|Clear skies as I flew over the Forth|
In the group were 3 French, 2 Swiss, a German, 3 Americans, an Australian, a New Zealander and me, with Helene (who is French but has lived in Iceland for a long time) and our Icelandic driver, the only man.
We set off in our minibus, handily labelled 'Knitting women' (I think!)
We headed up the West coast past Mosfellsbaer
|one kilometre deep under Hvalfjordur|
|Rita in her wool store|
|sacks of lovely Icelandic fleece|
|Pall with a lamb - and a gorgeous lopipeysa jumper|
|Rita and Pall's sheep among the birch trees|
then we went a few miles further to Hespuhusid (skein house), the home and studio of Gudrun the dyer.
|Gudrun in her dye studio|
|dyeing with lupin leaves|
|a small selection of Gudrun's beautiful naturally dyed yarn|
|The lovely view from Gudrun's house|
|Helene's flock starting to scatter|
|the woolshop (Ullarselid) is on the signpost|
|I'm knitting one like this at the moment, but not so fine|
|the wool co-operative and museum at Hvanneyri|
|What can you do when a two-week old goat kid falls asleep in your arms?|
|Helene (with kid) wearing one of her own designs|
|Sue G in another of Helene's designs, with a lively little goat|
We heard that the farm was in danger of foreclosure, but thankfully it has since been saved by an online crowdfunding campaign. Such a lovely place where these unique animals are cared for and provide a family's livelihood should not be lost. And where would the Game of Thrones sequel find its caprine stars? (some of the goats from this farm were eaten by a dragon in the Game of Thrones film)
|Some of these goats produce lovely cashmere|
|The view from my bedroom in Blonduos - maybe not the prettiest but this photo was taken at MIDNIGHT!|
|Traditional wool shoe inserts - garter stitch intarsia|
|everyday objects like clothespegs|
|A collection of national costumes and these stern ladies in their traditional headgear|
|a room dedicated to Halldora Bjarnadottir including this lovely knitted blanket|
|meticulously woven braids|
|lots of mittens including several with two thumbs, like this pair|
|very fine handspun yarn in a gradient of shades|
|the new museum building - it used to be in the old cowshed at the back|
|The Textile College at Blonduos|
|The shoogly bridge to Hrutey|
That evening Helene and our driver made us a delicious Icelandic dinner, and afterwards we set off for a walk on the island of Hrutey, in the Blanda river
|Geese lay large clutches of eggs on the island - it is a nature reserve - we thought these were old infertile eggsas there were no adult geese around|
|lots of wild flowers on Hrutey|
|Black volcanic sand beaches at the mouth of the river at Blonduos|
|The farm buildings are constructed of thick slabs of turf, under turf rooves|
|part of each building is below ground level|
|the turves are laid herring-bone style|
|everything was small as there was little space|
inside were lots of the things used by the family in their daily lives, all made with great care and attention to detail
|a carved spindle|
|I could use one of these to keep my spinning things in|
|the carved board on the side of the bed had a symbolic meaning to create privacy in a bedchamber shared by all|
|I use something quite similar for making skeins|
|Horsehair in different colours was spun using large drop spindles, then braided into patterned ropes for harness - probably for the same horses|
|examples of traditional natural dyes - including rhubarb, birch and several gallium species|
|this is where you kept your most personal posessions|
|and this is your personal dish for soup or stew, with a lid to be used as a plate|
|beautiful painted chests for clothes or blankets|
|interesting carders - one free and one fixed into a device with a long part you sat on to hold it still (I think)|
|absolutely huge stocking stretcher (and stockings) to fit a giant, or maybe a troll...|
|fine handspinning and knitted lace|
|wooden facades to the interconnected buildings|
|Tea and knitting (and yummy cakes) in the vintage tea-room at Glaumbaer, - Sue G, me , Karen and Dawn|
|tanned salmon skins|
|skins with foiled metallic finishes|
|Helene found a comfy place to knit!|
We swam in the public outdoor pool overlooking the fjord and lounged in the (very) hot tub, and walked along the top of cliffs made of columnar basalt - I saw a whale!
|knitting thumbs on mittens - workshop on the cliff top|
|Restaurant where we had an excellent dinner - and went back for breakfast next morning|
From the headland we could see the island of Grimsay about 30km away, it lies on the arctic circle
At Skjaldarvik we checked in to the nicest guesthouse of the whole trip.
