Icelandic Spring Knitting & Hiking Holiday - IK01

Knitting and Hiking in the Icelandic Spring!

A noter: Vous trouverez toutes les informations en français ici.




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Adult: 285000

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Departures: 3rd of June - 9th of June

Duration: 7 days

Group size: 6 to 12 participants

Note: Tour is operated mainly in English but Hélène is fluent in French.

  • Tour Description

    This tour is a variation of our popular Spring knitting Retreat but that includes some hiking. It takes place during the Lambing and Birdwatching Season and will take us to the beautiful West of Iceland where the enchanting landscape, the first flowers of spring, the green moss, the utterly cute lambs and kids, the busy bird life, will inspire us as much as the knitting artifacts in the Textile Museum in Blönduós that we will have the chance to visit. Hélène will tell us about the Icelandic knitting traditions with a focus with a focus on the famous Icelandic lopi yoke sweater. We will meet with local crafters, spinners, and dyers for an unforgettable insight into the Icelandic culture and knitting heritage. The hikes are rather short and relatively easy. Accommodation in comfortable guesthouses with an outdoor hot tub.


    3rd - 9th of June 

    Tours are operated mainly in English but Héléne is bilingual in French.

    A lexical of knitting terms in German/English/French/Icelandic is available during the tour.

    Price: 285.000 ISK per person

    Not included in price: flights to and from Keflavík International airport

    Single supplement (only available in Reykjavík): 15.500 ISK (limited availability)

    Included in price:

    • 1 guide/knitting instructor.
    • 2 nights at a guesthouse in Reykjavík, dressed beds, shared facilities.
    • 2 nights in a country guesthouse at Hraunsnef, double rooms, dressed beds, private facilities
    • 2 nights in a country guesthouse at Gauksmýri, double rooms, dressed beds, shared facilities
    • Full board from day 2 till lunch day 6, breakfast on day 7.
    • All transfers as per itinerary, knitting as per itinerary. Yarn for knitting little samples during the workshops.

    *Upon booking, and in order to make the best out of your trip, please make sure your are familiar with the day-to-day itinerary and the list of clothing (equipment list) to bring.

  • Tour Itinerary

    Day 1 (June 3): Knitters arrive to Iceland from many different countries at various time during the day. Night at a conveniently located guesthouse in Reykjavík close to the Icelandic Handknitting Association of Iceland, full of lopi sweaters and wool.

    Day 2 (June 4)In the morning, we will meet at Hélène's knitting studio and then set out for a knitting adventure and drive to our charming guesthouse, an isolated farm at the foot of a mountain, with different animals, a family of elves and an outdoor hot tub. We will stay there for the next two nights. En route we will stop at various places in the Borgarfjörður region that are of interest to all knitters, spinners, dyers and wool lovers: plant-dyed and handspun yarns, friendly rare cashmere goats, amazing wool, you won’t be disappointed! Towards reaching our guesthouse, we will do a hike in a fairy like lavafield covered with spongy moss and explore the volcanic crater from where all this lava came from. Picnic lunch enroute and delicious dinner on the premises.

    Walking time: 1-2 hours Ascent/descent: 170 m 

    Day 3 (June 5): The day will be spent doing a knitting workshop with Hélène, punctuated by a hike in the mountain above us with an extensive view on the amazing landscape. Gourmet lunch and dinner with products from the farm and homegrown vegetables on the premises.

    Walking time: 1-2 hours Ascent/descent: 300 m 

    Day 4 (June 6)This will be a busy day! We continue our journey further north. We visit the Glaumbær Turf Farm Museum in the beautiful fjord of Skagarfjörður and the crafters from the area at the Fish Leather Tannery. The afternoon will be spent at the Textile Museum in Blönduós admiring the fabulous collection of knitting, representative of the many Icelandic knitting traditions. We will even be allowed to touch the artifacts! We will then drive to our country guesthouse in Hvammstangi where we will stay for the next 2 nights. Lunch enroute and delicious dinner on the premises. 

    Day 5 (June 7)Today we continue our knitting workshops in the beautiful settings of this fishing village. The afternoon is open for hikes around the area and bird watching. There is also the possibility to go on seal watching from the sea. Delicious meals on premises.

    Walking time: 1-2 hours Ascent/descent: 50 m 

    Day 6 (June 8)Now is time to return to Reykjavík. We will stop at Álafoss on the way back, a wool establishment located in the Old factory house by the waterfall of the same name where we will have our lunch. Hélène will also take us to the Handknitting Association full of lopi sweaters. It will then be time to say good-bye and enjoy a last free evening in the city. 

    Day 7 (June 9): Departure.

  • Equipment List

    Boots and Clothing – an opportunity to show off your beautiful handknits too!

    • Light Hiking Boots – The boots should be comfortable to walk in and give sufficient support. 
    • Long sleeve shirt and leggings (thermal underwear) – Wool or synthetic (1st layer)
    • Warm wool or fleece sweater (2nd layer). 
    • Rain Jacket or an Anorak with hood – Preferably waterproof and breathable material (Gore-Tex or equivalents). 
    • Rain trousers – Waterproof and breathable material. 
    • Liner Gloves – Wool or synthetic (polypropylene / polyester). 
    • Mittens – Wool or synthetic (optionally waterproof) 
    • Socks – Wool or synthetic. Two or three pairs. 
    • Hat or Balaclava – Wool or synthetic. 
    • Indoor slippers (in the farm guesthouse)

    Other gear:

    • A small backpack for day excursions. 
    • Swimsuit 
    • Toothbrush. 
    • Sunglasses – Big enough to cover the eyes and with sufficient UV-protection. 
    • Water container – Pet plastic bottle. 
    • Warm inner slippers.

