I saw this on my walk last night, thought it was pretty neat.
I saw this on my walk last night, thought it was pretty neat.
I took these pictures just before midnight. It never gets dark at this time of year.
Long time, no blog! I should really post a general update, and I will, but today I want to share my latest project:
It’s an Icelandic lopi wool sweater, also known as a lopapeysa. Lopapeysas are extremely popular here in Iceland. Most Icelanders have at least one. They’re cosy, durable and water-resistant, perfect for the Icelandic climate. My kids wear them every day in the colder months.
It’s currently available in English and Icelandic (update: now in French too!) and I may add some other languages later. If you have any language requests, let me know!
So without further ado…
“Fimma” means “fiver” in Icelandic. I chose the name because it’s knitted with five colours – most lopapeysas use between two and four, usually monochromatic. Léttlopi wool comes in so many beautiful colours, it seemed a shame to stop at just three.
Don’t be intimidated though – the knitting method is essentially the same as with any other lopapeysa. I designed it so that you’re almost never knitting with more than two colours at once. In the few rows that use three colours, just be sure to keep the strands at the back extra loose to prevent bunching. For what it’s worth, I’m a pretty clumsy knitter and I had no trouble with it.
It’s a lot of fun to make! I loved seeing each row of pattern forming as I went.
In different colours:
A few technical notes:
– I knitted the collar and ribbing a little differently to what it says in the pattern. The size 6 pattern tells you to knit 3 cm of ribbing; I did four rows of seed stitch instead. You can do it however you prefer.
– With the exception of the main colour, the pattern requires less than half a ball of each shade, so it’s a good pattern to knit if you have a bunch of half-used balls that you want to use up.
– If this is your first time knitting a lopapeysa or doing colour-work, it’s worth mentioning that you need to keep the tension of the multicoloured parts a little looser than the rest of the sweater, otherwise it gets a bit taut. Some people do this by switching to slightly larger needles for the multicoloured parts. So in this case, you’d go up to 5.0 mm (US 8) needles. I’ve never done it that way though, I just knit a little looser with my 4.5 mm (US 7).
– Fimma was designed to be knit with Léttlopi wool but it should work with any Aran/Worsted Weight yarn.
– The pattern is unisex. If you don’t want the flowery motif to look like a flower, knit it in green and BAM! It’s a 4-leaf clover.
– This pattern is available strictly for non-commercial use only, unless you have express written permission from me, the author.
Thanks for taking the time to look! If you need any knitting help or have any other questions, ask in the comments. This is my first time releasing a pattern so if there’s anything important I’ve left out, please let me know.
I’m alive! I don’t feel like writing much (too tired!) but I wanted to post some pictures I’ve taken over the last few days. I got a Canon Rebel for my birthday so I’ve been shooting lots, trying to figure out how to shoot manually.
I took this one in my garden yesterday. It wasn’t until I uploaded it on the computer that I realised that the sun looks like an egg. It would have been cooler if it was under the “chicken” instead of on top, but what are are you gonna do?
Note that it was around 1 or 2pm when I took it, pretty much the lightest time of day. The days are very, very short in Iceland at this time of year. We get maybe a couple of hours that could pass for daylight, otherwise it’s dark. The good news is that we’ve passed winter solstice, so it’s only going to get better from here!
And another ice bird…
My beautiful girls:
Mimi is so happy to finally have some snow. The weather’s been really mild so far this year.
Our downstairs neighbours have an indoor cat. Whenever we go outside she’s there, glued to the window, wanting attention. She kept sticking her paw out and giving Ellie kitty high-fives (she was gentle! ;)). Ellie thought it was hilarious.
Happy New Year all! I’m sure I’ll be back soon with more pictures, and possibly even some words. ;)
We got home from the summer cabin this afternoon. We didn’t make all the stops on the way home that we’d wanted to as we were tired and Ellie was getting fed up with being in the car. Oh well. We did however stop by Gullfoss (the “golden waterfalls”) and Geysir yesterday. They’re not my favourite places simply because they’re as touristy as places get in this country. Spectacular & well worth visiting, yes, but hidden treasures they are not.
I of course took eleventy bajillion pictures:
We’ve been at a cabin in the countryside this week. I say cabin, but this place is huge! Way bigger than our little apartment. Just wonderful. We’re by a lake called Apavatn. It’s quite close to Reykjavík, about an hour and half’s drive.
We’ve been super lazy here, relaxing as much as is possible with two small kids (i.e. not very much). I feel slightly guilty about how little we’ve done, but at the same time it’s been nice to have a break without feeling like we have to cram everything into our schedule.
