The One Stop Shop for All Things Woollen at the Handknitting Association
Sheep came to Iceland with the Viking settlers and they quickly proved their worth, not only for their meat but also their wool. Living conditions were very basic and especially tough in the cold and dark winter months. Sheep helped keep the settlers alive. These Icelandic sheep have two types of fleece—an outer, weather and water repellant layer and a soft, warm fleece close to the skin. Combined, they have provided warm clothing for farmers and seamen, adults, children and babies for centuries. Making sweaters became a tradition in farmhouses, cottages and houses around the country.
The Handknitting Association of Iceland was founded in 1977 to help overcome problems that knitters were having in getting their handiwork marketed. A group of women formed the association, established standards and guidelines for the production that was - and still is, an important supplement to many family incomes and shortly thereafter, opened a shop to sell their members’ wool
len goods on Skólavörðustígur, the main shopping street that descends from Hallgrímskirkja, the cathedral overlooking the city.
As the name indicates, these woollen creations are hand made. The motto from the outset has been, ‘Buy directly from the people who make them’. Walking into the shop, one cannot help but be amazed at the skill and productivity of these ladies—and some men, too, from all walks of life, living in all parts of the country. Every item has that sense of individual uniqueness that only handmade items carry.
The world of knitting has changed dramatically since the association began. A few decades ago, the designs took on the form of the ‘lopapeysa’ or sweater, with its distinctive scalloped pattern, which has become so popular worldwide, but numerous young Icelandic designers have also turned their attention to wool as a medium of choice for their fashion designs, resulting in new products, styles and colours. There is a wide range of sweaters, gloves, hats, scarves, socks, bags and many other items in sizes to suit everyone from a Viking warrior (or farmer) to a pretty fashion model to a newborn baby. The store has become a centre not only for selling the finished products but also for supplying the wool and all the accessories required to make woollen items. The association has established high standards for the wool they supply the knitting community so as to get an equally high quality product back to sell. This is all the best genuine Icelandic wool with its unique characteristics.
Visitors can have their purchases shipped to them and they can also email orders from the website in the comfort of their own homes. That includes the patterns, wool, needles and accessories, not just the clothing. If knitting is your hobby, there is a world of warm designs just waiting for you.Handprjónasamband Íslands
Skólavörðustígur 19 • 101 Reykjavík
+354 552 1890