and immediately took over the lounge for knitting (with a telescope for birdwatching)
|Dawn and Sue E working on their mittens|
|I met these two in Reykjavik last winter! (the trolls, not the girls)|
|Midnight view from our guesthouse|
|the décor in the guesthouse was full of interesting little touches|
|lots of upcycling and vintage, especially the black-bound books used everywhere|
|loved this chair!|
|in the grounds|
Next day we went to Godafoss, where legend has it the king threw all the pagan idols when Christianity came to Iceland (so they can still be worshipped beneath the waterfall).
|A bunch of knitters - are they discussing a knitting problem? No, I think they have got chocolate!! Wait for us!!!|
|flowers amongst the lava|
|very windy at the top - Sue G, Annegret, Helene, Sue E and Dawn|
A short drive away we stopped for a picnic in a very flowery place
We visited a well-preserved system of sheep fanks where the sheep would be rounded up in the central ring and sorted into separate enclosures round the edges
|the lava blocks are surprisingly light - and support lots of moss and lichen, although they take many years to grow|
|mud pots look like boiling grey paint|
We had a wonderful swim in a hot pool - the Blue Lagoon of the North - with opaque milky blue hot (sometimes very hot) water and stunning views over an almost lunar landscape. A chill wind meant we kept as much as possible under the water, which leaves the skin feeling silky smooth for days. We were reluctant to get out but eventually had to make a rather rushed journey back to Akureyri to catch our flight to Reykjavik.
|sometimes the scenery reminds me of Scotland|
|Akureyri across Eyjafjordur|
|Dawn, Annegret, SueG, Sue E (with tablet) and Helene|
|The francophone contingent - Patricia, Nadeige, Emmanuele and Laurence, with Karen and Beverley (hidden) behind them|
And then went to the Laundromat (it really is, as well as a pub!)
|Sue G, Dawn, me, Annegret and Sue E in Laundromat at about 11.30pm|
|Midnight in cloudy Reykjavik|
where I acquired this very fragile but lovely spindle box, from a very anxious stallholder who wanted to make sure I knew what it was (!!!!) and would take care of it as it was made in 1883, in Eastern Iceland. I think I was able to reassure him...
|it needs some TLC|
I took Sue to see the steam vents in the city centre, and we browsed shops and cafes but no more wool was purchased!!! Just several books, some Icelandic moss and flatbread. I've forgotten what I thought I was going to do with the Icelandic moss - dye with it probably, but you can eat it too so that's a dilemma!
|an appropriate name for my suitcase by this time|
|much prettier than a net curtain|
|mural with volcano, pony, waterfall......|
|Reykjavik's iconic church, from outside our guesthouse|
|another midnight photo|
|knitting at the Sun Voyager sculpture|
|great potential for a bit of yarn graffiti|
|Lundi is Icelandic for puffin|
|there were lots of puffins but this isn't a very good photo|
|Harpur from the inside|
And what about all the wool that was purchased?
Two kilos of Rita's lovely Icelandic fleece is still waiting to be spun - I want to experiment with separating the tog and the thel. I got four different colours so lots of fun to be had with that.
I finished embroidering my Skagafjordur mittens - they will be very cosy for winter being knitted in Istex Lettlopi on small needles. I still have a ball of the Lopilett left.
|Skagafjordur mittens by Helene Magnusson|
The lacy green Einband scarf (Insomnia in Reykjavik?) got finished at Edinburgh airport on my way to Shetland, and while there I learned from Ann Eunson the proper way to dress (block) a lace scarf, (so that is tomorrow's task. I'll add a photo later ).
I have two balls of red Einband still to use.
I bought enough plotulopi to knit a lopipeysa cardigan, which I finished just before I went to Shetland Wool Week (and was very glad to have it during the two days of gales). It is really warm but being unspun yarn it is very light - just over 500g.
|Snjoflyksa by Linnea Ornstein - pattern on Ravelry|
The finished projects are on my Ravelry page
Lovely Sue E gave me two balls of a very soft fuzzy yarn which I think I will include in my next fair isle hat , having seen Felicity Ford's Shwook which includes some of her Granny's angora yarn. She also gave me a part ball of some very pretty sock yarn which might become wristwarmers.
The WOOLCANO has been tamed!!! (but I've been to Shetland since then.....some yarn may have been purchased!!
As for Iceland - this was my second visit, I went first in winter and now in summer, and I love it - the people, the geology and of course THE WOOL. I already have plans for a MUCH LONGER VISIT in 2018 - you have been warned, Iceland!