The ‘Wild Apple’ cardigan is coming along nicely, if a little slowly.
The angora/merino yarn is simply gorgeous. When the kit first arrived, I was surprised that the yarn wasn’t especially fluffy in that inimitable angora way, but as I knit with it it develops a beautiful little halo of fluff, as though it is waking up and having a good stretch!
The colourwork is a little challenging at times (a slight understatement there perhaps…), especially as I’m attempting the cardi version where I need a ball of yarn at each side for the button bands, as well as the balls of yarn for the stranded work in-between.
There is a discussion how to manage the rows where you are working with three or four colours in one row on Ravelry and some knitters prefer to knit a row with just a couple of colours at a time, by slipping the stitches of the colours they aren’t using, then using them in the next row and slipping the stitches already knit previously. It’s a clever way of managing it but I find I’m quite enjoying the slightly chaotic nature of knitting and managing all the colours and balls at once.
Despite my best efforts to ensure I keep each ball separate, the little fuzzys love to stick to each other for a cuddle and I usually have to have a couple of untanglings during each row.
I also haven’t twisted any long yarn carries as you would in fair isle but am hoping the yarn is ‘sticky’ enough to hold these in place, especially after blocking. My tension is a bit dodgy too and I do have a bit of puckering in places. I know from experience though that this usually settles down with blocking, as long as it isn’t gathered quite to badly (she hopes…).
Knitting in the Bohus tradition gives me a powerful sense of connection with the knitters and designers who developed this amazing cottage industry that became an international business. I imagine them knitting away (much faster than me) at home while also looking after the children, cooking and cleaning as they created these works of art.
If you are interested in the history of knitting styles I thoroughly recommend reading Poems of Colour by Wendy Keele; it’s fascinating to read about how the Bohus style developed and the incredibly high standards the knitters were expected to achieve.
The designer of ‘Wild Apple’ was Kerstin Olsson and she was inspired, not by apples as you would imagine, but clusters of berries on a mountain ash outside her studio. It has fifteen shades of greens, reds and oranges and the yarn is painstakingly hand dyed to exactly replicate the original colours. It’s just beautiful but I am quite looking forward to some mindless stretches of knitting the body of the cardigan; thank heavens it’s only a yoke in the colourwork!