Bohus. The word is both revered and fear-inducing among knitters. For those of you that aren’t familiar with the term, Bohus knitting originated in Sweden in the late 1930’s as a way for women to help support their families during the depression. It continued to remain popular until the late 1960’s and fell out of favour when man-made knitting materials took over the knitting scene and most knitters felt that the style of knitting was too complex. But it seems to be slowly making a comeback as more and more knitters are attempting to make their own Bohus garments.
Why is it so frightening? Because the garments are made of a beautiful hand dyed blend of 50/50 merino and angora and knit on an average needle size of 2.5mm. So basically you’re knitting an entire sweater in sock yarn using sock yarn size needles.
And that doesn’t even touch on the colourwork that is incorporated into the sweater, or the fact that they often involve steeking, or the crazy directions like increase one stitch to 225 stitches.
And I’ve been seriously tempted by the craziness for well over a year now. Then one of my other knitting friends, who has at least two Bohus kits in her stash, pointed out that apparently there is only one women left in Sweden who is making and dying the yarn and she’s in her 70’s and at the time had no known apprentice. (I really hope that my friend was wrong about that. This a beautiful form of knitting art and we will be losing something very magical in the knitting community when the last remaining artist passes.) First I had to figure out how to translate the website into English and then poked around at it, a lot. But I didn’t have the nerve to order anything.
Then about 6 weeks ago my BFF started making noise about wanting to order something and that we should split the shipping cost. We picked out patterns and then spent four weeks convincing each other that it was a good idea until I finally told her to order the damn thing.
And in a surprisingly short period of time this arrived in the mail.
This is what it will eventually become.
and this is eventually what it will become.
I think at this point it’s pretty damn safe to say that I have lost my mind. I can not wait to cast this on even with the certain knowledge that this is going to be a huge investment both my knitting time and energy and will probably reduce me to tears at least once. I remember looking at a sweater pattern many years ago that came with the disclaimer, “this may be the most challenging thing you’ve ever knit.” While I admit that the pattern seemed slightly daunting, I can safely say that the designer clearly never encountered Bohus.
I am going to attempt to ignore this until after the Christmas knitting is finished. But once that’s finished this will be cast on and the craziness will begin. I can’t wait.
For more tempting things check out Reasons to Skip the Housework.