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As you might remember, a major highlight of 2014 for me was visiting Sweden, doing some research on Bohus knitting, and meeting Kerstin Olsson. When I visited Kerstin in her studio, she was kind enough to show me some of her own collection of objects and swatches relating to her time at Bohus Stickning. Among these was a sample for a design of hers called Gotiska Fönstret (Gothic Windows).

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This yoke had, Kerstin told me, been cut from a rejected sample which came out too large to be used – a good way of preserving the patterns when they didn’t work out for the Bohus knitters. Kerstin had been inspired to create this beautiful pattern after visiting Venice, and admiring the design and architecture of the Doges Palace.

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Among the many beautiful things that Kerstin showed me that day, this particular yoke and its inspiration really blew me away, and stuck in my mind. A few days later, I visited the Bohuslan Museum, where they were selling small number of the kits that Solveig Gustafsson reworked from the original Bohus patterns, now recreated by Pernille of Angoragarnet. As luck would have it, Gotiska Fönstret was among them, and I eagerly snapped it up. Earlier this Summer, I finally found the time to begin knitting it while on holiday in Portugal.

Like the majority of Bohus yokes, this one is written to be worked top down. After a couple of false starts with too-tight and too-loose ribbing, I finally decided on a provisional cast on (which I finished off with i-cord later). The yoke took me 10 days of leisurely knitting, sitting in the sun, and taking my time. It was tremendously enjoyable work.

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When one designs things, one becomes a bit obsessed with lining things up . The motifs on this yoke, like many other Bohus designs do not have a neat vertical symmetry – but because the motifs are so wee and the design so involved it simply doesn’t matter. The visual effect of the finished yoke is just stunning – and really made me want to experiment with using lots of teeny tiny motifs, and not worrying so much about symmetry.

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When I’d knit the yoke, everything about it blew me away – from the subtle and careful combination of chocolate browns and icy blues to the way the purl stitches define the pattern and lend it textural interest. The yarn was also lovely to work with. I felt when I was making it that creating this yoke seemed a little more than knitting – something like embroidery, and something like painting too. Like many of Kerstin’s designs, this one is full of true artistry and genius!

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I made good headway with the rest of the sweater while I was on holiday, but when I came home other things got in its way. I had to design and knit a wedding cardigan and a pair of kilt hose, and then my knitting time became absorbed in designing and making other samples with my lovely new wool.

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Finally last week I was able to finish my beautiful Gotiska Fönstret. I am really, really happy to have finally knit a Bohus yoke – and the fact that it is this particular design of Kerstin’s makes it very special to me indeed!

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The instructions I received with my kit were in Swedish, and were pretty straightforward for me to follow (with just my wee modicum of Swedish) though I do understand there’s an English translation available with the kits bought directly from Pernille. Sometimes it is very nice to relax and knit something the way someone else has designed it, and perhaps particularly when that someone else is your ultimate knitting hero!

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Finishing Kerstin’s beautiful design has, once again, fired up my admiration and enthusiasm for her work and for Bohus knitting, and I’m very much looking forward to reading Viveka Overland’s new book, Bohus Sticking: the Revival (ISBN 978-91-7686-268-1) my copy of which is on its way.

46 thoughts on “Gotiska Fönstret

  1. Dear Kate, I have been eager to try an original bohus pattern but must admit I’ve been very intimidated. Would you think it possible to make in a lambswool, (perhaps like Rennie)? Or do you think it must be done in angora to retain the look ?

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  2. Lovely to see you in this Bohus sweater, impressed how fast you made it. Did you sew it together as it is originally intended or did you reconstruct and make the body and arms in the round. // Congratulations to your own yarn. Looking forward to when it will be released for the general public.

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  3. I recently knit a Wild Apples sweater from an Angoragarnet kit. It is probably the most amazing thing I’ve ever knit. The interplay of colors and patterns is just stunning, and watching the yoke emerge from my needles was like magic. I also found that the plain knitting on the rest of the sweater was very relaxing because of the high quality of the yarn–it’s really a joyous experience to knit one of these.

    I purchased my kit last fall, just before your “Yokes” book came out, and one of the reasons I got Yokes was so I could read about different styles of yoke sweaters and consult the schematics—the pattern for Wild Apples stops at 40 inch chest for size small, so I knew I would have to resize. Looking at the schematics for other yoke sweaters gave me a sense for how much ease to aim for and how long yokes should be and the like, which was necessary for making the appropriate modifications. Thanks!

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  4. Hurrah, this is wondrous! I love seeing Kirsten’s design next to its inspiration source, and the way she has picked out shades and patterns is really breathtaking. You look GLORIOUS in your sweater!

    I love working with teeny tiny motifs, and you are so right: it really doesn’t matter if the patterns don’t line up! If the patterns are very small, what you see instead is an overall impression of the colours and how they play together. The Bohus knitting tradition is particularly amazing for dramatic, shimmering colour play and I love what you say here about knitting a Bohus yoke as being almost embroidery or needlepoint as well as knitting…

    …How wonderful to continue the beautiful chapter you wrote about Bohus knitting in YOKES with this fantastic handknitted creation. Form and content combined for the win. TURBO!

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  5. As it happens there was some discussion in the sevenskeinsclub about this book, and I ordered it last week. Hoping to go to Sweden again sometime soon.
    Love your jumper!

