A Sunny Day In Reykjavík


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Work in progress

This drawing is my first attempt at realism since about…2003? I feel out of practice and I’m moving at a glacial pace, but I can feel my technique improving as I go.

The piece is coloured pencil on paper and is based on a photo of my daughter.

Colored pencil drawing of a girl with flowers.

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Summer solstice – the midnight sun in Iceland

I took these pictures just before midnight. It never gets dark at this time of year.

Sunset in Reykjavík IcelandMidnight sun Iceland


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Free knitting pattern! “Fimma” Icelandic sweater (kids’ sizes 4, 6 & 8 years)

Long time, no blog! I should really post a general update, and I will, but today I want to share my latest project:

Fimma lopapeysa Icelandic lopi sweater

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.

Fimma lopapeysa Icelandic lopi sweaterFimma lopapeysa Icelandic lopi sweater

I designed this pattern myself using a wonderful website called knittingpatterns.is. I’m making it available free of charge. You can queue it on Ravelry and pin it on Pinterest.

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…

FREE PATTERNS!

In English:

Fimma (4 years, English)

Fimma (6 years, English)

Fimma (8 years, English)

Á íslensku:

Fimma (4 ara, islenska)

Fimma (6 ara, islenska)

Fimma (8 ara, islenska)

En français:

Fimma (4 ans, francais)

Fimma (6 ans, francais)

Fimma (8 ans, francais)

Fimma lopapeysa close-up

“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.

Fimma lopapeysa close-up

In different colours:

Fimma lopapeysa Icelandic lopi sweater blue

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.

 


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Ocean eggs

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).

Usually we buy some smoked salmon or baked goods, but this time Mimi had her eyes on something else:

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.

Yum?

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!