Our yarn

The yarns you find in our e-shop and in Skattkistan for knitting kit in Bohus Stickning and Silfverberg Design are ethically produced. for our angora/merino yarns in 50% angora wool and 50% merino wool, the angora wool comes from our own angora rabbits that we cut by hand with a simple small wool scissors. The angora wool goes through our hands and is sorted into first class, which is used for to spin yarn, and second class, which is intended for for felted products, while the angora rabbit is sheared. This way we can ensure the highest quality of our angora/merino wool yarn. 

The merino wool in our yarns is carefully selected lambswool from farms in New Zealand that are mulesing-free, i.e. they do not use the procedure of mulesing on their sheep. We get the merino wool through Henrichsens Uldspinderi in Skive, Denmark, the same spinning mill that spun wool for knitting kit for recreated Bohus Stickning even before Pernille Silfverberg took over, when Solveig Gustafsson worked to recreate models in Bohus Stickning and produce knitting kit for these.

Yarns for Bohus Stickning are dyed by hand by Pernille Silfverberg at home on the farm. You can be sure that the yarns in your particular knitting kit are all dyed very carefully after the original yarns for Bohus Stickning , and that we have stood over the yarns in daylight to compare them carefully before they are approved. 

The soft and feathery texture of Angora yarn makes knitted garments in Angora beautiful and elegant, with a soft drape. It was when Bohus Stickning started designing garments in angora yarn that Bohus Stickning developed for a worldwide success and became the top fashion in the USA in the 50s and 60s.

Wool shearing

for yarn, we only use carefully selected premium angora wool. 

It is very important for the rabbit's well-being that the wool is cut every three months. At that time, the wool fibers are about 7 cm long and are for suitable for spinning yarn.

First class is the wool that is cut from the back and sides of the rabbit, and is the correct length, 7 cm. The rabbit must be 6-8 months old before the wool can be classified as first class, individually from rabbit for rabbit. 

Wool from young animals has a tendency to become felted. This young animal wool is then used instead for to produce felted products. Maggots' wool is also for used.

AngoraGarnets rabbits are sheared in two steps: First we shear the finer wool on the back and sides .The rabbit is then allowed to keep the belly wool for a few weeks before we cut that too. The reason for that we wait to cut the belly wool is that it can be a big adjustment for the rabbit to cut all the wool at once.

Our Angora rabbits are clipped by Pernille Silfverberg by hand, using a special pair of scissors for wool clipping. It is a pleasant, quiet and stress-free moment for the rabbit. 

Pernille starts by brushing the rabbit with a wool brush and creating a central bone along the rabbit's spine. Then she cuts down along the sides, until the point where the structure of the wool changes, what we refer to for as second grade belly wool.

We are careful not to double-cut the wool fibers, i.e. cut the wool we have already cut. This ensures that only long wool fibers are spun into our yarn and avoids a dusty yarn with lots of pilling. All wool goes through our hands during the shearing process and wool that is not up to standard is sorted out, before it is packed in bags for the spinning mill. This way we ensure good quality and that only first-class wool with silky texture and long fibers goes for to the spinning mill and is spun into for yarn. It is only because we choose to cut the wool by hand that we can ensure this quality.

Pernille Silfverberg cuts the back and side wool of a brown angora rabbit sitting on her lap.

In all the years since we started having yarn spun in a spinning mill from our own angora wool in 2013, we have had only 7% wastage after each batch of spun yarn. Compared to the normally estimated 10-30% wastage rate during the spinning process, our wool is of very high quality.

The fact that we have only 7% wastage can be attributed to our meticulousness in every step of the process which results in extremely high wool quality and to a close and good cooperation with the spinning mill. 

A full-furred Angora rabbit in Pernille's lap, photographed by Karin Björk.
The wool scissors are sharp but curved away from the rabbit's body. It is important that Angora rabbits are not allowed to sit for too long with a full coat, as there is a tendency for tangles to form around the neck and legs. Tangles can pull on the rabbit's skin and be uncomfortable for the rabbit. Regular clipping of Angora rabbits, every three months, is important and the Angora rabbits on the farm must always come first.
A ready-cut angora rabbit that will now wait about two weeks before its belly wool is also cut. The belly wool has a slightly different structure and greater felting tendency, so it is not used for for spinning yarn, but for for felted products.
A chinchilla-colored Angora rabbit lies safely in Pernille's lap. Now it's time to cut the wool. Photographer: Karin Björk
All Angora rabbits have 'shearing cards' with notes on the dates they have been sheared so far and the quality of the wool in order to breed rabbits with silky and abundant wool. Alongside, wool brushes and wool clippers.
A pre-cut angora rabbit, photographer: Karin Björk
Pernille and Gunnar in the rabbitry, photographer: Karin Björk.

Henrichsens Uldspinderi

AngoraGarnet has always had its angora wool spun at Henrichsens Uldspinderi in Skive, Denmark.

Henrichsens Uldspinderi is a family-owned spinning mill that has been run by the Henrichsen family for five generations since 1885. The spinning mill is located in the center of Skive. It is impressive how the spinning mill has managed to adapt and, in the limited space available to the mill, to deliver high quality yarn, uniform, even and finely spun, batch after batch, year after year. It has happened that a customer who bought knitting kit with wool yarn from Henrichsens Uldspinderi by Solveig Gustafsson in 2000, has missed a little natural gray yarn and received yarn of AngoraGarnet spun by Henrichsens Uldspinderi 20 years later that fits perfectly in both color, melange and structure. It is really worthy of note and are so grateful and appreciate immensely that this small spinning mill is so gnerous and helpful in answering all questions about our yarn spun for Bohus Stickning.

