WMJ

Tuesday 20th August

Not-to-be-missed-knits and destination tips: Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik

WMJ recently went all Scandinavian with a round trip to Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Norway, which are basically a knitter’s paradise (there are even actual real-life ‘knitting holidays’ you can take), so expect a few features on some of these beautiful countries, starting with the capital of Iceland.

KNIT

Reykjavik is home to a huge number of yarn and knitwear shops, and the country has its own signature wool, Lopi, due to the uniqueness of the Icelandic sheep. Icelandic sheep have two coats: a short, soft, insulating layer, beneath a long, outer, coarse raincoat. These two different kinds of wool are then processed together to create the Lopi yarn.

Our first stop was the Handknitting Association of Iceland (naturally) where we were quite literally greeted with a wall of traditional Icelandic sweaters. The Association, founded back in 1977 and featured on the city’s main shopping street, sells a range of handknitted woollen items including hats, gloves, sweaters, cardigans and small gifts, as well as offering to custom make goods. Hidden away at the back of the store is an area dedicated to yarns and wool. You can even sit down on the bench out front and knit a few rows of a work-in-progress scarf, just be sure to sign your name and date on the sheet attached. Cute!

HAI  HAI

HAI  HAI

We also headed to Reykjavik’s secondary shopping strip to find Storkurinn and Alafoss – two seriously well-stocked shops. Storkurinn, high up on the second floor of a building is not glaringly obvious but is definitely worth seeking out. The shop has everything from yarns and buttons to needles and books and offers courses for knitters throughout the year. At the opposite end of the street is the small downtown shop of Alafoss, a company dating back to the late 19th century whose previous clientele include Hillary Clinton and Nancy Reagan. This shop provides a taster of their offering (their much larger original factory is based a 15 minute drive away in the town of Mosfellsbaer) housing a range of traditional Icelandic sweaters, each signed by the dedicated knitter who made it!

Storkurinn  Storkurinn

DRINK

We stopped by at Te & Kaffi for a brew and a cake – it isn’t just knitwear the Icelanders do so well, their cookies, pastries and desserts rock too! We sipped on some piping hot Earl Grey tea with Icelandic thyme (which was so good we brought some back for those late nights at WMJ HQ), and ate the most delicious slab of crispy-cake-caramel-chocolate heaven.

Te & Kaffi

SHOP

Geysir stores are dotted throughout Iceland and offer a more modern look than the traditional knitwear. We visited a few shops on our travels around Iceland and each one is beautifully fitted with rich, vintage-looking wood and complimentary furnishings – they’re more like hunting lodges than retail stores. Geysir has its own small line of products, but they mainly stock items by other Icelandic and foreign brands, including a wide range of luxurious knitwear from Reykjavik based Farmers Market and Icelandic creative knitwear brand Vík Prjónsdóttir, as well as Hunter, Barbour and Kanken backpacks.

Geysir  Geysir

Geysir  Geysir

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