Monday, November 05, 2007

More Bohus History

To answer Lisa's question from the comments yesterday, I'm going to try to explain more about Bohus Stickning. Pretty much all of this info comes from Poems of Color by Wendy Keele. Bohuslän is the province of Sweden that the industry began in. Some women approached Emma Jacobsson, wife of the province's governor, to create a product that women could produce in the home to be able to generate income during the depression of the 1930s while caring for their families. Eventually knitting was settled upon, with plain, sturdy garments being produced.

Jacobsson commissioned a few women to assist her in creating the designs that are most associated with Bohus knitting. There are a few things that distinguish Bohus designs from Fair Isle patterns. One thing is the inclusion of purl stitches to add texture to the design. In some places on the pattern there are more than two colors used in the same round which is avoided in Fair Isle knitting. Although the hat I am knitting is knit in the round, the yoke on Bohus sweaters is traditionally knit back and forth whereas Fair Isle is exclusively in the round.

While Bohus Stickning began as a way for women to generate extra income many women began knitting for the company in order to be able to knit the intricate designs. The Bohus patterns were highly protected and Emma Jacobsson stipulated that they not be published for the public until 40 years after her death. They were high fashion by the 50s and 60s worn by no lesser icon than Jackie O. It is possibly one of the most beautiful examples of unintentional female empowerment I have seen.

P.S. - I'll bring the book to knitting on Thursday. It explains it way better than I have here. I really just wanted an entry for the day.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Thank you!!