Starting a weekend with a snow day can only mean good things
Granite and Bamboo

Bohus(sie) Road Trip

On Saturday Keri, Elizabeth and I loaded up on Starbucks, climbed into Keri's awesome yellow Mazda and zoomed off to Kitchener-Waterloo to take Susanna Hansson's famed Bohus class.  Michelle met us there and Katherine was also in attendance--it was great to see my non-Toronto knitting chums.

(We actually didn't zoom because of the post-storm roads, but were expertly transported by Keri's skilled driving.  Zoomed sounds better though).

This was my first-ever knitting class and if they're all like this one, I can see how I will be spending more of my time.

Since I'm already past the tough colourwork of my Grey Mist Bohus, I wasn't really attending to learn the techniques, and that wasn't what the class was primarily about.  Instead it was an opportunity to explore the sociohistorical roots of this particular kind of garment and the people involved: designers, knitters, the business folks and all those involved with the production and sale of these garments in the 40's, 50s and 60s. 

These pictures are some of Susanna's collection of vintage Bohus garments.  They are very beautiful.

These sweaters would have been owned by rich women, mostly American, who purchased these hand made sweaters at high-end stores like Nieman-Marcus.  They were neither worn nor purchased by knitters since they couldn't afford them and they were designed to be exclusive and not worn by "just anybody" which is very interesting since it seems that people like myself who want to make these garments are among the not-many who know anything about their history. 

It is due to the work of people like Susanna, Wendy Keele (who wrote Poems of Colour) and Solveig Gustafsson that Bohus knitting is around for people like me to touch, learn about and appreciate.  Solveig is the master-dyer behind the kits which are exact replicas of Bohus sweaters and Susanna generously volunteers to translate the patterns into English, asking only for a donation to Knitter's Without Borders to acknowledge her efforts.  She also spreads the love by letting us see the many Bohus creations that are not (currently) replicated as knitting kits.

Keri fell in love with this one, which is not what I think of when I think Bohus, but is also very 60's chic.

This is the one that I adore.  I love Chartreuse.  It's called The Lemon and it is so gorgeous.  There are some unexpected colour combinations in it that do not photograph well. 

This class wasn't all history--we examined the construction of the garments, learned about the designers, saw how the use of purl stitches created something different than fair isle (these are not fair isle, but their own kind of colour work) and we also got to start knitting wristlets based on the Blue Shimmer design (seen in this hat below).

I now want a Blue Shimmer sweater or Hat and Scarf kit.  The colours are stunning.  Here is our work at the end of the class. 

I will update the progress on mine as it happens.  I also have renewed my desire to get back to my Grey Mist and wear a piece of knitting history.  Thanks for a great class Susanna!

Comments

Oooh, you'll have to bring your wristlet to knit night so we can all admire it! I'll be curious to see the Blue Shimmer colors in person.

Now that sounds like my kind of knitting class - one that has context and social history and isn't all about techniques. ::envy:: Thanks for the report. I loved the jacket that Keri liked too. Makes me think about something like that for me next winter.

OMG! I love The Lemon! It's a good thing that it isn't available in a museum kit. I would have to starve myself to get it. Hmmm. Maybe that's not such a bad idea anyway. :g:

I was there too and loved it... the history was just wonderful. I'm still not sure I'll knit a whole sweater. I'm a cardi girl, and flat stranded knitting? I think not!

They all look gorgeous! That really is a mark of how the market for handknits has developed. Nieman Marcus... Wowzers.

Sadly, not all classes are great like Susanna's. She is one of the best instructors I have ever had.

Thank you so much for sharing the history and the examples. I really enjoyed learning another thing about knitting and adding to my knowledge stash.

That is unbelievably cool. I would love to take a class like that and learn more about the history of a particular style or garment.

I love the blue jacket! And 'The Lemon'...

Good thing I don't live in an urban area. My credit card would never survive.

Sounds like fun! Did she happen to have an example of The Late Autumn? It's one of my favorites in Poems of Color but there's only a closeup of the pattern & it's hard to imagine the whole effect. One more thing on my list of Someday projects....

Steeks? Eek! But I love me a cardi, and I want Wild Apple real bad... so maybe, just maybe, I'll overcome my fear of cutting hours and hours of stranded knitting. .....

or not.

Well, maybe. For wild apple. Eek!

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