Monday, 13 March 2017

Swedish Bohus Knitting KCG Collection


 
If you read the previous post about the Edinburgh Yarn Festival I mentioned the Knitting and Crochet Guild (KCG) display which featured Bohus knitting. This is a style of knitting I had heard of but knew little about. Trish who was volunteering on behalf of the KCG told me a brief history. 

Originating in the Swedish province of Bohuslan, Bohus knitting began as a cottage industry to provide income for poor families. Run as a knitting cooperative it was active from 1939 to 1969. Emma Jacobsson was the founder and leading light who recruited artists and designers to produce designs for the cooperative. During the 1940's the distinctive multi coloured style was developed. Eventually, Bohus became highly fashionable with celebrities of the day among the clients such as Ingrid Bergman, Eartha Kit, Grace Kelly to name a few.


The basic knitting technique is very similar to knitting stranded Fair Isle. Whereas stranded Fair Isle colour work is generally knitted in stocking stitch with a smooth finish on the right side. Bohus has rows of purl stitches on the right side giving a texture of raised stitches. Trish was in the process of knitting a small sample which you can see below. The purl stitches are arranged on the right side of the work, both in rows and waves across the sample.



The main display board shows stitch patterns of garments in the collection. If you look to the lower right hand corner you'll notice a photo of the Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman.


Bohus sweater design worn by Ingrid Bergman.



An example was on display, no less, of that same sweater design Ingrid Bergman is wearing in the photo above (not the actual sweater though).


The sweater was originally designed by Anna-Lisa Mannheimer circa 1940. The pattern is called The Red Edge and is reproduced in "Poems of Color: Knitting the Bohus Tradition" by Wendy Keele.  Published in 1995 this book has 46 patterns, is full of historical information and photographs from the era. Examples of projects and patterns can be found on the book's Ravelry page.



Further items on display include a hat, scarf and gloves in the distinctive pattern and colour combinations. Items were probably purchased in Sweden around the 1950's and were part of the Coats archive.

I found the display to be inspiring and informative. This is a knitting style I'd like to try, just need to find more hours in the day to fit in the knitting projects I have in mind...

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2017




Had a very enjoyable trip to Edinburgh where the fourth Edinburgh Yarn Festival (EYF) was being held on 10th-11th March at the Corn Exchange. I traveled by train from Inverness approaching Edinburgh across the Fourth Rail Bridge with views to the old and new road bridges.


As well as attending the yarn festival  some free time was planned in the schedule to explore the city. A chance to take in some of the sights around Princes Street...






...checking out places to eat...



...french piano graffiti at "chez jules bistro"...



...Waverley Railway Station (taken with camera phone)...


Onto the knitting yarn part of the trip and some of the highlights. Friday morning at the Corn Exchange, saving a place for me in the queue to buy tickets was the lovely Lucia of Lucia's Fig Tree. We hardly noticed the wait as there was so much to chat about. Both Lucia and I had the same plan, visit the Knitting and Crochet Guild stand to say hello to volunteers. 


The theme of the display was Bohus knitting (a more detailed description about this display is planned in the next blog post).



Then we headed over to see lovely crochet designer Jane Crowfoot. Jane was busy with visitors so we spent a little while admiring her complex and colourful work.



I've been an admirer of Brooklyn Tweed since 2015 when I knitted the "Stranger Cardigan" by michiyo published in Brooklyn Tweed Wool People vol 4. The impressive display from this American designer included the yarn ranges Shelter, Loft and Arbor.




Close up of knit designs by Brooklyn Tweed.




Shetland Wool Week were promoting this years free pattern by designer Gudrun Johnston. The design is a slouchy style hat called Bousta Beanie.


You can pick up a free digital copy of this pattern here.

http://www.shetlandwoolweek.com/free-knitting-pattern/



Another highlight was meeting Kate Davies at her stand where items from her new book were on display. 



And finally, I didn't manage to take any photos of Kate's display due to being so star struck when she kindly signed my copy of "Inspired by Islay"...



