Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Jaime's Iceland Wool Report 2012

I just got back from a week in Iceland! This was my second time - Amber and I went in 2010 for a Knitting Iceland retreat which was amazing and you can read all about that here. This time I went with my partner Matthew for a vacation so it was not soo knitting-centered, but luckily you can't escape the wool in Iceland. Here is my Iceland Wool Report for 2012.

Sheep are everywhere in Iceland. They graze with no fences all over the countryside, so I was able to hang out with lots of sheep on all our hikes and travels. The sheep provide Icelanders with both meat and wool so they are an integral part of their culture.

Sheep grazing in the thermal valleys of Hveragerði

Icelandic Sheep heads on display at a restaurant.
Iceland is one of the best countries to go to if you knit, crochet or appreciate wool and woolen goods. Every city and town has shops for buying yarn and hand knit goods and its no wonder -  Iceland is cold! The wool of the Icelandic sheep has adapted to keep them warm and dry in Iceland's cold, damp climate so knit goods made from Icelandic sheep are perfect for keeping humans warm and dry too. There is no shortage of handknit items to buy made from Icelandic sheep, from socks to gloves to hats and of course, the Icelandic Lopi sweaters.

Eating the yarn I bought.
In Reykjavik, I made a trip to the Handknitting Association of Iceland - the best place to buy your handknit goods. All of the sweater, hats, scarves and mittens sold here are knit in Iceland with Icelandic wool. They also carry all of the colors and weights of the Lopi wool yarn. I managed to pick out 2 sweaters worth of yarn so I can make two more Icelandic Lopi sweaters! I can't wait to get started on them.

Naturally tanned Icelandic sheep hides and hand knit sweaters at Þingborg
Beautiful naturally dyed lopi yarns at Þingborg
We also made it to Þingborg Wool Center in Selfoss. This is only about an hour outside of Reykjavik and it is a gem! I highly recommend this as my new favorite shop in Iceland. The Þingborg Wool Center sells hand knit goods as well as hand-dyed and hand-spun Icelandic wool yarns, knitting kits, fiber for spinning - anything fiber-related. It is a fiber-enthusiasts dream! I was a little overwhelmed at so much awesomeness in one place and I left with only this adorable cross stitch kit to make a traditional Icelandic design table mat. My kit contained a pattern, linen fabric, linen lace, and 5 colors of naturally dyed lopi yarn = heaven!!

I worked on my cross stitch during the flight home and finished it. I now have a beautiful heirloom to remember my trip by...♥!

If you need to get your own Iceland fix, be sure to stop by Fancy Tiger Crafts this Friday and Saturday to help us welcome Ragga from Knitting Iceland!

Ragga will be lecturing (for free!) on Friday night from 7 - 9pm on Icelandic Knitting Traditions and she will be teaching two classes on Saturday on Icelandic knitting. Check out the deets here.


huizeStinesen said...

Ahhww Jaime, LUCKY YOU! Iceland!
I Hope to visit again some day... Lots of love, Cindy

Anonymous said...

Wow! What a neat post to read on a grey day in Colorado. I feel like I'm there! least I wish I were. Do you think Fancy Tiger could sell cute cross stitch kits like that? I'd buy!

Jeanne Lois said...

oh man! It looks like you guys had a magical trip! Can't wait to see what you knit up with that dreamy wool...

ColoHarpare said...

Oh boy! Another yarn shop to visit! Going over in May...lots of driving planned, plenty of time to make my own Lopi, right? He drives, mostly....