Friday, December 15, 2006

Bohus Sweaters

Swedish Bohus sweaters, famous for their magnificent color work, were the brainchild of Emma Jacobsson. Like so much fine handwork, Bohus knitting was developed as a means of providing income to housebound women.

Started during the Depression, Bohus Stickning at first produced plain garments such as socks and mittens. These articles couldn't be sold at a premium price, so Emma began designing more sophisticated items with complex color patterns.

Most knitters weren't familiar with Bohus knitting until Wendy Keele wrote her wonderful book, Poems of Color, in 1995. (The book is now out of print, but is easy to purchase used from Amazon, Abe's books, and other used bookstores on the Internet.)

Wendy gives terrific directions for a dozen or so sweaters, hats, and mittens. She also sells kits for most of the designs in the book. You can order them here.

I've knitted two of these sweaters for DH. Here's the Wild Apple:

And the Large Collar:

Both sweaters are size 48, and once the fun of the yoke is finished (these sweaters are knitted from the neck down), I spent what seemed like several lifetimes knitting the rest of the sweater. For some reason, the dark green wasn't too bad, but ach! The black body was interminable! The result is exquisite--I think it's the most beautiful piece of knitting I ever produced. But at the time, I was really, really tired of black black black.

I also ordered the Large Collar for me in pink (called the Pink Collar) from The yarns in her kits are slightly finer than Wendy's--8 stitches per inch instead of 7. The yarn is also softer. You can see the pictures of these beauties here. I am seriously tempted by Forest Darkness, but I have enough projects in the queue. Someday.


Anonymous said...


Great Bohus post! If you visit my website, you will see that I too have a particular interest in all things Bohus related.

I hope you break down and order the Forest Darkness; it's stunning!

fleegle said...

What's the link to your blog?

Anonymous said...

If you click on my name (Susanna in Seattle) in the comments, that should link you to my site.

If, for some reason, it doesn't show up as a live link for you, my website address is:

I am always so happy to see people knitting Bohus garments from the Swedish kits since I spent a lot of time translating the instructions into English - makes me feel that it was all worth it! And there are several other designs that are in the process of being re-created by Solveig Gustafsson.

v-allknit said...

beautiful work and nice lace work too. wish i could also knit so many colors at in one project .....(dreaming :))

fleegle said...

Susanna--thank you so much for that link! What beautiful sweaters! I contacted her about the Sago Palm! Wow!

thomasina said...

Poetry in Stitches is back in print! It was not available for about a year and a half, but it is back at my yarn store now.

thomasina said...

Oops, I meant Poems of Color - I usually just think of it as "that Bohus book."

Batty said...

Oh, wow! Those sweaters are stunning. I'd never even heard of Bohus, thank you for introducing me to something this beautiful!

Beverly said...

Wonderful, I recently found this book in a used book store...and have been dreaming over the sweaters. Also the history of Bohus is so totally fasinating, the book is a super addition to any knitting library.

Debra said...

First of all-- absolutely gorgeous sweaters. You've selected the two designs that I've been most attracted to thus far in Wendy Keele's book. I love your blog!

I've been thinking about Bohus for the last 1.5 years-- and I just ordered the Large [Lace] Collar from Solveig in Sweeden!!! I'm very excited.

JRS said...

Those are gorgeous sweaters! Your DH is truly lucky!