If you know me at all, you know that I have a deep love for the Bohus Stickning Cooperative. What is Bohus Stickning? Well, I’m glad you asked. You can read all about it on a previous blog post, or listen to this interview I did with Very Pink Knits, or go buy this fabulous book by Wendy Keele, Poems of Color. If you want the quick and dirty explanation, here goes: Bohus Stickning was founded in 1939 in Sweden. The purpose of the cooperative was to create a cottage industry in the Bohuslan region, an area hit hard by the depression of the 1930s. Emma and the members of the cooperative designed and knit high fashion sweaters using a custom angora/wool blend yarn. Bohus Stickning (stickning is the Swedish word for knitting) closed in 1969. Their sweaters are iconic, and they are known for their striking use of color and texture, using purl stitches to create complex color and shadow effects.
One of the things about designing Bohus style garments is that they use a lot of colors, sometimes 3 or more colors per row, and you never really know how the colors and the purl stitches will play until you have swatched a million times. Patsy has a long design history, which began in 2011 when I designed the yoke for the Seurat Pullover for an Interweave publication, Color Knits.
Fast-forward five years, and I was teaching Bohus knitting at VK Live Minneapolis to an extremely talented group of knitters. Undettered by the techniques I taught in the first half of class, with a much simpler chart than the one used in Seurat, they were hungry for a more complex chart. Over the lunch break, I got out my computer, rearranged the files for the charts for the Seurat pullover and dashed off to Kinkos to print 25 copies. Fingers crossed that the chart was correct, I headed back into class and another design was born!
Then, in the summer of 2017, we received the first samples of what would become our very first Kelbourne Woolens yarn. I pulled out my Bohus chart files once again and cast on a hat with Andorra. Andorra is my answer to an angora-free Bohus-appropriate yarn. It is very difficult to find a humane source for angora in a large enough quantity to commercially produce a yarn. Instead, Andorra has a touch of super soft mohair, sourced from South Africa, creating just enough of a halo to soften the color changes.
When choosing colors for the new Andorra yarn, I chose a slate of purples and neutrals that would create a wonderful gradient that would be perfect to use in Bohus knitting.
Watching the way a design evolves is one of my favorite things about designing, and tomorrow I’ll share some details on Patsy’s sister project, Jenny!
Will you be at VK Live NYC this weekend? I’ll be there to teach Bohus knitting, and I hope to see you there!
We’ll be knitting the wristwarmers that inspired Patsy, and students will be receiving mini skeins of our new yarn, Andorra!