Amy’s Thread: Bohus Inspiration

The style of Bohus knitting (pronounced “Bo-Huss”) was the inspiration behind the Helen Cardigan designed for Portfolio Vol.1. Really it’s the inspiration behind a lot of what I design so this week I want to share a little glimpse of what makes this style so special.

Bohus Stickning was produced from 1939-1969. Development of the Bohus Style began with Emma Jacobsson in the late 1930’s and the company Bohus Stickning. The mission of the company was to provide economic opportunity for skilled artisans in the midst of a deep depression. The designers blended the methods of traditional Scandinavian needle work with Scandinavian Modern design and high fashion.

These sweaters were knit in high quality merino/angora blend yarns on tiny needles. A typical Bohus sweater features a highly patterned yoke with a plain stockinette stitch body that was worked flat (in pieces) and seamed for a more refined tailored look then the traditional seamless Scandinavian sweaters. They use many colors and bold geometric combinations that are layered so delicately and so brilliantly that they appear organic.

The Helen Pullover echoes the Bohus style with its tonal abstract yoke pattern that combines both knit and purl textures and like many Bohus yokes, this one is knit from the top down. Bohus sweaters were typically knit at a very fine gauge however and had a reputation for using very complex color work patterns. For Helen the yoke pattern is simplified and this works up more quickly at 18 sts/4″.

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Want to read more about the Bohus Style? There are not 1 but 2 articles in the Vogue Knitting Winter 2015 issueKate Davies has included a lovely short essay in her book Yokes. One of my most cherished books is Wendy Keele’s book Poems of Color, arguably the most comprehensive English language book on the subject with lots of photographs, history and patterns. This title appears to be out of print now but secondhand copies are still easy to locate.

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Like the style but not sure about committing to a sweater project? To try a smaller Bohus inspired project see the free Mira hat pattern from last week’s Knitbits and check out Emily’s Thread to see her experiments with alternate color ways.





2 thoughts on “Amy’s Thread: Bohus Inspiration

  1. The book, Poems of Color, is wonderful both for it’s history of Bohus knitting and for its pictoral sharing of the beautiful results. The story of the origins of Bohus knitting are intimately entwined with a specific time and place and the need to create a means of income blending with the creation of functional art. I’ve always wanted to attempt to knit something as subtly and at the same time startlingly beautiful as the colors in a Bohus piece. Inspiring…

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