« Ravelry | Main | Bohus Knitting »

My fabulous Saturday (Bohus Stickning)

  My first meeting with the Sand & Sea Knitting Guild coincided with a fabulous Bohus Stickning workshop led by Susanna Hansson.

Informative, entertaining, fun… what more can I say. There was a little bit of everything and it was all good. In a friendly and relaxed atmosphere (I am definitely going back to the guild meetings with or without workshops), we learned about Bohus knitting, including the correct pronunciation. "Bo" as in the first phoneme of the English word "bull" and "hus" with the "h" as a typical English "h", "u" as a French "u" (I think of it as a "ü"), and "s" as in "salt". Just in case you were wondering.

Susanna started with a talk + slideshow on the history of Bohus Stickning that I found fascinating. It's so much more enjoyable to learn a technique in context, and the characters in her narration came alive along with the (inevitably limited) socio-economical background of the times. Bohus Stickning originated in Sweden in 1939 thanks to the intersection of economic depression and the creativity of a remarkable woman who settled in Göteborg from Vienna.

Understanding that a bunch of knitters couldn't possibly keep their hands idle during the lecture part of the workshop, Susanna got us going with the kits and we started winding the beautiful little skeins and casting on for a wristlet before she started her presentation. Wise woman!

This was the kit, containing a folder with printouts and our 50%-50% merino/angora yarn in four colors. The yarn is an integral element of Bohus knitting and really enhances the stitch and color patterns. The angora in the mix creates a soft halo that contributes to the visual blending of the color gradations.

The pacing was just right and I never felt rushed or bored, being able to look at my work without missing any of the slides. You could tell that she had done this many times.

Here are some finished wristlets Susanna brought along to show us the finished items in a variety of gauges and finishes.

The wristlet cuff could also be used as a sock cuff.

In addition to the slideshow presentation, Susanna brought many original vintage items knitted during the operation of Bohus Stickning, from 1939 to 1969, some purchased in Sweden, others acquired via eBay and other sources. There really is no substitute for seeing the items in person.

During the first few years, the items were knitted with 100% wool and looked quite different from those of later date. It was very interesting to compare a hat knitted with original Bohus yarn — the process was entirely controlled from fleece selection to dyeing the fiber to designing the patterns — and the same model knitted with a different yarn and at a larger gauge. Bohus knitting really looses a lot of its appeal at larger gauges.

Several items from an early collection. These gloves are remarkably well constructed.

Across the various pieces there was great variety of patterns and textures.

Quintessential Bohus design.

I love this beading effect created just by the play of knit and purl stitches. The textures of the "beaded" areas is quite different from the rest.

Some of these patterns are available in the book Poems of Color along with a lot of background information on Bohus Stickning. Be aware that the patterns have been adapted from the original gauge (8.5-9 sts/inch) down to 7 sts/inch.

One of the kits available from Sol Silke.

The yarns are not available outside of the kits and not all designs are available as kits, but new (well, old) designs are being added all the time so if your favorite pattern is not available as a kit now, it might be at some point.

Another great thing Susanna did, was to help us analyze the construction of some of the pieces, pointing out interesting bits and pieces. The detail above is from a scarf from the early period where the alternating ribs make the scarf lay flat. So simple and so clever.

This was one of my favorite pieces and with a great story, too, about how Susanna acquired it; it's called "Lemon".

And my other favorite design: Large Lace Collar.

And this one, for which I don't have a name.

Our wristlets in progress at the end of the day.

In our group of twenty knitters, needle sizes ranged from #0000 (yes!) to #2 and some of us used two circular needles, some used DPNs and one a single circular (magic loop technique).

Don't you feel like picking up your #0-#000 needles and start knitting?

If you are interested in Bohus knitting and get a chance to take one of Susanna's workshop, don't miss it. Check out One of Susanna's for her teaching schedule.


Ugh! Nothing like that happens here. I might have to run away from home ;-)

The Blue Shimmer (?), What yarn was the bigger one done in? I was half considering doing it in jumperweight since I do not like Angora.

The Large Lace Collar jacket is my favourite.

What an inspiring post! I went straight to amazon and ordered the book!

Darn there went an hour--someone posted a pic of these INCREDIBLE vintage bohus-panel sweaters on flickr a while back and either I didn't fave it (but I did comment on it) or they deleted it. Instead of being knit in the round it was just worked from the buttonband side to side instead of the usual bottom-up. They looked beaded just like the ones you were talking about. Just gorgeous. Why would they delete that pic? Now I'm going crazy trying to find it. :(

Thanks for all the beautiful photos. I haven't seen these in person, but I have way too much familiarity (: with the kits from http://www.solsilke.se/ I think Susanna translates those into English, and there are several available at the original gauge...like that one for "Guld" which I have...

Oh wow. Knitting a Bohus is my inspiration for learning fair isle (which i haven't done yet, but i haven't bought a kit yet either, so I don't feel pressured.) That must have been a wonderful day.

Yikes, size #0000! That's like a needle.
What a great workshop! The pictures of all the sweaters and other items are so beautiful. It looks like it was a really good meeting. Thanks for the link to the book!

Looks like it was a good time and makes me wish that I wasn't so overwhelmed right now and had signed up.

Che meraviglia!! non ho parole..

sounds like an amazing workshop - and so very well organized, which is always such a happy surprise. enthusiasm is great, but it gets even better when the workshop is well-planned. interesting about the angora - makes perfect sense.

so... what's going to be your first bohus sweater? ;)

Susanna is such a good and patient teacher; I took a class from her a few years ago. I'm on her email list to keep track of when another interesting class of hers becomes available around here. I enjoy knitting with the smaller gauge needles a lot, although it certainly slows the completion process.

You have taken some amazing photos! It looks like a wonderful day. I bought the book, but haven't gotten the nerve to try a project yet!

Wow, that looks like so much fun, and educational too! I can't wait to see what you do with all that inspiration. Those knitted items are amazing!

I've come across Bohus before but what you've shown here has really whetted my appetite. What a great-sounding workshop!

wow! what an inspiring set of photos--looking forward to seeing your wristlet! :)

I couldn't see this post until today for some reason but goodness, what a wonderful workshop. Thanks for sharing everything. I especially loved seeing the items that have stood the test of time. It must have been fascinating.

Wow! Absolutely shocking to see KC/FH vs Solveig's yarn. Wow!!! The colors are incredibly vibrant. The gauge-- supersized. (How American, one might say.)

Thanks for the post! Now I certainly want to take this class.

>Don't you feel like picking up your #0-#000 needles and start knitting?

Why, yes, I do. I love knitting on small needles. My Bohus kit is waiting for me, but I promised myself to finish up other works-in-progress first so that I gave give the Bohus all of my attention and savor it.