Yesterday we took a little drive to some caves in the area.
What’s interesting about the caves is that 100 years ago, people lived in them:
From 1910-11 they were inhabited by a young couple, Guðrún Kolbeinsdóttir and Indriði Guðmundsson, then just 17 and 22 years old. They sold food to travelers passing by. Within a year they had earned enough to move to Reykjavík, and left the caves.
A few years later, from 1918-21, another young couple moved in. During their time there Jón Þorvarðarson and Vigdís Helgadóttir had three children, two of which were born in the cave. Can you imagine? One of the children, Magnus Jónsson, is still alive today. He calls himself The Caveman. Of course.
Mimi was insistent that she was going to find some baby trolls in the cave.
Nowadays the house is gone. The caves are covered in moss, and graffiti carved into the soft sandstone.
The view from inside the cave:
I think today we’re going to visit the Golden Circle: Geysir (the original geyser), Þingvellir (Thingvellir National Park) and the Gullfoss waterfalls, so I’m sure I’ll be posting more pictures soon.
We found wild thyme at Mimi’s preschool and took it home and made some tea. The pictures tell the story. Enjoy!
The Kolaport market is an anomaly. In contrast with Reykjavík’s chic design stores and sanitised tourist shops, Kolaportið is eccentric and jumbled, a hoarder’s heaven piled high with a fascinating blend of junk and oddities (mostly junk). Like most markets, there are also treasures to be found: vintage clothes, jewellery, books, antiques and, of course, lopapeysur galore.
The most interesting part, however, is the food section. There, you can find traditional local produce such as graflax and dried fish (which is far tastier than you’d think) as well as more controversial fare such as horse meat, whale meat, and the infamous hákarl (rotting shark).
The blue eggs at the top of the picture come from a species of auk known as svartfugl (literally: “black bird”), a sea bird found off the coast of Iceland. The birds themselves are occasionally eaten too. (They’re not a threatened species, in case you were wondering.)
We bought three eggs and took them home. I pierced both ends and blew out the contents so that we could keep the pretty shells.
Auk eggs are large, roughly equivalent in volume to 2-3 chicken eggs, and the yolks are a deep reddish-orange. I cooked them in a simple omelette for Mimi and the man of the house.
The cooked eggs had a fishy/ocean smell, so I expected Mimi to recoil at the taste. To my surprise, she ate them with enthusiasm, so much so that we went back and bought more the following week. My partner tried them too and said they were okay but a bit dry and rubbery. I have to confess that although I’m generally an adventurous eater, I didn’t try any myself. Eggs are one of the few foods I really dislike, and the ocean “fragrance” did little to sweeten the deal.
The eggshells are so beautiful, in shades varying from white to pale blue to deep turquoise. I’ve been obsessed with these shades for a while now. They remind me of the ocean and swimming pools and other pretty things.
I’d like to incorporate them into a design somehow. The challenge is to illustrate blue eggs in a way that doesn’t end up looking like an Easter card. I’ll give it some thought and see what I come up with!
My wonderful mother came to visit a few weeks ago. The girls were so happy to see their Grandma! Ellie hadn’t seen her since she was a newborn and I thought she’d be shy at first, but she wasn’t at all. I suspect she recognised her from Skype-ing.
Just in case Mum wasn’t sure she was in Iceland, it immediately started snowing…in May.
We went to a summer house in Grundarfjörður (on the Snæfellsnes peninsula) for a few days. The location was stunning, right under a mountain with nothing around except one little sheep farm maybe hundred metres below. The cabin had a hot tub and a little playground, so Mimi was thrilled. So was Grandma.
Nearly all of my photos are of the view from where we stayed. We traveled around the peninsula a fair bit but didn’t stop to take many photos as Ellie had been screaming in the car. If you’ve ever been trapped in a car with a screaming baby you’ll understand why we weren’t in any hurry to wake her up when she did sleep.
(Excuse the lens scratches. I need a new camera.)
Car-screaming aside, it was a really nice trip and the kids did well. It’s been way too long since I’ve been out of Reykjavík, which is crazy because it’s just so beautiful here. One of the many nice things about having my mother visit is that it forces me to do all the fun things that I normally wouldn’t make time for. Note to self: GO OUT OF TOWN MORE OFTEN.
Sadly, we’ve had to say goodbye to my mum for now. There was some talk of coming back for Christmas, so fingers crossed it won’t be too long before we see her again!