Our Beth Newfeld visits Iceland and shares her experience with us. Thank you, Beth! You can follow Beth on Instagram @msheartfelt and @schoolofmake.
My experience with a traditional Lopi sweater began back in the 80s when I was going to university in Nova Scotia. The Lopi sweater was all the rage on campus (along with hand-made feather earrings) and no wardrobe was complete without one.
Growing up, my mom (Bunny) was always working with her hands–knitting baby garments, stitching beautiful petit point jewelry, threading yarn for a needlepoint. Fast forward many years, I'm now a knitter, living in Seattle and working part-time at Tolt. When my mom expressed an interest in visiting Iceland about the same time that she retired (at age 78, yeah mom) it seemed natural to celebrate together in Iceland.
Our arrival on a drizzly early morning was made all that much more interesting by the sight of me climbing partway through a basement window to fetch a key from a lockbox only to discover later in the day that we were in fact in the wrong apartment (but that's a story for another day). From the moment the skies lightened, we were both intrigued and fascinated by this small island. Our adventures began with a walking tour of Reykjavik starting at the beautiful Hallgrimskirkja and exploring the incredible Einar Jonson Sculpture Park.
On our tour, we were introduced to the sense of humor found in Iceland--a common joke: "if you are lost in an Icelandic forest, just stand up". In the city, we marveled at the beautiful glass-covered Harpa Concert Hall (try to find yourself in the reflection), lobster soup, the Sun Voyager Sculpture and amazing "kaffi" (coffee). We explored woolly shops and even tasted the famous Icelandic hotdog. Reykjavik is an incredibly beautiful, walkable city, with street art on every corner and wool in every shop. I loved that the coffee houses encouraged public knitting by providing a "community" knitting basket. I was amazed that stories of babies in prams outside coffee shops were true. I was charmed by the "cats of Iceland" and met a man who said he often wakes up with three cats in his bed–none of which are his.
Of course you can't visit Iceland without exploring its geological features, and we were thrilled by the geysers and waterfalls. Here's a photo of the geyser Strokkur erupting (knitters will be familiar with Ysolda Teague's pattern by the same name), and mom and I enjoying a laugh at Gullfoss.
Nearing the end of our trip, we visited the Blue Lagoon and basked in its warm waters so rich in minerals like silica and sulfur. We explored geothermal fields in the setting sun and were blessed to see Icelandic horses and sheep.
Iceland, I'll miss your beautiful skies and brightly painted houses, your cats and your cafes, your tiny cars and narrow streets, quirky politics and knitted goodies. As they say in Iceland "takk takk" or thank you for the memories. And, although luggage space was limited, I did treat myself to two perfect skeins of Gilitrutt created by Helen Magnusson, The Icelandic Knitter.
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