Knitting is very popular in Iceland, you see people in hand knitted Icelandic sweaters everywhere and knitting clubs can be found all over the country. West Iceland is the perfect destination for knitting, because of the long-established knitting tradition in the area. This, in combination with sightseeing in the beautiful nature West Iceland has to offer will make this trip an unforgettable experience. On a clear winter evening you might also be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the magnificent northern lights.
Besides knitting, we will explore the beautiful nature West Iceland has to offer and visit interesting places, mostly related to the Icelandic wool. We will learn about the colouring of yarn with dye made of Icelandic plants, have a workshop in spinning wool and learn about the Icelandic goat and wool from the goats.Furthermore we’ll learn about the settlement of Iceland and the Sagas at the Settlement Centre.
Use your free time to take a stroll around the town of Borgarnes, visit the outdoor swimming pool with its steam bath and hot tubs, and take a look around in the (small) shopping centre and the local yarn shop!
7 - 11 February 2017
14 - 18 March 2017
6 - 10 June 2017
17 - 21 October 2017
21 - 25 November 2017
Duration: 5 Days / 4 Nights
Minumum number of participants 4.
Maximum number of participants 8.
Day 1: Arrival – Transfer to Borgarnes
Morning pick up from accommodation in Reykjavik. We start with a visit to Alafoss wool store were you will find a great selection of the traditional Icelandic wool.
We drive to Bjarteyjarsandur farm where we have lunch and learn some basics about the Icelandic wool. We continue tour our guesthouse and start the knitting workshop
Day 2: Goats – Spinning workshop
After breakfast we have our fist knitting workshop with Ragga. We have lunch before we visit the Icelandic Goat Centre at the farm Háafell. Afterwards we vist Rita at the farm Grenigerði, and learn about spinning the wool.
Day 3: Knitting day
Today we have a whole day of knitting at the guesthouse. Dinner at the Settlement Centre in Borgarnes, where we learn about the Icelandic Sagas and settlement of Iceland.
Day 4: Wool Dyeing – Farmer‘s Market
We continue knitting with Ragga before we take off to Hvanneyri village, where we visit boatnist and dyer Guðrún Bjarnadóttir at her shop Hespuhúsið. We learn abou the colouring of yarn with dye made of Icelandic plants and lichens.
Day 5: Departure
Airport transfer and return flight. If your flight is in the afternoon, you‘ll get tips for activities and worthwhile sights in Reykjavík. We can also recommend tours and activities if you prolong your stay. Further information available on request from your Esja Travel specialist.
Price per person sharing a double room EUR 2.540
Price per person in a single room EUR 2.720
- 4 nights at Borgarnes B&B, rooms with shared facilities.
- Full board.
- Airport transfers.
- Day tours as described in the itinerary.
- Knitting instructor and guest instructors.
- Entrance fees:
- Settlement Centre in Borgarnes.
- Bjarteyjarsandur farm.
- Goat Centre at the farm Háafell.
- Lodging tax.
Esja Travel supports - the Icelandic Environment Association Landvernd with a EUR 5 donation for every traveller booked on a package tour.
- International airfares – available upon request from Esja Travel
- Knitting pattern/wool – available upon request from Esja Travel
- Anything not mentioned in the itinerary
The knitting workshops will take place at the guesthouse, mostly during the mornings and are led by Ragnheiður Jóhannsdóttir, “Ragga“, an experienced knitter with over 40 years of experience. She is also skilled in herbal dyeing spinning yarn and basically everything that has to do with wool.
Ragga will introduce us to the Icelandic knitting techniques and traditions and there will be a choice of various items to knit: socks, gloves, hats, shawls or the traditional Icelandic “lopapeysa” sweater!
We will receive guest teachers, telling us about special subjects, related to the Icelandic wool.
Every day we spend at least 2,5 hours knitting from 9:30 until 12:00. On the first evening we have an introduction meeting with our knitting instructor, Ragga. We will take a look at some patterns and everyone will choose a piece of clothing or a pattern they would like to work on during the workshop. The last day we will be knitting all day.
During the workshops Ragga will introduce us to Icelandic knitting techniques and traditions. You learn about the traditional Icelandic lopapeysa sweater, knitted with a circular needle, still very popular in Iceland.
You will stay at the cosy guesthouse Borgarnes B&B, located on the seaside in the charming town of Borgarnes, approximately 70 km north of the capital Reykjavík.
All materials needed for the knitting are available: knitting needles, pattern books and the wool for the item you choose to knit. Please note however that these materials are not included in the price.
Knitting socks, gloves or a hat approx. ISK 3.000 or USD 25 / EUR 20*
Knitting a lopapeysa wool sweater approx. 8.000 - 10.000,- or USD 70-85 or EUR 50-65*
*These prices include a Knitting book, lopi wool yarn, pattern and knitting needles.
Ragnheiður Jóhannsdóttir “Ragga” is a qualified craft teacher and through her studies she has learned about the quality of handicraft and how to make changes to patterns, form and shapes of clothes. She has also qualified as a teacher for children with special needs.
Through the years she has attended many courses and learned, among other things how to make silver jewellery, leather work, glass art, calligraphy and wood carving. She has specialised in how wool and wool processing has evolved over the years and focused on the history of Icelandic lopapeysa sweater design.
She has designed and sold her handknitted and felted Elf-shoes “Álfaskór”. In 1996 Ragga knitted an Icelandic lopapeysa sweater for herself that she will proudly show you when you arrive, it has aged well.
What she enjoys most is to teach new skills and show how you can use your knowledge for further development. She is very excited to share her knitting knowledge with you and loves to work with the Icelandic wool.
Guðrún Bjarnadóttir - Nature scientist, teacher andsperm analyst at the Icelandic Bull Centre
She teaches botany at the Agricultural University of Iceland at Hvanneyri. And she spends most of her spare time collecting plants and colouring yarn. She also makes her own yarn from the Icelandic wool. Plants, knitting and Icelandic nature are her favorite things and she says she is very grateful to be able to combine this all in her work. In her home in Borgarfjörður she has an open workshop where she shows traditional methods of colouring yarn form Icelandic plants or lichens and many other things.
Ríta Freyja Bach
Ríta and Páll live in Grenigerði, a small organic farm 3 km outside of Borgarnes. In addition to selling plants, they also work with wool and horn of animals like reindeers, sheep and goats. From the horn they make all kinds of useful things, including jewelry. Their handcraft is for sale in Ullarselið at Hvanneyri (www.ull.is) and some handicraft shops in Reykjavík. They also have a gallery at their farm. Ríta teaches students at the Agricultural University of Iceland to spin the wool and she has also taught many courses in wool craft elsewhere.
Sigríður Inga Björnsdóttir & Kolbrún Eiríksdóttir
Bjarteyjarsandur in Hvalfjördur is a family farm, runned by Guðmundur Sigurjónsson and Arnheiður Hjörleifsdóttir. Their parents are also a part of the farming and tourism facilities are offered at the farm. Their mothers, Inga and Kolla, have specialized in wool work and knitting through the years. Kolla has lived at Bjarteyjarsandur for 40 years and knows the life of the sheep very well. She still nurtures the lambs in May, when lambing season is at
it´s peak. Inga grew up on a farm on the south coast and as a young girl she started to knit and work with wool and other natural materials. Her profession is nursing, but her passion is farm life, especially sheep farming. Inga spins and combs the wool, as well as she knits beautiful sweaters and other clothes from this unique material. Inga and Kolla are looking forward to invite you to Bjarteyjarsandur farm and give you some hands on experience. http://www.bjarteyjarsandur.is