Monday, 6 March 2017

Summer Houses



It's March already and I've been wondering where this year has gone so far. There have been too many grey and rainy days. It's been good these last few weeks to work in summery yarn shades with names such as, Sky Blue, Sunflower, Greek Blue, Poppy, Soft Lime and Lavender.

Generally I use wool DK yarn when I knit these wee Scottish croft houses. It has been a change to use a smooth cotton in 4ply making a summery seaside cottage. Even though the 4ply is a lighter weight the pattern worked well with this yarn and the same needle size 3.25mm was used. 


Here are the colour combinations I came up with... 
 
 Poppy Sky Blue  ~  Sunflower  ~  Lavender


Soft Lime ~ Lapis ~ Poppy ~ Sky Blue


Peppermint ~ Sunflower ~ Soft Lime ~ Shell


Fondant ~ Lavender ~ Peppermint ~ Soft Lime


Greek Blue ~ Shell ~ Peppermint ~ Lavender




The pattern I used was Mini Red Roof Croft House.

For the Summer Houses I used the new Stylecraft Classique Cotton 4ply see below for the full the colour range. This is a 100% cotton and comes in 50g balls 182m/199yds.

I had fun choosing colour combinations from the 12 available in the palette. I like the mix of pastel and stronger shades. There are two neutral shades, White and Ivory, the latter I used for the windows on all the houses. This is just a start on possible colour combinations, I'm sure I can mix these around and create more different houses...

Image courtesy Stylecraft

Image courtesy Stylecraft

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Moss Stitch Table Mat



This is a quick and easy one square knitting project in bulky t-shirt yarn. A textured surface is created with alternate knit and purl stitches. Make just the one as a trivet  or several for place mats.
 

For this project I used Hooked Zpagetti which is a 90% recycled cotton, with 10% other recycled fibers. The label states a min. 120m (131yds), just enough for three of these table mats, each one requires about 39m.


The pattern uses size 12mm knitting needles and makes a square about 25cm x 25cm (10ins x 10ins).
 

Click on the image or click here to download the free PDF pattern from Ravelry.
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/moss-stitch-table-mat



Thursday, 16 February 2017

Knitting & Crochet Guild Collection: Part 2


Following on from my previous post about visiting the Knitting and Crochet Guild Collection (KCG), I have some more treasures to show you, all crochet items. Well I can crochet a few basic stitches but am no expert. The following examples are stunning in their details and complexity.

Not having any knowledge of Irish Crochet previously, it was with anticipation I watched as white boxes were brought out and placed on the table. Somehow I had a feeling these would contain special items and was not disappointed.


White gloves were put on for handling the delicate pieces which originate from the Edwardian period.




Part of this Irish Lace collection was featured in Rowan Magazine Vol 55 February 2014. This particular volume also has a piece about the KCG history, collection and members.

There is a blog post by Katie Bevan which talks about the photo shoot for the Rowan article showcasing the beautiful Edwardian dresses and other items.






If you'd like to read more about the lace collection held at the archive and it's history, Barbara the Publications Curator at the KCG has a post about it on her blog - Knitting Now and Then - click on the image below.

http://barbaraknitsagain.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/irish-crochet.html
Knitting Now and Then - Irish Crochet


Next this very large bedspread with lemon yellow and white daisies crocheted with mercerised cotton and originating from the 1930's. The pattern instructions describe it as a masterpiece, no exaggeration, it is truly a work of art and patience.


The stitches are so tiny and uniform, this must have taken some considerable time to complete.




More crochet from the 1930's, doilies were very popular and the collection has hundreds of these items. Here are two examples in mercerised cotton with a spring flower theme...







Close up of this daffodil dollie with hopes of the spring to come...
  


There are many more items in the collection, new items being added all the time. The aim is to preserve the history of the crafts and provide inspiration for the future. 

I was certainly inspired by my visit to the collection and hope to make many more visits there in the future.