In the July 1983 I went on a schools expedition to Iceland walking across ice flows, volcanic ash and obsidian, passed natural spas, geysers and steam vents. It was an amazing experience. After we got back to Reykjavik we had a morning to go out and about before catching the flight back. I went hunting for Icelandic yarn. Now in every home, shop and venue in Iceland you can find beautiful jumpers knitted by the population during the long, dark, arduous autumn, winter and spring. But finding yarn is much harder. When I arrived back in England I had a 97lb rucksack and a large box full of yarn. The plan was for my mum or another lady to knit the wool up into overly warm jumpers, but I’d omitted to buy a pattern. Ooooppps. Well, I was only 17.
This autumn, my Mum came visiting from sunny Wiltshire and brought with her the sack of yarn that she has carefully moved from home to home, attic to attic. Aren’t Mums good at looking after things? Especially yummy things like yarn.
And fortuitously, a new lady came to Knit and Natter at the Knitting Basket, Hawes, this week. She brought a ‘Simply Knitting’ magazine (April 2011) which has a wonderful pattern for a Nordic Haze jumper. I seized it with a ‘ping – lights are on’ moment. I rushed home, pulled the bag of wool out and sorted it. Found needles and began to cast on.
Ugh! The wool is really hard to get to grips with. For starters (if you look closely you will see) the yarn is carded and doubled when wound into balls but it isn’t spun. There are no twists nor anything to hold these yarns together. The yarn can pull apart as easily as any merino wool top. Sigh.
Slowly, slowly, catchy, monkey as the saying goes. At last I’ve mastered the specialised art of knitting with iceland yarn that is 30 years old. Yes 30 YEARS OLD! Yikes.
As I get further along I will update you (and me) on this 30 year old promise of a scrummy overly warm jumper.
I remember you going on that trip Anne and I can’t believe that it was (a) 30 years ago and (b) that your mum still kept that yarn all of that time!
What a great way to revisit your trip by knitting the jumper up.
I also remember all of the sketches you made on that trip….maybe you should share those too if they are still around 🙂
Hi Andrea, it was also (a) a shock to me when I realised it was 30 years ago (glup) and (b) considering all the things of mine that mum has 'lost' along the way I too was very surprised she still had the yarn!
Somewhere I still have the sketchbooks with the pen and inks I did. I'd forgotten all about them. I shall try to dig them out and see if they are suitable to post....