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  6. Oh, how I wanted one of these sweaters when I was a child living in Sweden in1956 but my parents knew I was beginning my growth spurt so I have had to satisfy my Bohus fixation with a kit to knit writers in the Forest Darkness color way. The designs are still breathtaking.

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  7. Beautiful design beautifully made! Absolutely love the colour combination. FYI, I have tentatively begun a podcast (Wightstitches Podcast on YouTube..I wont spam you with the link because that might be considered a little rude..lol) and in Episode 2 I talk a little about you and your blog/designs/new yarn venture … All good things, promise.. :) It is very rough around the edges but it is a steep learning curve… being extremely self concious because of my size is something I need to learn to overcome too, but I’ll get there eventually. It is really encouraging to read that someone of your calibre admits to not always getting things right the first time too … thank you x

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  8. What a beautiful sweater! The name and the design couldn’t have been better matched. And what perfect timing to finish knitting it, just as Fall really starts to take hold and a new sweater is really needed!

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  9. Wow – that is such a beautiful jumper, and the colours, such a lovely mix of browns and blues. Can’t believe that yoke only you took a week to knit, suspect I would be there for years :).

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  10. I am a reader of your blog, as it always brings some added sunshine to my day as well as inspiration and stimulation! But I don’t think I have ever made comment. But today I am breaking out of my shell a little ;)

    I am thrilled you have shared this beautiful creation you knit! It is lovely and lovely on you. That touch of ice blue and yellow is so clever to set off the other colors.

    I am so happy that you bring attention to Bohus Knitting tradition and huge credit to Kerstin Olsson for keeping this tradition alive. Bohus Knitting and the history behind its evolution is so admirable.
    I ordered the Green Wood Hat kit from Kerstin Olsson a few years ago, but mulled around it until I mustered up the courage to knit it, which I did last spring.
    You echoed three sentiments that I experienced! First, it was probably one of the most enjoyable and satisfying knits I have ever had. And I love wearing the hat! Also, the way this style of knitting uses purls to not only introduce textured, but (for me in the way I look at it) to highlight the color the row below – I thought it very intentional versus incidental. Also the color shifts, whether it be complimentary or tonal of sorts, taught me to perceive color in a new way. And last, the way the designs “didn’t” align…yeah – I had to let it go! I was knitting on 0″s and the angora/merino blends the edges such that, well, into something mesmerizing. No one would EVER know!!
    I do not know that I would ever knit a full on sweater. As it is, I am taking what I learned from the experience and playing with my own Bohus inspired designs. It is so much fun!
    So, if anyone is curious, try one of the hat kits from Angoragarnet. I highly recommend it for getting your feet wet!
    Sweden and the Bohuslan Museum are on my bucket list.
    But first Scotland – I’ll be in your neck of the woods in May/June! Can’t wait!!!!!!

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  11. Oh my a stunning sweater and model—it all looks so perfect. I have suddenly realized I need to knit a Bohus as I think it is the sweater I have been looking for! I love the gauge, fit and of course the smashing color work. Off to look at the kits!

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  12. This was a wonderful Sunday morning read, thank you. Your Bohus is stunning and inspires me to keep knitting on my Wild Apple. I received the new Revival book the other day and it is wonderful.

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  13. In the 1990s my introduction to Bohus Stickning was from the.book, Poems of Color: Knitting in the Bohus Tradition, by Wendy Keele. Very interesting.to read about the design process. Your sweater is beautiful.

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  14. Just stunning! Thinking of making a Bohus sweater but the smallest size is too big for me… Did you change the size? would be grateful if you could give some helpful hints regarding doing a smaller size/ Helen

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    1. Hi Helena,
      The yoke dimensions are in fact much the same for all the sizes. I am reasonably petite and narrow of shoulder, and it looks just fine on me. When it came to dividing for body and sleeves, I simply changed the proportions a little, and then rapidly decreased the stitch count to match my usual sweater bust size (31) and upper arm circumference (11 ins). It is very easy to adjust the sizing from there on in, as you can just adjust the stitch count to match your size and gauge.

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  15. Just lovely and amazing! There are not enough hours in the day to knit everything I’d like to knit! My stash overfloweth! (and then you provide hyperlinks to Gudrun Johnston and all those haps and angoragarnet and all that soft squishy yarn that begsbegsbegs me to enter my credit card number). Have a great Sunday, Kate. I’ll be knitting a Cochal and weaving in ends and cursing as I duplicate stitch 2 argyle Christmas stockings.

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  16. Thank you so much for this lovely post Kate. I also visited the Bohuslans museum this year – making a special stop on way from the Koster Islands to Goteborg. My husband sat in the jolly nice museum cafe whilst I swooned at the sweaters and also picked up the kit which I had (smugly) the foresight to order in advance.
    I chose The Wild Apple, which is less unique than yours, but right for me in terms of colour and drama.
    I am so pleased and reassured to see and hear what you have done with yours. I put my kit away when we got back from holiday and I am waiting for some kind of self or weather imposed knitting retreat to get started. 10 days seems just right.
    I think I might have English instructions too – I hope I have, you have inspired me to more or less just knit it, instead of doing the fiddling about that I almost always, despite intentions, end up doing.

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  17. That is one of the most beautiful of the Bohus designs that I’ve seen. And, it is an inspiration. Is Vivika Overland’s book now available in English?

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  18. How beautiful – would love to knit that when I’ve completed my Fintry Cardigan -(could be a while.) Do you know if these kits or patterns are available in the uk?

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