Haute Couture and Granite Mines

They don’t have much to do with one another at first glance do they? Actually, even at second glance, or a third glance, they don’t seem to be even remotely connected. But they are …
When the Knit Nation schedule was launched there was one class in among all the other temptations that really stuck out, Susanna Hansson’s Bohus Stickning, and when the maths added up so that I could go, I was bouncing up and down in my seat.
Needless to say the whole Knit Nation experience was just as fantastic this year as last, a testament to Alice and Cookie’s serious organisational skills. Seriously, world peace and the national debt – they’d have it done in a heartbeat.
Rather than try to persuade a clingy little baby that she wanted to be without her Mama for the longest time ever, and given the crazy lack of trains available to get you into London at 8am on a Sunday, we took a chance and the whole family drove down at some unmentionable hour on silent almost empty roads.
We arrived at Imperial and parked almost at the front door to the Sherfield building and scuttled past the raindrops to register and to blag our way into being allowed to buy breakfast at the canteen.  Fortified with a fry-up and a little croissant, Kitty and H set off to explore London and I headed to class.

I can’t remember where I first came across a Bohus jumper but it was love at first sight.  They’re so beautiful and soft and fuzzy and I wanted one.  And that’s how I came to have a Wild Apples Bohus kit sat in my cupboard for the last few years. All I needed was a bit of a kick into starting it.

We started class talking about the history of Bohus, how the closure of the granite mines in Sweden after demand plummeted in the post-war recession led the wives of the men who worked there to ask the governor’s wife for help, and the enterprising Emma Jacobssen organised them to knit jumpers from the very best yarn that were sold as haute couture for a price that would reach well into the thousands today.

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My complete failure to count to 72 somewhat slowed down my progress on my little wristwarmer but the fourth time was the charm and we knit and chatted and I went into a little dream world of enchantment with the loveliness of the angora/wool yarn. Actually that could have been genuine sleep (tiny wee madam had been awake from 2am to the time we had to get up) and I was staving off the tiredness with regular infusions of caffeine.
Susanna is a fabulous teacher, and her love of Bohus knitting and the whole concept shines through everything she says. I picked up some great tips to apply to my little kit, especially not catching the floats however long they are.  It’s a little counter-intuitive when Fairisle projects stress catching the floats to prevent snagging but the yarn is so fluffy and sticky that a little wear will matt it together nicely.

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The wristwarmers are a part of the Blue Shimmer pattern, now newly added to my ongoing wishlist of Bohus kits on Solveig’s site
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And then came the moment we’d all been waiting for, a chance to have a really good look at Susanna’s collection of original and reconstruction jumpers, cardigans, hats and scarves.  
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They’re so unexpectedly light
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And fluffy with a soft halo.
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H had a marketplace ticket for the day, mainly so that he and Kitty could use the Knitting Parlour upstairs (a sectioned off bit of Imperial’s SCR) to have a nice sit down over lunch and to meet up with me at the end of the day.  And of course it was then only natural then that he wandered around the marketplace with me, to hold my shopping of course (as well as a 21lb baby), and we came home with a good mix of things for me to knit for me, for him and for Kitty but more on that another day when I’ve managed to take some photos.

And for those who read this blog purely for a little Kitty-fix (I’m looking at you, grandparents), a little something to whet your appetite (and enter competitive grandparenting with the assertion that Kitty went to university when she was only 10 month old ..!)

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  • mandycharlie 21/07/2011 at 8:52 am

    I love the photo of everyone’s wristwarmers together with all the different colours and types of needles being used. They look wonderful.

    And purchases???

  • dianemulholland 21/07/2011 at 8:57 am

    I saw you there 🙂 Must have been when you were on lunch – you looked busy with family so I didn’t come over, but it was lovely to see Kitty in person for the first time!

    I really wanted to do the Bohus class but couldn’t get away for a whole day. It looks like it was fantastic!

  • mandycharlie 21/07/2011 at 4:04 pm

    I just have to add that having seen your wristwarmer in ‘real life’ it is quite astounding in the complexity and beauty and oh so soft.