Definitely time for some ketchup (catch-up… get it?!). I’ve been away! I went back to Switzerland to take the same masterclasses that I took last year. I had a great time! When I got back, I had a day to wash all my clothes and repack because Alb and I set off for Iceland. We had talked about going for a good while, and we didn’t feel like going so far away after all our travelling last year, so it worked out well. We got cheap flights via Edinburgh and we stopped off there on our way back.

Iceland is an extremely interesting country. It is a quarter bigger than Ireland but, with a population of about 300,000, it is very sparsely populated. The highlands dominate the centre of the island and are largely impassable with a regular car. So, they’ve built a ring road that goes around the coast. It’s well maintained and very, very scenic. We rented a car and drove the whole thing. It is something else. The landscape changes constantly, from volcano, glacier, mountains, valleys, fjords, lava fields, black deserts, millions of waterfalls and random holes in the ground puffing out steam. The weather, like here, changes constantly, but was more extreme: very hot in the sun, bitter sub-zero winds, driving rains, blinding fog. We lost about a day and a half to rain but otherwise were very lucky. We took a LOT of photos so, rather than write about it all at once, I think I will post photos as I process them and write a little bit about our experience.

For now, I’ll show you what I picked up. Wool, of course. Sheep were prevalent and wool was available in pretty much every supermarket in every village.

Laceweight Lopi, about 250m per ball. This was about €3-4. I got this in a supermarket in Hofn where the selection of yarn was far superior to that of fresh fruit.

DK Lopi, about 100m per ball. I think this came to about €10. I have no idea why I only got 4 balls of brown. I want to make a circular yoke vest with a pattern on the yoke; I don’t think 4 balls of brown will make it. Maybe if I knit loosely? I didn’t buy any more yarn than that because they only sold Lopi and it is very, very scratchy. I daresay it will be really warm but I only have so much room in my wardrobe for scratchy jumpers!

We had two full days in Edinburgh and it was lovely. We got good weather and had such a good time just wandering around. I found a weavers making proper wool tartan. This is so hard to find and even the polyester sort tends to be quite expensive here. The problem with tartan is that the patterns tend to be completely mental. This is lovely if you’re going the route of making a clan kilt and it’s your family pattern. I, on the other hand, was looking for something suitable for every day wear. After a long time looking, I came up with this.

It is quite dark so the colour did not come out very well. It is dark navy with a dark green, the highlight is bright blue. I think it will match a lot of my other clothes and shoes. At a mere 114cm wide and with such a broad check, I went for 2m out of the fear that I would not have enough to make anything substantial. This cost me the princely sum of £47. I would love dearly to eke a tunic or pinafore out of it but a skirt with an inverted pleat would be good too. I want to pick a garment that I can use a lot because the fabric is really fantastic; light, smooth but hardy. A pinafore with a dark green cardigan would be great, right?

There was a John Lewis right beside where we were staying so I went in for a look. I wish we had John Lewis here! I didn’t see anything in their knitting section that I couldn’t get at home but I spent a long time in their notions department. I came away with a packet of canvas webbing – something I have found impossible to get here – and a variety pack of snaps. Both were something like £1 each. The fabric is cotton from Tanya Whelan. I used another from the same collection for a Wiksten tank and have been so impressed with its quality. It washes and presses marvellously, and is so soft that it has become my go-to summer top this year. The Wiksten tank is quite wide so I bought the same quantity again, 1.5m, with the intention of a top not so wide but with some sort of sleeve. Maybe a neat blouse; I need to peruse my patterns.

Some retail therapy is always fun, of course, but really it was scenes like this that recharged my batteries:

Stay tuned for more!

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