from MadelineTosh Tosh Sock, using 3.25mm and 3.5mm needles.

Archives for December 2005

And Today, It’s a Baby Bohus!

And what a tiny baby she is!


But, yeah, who was I kidding? Wait to start knitting? Nope. Last night I wound some of the yarn into balls and got started.

I wound all the contrast colors, and put them in plastic ziplock bags with a corner cut off to feed the yarn through. I stuck the label with the color number on the outside of each bag.


Don’t want my precious Bohus yarn getting soiled, now do I?

I wound a couple of skeins of the main color to get me started, knitted a gauge swatch, and then cast on for the neckband.

This design is knitted from the top down, so after the boredom of the ribbed neckband, you get to dive right into the colorwork. Granted, that means that you’ve got all the plain knitting to do after you’ve done the alluring colorwork, but at least you get to look at the colorwork while you knit the rest of the sweater. I am making the pullover version. The cardigan version is not steeked, but is knitted back and forth.

So I’m knitting away on the neckband. My, it takes a lot of knitting to make any progress when the yarn is this fine. As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog entry, the gauge is 8.5 sts/inch on size 2.5mm needles. The ribbing is knitted on a 2mm needle.


I think in the time I’ve spent so far on this neckband, I had knitted the entire back of Kolsva.

But I’m not complaining, not really. I love fine-gauge work, and this sweater is going to be so freaking beautiful when it is done!

Ricki asked:
What is different about the Bohus designs compared to a standard Fair Isle Yoke sweater?

First off, the yarn. Fair Isles are traditionally knitted with Shetland jumperweight. The yarn for the Bohus sweater is a 50/50 blend of angora and merino, and has 600 meters per 100 grams. Shetland jumperweight is (according to the information on the Jamieson & Smith website) 115 meters per 25 grams, which makes 460 meters per 100 grams. (Ooh, look. I can multiply. Please, no applause is necessary.)

Secondly, the Bohus patterns incorporate some texture — some of the stitches are purled on the right side in the colorwork.

Thirdly, often more than two colors are used in a row.

But if you really want to know about Bohus knitting, I strongly encourage you to read Poems of Color by Wendy Keele. I was rereading it at lunchtime today — while knitting my neckband, of course.

As Bettina mentioned in the comments, the kit I have is also available with black as the main color. That would be stunning, but I’m a sucker for green.

Marion asked how expensive the kit was — it was very reasonable. I paid 1000 Swedish kronor, and that included airmail postage from Sweden to the U.S. At the time I bought it, my credit card was charged $123.65. Your mileage may vary as exchange rates vary.

The pattern has instructions for 4 sizes up to 46″ and the kit includes enough yarn for the largest size.

Breaking Bohus News

Susanna emailed me this morning and let me know that there are several more of the Bohus sweaters kits with patterns translated into English. In addition to Forest Darkness and Blue Shimmer, the Large Collar, Rose Collar, and Yellow Collar designs are also available in English. These designs are all pictured on the Bohus Museum site, here.

It’s Thursday!

And that means it’s contest time. This is the second week of the Birthday Month Contest. Because last Thursday’s question was tough, today’s question will be easy:

In what city and state was Wendy born?

Submit your guess (one guess per person, please) to The Official WendyKnits Contest Email Address by 3:00pm EST on Sunday, December 11 with your guess for my place of birth. Because this is an easier question than last weeks, I’ll draw a name for the winner should multiple people get the right answer. The winner and prize will be anmnounced in Sunday’s blog entry.

Alrighty, then. We are supposed to have a winter storm hitting us round about midnight tonight, but I don’t care — I have the day off from work tomorrow (Use-or-Lose Leave Policy, I love thee).

Guess what I’ll be doing tomorrow?

And guess who will be ensconced in my lap whilst I do it?

Lucy Sez:


“I love Margene!”


She also says:


“May I have another wild salmon treat, please?”

It’s a Bohus, Baby!

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: 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!

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?


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

Noro is Like a Box of Chocolates


You never know what you’re gonna get.

Lorraine asked:
Do you ever try to deliberately make the stripes on your sleeves match with self-striping Noro, or is that just too much of a pain to figure out?

Very good question!

I used to attempt to make everything match up when knitting with Noro yarns, but not any more. Because Noro is sneaky. You’ll think you have matched up your sleeves, you are knitting happily along and then . . .

. . . a knot in the skein. A totally different color that disrupts the striping sequence has been tied in. I’ve also noticed that the striping sequence isn’t consistent in whole skeins of the same dyelot, anyhow. So now I just let it go.

When I started knitting Bettina, I was a little annoyed by all the shades of grey in the colorway of Silk Garden I am using — 226. I looked at the color swatches for Silk Garden on the Knitting Fever website, and the swatch for 226 does not show a whole lot of grey. (This is a good reason to buy Noro yarns only after seeing them in person I guess).

But the more I knit, the more I like it. I think the bands of neutral really set off the bands of color. If the whole thing were purples and blues and turquoise, I’d be wearing my sunglasses while knitting it.

