As long as I can remember, I never picture myself to be a person who knits! My mum is a seamstress, and she has been sewing pretty much everything fabric-made at our parents’ house. Even at my own place now in Iceland, I still use bedsheets and bedspreads made by her. But, while growing up, no matter how hard my mum tried to convert me into sewing, it never happen. So imagine how shocked my mum was when I told her I have been knitting since I came to Iceland!
I think knitting is a very Icelandic thing. If you write “Iceland” on Google and browse through the images results, after about 50 pictures of Blue Lagoon and breathtaking natural landscapes, I’m sure you’ll come across a picture of people in Icelandic lopapeysa (wool sweater).
Knitting is so common here, that I see loads of people , be it men or women, old and young do it almost any time, anywhere. They teach knitting at schools, and knitting and sewing clubs are so popular as well.
A friend of mine had to move to Iceland due to her husband’s work, and her husband’s Icelandic company provided knitting lessons for all the expatriates’ wives once they arrive in the country.
It’s almost as if knitting is just a part of life when living in Iceland, and I think it’s rather remarkable. Icelandic people have been knitting for hundreds of years, and they’re still doing it until now. I also think that it’s just a part of being an Icelander. I may be generalising here, but I always imagine Icelandic people are very self-sufficient. For example, my husband is an Icelander, and he cooks, sews, installed the dishwasher, repaired the washing machine, put up fences around our place, and he cooks! (I had to mention this twice, because he is such a good cook!). I mean, back home in Jakarta, my mum would have other people do all those tasks for her (yes, even the cooking part).
But here, since everything is so costly, almost everybody has to be self-sufficient, and knitting is definitely one way to do it. A proper wool sweater here could easily cost from 10,000-20,000 ISK, while if you knit it yourself, the materials couldn’t cost more than 5,000 ISK. A wise person once told me, there are two things you can buy in Iceland which won’t cost you an arm or a leg, and they are lopi (Icelandic wool that itches oh, so good) and entrance to swimming pool.
And as much as I hate to admit it, knitting is actually not that bad or boring. I’m not that much of a knitter, as it usually takes me ages to finish knitting even the smallest piece. But I find the activity relaxing, and fun if you are doing it together with your friends or family members over nice cups of coffee and delicious cakes.
So, grab your needles and yarns, and start living the life, Icelandic style 🙂