Thursday, September 16, 2010

Knitting Iceland Part 2: Hveravellir, Hiking and Knitting Classes

After leaving Reykjavik we traveled up towards the middle of Iceland, into the stark landscape of the highlands. We stopped on our way to see some of Iceland's natural wonders, including Þingvellir, Geysir and the waterfall Gullfoss. Iceland is filled with stunning places and it was one breathtaking view after the next.

We finally arrived at our home for three days at Hveravellir. Hveravellir is located in the north central highlands of Iceland in between the two glaciers Langjökull and Hofsjökull. In the middle of the desolate landscape this thermally active area is an arctic oasis. It is covered with steaming creeks and chasms filled with boiling water.

While at Hvelavellir we stayed at an adorable cabin. We split our days between knitting workshops, hiking and relaxing in the nearby geo-thermal pool.

When we woke up after our first nights stay we were excited to see our cabin had been surrounded by sheep overnight! Amber and I put on our jackets and spent the chilly morning on a sheep photo shoot - the best way to start the day!

We went on two epic hikes while staying in Hveravellir and saw all sorts of amazing things including this traditional turf house, a hidden cave, an ancient volcano field and magical elf houses.

Hélène, one of the Knitting Iceland co-founders, showed us how to harvest lichen that we later made into a traditional hot drink that is a traditional cold remedy and great for your immune system. Hélène also introduced us to the importance of taking a break during a hike for coffee, tea, cookies and chocolate!

This is the magical elf house we found on top of a "lava muffin" in the Valley of the Thieves. In the middle of a seemingly vast and desolate lava rock-covered land was this grassy elf hole. The entrance was covered with beautiful and mysterious flowers - the work of elves for sure!

When we weren't hiking we were knitting! First we had a Lopi sweater class with Knitting Iceland co-founder Ragga Eiriksdottir. Ragga had us knit her pattern for "the Little Lopapeysa" - a miniature Lopi sweater. We learned all of the aspects of knitting a bottom-up traditional yoke sweater in three hours. Ragga showed us the awesome and stretchy German twisted cast-on and I got to do my first ever stranded color work (crazy that I haven't done color work before, I know). The finished product is so adorable and we feel ready and confident to embark on our human-sized Lopi sweaters.

Ysolda Teague then taught us an in-depth class on shaping. We started with taking measurements, lots and lots of measurements. Then we practiced our shaping skills by knitting a tiny hourglass sweater. We did darted waist shaping and learned about how short row bust darts can make all the difference in fitting a sweater. Ysolda helped us with handy calculations so our Lopi sweaters can be perfectly shaped according to our gauge and our measurements.

We learned so much and had so many amazing experiences in Hveravellir. Next up - sheep sorting in Auðkúla!

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