Poems of Color: Knitting in the Bohus Tradition

by Wendy Keele

Paperback, 1995






Full-color reproductions of original pattern swatches, sweaters, and accessories from the Bohus workshop in Sweden, along with the history of the women who designed them.


Interweave (1995), Edition: 2nd, 144 pages

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1883010128 / 9781883010126

User reviews

LibraryThing member singsastarrynight
I had seen (and loved) the beautiful sweaters on Ravelry that were knit from Bohus Stickning designs, but I didn't know their origin. Two of my favorites were "Blue Shimmer" and "The Swan." With my own Swedish heritage, I was thrilled to learn the history of the sweaters' unique design — which
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sprang from a province in southwestern Sweden. And I was inspired by the story of Bohus Stickning and its smart, ambitious and artistic leader, Emma Jacobson.

Emma's husband was serving as governor of Bohuslän province in 1937 when she was approached by a group of women asking her to help them start a home-based industry. In response to the widespread depression of the 1930s, Emma and the other women worked to find a craft that could be produced continuously, required no specialized equipment and that all the women could participate in to supplement their household incomes. After a few trial runs, the women decided to develop locally unique designs for high-quality, hand-knitted garments. The success of Bohus Stickning over the next 30 years owes much to the leadership of Emma Jacobson, whose artistic sense in collaboration with local designers helped develop the organization's beautiful, characteristic design aesthetic. Her business sense and high standards helped the women to create the highest quality knits and place them in the most exclusive boutiques.

This beautiful and fascinating book has a number of historic photos that illustrate the history of Bohus Stickning, along with many color photos of the famed Bohus knits. It includes detailed descriptions of the training used and knitting process followed by the women who knit these garments, including original design sketches and photos of the color charts the knitters used. The book also includes color charts and instructions for 16 of the original Bohus designs, along with instructions for seven different garments: cardigan, pullover, yoke cardigan, yoke pullover, jacket, cap and mittens. The patterns have been updated for the looser fit that was popular in 1995, which is when the book was published.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I've added it to my wish list. There were just a few small disappointments, that I might offer as suggestions for consideration if author Wendy Keele and Interweave Press decide to create a second edition. First, there were a number of beautiful designs pictured in the book for which patterns were not included. I would love to see color charts (even as an online bonus) for all the pictured designs, especially "The Almond Tree," "The Gray Mist," "The Forest Darkness," "The Star" and "The Rose Collar." I'd also like to see instructions for the pillbox hat and gauntlet gloves. (I may try to reproduce these on my own.)

Also, although I understand Interweave's desire to "modernize" the fit of the designs when the book was published, I was disappointed that the book doesn't provide instructions for the original "sweater girl" fit — especially given the current fashion trends. There's a very cute ribbed-waist cardigan in "The Finish Spike" pattern, for example, that would be fun to reproduce.

Finally, since I am a very visual knitter, I would love to have a photo, even a small one, of each of the designs/body styles for which instructions are included in the book.

Special thanks to author Wendy Keele for her dedicated work to preserve the history and designs of Bohus Stickning, and bring them to the English-speaking world.
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