Fauves in the Bohus…a cardigan

June 19, 2015

Thank you dear readers for the thoughtful and thought-provoking comments to my last post. I am pondering deeply. While I am pondering, I thought I might share a recently finished knitting project.

Bohus colourwork is known for its jewel hues, subtle colour changes and knit/purl textures within a yoke structure. Bohus Stickening was a knitting enterprise that was founded in 1937 by Emma Jacobsson in Sweden. It combined the skills of local, impoverished women of Bohuslan, fine yarns and high quality design to create a luxury fashion garments. Bohus Stickening produced exquisite garments for three decades. You can read more about these beauties in Kate Davies, Yokes (2015) or Wendy Keel, Poems of ColourKnitting in the Bohus Tradition (1995).

IMG_0768I just finished a yoked cardigan for a small friend. It uses the knits and purls texture of the Bohus yokes but it is not subtle or planned in the meticulous way of the Bohus designers. It is rather the Fauve in the Bohus, expressive, wild and a wee bit random. The Fauves were a group of French artists in the early twentieth century named the wild beasts by critics for their expressive, painterly reaction to realism of Impression.

IMG_0793This is joyful knitting for me…a collection of yarns, a rough idea of stitch counts and rates of increase and no idea what will happen next.

IMG_0783The structure of this cardigan is top down. It is for a preschool child but she is big for her age and we wanted lots of growing room. The yoke will be roomy but not overly big looking and the sleeves can be lengthened as she grows. I have set aside yarn for this purpose. It was worked on two needles rather than in the round as this is knitted in worsted weight and I didn’t want a bulky steeked front. Instead, stitches were held for the button bands and knitted in a smaller needle and sewn to the body after the cardigan was knit. The yoke increases were done Elizabeth Zimmerman style, in 3 sets (a third, a third and a quarter of yoke stitches increased).

IMG_0606The yarns are an archeology of special yarns from my stash that I had been saving for their loveliness. The main body is worked in Rowan Aran Tweed that had been bought many years ago from Sunspun and knit into a cloche that never suited me! So I frogged and saved the yarn.  The yoke contains Scappa Aran from K1 Yarns in Edinburgh, bought on holiday there. It was bought for gloves for My Man which were sadly lost in Cologne and some fingerless travelling mitts for me which were not lost.

IMG_0782There is also some Noro Silk Garden, that I think I bought about eight years ago. It has been a stripey scarf since then but also frogged and saved. The rest is lovely bits of Jo Sharp Silk Road Aran Tweed from a very long time ago. Some was frogged from a sweater to make a vest and other colours were used in small sweaters for my babies.

The yarns were chosen to compliment the unusual hair colour of the wee person, for she blazes like autumn with that burnished russet of Eucalyptus nicholii. And by the colours chosen, a suite of knitterly memories was recalled in a cardigan for a dear friend’s child.

IMG_0780All the Ravelry details are here, including stitch counts and my precise method if your interest leans that way.