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Spring Knitting Retreat - IK02

Knitting in the Icelandic Spring!

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

Photo: Héléne Magnusson
Photo: Héléne Magnusson
Photo: Héléne Magnusson
Photo: Héléne Magnusson
Photo: Héléne Magnusson
Photo: Héléne Magnusson
Photo: Monika Waleszczynska
Photo: Héléne Magnusson
Photo: Héléne Magnusson
Photo: Héléne Magnusson
Photo: Héléne Magnusson
Photo: Héléne Magnusson
Photo: Héléne Magnusson
Photo: Héléne Magnusson




Price from:  

Adult: 285000

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  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

Departures: 23rd - 29th of May

Duration: 7 days

Group size: 6 to 12 participants

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

  • Tour Description

    Spring Knitting Retreat in Icelandic Nature

    A Comfortable Knitting holiday during the Lambing and Birdwatching Season. This 8-day retreat 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, more specifically the beautiful lace shawls. We will meet with many local crafters, spinners, dyers, tanners for an unforgettable insight into the Icelandic culture and knitting heritage. This trip does not include hiking but participants will be provided with the opportunity of exploring and taking walks where we will be staying, enjoy some bird watching or even go seal watching on sea. Accommodation in comfortable guesthouses with an outdoor hot tub.


    23rd - 29th of May 

    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 (May 23): 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 (May 24): In the morning, we 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! Picnic lunch enroute and delicious dinner on the premises.

    Day 3 (May 25): The day will be spent doing a knitting workshop with Héléne, ponctuated by a visit to the farm animals especially the cute little lambs. We will be visited by local knitting ladies from the region. Those who wish can have a little walk and explore the nearby crater and the extensive lavafield covered with spongy moss. Delicious lunch and dinner with products from the farm and home grown vegetables on the premises.

    Day 4 (May 26): This will be an active 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 healthy gourmet dinner on the premises.

    Day 5 (May 27): Today we continue our knitting workshops in the beautiful settings of the Hvammstangi village. The afternoon is open for walks around the area and bird watching. Possibility to also go on seal watching from the sea. Delicious meals on premises.

    Day 6 (May 28): Now is time to return to Reykjavík. We will stop at Álafoss on our way back, a wool establishment located in the Old factory house by the waterfall of the same name. Hélène will take also 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 (May 29): Departure.

  • Equipment List

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

    • Comfortable clothes for the workshops.
    • Slippers.
    • Confortable shoes or Light Hiking Boots – The boots should be comfortable to walk in and give sufficient ankle support, intended for short walks (optional).
    • Long sleeve shirt (thermal underwear) – Wool or synthetic.
    • Warm wool or fleece sweater (2nd layer).
    • Rain Jacket or an Anorak with hood – Preferably waterproof and breathable material.
    • Rain trousers (optional) – Waterproof and breathable material.
    • Mittens – Wool or synthetic (optionally waterproof).
    • Socks – Wool or synthetic. Two or three pairs.
    • Hat or Balaclava – Wool or synthetic.

    Other gear:

    • Swimsuit and towel.
    • Toothbrush.
    • Sunglasses – Big enough to cover the eyes and with sufficient UV-protection.
    • Sun protection.
    • Optional gear:
    • Walking poles.
    • Camera, spare batteries and a memory card or films.
    • Ear plugs

    Knitting equipment:

    • Circular needles, 60-­‐80 cm / 24-­‐32” long and very flexible (thin string in soft plastic), and/or double pointed needles: sizes 3 and 4 mm/US 3 and 6
    • Crochet hook nr 3/US C2 or D3
    • 1 box of rustproof pins for blocking
    • A blocking sheet: a piece of foam or polystyrene or a flat cushion, about 30x30 cm / 12x12” Darning needle, sharp darning needle, scissors
    • Sketchbook and pen
    • Any extra knitting equipment such as sets of needles in different sizes (5, 5 1/2 and 6 mm / US 8, 9and 10 are common for lopi sweater), stitch markers, tape measure, pocket calculator, paper graph.
  • 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

For availability and more information about this tour please contact us.