Wednesday, June 27, 2007
An Apple a Day
Every now and then we knitters assemble the materials to make a "dream project". These are the kits that are so stunningly beautiful that you feel sorry for all of the non-knitters in the world because they don't know what they're missing. Today was one of those days for me...my Bohus Wild Apple pullover kit arrived by post.
Now I'm the first to admit that I was late to the Bohus party. My knitting friends were rabbiting on about grey mist this and forest darkness that and I looked at the websites and for the life of me couldn't see what the fuss was about. Then last fall at Rhinebeck, one of my buddies brought her Bohus kits so we could see the yarn and the colours. The light went on. I finally got it. While Bohus kits don't have the "over the top" colour imprint that a Kaffe Fassett or Starmore design does - they do shine in a very regal way. These designs typically display a large collar of colourwork set against a solid background. The eye goes directly to the yoke and it sparkles like a beautiful necklace. The effect is aided by the fact that the yarns in this particular kit are a decadent blend of 50% angora and 50% merino. The colours don't pop - they glow through the angora haze.
Wild Apple called to me from the start because it uses all my "A team" colours: Moss green, chartreuse, gold, copper, clover and teal. It's a similar colour story to Rheingold which I'm currently knitting. This however is much richer and brighter at the same time.
I don't know much about the history of the Bohus sweaters. I know they originate in Sweden and were a cottage industry from the late thirties to the late sixties. The book Poems of Color details the exact history of these designs. There is a lovely summary here detailing how in 1999 the idea to make these couture designs available for a new generation of knitters was born. Solveig Gustafsson is a master dyer who is lovingly re-creating these works of art by matching the colours of the original sweaters and dyeing them herself. I emailed her in February about Wild Apple and was told it would be a few months so this has been in the works for a while.
Wild Apple has about 14 colours and the kit included a colour chart complete with snippets of the yarns on a colour key to help identify the proper shades. It's done on very tiny needles (2.5mm I believe) with a gauge of about 34 stitches per 10cm. If this project were an exam question it would be a 3 page essay but it's one of those special sweaters so, it will be savoured and lovingly knit when I start my cold weather projects this fall.
What wine did I open to celebrate the arrival of la belle pomme? Thirty Bench Chardonnay. It's elegant, very rare, beautiful and has a hint of caramel apple on the palate.