Spotlight on Voe
With a blaze of color about the shoulders and a vintage feel, it’s hard to resist the charm of the Voe pullover. Being fans of colorwork knitting, we leap at any opportunity to explore Loft’s 37 shades and Voe doesn’t disappoint in offering the potential for many exciting combinations.
Take a closer look at Voe’s yoke, however, and you’ll discover that it’s not just its prospect of color exploration that we love so much. Punctuating the motif’s peaks and valleys are tiny dashes of woven color. Let’s explore how they got there.
Generally speaking, when working a colorwork yoke the contrasting yarn needs to be “floated” along on the wrong side of your knitting when not in use in order to prevent puckering on the fabric’s right side and snagging on the wrong side. With Voe, instead of trapping these floats on the wrong side, select stitches are slipped with the contrast color floated in front of the slipped stitch, a design element that is simultaneously textural and practical. Of course, weaving a contrast color on the right side of the fabric paired with colorful, geometric motifs are by no means a new coupling. Our Voe pullover gives an aesthetic nod to the Swedish Bohus Stickning design movement of the mid-20th century.
The Bohus Stickning movement was quite an interesting moment in knitting history. It came about when a collective of women in Bohuslän, Sweden approached Emma Jacobsson in the late 1930’s with an idea. These women were looking for ways to support themselves, their families, and their communities in a time of economic depression and decided that knitting would be their means.
Since knitting was an accessible craft that many women in rural Bohuslän were already familiar with, their cooperative found great success in making and selling their wares. But as their group grew and their collective talents were joined with other artists and makers in their community, the simply-designed sock and mitt patterns grew into the more complex and couture sweater designs that Bohus Stickning is best known for.
Though Emma Jacobsson and the women of Bohuslän closed their doors in 1969, we can continue to admire the digital archives of their designs online and acknowledge the artistic and industrious work of these amazing women in our knitting histories.
If you’re interested in learning more about this vivid moment in the history of knitting, we recommend Wendy Keele’s book Poems of Color (1995, Interweave Press) as well as the article “A Bohus Revival” by Sarah Pope in the Winter 2015/16 issue of Vogue Knitting.