The day before Christmas eve a wonderful package arrived from Sweden. This was inside. Kerstin Olsson – who you may remember I had the pleasure of meeting a few months ago, and about whose important work for Bohus Stickning I devoted a chapter to in my Yokes book – had done me the honour of knitting me a scarf!


Oh my! And this was not just any scarf! For Kerstin had knitted this lovely gift from original Bohus Stickning yarns — the same yarns with which she knit and designed during the company’s heyday in the 1960s.


An awful lot of work went into developing and maintaining the production of Bohus Stickning yarns such as EJA (Emma Jacobsson Angora). The dye palette was rich and varied, and, to meet Emma’s exacting standards, the spinning, blending, and handle of the fibres had to always be of the very highest quality.


When I visited Göteborg, Kerstin showed me some Bohus Stickning shade cards. Handling them, I was astounded both by the quality of the yarns and the sheer richness of the palette: the vast number of shades the company produced was really pretty astounding. These yarns and palette were Kerstin’s raw materials. It was their quality and variety that allowed her to experiment so successfully with colour, shade, and texture, and to create her wonderful yoke designs, alive with hazy, shimmering hues.


Kerstin’s aesthetic is clearly evident in this fabulous scarf! When I took it out of the bag Tom immediately exclaimed how wonderful the colours were – and they really are.

The scarf features several beautifully blended pinks and browns as well as some very pleasing highlights of pale turquoise and tangerine.


It is just so lovely. I am pretty overwhelmed.


Kerstin also kindly included some wee twists of yarn in her package – for repairs.


As a knitter, I’m often prompted to reflect on the meanings invested in acts of making, giving and receiving, and as a researcher, I often find that objects that interest me carry a sort of numinous significance . . . .Well, as both knitter and researcher, I can tell you that this beautiful gift, from an incredible designer and artist, created with these wonderful fifty year-old yarns really means an awful lot to me. I was deeply moved when I opened the package and am so very, very happy with my scarf!


Thankyou so much for this precious gift, Kerstin. I feel very honoured indeed to receive it, and shall always treasure it.


So, as December draws to a close, farewell, 2014, and thankyou all for reading! Its been lovely to share this year with you!

67 thoughts on “a precious gift

  1. Very luminous yarn and inspired juxtaposition of the colours. The respect of the past, present and future are all present. A true gift indeed.


    1. Yes I’m loving the coat too. Everything in this post is just beautiful – the gift, the pictures, the writing, the appreciation from you and your readers. Thank you and Happy New Year!


  2. it is not only thoughtful and generous and the passing of the torch, it is very beautiful as it is. thank you for earning it, thank her for making it, and thank you for sharing it with us. it is a precious gift to all of us. got jul and happy new year.


  3. Happy 2015 Kate!!! Your new scarf is very special indeed! What a touching gift! And I love how it looks so different from the things you knit for yourself. Happy new year and lots of love to you , Tom and Bruce.


  4. The colors in that scarf are truly scrumptious! What a fabulous gift, and how beautifully it suits your elegant sense of style, Kate.

    I send you and yours best wishes for a very Happy New Year. xo


  5. This is an wonderful gift, so precious! And you are the most adequate person to receive it.
    Since I’ve seen the” Wild Apple ” pullover from Kerstin Olsson in this blog, I wanted to knit one myself . Then I have found by Ravelry that Solveig Gustafsson sells a beautiful Angora yarn dyed following the original Bohus pallette. They also sells kits and I am now knitting my own Wild Apple . The yarn is so lovely and beside this, the producers iniciate and promote a non-suffering programm for rising the Angora rabbits, that I find very important.
    Thank you for beeing with us trough the year, best wishes for 2015
    (Sorry, this is poor english)


  6. That is just stunning – how wonderful it would be if some manufacturer would recreate these beautiful yarns. I’m sure there are sufficient number of us enthusiastic knitters to make it worth their while. Also thoroughly enjoying the yokes book, kindly bought for me by my son.


  7. What a truly precious gift and a wonderful combination with your hat and coat! I have enjoyed your blog this year and I am really looking forward to what is to come in 2015! All the Best to You, Tom and Bruce. Dankeschön!


  8. What a beautiful and very thoughtful present.
    Thank you for your company this last year.
    I have especially enjoyed seeing regain so much of your health.


  9. I just love that she included little bits of yarn for future mending! Not only does it show a special connection between makers, and to the history of the craft, but it also shows she means it to be really worn and used, even to the point that it needs repairing. And that, I think, is the best part, not only to have a beautiful handmade object, but to use it, and appreciate it as you do. How lovely! Happy New Year, and all the best in 2015!


  10. How entirely beautiful….. as you say, the scarf symbolises all that you treasure in textiles. It connects to so much in so many ways, both personally and collectively, and is a lovely connection point between you and Kerstin… this is why we knit. Happy New Year xxx


  11. Kate, I don’t think I have ever seen you look as beautiful as you do in these photos. The scarf is glowing with light….and so are you. Thank you, once again, for sharing with all of us.
    With love and gratitude, Dixie Myers


  12. What a beautiful gift! The colours are indeed wonderful. I read Poems of Color earlier this year and I can imagine how precious it must feel to receive a gift like this as a testimonial to the important work Bohus Stickning did.

