Icelandic Knitting

When I was in Iceland, one thing I really noticed was that knitting supplies are everywhere. There are huge sections devoted to yarn in an average supermarket, and every tiny convenience store also boosts wool and needles. Here is an excerpt from the NY Times on Icelandic knitting.I also learned that women often cut and then knit their own hair in the 19th and early 20th century! I actually saw capes made of knit hair in little local museums.
The knitter’s name was Ragga Eiriksdottir, and ever since the crash, she has been earning a living with her knitting….She started a business that publishes books and produces popular DVDs on the art of knitting. She also runs a series of “knitting tours” in which she escorts knitters from all over the world on trips around Iceland. Eiriksdottir’s first book came out around the time of the crash. The timing was perfect, she said, because Icelanders finally realized that “we weren’t good with money and that we should do something that we are actually good at.”
“Knitting is the opposite of idolizing money,” she explained. “Knitting embodies thriftiness and is something old that has been with the nation forever. In the 1800s, the state actually published documents that outlined how much citizens should knit. It was said, for example, that a child from the age of 8 should finish a pair of socks each week.”
Eiriksdottir continued with her work. I noticed that she was using a bizarre-looking needle.
“Is that a bone?” I asked.
“Yes, it’s a cow bone,” she replied, explaining that this is what they used in the old days. “I prefer it to the modern needle, especially with all the fuzzy Icelandic yarn.”
Published: May 13, 2011
New York Times

1 thought on “Icelandic Knitting

  1. My grandmother always had something going. She used to knit us slippers and donated hundreds of knitted sweaters to the Red Cross in Mexico, D.F. I vowed I would learn and did when I went to college up north.

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