The Sheep Stay Warm
Álafoss’ wool keeps you warm and dry–just like the Icelandic sheep
Just 20 minutes from the centre of Reykjavik lies the town of Mosfellsbær on the road to the north. There, after passing under the bridge you will find a roundabout. Most traffic continues straight, but if you take a right turn, you’ll immediately see the red-roofed building of the old mill, built next to the warm álafoss or ála waterfall, from which the mill took its name. Built in 1896, the mill was used to knit woollens. It was here that the Icelandic woollen industry began and flourished.
The mill itself has closed but the building now houses the Álafoss store, where visitors find a very wide range of designs of woollen clothing, the yarn and everything associated with making the clothing, art and craft supplies and souvenirs.
The clothing ranges from traditional to high fashion and the wide range of styles and colours gives plenty of choice for men, women and children alike.
The Icelandic wool is noted for its special qualities. The fibres are made up of two different types of wool: a virtually waterproof outer layer and a soft, warm inner layer. This makes clothing especially comfortable and suitable for all weathers. Sweaters made from this wool have been used for generations by farmers, fishermen, mountaineers - and the man or woman on the street, too. They are warm, shower-proof and comfortable.
Today, many young designers have taken the Icelandic wool to create a whole new range of designs and colours, whilst the store still carries a stock of the traditional designs that have become a fashion statement in themselves the world over.
Browsing clothing and knitting articles may not be to every man’s taste but there is a lot to keep all the visitors interested, as the store is also a virtual museum. There are pieces of machinery, vintage-style cash registers, original early phones and examples of equipment used to make the company the powerhouse that it was in Icelandic society for so many years.
There is a small café at the back which overlooks the waterfall that started it all. It is the kind of store where you can relax and browse, enjoy the ambience and find those special gifts and personal items that are so rarely found in Europe or the rest of the world.