    It was a joy to read your blog this year. I wish you, Tom, Bruce and Jesus a very happy New Year!


  13. Kate…who better to receive such an amazing who has such a respect for history, fibre and give so much …so shall you receive..many good wishes for the new year

    Pat j


  14. Enjoy wearing your most beautiful scarf which was knit with love. This scarf will keep you very warm this winter. A true treasure of beauty and love. This scarf is simply delicious!


  15. Such a wonderful gift like that cannot be beatenby some mass produced item I matter what the price might be. The scarf is very beautiful. I gave my eldest daughter a Johull mantle knitted from your new book at Christmas. I used the same colours as the original one . Michaela was so happy with it and I must say it looked perfect on her. Thank you Kate for all your hard work producing such great patterns for me to knit. On my needles now is the Puffin jumper from your Shetland book(for the same daughter) . I wish you and Toma very Healthy and happy new year


  16. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and learnings through the year. I looking forward to reading each one of your blogs and this is no exception. It’s so refreshing to see nice things happening to nice people. Your new scarf is so scrumptious looking!


  17. Oh Kate! You lucky lady! That colour combination is so evocative of that era to me. I am green with envy. Such a fantastic gift. 2015 has much to live up to, it’s gonna be GREAT!


  18. what a beautiful and thoughtful gift. I have certainly enjoyed seeing your corner of the world this past year. Hearing of your designing endeavors as well as challenges and triumphs. I wish for you and your two guys – the best possible new year to come full of health and happiness.


  19. What a precious and amazing thing. I hope you realize it’s because you are an spiritual knitting guide for us and your respect for the process and the history of our craft is an inspiration … you follow in the footsteps of those who have come before – like Emma. It’s a mantle not a scarf! Thank you. And Kerstin.


  20. Oh my word! What a tribute. I only like to knit for someone who really understands – and if Kerstin thinks as I do, then this is a real mark of respect. Those 50 year old fibres are unique and finite.
    You must feel very special – you certainly should.


  21. A truly beautiful scarf – the colours are stunning. Also, I just wanted to wish you and yours all the very best for the coming year and to say thank you for all your inspirational designs and interesting blogs throughout 2014 x


  22. A perfect gift, an instant heirloom! You deserve it and well done to Kerstin for her generosity. Kate, did Kerstin say where she sourced her angora from? I am finding it hard to read some of the current media releases from animal welfare organisations, and angora is making the headlines in particular. Hope you don’t mind my flagging this up, I know you have great integrity in all that you do and I just wondered what your views are on these issues.


    1. I don’t think anyone responded to Rosey’s question, so I’m going to chime in here. The angora in this scarf is probably 50 years old (from Kerstin Olsson’s private Bohus stock). I’m not sure where Emma Jacobsson sourced her angora yarn for Bohus, but I imagine that it was produced in Europe if not locally in Sweden (PETA’s recent upsetting videos are of Chinese angora farms).

      If you are worried about present day angora production, though, here’s a really thoughtful and well-written blog post on the subject: I love the video of the woman spinning directly from the bunny in her lap!

      Responsible companies that sell yarn or knitwear should be able to tell you about the conditions in which it is farmed and produced. That’s true of all fibers, animal or vegetable. As consumers, we should also be responsible and ask questions and support good practices with our patronage.

      Congratulations on your oh-so-gorgeous scarf, Kate! I was trying to determine how many shades of yarn it includes – maybe 12 or 14? I am slowly making progress on a Braid Hills cardigan (just had to take out 6 inches of knitting on the back section as I didn’t decrease enough stitches at the armscyes – ack!) and poring over my Yokes book, trying to choose my next project. I wish that I had a parallel life in which I could spend all my time knitting…


    2. Hi Rosey, yarn provenance and treatment of yarn-producing animals is paramount to me, and this is why I try to use verifiably ethical UK producers whenever possible in my designs. If I were using angora today, I’d certainly ask a producer about the conditions under which yarn was sourced – but as the yarns in this scarf are now over fifty years old I can’t comment on the conditions of production. I do know that Bohus Stickning originally sourced their fibres in Sweden and Finland, and that the new Bohus kits being produced by Solveig and Pernille with Bohuslan museum use angora yarns raised from Pernille’s own rabbits who are certainly well treated!


      1. Hi Kate, thanks very much for your reply. I’m sorry for my delay in acknowledging it. I completely understand the issue of provenance of ‘old’ yarns, and it is great to hear what you have to say about your views. I share them entirely, and please can I urge all the knitters out there to check carefully that they know where their yarns come from, and how the animals are treated, and not to be fobbed off when the larger companies claim that they know under what conditions their yarns are produced. Thanks … Rx


  23. Such a beautiful scarf!! I can see the angora haze in some of the pictures. I really enjoyed reading about Kerstin and her work in Poems Of Color. What a precious and thoughtful gift.
    Happy New Year!!


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