So I guess Mr. Noro knows what he’s doing with his colors, huh?

Here’s the progress on Bettina. I finished another side front and started a sleeve.


Yeah, it looks like I’m making a lot of progress here, but remember — the last couple of things I’ve been working on are large gauge projects so they go very quickly. Catch me on a fine-gauge colorwork project. Then you’ll see slow.

Why, yes, I do sleep. Not as much as I’d like to, of course. But no, I don’t sit up all night knitting!


Kathy asked:
I was curious about your sweater blocking methods. Do you wait to block your sweater until after it is sewed together for a particular reason? My last knitted sweater (cardigan) I pre-blocked all the parts before sewing it. That was 1981 and I still wear it occasionally. I’ve tried to find information about this without much luck since I’d like to resume knitting sweaters again.

Did I say that I wait until after my sweater is sewn together to block it? Because if I did say that, I lied.

I block before sewing (if indeed I block at all) and then just gently steam the seams post-sewing, if they seem to need it.


Ha! It was pathetic. There were widely varying reports of the amount of snowfall, but in my immediate area, it looked like less than two inches. No snow day for me.


I have a thermometer in my office. If I put in on the windowsill, it registers 59 degrees. If I put it next to my computer monitor, it goes up to 66 or 67. Yeah, it’s nippy in there! But it gives me a chance to wear my sweaters and to indulge in some layering, as Norma suggested in the comments. These are de rigeur:


Beaded qiviut pulsewarmers, knit for me by my friend Johanne. Let us be both fashionable and warm, dahling.

I think I may need some fingerless gloves knit from Jade Sapphire cashmere as well, though.


A good thing about having a sub-arctic office? No one who comes in to annoy me stays very long! Heh heh heh.


Julie asked:
I have a spinning question for you: Do you usually do 2-ply when you ply?

So far, all my handspun has been 2-ply!

L-B said:
I will dare to suggest that you begin a handspun skein listing under your Completed Works! Or, am I the only one who rolls back through your blogs trying to recall colors/fibers you’ve spun?

Great minds think alike, because I’ve been thinking for a while that I ought to do something like that. Not because I expect you to gaze upon my skeins of handspun with rapt attention, but rather because it will help me remember what I’ve spun and how much I have of it. So here you go!

Handspun Gallery

It’s linked to from my sidebar and from my main knitting page as well. I’ve only gone back to the beginning of November of this year. Because I am far too lazy to go back any further. And also because my earlier spinning attempts are best left to obscurity.

Lucy agrees.


Holy Guacamole, Stop the Presses!

Because fifteen minutes ago, the angels of mercy who work in my condo office phoned me (90 minutes after the office had closed) to tell me that our less-than-stellar postal carrier was there and had a package I needed to sign for. My anxiously-awaited colorwork kit! Instead of letting him just leave me a note in my mailbox so I’d have to go to the post office to pick it up, these lovely ladies phoned me to come down and sign for it. I’ve got my colorwork kit! I’ve got my colorwork kit!

What is the colorwork kit?

Oh, I’ll tell you tomorrow.


Woke up this morning to a weather forecast with the mention of snow, starting this afternoon. Woo-hoo!

So today I wore my Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk Ribbed Sweater to the office. One problem: Lucy apparently thought it was another animal and tried to attack it when I put it on. Perhaps she thought it was a cat and was jealous? Or perhaps she considers herself a fashionista and was trying to tell me that I looked like hell. No, that can’t be it — she allows me to slop around at home in some fairly appalling get-ups.


Given the temperature in my office (lower 60s F.), the Ribbed Sweater was welcome today. There have been notices plastered around in the federal building where I work announcing that they have turned down the heat to save money. And because one wall of my office is windows, things are a bit chilly there! Finally. I get to wear sweaters. Yay, sweaters.

I also put my Frostrosen mittens in my bag, in case I needed to clean snow off my car for the drive home.

I only hope it snows enough tonight that I can stay home tomorrow. But I doubt it.

Here’s the view out my window shortly before 5:00pm:


It looks promising, but at moment I don’t think it’s snowing at all. Rats.

For the Record

When it first became apparent that Lucy was unwell Saturday morning, I turned into a hysterical mother. It is clearly a very good thing indeed that I do not have a child. For if I did, that poor little kid would be the most over-protected child in the history of the universe.

A couple of you suggested in the comments that I could break up the Greenies into smaller pieces before giving them to her. I am hesitant to give her Greenies at all anymore, after reading a couple of articles about how canine Greenies contain some “undigestible material” and there have been some cases of of dogs suffering from intestinal blockage requiring surgery, and in some cases causing death. I don’t know if feline Greenies contain undigestible material, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s not worth the risk to Lucy’s health to continue giving them to her. Call me an over-protective mom (see above).

Here are links to articles about canine Greenies. Judge for yourself.

Lucy is now completely recovered — thanks for all your good wishes for her furry self.