Henrichsens Uldspinderi has specialized in handicraft yarns for weaving, hand and machine knitting always in 100% natural fiber of the highest quality. The spinning mill is certified and environmentally approved and always careful about where the wool comes from. High demands are placed on the spinning mill's suppliers of natural fiber both in terms of animal welfare and quality of the wool.

Indeed, Henrichsens Uldspinderi have been responsible for sourcing the wool and spinning the yarn associated with the Bohus Stickning designs since Solveig Gustafsson began her recreation work in 1999. Such a lucky coincidence that Angora Garnet and Solveig already used the same mill for production. A coincidence that made it so perfect and smooth for Pernille to take over the Bohus Stickning recreation work after Solveig's retirement in 2013.

Yarn dyeing

Bottom colors for Bohus Stickning are dyed at the spinning mill, with which we have a close cooperation. Pernille dyes the yarn by hand first, before the process begins to develop a color recipe at the spinning mill based on the original Bohus Stickning design.

All pattern yarns, except those included as base colors in other models, Pernille dyes by hand in the kitchen at home on the farm. for each knitting kit for a design, all yarns have been dyed according to a standard we have developed based on original yarns for the design. During Bohus Knitting's active years, the yarns could differ slightly even with the same color number for the same design. Dyeing yarns is an art and involves precision and accuracy, just like all chemistry. Sometimes the dye powders we used to create yarns for Bohus Stickning change, and we have to try again.

Recreating designs for Bohus Stickning is a detective work and a puzzle, which can take a long time and is laborious. In order to produce a knitting instruction once a design has been recreated, the garment has to be knitted up and the yarn consumption weighed. You can read all about Bohus Stickning and our re-creation work under "Bohus Stickning".

Pernille Silfverberg in Stora Nejlikan cardigan with brown pattern, photographer: Karin Björk.
Large Carnation with a dark blue pattern section, and a pattern drawing for the same design in yellow.

Knitting with angora

Angora yarn is said to be a forgiving yarn, it falls softly and evens itself out. If you make a mistake, you can unravel it and knit it again and again. It is a durable, yet thin and lightweight yarn.

Your finished project may need some time before the angora wool emerges and creates the wonderfully soft and warming halo effect that angora is known for. Before the yarn is spun and twisted in two plies, it is carded, so that all the fibres lie in the same direction during the spinning process. When the yarn comes from the spinning mill, the angora fibres are spun between the lambswool fibres so it takes some time and handling for the angora to emerge. The angora emerges when you hand knit and start wearing your finished garment. Knitted up, angora becomes more beautiful and softer over the years. Provided you are prepared to maintain your garment and handle it with care, of course, but it is not a big job. You then have a garment for life.

For those who knit a lot, it is positive that the work does not weigh much, angora is comfortable to work with and puts little strain on the hands and shoulders. 

Pernille and her youngest daughter Randi, photographer: Karin Björk.

Washing & care advice

The Angora rabbit's silky wool gave them the older breed name 'silk hare'. The wool is much more airy and thermally insulating than lambswool because the fibers are hollow, which also gives the wool its characteristic floating feel and the fluffiness that knitters refer to for as a "halo".

For angora, this means that the wool is very moisture and dirt repellent. Thus, it is not often that you need to wash angora garments.

Should you still feel the need, our advice is to wash by hand in 30°C hot water. Preferably use wool detergent, never regular detergent. Do not twist or rub, otherwise you risk tangling.

In hand dyeing, the angora yarn is slowly brought up to for temperatures of around 80-90 degrees celsius and then left to cool in the water. Yarns made from natural fibers such as angora and lambswool can withstand high temperatures provided they are not exposed to any dramatic changes in temperature.

Rinse thoroughly after washing and add some vinegar or apple cider vinegar to the last rinse water to restore the wool after washing.

Gently squeeze the water out, roll the garment in a towel if necessary and press the towel lightly. Dry it lying down on a towel and shake it out when it is almost dry.

The fluffiness, or halo, of angora wool comes from body heat and use of the garment. The same happens after washing. 

Store the garment lying down and let it rest after use. Feel free to hang the garment out for a while when the air is humid.

All rabbits are sheared by hand with small hand scissors by Pernille herself, so we can guarantee that only 6-7 cm long first class wool from the rabbit's sides and back is used for spinning yarn. In all the years since we started spinning yarn at the spinning mill from our own angora wool in 2013, we have had only 7% wastage after each round of spun yarn. Compared to the normally estimated 10-30% wastage rate during the spinning process, our wool is of very high quality.

However, with any fine-fiber wool, you have to expect some maintenance needs. Friction, heat and moisture can cause the knitted garment to become a little knobbly, but you can easily pick these with your fingers. Our yarn gets a lot of praise, but some maintenance is needed to keep the product looking good. 

Pernille Silfverberg with a brown angora rabbit and a knitted shawl in angora yarn, in the background our two ponies, the Shetland pony Beauty and the Gotland gelding Paloma. Photographer: Karin Björk