    Optional gear:

    • Walking poles. 
    • Camera, spare batteries and a memory card or films. 
    • Ear plugs.

    Knitting equipment: please make sure to bring your knitting equipment for the workshops - the yarn is supplied to knit the doll size sweater.

    4,5 mm /US 6 needles (circular using Magic loop or DPN’s), 1 circular needle of same size or smaller size, darning needle, crochet hook 3 mm/ US D3, needle and thread, scissors, markers, 4 little safety pins or stitch holders.

    Any extra knitting equipment such as sets of needles in different sizes (4,5 and 5 mm / US 7,8 are common sizes for Léttlopi sweaters), tape measure, pocket calculator, ...

  • Hélène

    Hélène Magnússon is an Icelandic knit designer who believes that the best way to preserve Icelandic traditions is to continue using them, giving them new life. She has adapted these traditions in knitting patterns and has published numerous magazine articles capturing the spirit and the rich history of Icelandic knitting. She has authored two important books about Icelandic knitting, translated in many languages: Icelandic Color Knitting: using rose-patterns brought back to life the unique Icelandic intarsia as seen in old shoe-inserts and Icelandic Handknits: 25 Heirloom projects and techniques gives an overview of the various knitting traditions in the 19th century and beginning of 20th century. She has also published numerous magazine articles capturing the spirit and the rich history of Icelandic knitting. With the Old Icelandic handspun yarns in mind, Hélène recently developed a range of extra-soft authentic Icelandic lace yarns, Love Story, Gilitrutt and Grýla, made of pure Icelandic lambswool that she hand selects from Icelandic farmers for its softness. 

    Hélène began her professional life as a lawyer in Paris before she made a complete life change and moved to Iceland, where she studied textile and fashion at Iceland Academy of the Arts. She worked as a hired girl in a sheep farm, as a chef in a popular restaurant of Reykjavik and as a mountain guide for many years. The varied skills she learned in those early years richly inform the amazing hiking and knitting tours she now passionately guides. Icelandic Mountain Guides are glad to have Hélène back in the touring world and are proud to offer the novelty of knitting tours, diversifying the selection of available tours and travel opportunities! The tours attract knitters from all over the world, including native Icelanders, for an unforgettable experience where Icelandic traditions and culture, breathtaking nature and master knitting workshops, perfectly balance one another.

  • Workshops

    Workshops: The Icelandic lopi sweater

     A bit of history : the emergence of the lopi sweater: 
    Hélène will tell us about the rich Icelandic tradition and especially the lopapeysa, the Icelandic lopi yoke sweater, that has become the most prominent representation of Icelandic knitting today. It is however a fairly recent invention probably dating back to the 50’s and that became immensely popular in the 70’s. Hélène will show us a few genuine samples and will share with us stories from elderly knitters she has been interviewing in the past years. 

    Lopi wool workshop: 
    Hélène will tell us about the Icelandic wool and the genesis of the famous unspun lopi and we will experience the feeling of knitting with this highly breakable yarn. 

    Icelandic lopi sweater workshop: 
    We will knit a doll size traditional sweater with all the elements of an adult one. Special attention will be given to the color yoke to ensure a good fit. 

    Shaping your lopi sweater workshop:
    The Icelandic lopapeysa is traditionaly fairly square in shape and has no front or back. We will see many different ways to create a scooped neckline and to add shaping to the sweater for a better and more refined fit, both for women and men, as well as how to alter existing patterns. We will also discover an Old method allowing to conveniently knit the sleeves from the top down while achieving a perfect fit. 

    Steeking your lopi sweater workshop: 
    Lopi sweaters are always knit in the round then simply steek (cut into the finished knitting) to make them into cardigans. Typically, an Icelandic knitter would much rather steek a garment than bother working it back and forth and purling, especially if colorwork is involved. We will try our hands at the traditional ways and compare them with other methods (such as the crochet steek applied to colorwork). We will also see different ways to finish our steeks once cut. 

    Finishing your lopi sweater:
    “The knitting is only half of the work” said grand-mother Olga Hallgrímsdóttir. Finishing a garnment is just as important: we will learn how to make crochet edging, vertical or horizontal buttonbands, sew in a zipper, and how to care for your brand new lopi sweater. 

    Knitting equipment: 
    please make sure to bring your knitting equipment for the workshops - the yarn is supplied to knit the doll size sweater.

    4,5 mm /US 6 needles (circular using Magic loop or DPN’s), 1 circular needle of same size or smaller size, darning needle, crochet hook 3 mm/ US D3, needle and thread, scissors, markers, 4 little safety pins or stitch holders.

  • Map
  • Departure Dates
    Tour Dates Availability Language  
    03.06 - 09.06 2018 Confirmed Departure English/French Select

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