Oh Yeah . . . Knitting

Here is my progress on Bettina — I finished the lower back and one lower side front. This sweater is constructed similarly to Klaralund — the sleeves extend into the top of the body.


Two rectangles! Exciting, no?

Spinning! Don’t Forget Spinning!

I love the BFL/Border Leicester yarn from my weekend spin. In answer to Holly’s question in the comments, it is pretty soft. Holly, I’ll try to remember to put it in my bag for my next trip to Knit Happens so you can fondle it in person.


I also spun up some wonderfully soft merino fiber that L-B gave me:


This is bulky weight — about 120 yards.

(By the way, L-B a gallery of my handspun is a good idea — it’ll help me remember what I have spun and how much I have of it. I’ll get right on that!)

My current spinning:


This is Shetland/Cotswold — the black bits are Shetland, the blue Cotswold. And there’s a little bit of glitzy stuff mixed in. It’s not quite as fuzzy as it photographed. Very easy to spin. I’ve got 15 ounces of it, which looks like masses of roving.

Excuse me now. I must go perform a Snow Dance.

Well Whoop-de-do: A Finished Kolsva

Yeah, finished it Friday night as predicted.


What do I think of it?

Well, in retrospect, Iro was not a great yarn choice — it knit up into a very firm fabric and I think I’d like this sweater a little softer. There you go. Learn from my mistake.

But I do like the sweater — just think I’d like it better in a different yarn.

I dislike sewing together sweaters that are done in reverse stockinette stitch, and when it’s a bulky yarn, it’s particularly heinous. You have to use lots of short lengths of the Iro for sewing, as the stress of pulling on it can pull the yarn apart after a while.

Christina asked:
How difficult is it to set in sleeves? I only have experience with raglan and drop shoulder.

With set in sleeves, I almost always sew the cap into the armhole before sewing up the side seam. Sometimes you have to ease a bit of fullness in the sleeve cap into the armhole, but if you pin it in place carefully, and pay attention, it really shouldn’t be too big a problem. You want to sew the sleeve cap in as neatly as possible, as it’s a seam that shows.

I think it helps me that I’ve got years of sewing and tailoring experience — I used to sew all my clothes and made quite a few tailored suits and used “advanced” patterns. For the record, I never enjoyed setting in sleeves when I used to sew, either.

What’s New?

I didn’t get my anxiously-awaited colorwork kit in the mail yet (rats!), so I started knitting “Bettina,” the cover sweater on the Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton Noro Revisited book. Photo on the Knitting Fever site here.

It’s made from Noro Silk Garden. Carodan Farm had a really great Day-After-Thanksgiving sale, so I ordered the Silk Garden then — color 226.


Spinning News

I finished up the BFL/Border Leicester. This is 190 yards of aqua-blue goodness.


I’ve washed it and it’s drying now. The skein was perfectly balanced (yay!) so I didn’t weight it when I hung it to dry (it was pointed out to me in the comments by a couple of spinners with far more experience than I not to weight a skein that’s balanced while it is drying.)


First Birthday Month Contest Winner

The first winner is Laurie in Manchester UK, who came the closest to guessing my time of birth. Her guess was 7:12am. My actual time of birth was 7:17am. Pretty frickin’ close, she was!

Laurie wins this:


2 skeins of Lornas Laces Shepherd sock yarn in the “Knit Happens” colorway.

Thanks so much to all of you who sent me guesses — it’s so fun to read them all! Tune in next Thursday for the next birthday month contest!

Hoax Cookies

I spent some time today making cookies for my office’s holiday party. My very favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe is the one that has been purported to be from Mrs. Fields or Neiman Marcus and is the subject of a hoax of some longevity — I was first given the recipe in the mid-1980s. You can read the story and find the recipe here. The recipe can be easily halved — which is what I did today.

I do think I’d better eat one, though. You know . . . to make sure they are edible.


Becky, note the presence of the tequila bottle in the photo.

Proof That I Am a Widdle Cuddly Puddy-Tat Snookums

I took a “What Kind of Wolf Are You?” quiz:

NOT wolf
Dude, where did you come from? You’re not a wolf!
Go away before you’re discovered and killed!

What kind of wolf are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Speaking of Widdle Cuddly Puddy-Tat Snookums


Lucy had a very rough day on Saturday. Near as we can figure, she got a Greenie stuck in her esophagus. She had a couple of Greenies on Saturday morning, and soon after it was evident that she was in distress. She did manage to dislodge the Greenies and barfed them up whole, which was probably explains what the problem was — she swallowed them whole.

She’s fine — she slept all afternoon and was herself again (though a bit subdued) by early evening. But we’ve decided she’s not getting any more Greenies. She’s not getting ANYTHING that she might want to swallow whole that could cause her to choke.

I’ve heard a variety of stories about dogs having problems with canine Greenies and I don’t know if feline Greenies pose any significant risk — just wanna pass on to you Lucy’s experience.