Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Exquisite Beginnings

On Sunday morning I grabbed a project that I started a few weeks ago. It was not a secret-- just didn't feel exciting enough to talk about 1x1 ribbing on 2mm (US 0) needles. Here and there I'd knit a row or two of the tedious rib. Over the weekend I looked at it and thought, done! Time to play with a little colorwork.

A quick and not-so-fabulous morning picture after 2 days of colorwork:

The new project is "Wild Apple" or "Vildäpplet" from the Bohus knitting period-- a sweater designed by Kerstin Olsson in 1958. Kits for sweaters, hats and scarves are available at SOLsilke and the Bohusläns Museum.

Susanna Hansson certainly deserves a huge thanks for translating the original patterns from Swedish into English.

A larger gauge (7 sts/inch) Wild Apple pattern is available in this great book on Bohus Knitting: Poems of Color: Knitting in the Bohus Tradition by Wendy Keele (Interweave Press, 1995)

The pattern specifies 2.0mm for ribbing, and 2.5mm for colorwork and the body of the sweater for a gauge of 8.5 sts/inch. I found that I needed to go up to a 2.75 to hit perfect gauge during the yoke. After reading this post at the Bohus KAL, I'm planning to use a 2.5mm for the body and sleeves of the sweater. I'll work out gauge once again when the colorwork is done.

Now, to work with the yarn is to love the yarn.

It's a very fine 2-ply 50/50 angora merino blend. It's incredibly light and has an ethereal haze which continues to bloom after knit into fabric. The design of the colorwork-- careful gradation and simple purls during transition directly add to the surprisingly mysterious design. There's a bit of an optical illusion going on. This specific kit includes multiple shades of green and warm tones that reach toward bright & intense traffic-cone-orange.

Looking at a picture of a finished Bohus piece (above), and then seeing the colorwork up close & feeling this amazing fabric are completely different experiences. If you have the chance, go and view one of these in person.

I don't think I've ever loved any knitted work that I've done more than this.

Wendy Keele had it right. Bohus designs truly are poems of color.


Miss T said...


Guinifer said...

It looks like a flower blooming around the neck.

Pat said...

Oh boy - this is going to be a beauty! I'll enjoy following the progress!

fluffbuff said...

Wild Apple is a fantastic design. If I had the patience, I would tackle it, too.

Stacey said...

wow. that is looking amazing! I really want to make one of these sweaters! Are they all top down usually?

limedragon :-: Harriet said...

Can't wait to see the finished Bohus, it already looks gorgeous! : )

uberstrickenfrau said...

Hey! Thanks so much for coming by, If you want the gobal warming thingy-help yourself! I love sharing! Very cool knitting going on in your blog! wow.