Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Bohus Stickning (Knitting)

OK, so normally I don't post knitting projects this frequently, but I wanted to show you this hat I finished yesterday. This is the Northern Lights Bohus Hat from the book Homespun Handknit (published by Interweave Press).

I was looking at the Minnesota Knitter's Guild website on Sunday afternoon and I saw some information there about a recent bohus knitting exhibit at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis (unfortunately, the exhibit ended on Sunday!) Anyway, I was intrigued as I continued to read the story and clicked on some of their other links for bohus knitting.

A little bit of history here: Bohus knitting was pioneered in Sweden in the 1940's by Emma Jacobsson and the Bohus Knitting Cooperative. The bohus style of pattern knitting uses purl and slip stitches along with color stranded patterns to give the effect of more than two colors in a row. In the close-up photo below you can see how this effect is achieved.
Like the other stranded knitting projects I do, the designs are worked from a chart and there are never more than two colors used in a row. This hat is my first attempt at bohus knitting and I'm really pleased with the results. I'm planning to try this pattern again with some different color combinations and the first one will be taking these same colors and using them in reverse order (starting with the yellow and ending with royal blue).

I'm going to donate the hat in this post to the silent auction being held at the Minnesota Master Naturalists conference in May. The silent auction raises scholarship funds to help people who want to attend this conference but might not be able to afford the full registration fee. I was fortunate to be a recipient of one of these scholarships which will enable me to attend the conference this year, so I'm going to "pay it forward" by donating several of my knitted items to help raise money for next year's scholarship fund.

If you're interested in seeing more examples of bohus knitting, please check out Solveig Gustafsson's website for some inspiring and amazingly beautiful designs. (I believe all of the designs are available as kits, but I like them all so much it would be hard for me to pick just one that I wanted to knit.)


22 comments:

Mama Pea said...

Truly gorgeous . . . great choice of colors. It will be fun to see how different the next hat looks with the reverse of colors. Could/would you post a picture of them side by side, please?

Meggie said...

Lovely creation, Ruthie! What a great idea to donate it to the scholarship fund.

KGMom said...

The colors look like the Aurora Borealis! Lovely.
You are a way more serious knitter than I!

RuthieJ said...

Thanks Mama Pea, and I certainly will.

Thanks Meggie.

Thanks Donna. I'm not as serious a knitter as I should be, because if I were, I'd be working a little harder at completing Level 2 of the Master Knitter program I started oh, maybe 6 years ago! (The 6 swatches I've gotten done so far and the rest of the instructions are still gathering dust under the living room couch)

Kallen305 said...

Ruthie, all of your work is fabulous, but this is simply amazing!! I can't get over the level of detail in it. So pretty.

Lynne said...

Beautiful Ruthie! Your talent and your generous heart are a powerful combination.

jan m said...

Beautiful hat Ruthie. I love those colors.

Ruth said...

You are such a gifted artisan! The hat is gorgeous. Do you still do knitting classes in your area?

Deb said...

I love those bold colors against the gray. Maybe I'll get to see that hat first hand!

Femin Susan said...

That is indeed creative. You are great in knitting. in the holidays I started and kept and didn't have patience to finish it.
cheers!

Kelly said...

Wow...very cool and beautiful. You have a special talent! Did you knit the sweater you're wearing in your photo?

Gaelyn said...

Ruthie, this hat is gorgeous! I love the colors.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

This looks very intricate Ruthie. You did a great job on this project.

danielle said...

I've had my eye on some of those bohus sweater patterns for a while now. I'm just not sure I can handle all of the stockinette on such fine gauge yarn. :-)

I haven't seen a pattern with as beautiful colors as this hat, though. You did a great job on it!

Taos Sunflower said...

Great hat! You're inspiring me to do some stranded knitting...which I adore...just haven't done any in a long time.

NCmountainwoman said...

I went to the Website, but my high school Swedish is a bit rusty! I did enjoy looking at the photographs though.

Yours is lovely. I'm going to give it a try.

Jayne said...

That's really beautiful Ruthie. And even more beautiful that you would donate it to help others. But that's just the beauty in you... :c)

Red said...

I can see the third color in that closeup... nice! What a great idea to put it up for silent auction too at the conference :)

Shellmo said...

This hat is beautiful w/ all those colors!!

RuthieJ said...

Thanks Kim. It's a bit more complicated than regular 2-colored knitting (harder to watch birds at the same time!)

Thanks Lynne. Hopefully someone else will appreciate it and donate lots of $$ for purchase at the auction!

Thanks Jan. Those were the same colors as specified in the pattern and this hat turned out just like the picture! (I love it when that happens)

Thanks Ruth. I haven't done any knitting classes for a while (the shop where I used to do them has moved and her class space is really tiny now, so it's not ideal for teaching in a group situation)

I hope so too Deb. I'm planning to arrive Friday afternoon and I think the silent auction items will be on display until Sunday.

Thank you Susan. I hope you have a chance to take up knitting again--with experience will come patience!

Thanks Kelly, and yes, that's the Big Lena Sveater I'm wearing in the photo.

Thanks Gaelyn. The colors kind of remind me of a sunset.

Thanks Lisa.

Thanks Danielle. I need to find that Poems of Color book of bohus knitting patterns. And I understand what you mean about all the plain stockinette.....(yawn!)

Thanks Martie and it's not as if you haven't been doing other fun fiber things between stranded knitting projects!

Thanks Carolyn. I have a translation guide for Norwegian knitting terms, but not Swedish. Probably if you can follow the charts though, it wouldn't be too bad. Good luck on knitting this pattern -- I think you'll enjoy it.

Thanks Jayne -- you are way too kind!

Thanks Heidi. I was just so happy to get the scholarship and like I've said before, I have more yarn than money, so if I can turn yarn into money for a worthy cause, it's worth it.

Thanks Shelley, wait till you see the one I'm working on now in shades of purple/pink!

Dana and Daisy said...

your knitting talent just leaves me speechless.

twinsetellen said...

Beautiful Bohus-inspired hat! Your color selection is really great.

I have just a little Bohus info to add (I've been fortunate to be associated with the exhibit so got to hear it from the experts). Some of the early descriptions were in error - slip stitches aren't used in the original Bohus designs. Also, as many as 5 colors can be found in one row in some of the original patterns. I've done a reproduction Forest Darkness and had a few rows with 4 colors - not sure I want to go for 5!

Current practice is to refer to sweaters created at the original gauge (8.5 st/inch) and in very close matches to the original yarn (like those you can order from Solveig's website) to be Bohus reproductions and all others to be "Bohus-inspired". This is because Bohus Stickning was a haute couture fashion house (like Chanel), not a style of knitting (like Fair Isle). Whatever you call it - it is gorgeous! I hope your hat brings a bunch for charity.