Bohus Stickning was a Swedish organization/movement that began in the 1930s to help women support their families through hand-knitting sweaters and accessories. The Bohus sweaters became very popular in the late 1940s into the 1950s. The recent knitting (and hand crafting) revival has also seen a revival of interest in the Bohus designs, with updated patterns, books, and even traveling museum exhibits. One book, Poems of Color has a detailed history of Bohus Stickning along with some updated patterns; I highly recommend it.
From April 2010 to March 2011 I spun yarn for and knitted a cardigan based on a design in Poems of Color: The Red Palm. I called mine The Blue Palm, details are on Ravelry and the full album (from fiber to finished sweater) is on Flickr. Many Bohus designs were made with an angora blend yarn; mine was not, it’s made from Cormo (white), BFL (blue), a blend of the two, and a merino cross (brown). I also switched the color gradient so that the majority of the design goes from dark to light.
For these three reasons – color, gradient change, fiber content – Bohus purists (and those trying to preserve and promote the designs) probably wouldn’t consider my cardigan to be a true Bohus design. One of the original Bohus designers, Solveig Gustafsson, has worked with the Bohusläns Museum since the late 1990s to recreate some of the original designs. She offered kits on a website with yarns that very closely match the weight and fiber content of the original Bohus sweaters. I’ve thought about ordering a kit from her but her website wasn’t all that easy to use and to order and you have to send her email (her English is reportedly very good), which I’ve just never gotten around to doing.
I was poking around in the Bohus Stickning group on Ravelry yesterday and discovered that Solveig has retired from providing kits but Angora Garnet, a yarn producer, offers them on a much more user-friendly website! And not only that, but newly-revived Bohus design kits have been added! Now I need to decide which design I want to knit, fill out the online form, and order a kit: Blue Flower, Blue Light, Green Wood, The Forest Darkness. If I can’t decide I should just order kits for and knit all of them, right?
I mentioned yesterday that I started a bullet journal and I thought I’d share some of it today since I actually followed through and used it. What’s a Bullet Journal? The short answer, without popping out to http://bulletjournal.com/ is that it’s a handwritten planner system that you can use in any notebook. Most people use small(ish) notebooks that they can carry with them, but I have a thing for Clairefontaine french-ruled paper and used the last of a 5 pack of cloth-bound 96 page A4 notebooks for my bullet journal. (I used the others for journals & to track workouts.)
There are 3 (or 4) views of time in a bullet journal: annual and beyond in the Future Log, monthly in the month spread, (optional) weekly spread, and daily pages. The idea is that you record everything for future months in the future log, which is organized by month. Then at the end of each month, you create a new month spread, organized by date and day, and record everything from the future log for the following month. Every morning, you’re supposed to check the month log for activities and goals/tasks for that day and record them in the daily pages entry along with anything that wasn’t done (but was on the list for) the day before. I also used daily pages to record other accomplishments of note.
I had other spreads for tracking things, like a daily habit tracker (basically an adult sticker chart) to keep me accountable for things like drinking enough water, exercise, reading books, etc. I also created an elaborate system for tracking household chores and cleaning that quickly fell by the wayside (along with the actual cleaning).
Also, there’s a whole symbol system for listing items in the journal no matter what the time view/spread is: an open square for tasks, an open triangle for appointments, and a few others that I haven’t been using. When I finish something, I color in the square or triangle. When I partially finish something, I color in half. When I blow something off, I cross it out in one day and write it again in the next day’s entry.
The problem is that I started to write the same things over and over and instead of this motivating me to stop procrastinating, I just made myself feel worse for not doing the things. By mid-May I’d stopped using even the daily pages. Keeping up with the journal became too overwhelming; I was putting too much pressure on myself to get a large number of things done each day and beating myself up for procrastinating. I’m an overachiever with some things – all in or all out, go big or go home – and am working on being more steady with my efforts.
So in that vein, getting the bullet journal to work for me in a positive way again, I’m trying weekly spreads instead of daily pages. I like being able to look at a whole week all at once and that’s the time frame that I like to look at for setting and accomplishing goals – daily is too often and monthly is a little too broad.
I’ve been in a rut, a slump. After being on fire creatively for most of the spring, June found me winding down some and busy with other things, like my son’s high school graduation and his college orientation. This is just part of what’s going on with one of my boys; the other two have things going on as well, although none of them quite so life-changing.
All of this to say that I’ve slowed down with fiber art. I planned on participating in Tour de Fleece (you spin yarn every day of the Tour de France, there are teams of spinners on Ravelry with prizes and challenges) but we were away the weekend it started and I just never got around to it.
I finished the Hourglass
Cowl Scarf, earlier this month, and finally took some pictures of it today. The chart is all set but I’ve been putting of writing the pattern and taking better pictures of it. I swatched and came up with a design that I submitted to a yarn company, but they turned me down, which threw me for a loop (so punny!) but I’m okay with it, really. Next time I’m going to look more closely at the patterns they have published to get a better idea of what they might accept. My Old Town sweater still looks like a Thneed – I haven’t worked on it since 4th of July weekend.
My (step) sister asked me to make her an Azel Pullover. She crochets and spotted it on Ravelry but doesn’t know how to knit and so asked me if I’d knit it for her. I decided this would be the perfect distraction and just finished it today – it took me 10 days to make after the yarn arrived from Craftsy.
So I’ve been in a bit of a creative rut, procrastinating with the designing things I could be doing (finishing the Hourglass Scarf pattern), knitting & writing the pattern for the design that the yarn company passed on, and other projects. I started using a bullet journal just before I started blogging again and using that really helped me get organized. So, my goals for this coming week, which is the week before we go on vacation to the beach:
- Revive my bullet journal; instead of just filling using the monthly spread (or feeling the pressure of the daily spread), come up with a weekly spread & set weekly goals. Also, need to do the August spread.
- Get more of the Hourglass Scarf pattern written and decide whether or not to write all the instructions or just provide the chart.
- Finish writing that etsy listing that I started for a custom knit.
- Vacation planning & packing. We leave Saturday.
- Put all of this ^^^ in the bullet journal.
There’s a theory in the fashion world that a period of austerity or recession heralds a return to the comfort and familiarity of tried-and-tested classics. In this way, we seek solace in what we think of as our heritage. Certainly, many of the collections in the shops for this winter feature designs that have their roots in the craft-based industries of the rugged islands in the north Atlantic that gave their names to some of the styles most closely associated with traditional British clothing – Harris, Shetland, Fair Isle. Today these iconic styles are widely copied by mass market producers while the craft industries which developed them struggle to remain viable, the weaving of tweed on the islands of Lewis and Harris being a notable exception. However, they continue to define the way the places and people of the isles are thought of. For the practitioners too, making plays an important social role in how they see themselves.
Read the whole article from 2012 (really, a summary of research), Making the cloth that binds us: spinning, weaving and island identity, here; it’s not that long and is pretty fascinating.