If you’ve been online over the last few weeks you will have spotted that I’ve got a brand new pattern, ‘Bohus’ in Laine magazine issue 7. My curiosity about the Bohus style of knitting started started several years ago when I was looking at textured colourwork. When I was working on my book, Knitting With Rainbows, I was trying to find some variations on how to use and enhance gradient yarns. This started with biased patterns that created a diagonal effect in the yarn colour and then moved onto slip stitch patterns that blended gradients with big colour differences. Bohus knitting fell into this category and was a great way of blending colours. Bohus Stickning was a Swedish knitting cooperative that was active between 1939 and 1969. It was established as a cottage industry to provide income for families in Bohuslän (Sweden) during the Great Depression. The history of this knitting tradition holds particular interest to me as its development is very similar to aran knitting in Ireland.
The Bohus knitting style has several distinctive features; it uses a very fine yarn (usually with a fluffy angora content) in many different colours. These colours are often worked with several in a single round of knitting. To help blend the colours together and create a blurred edge to the colour changes they often introduced purl stitches into the colourwork. In my design ‘Bohus’ this is the feature that I’ve highlighted, using purl stitches scattered as you change colours to create a softer colour divide and interesting texture.
Now I didn’t think you’d all want to knit with superfine angora yarn so this design is worked in John Arbon’s Devonia DK giving a nice respectable 21 stitches per 4″. This yarn is a mix of 50% Exmoor Horn, 30% Bluefaced Leicester, and 20% Wensleydale giving a durable yarn with a bit of bite. This is very useful as the armholes of the sweater are steeked and this means that you can use a crochet steek to hold them.
So now a bit about the sweater. It’s knit in the round from the bottom up, when you reach the yoke you cast on ‘bridging stitches’ across the armholes and then keep working in the round. At the top of the shoulder you join the front and back shoulders together using a three-needle bind off. At this point now you need to steek the armholes to finish the sleeves. I know this is a bit scary if you haven’t done it before but take a deep breath and take the plunge! If it’s new to you I’d definitely suggest trying it out on a swatch first of all so you get a feel for how it works. If you have a sticky yarn you can do a crochet steek which I’ve detailed here:
If however you’re using a yarn that is slippy without much grip then I’d strongly suggest that you use a sewn steek, sewing a line down each side of the bridging stitches before you cut.
Once the steek is complete then the sleeves are picked up and worked from the top down. In terms of sizing I think this sweater works best with several inches of positive ease. In general drop shoulder constructions need generous positive ease to work well and allow the sleeves to start well down the arm.
I’ve also had a second sample knit up in Nua yarn. This is finer than the Devonia DK but it blooms well and is happy to be knit on the looser side. This sample was knit on 4 mm (US 6) needles to get the same gauge as the Laine magazine version.