For a wool enthusiast Iceland is a very interesting place to visit. Firstly the sheep seem to be sporting a phenomenal amount of fleece on their backs which no doubt they will need for the coming winter.
Having so many of these woolly beings means that Iceland produces a lot of wool. The greatest thing about this is that it is so easy to buy. Most supermarkets that we visited had an aisle dedicated to wool crafts.
All of the wool that I saw was indigenous. The most common wool on sale was Icelandic Lopi and for the most part it was extremely cheap.
Wool could also be bought at the Handknitting Association of Iceland in Reykjavik. This very busy shop is full of tourists who come here to buy their yoke sweaters.
As you can see from the picture there are hundreds to choose from in all colours and sizes and each one has been handknitted.
I decided to take the plunge and have a go at my own yoke sweater so I bought some Léttlopi (which means light lopi) and made a start on the plane back to Belfast.
One thing I was a little surprised about was how coarse Lopi wool is. It’s not too difficult to knit with although it is two ply and occasionally the needle will just knit into one of the plies and I find myself undoing the stitch and starting again. This means that I really have to watch the knitting and not go into autopilot when carrying on a conversation or watching t.v. Once knit up the jumper should be fine if it is over a layer so that it doesn’t feel too ‘scratchy.’
Knitting away from home
My hands certainly weren’t idle during the long car rides that we made. I brought over a cabled swatch that I had started in the summer time. I enjoyed making it so much that I couldn’t stop until I had thought of something to do with it….and yes of course it became a gorgeous hat which I am now crazy about!
I knitted this using Blarney Woollen Mills Aran Handknitting Wool. The cabled band was made with size 4.5 mm needles. I sewed up the ends and then with 5 mm needles I picked up the stitches and knitted away merrily decreasing when I came to the crown.
Although I was miles away it felt good to still be working on something from home.