Jeanette’s visit to Iceland December 2015
1st advent and first snow in Newburgh
I wont take the bike, but packing all the material for Iceland is not an easy thing.
Only two days to go before I get on the plane to Iceland.
Night of Arrival
Dinner for two last night.I arrived very late and all was fairytale land. Not sure how i got into my hostel. The door froze with a snow mountain in front of it. Ghostly, since I was the only guest!
Of course, my careful packed torch was at the bottom of my suitcase.
on a bike tour through Reykjavik
I am delighted to see that people here like doilies and lace as much as I do. They really blend into the snowy townscape.
I specially decided to stay in town for the search of a good pair of snow boots. How wrong I was! The locals seem to float along (rather speedy) in high heels and long leather mantles. The tourists are mainly flat on their noses or cling on to each-other in big goose feather stuffed jackets. I resorted to get some attachable spikes under my existing soles!
I have finally arrived at Textilesetur. Here is my room no 13. The building is a former Women’s College from 1879-1978. Classes included mathematics, languages and many other subjects, as well as home economics and especially sewing. Girls came to the school for 1-3 years. Well, I have only signed up for a month, and the second day in I feel time is running away with me already.
Here are some of the ladies who kept the girls and the place running.
And here are the girls themselves. I love the names!
Doos and Don’ts! I do fancy their hairdoos!
Now the college as it stands today.
View from the loom studio.
Just before I left Scotland , I was given bags of vintage clothing and fabrics by my friend Anna. One of the pieces i unearthed is an old silk shawl ,entirely in shreds and begging to be taken to Iceland by me.
I am working it onto a piece of prefelt and some additional silk chiffon to keep it nearly to its original size. A wonderful project to get my residency started. That’s what Iceland must look like in the summer, green, lush and exotic!
That’s from my way back from the swimming pool outside the centre.
I am so pleased I faced the elements in my skirt to the horror of the locals.
I do 20 mins swim first, before I enjoy a cup of coffee in the hot tub every day.
In our local supermarket one can buy beautiful 1 ply wool up to Arran weight.
Day 5: Today is Sunday. The snow mountains outside are hardly making any strolls or walks easy. Each step and one is up to the knee in snow. St Nicolas never made it this way and my boots filled with snow rather than chocolate! However, i saw light at the Textile Museum next door and was permitted entry. What a find of local costumes, domestic linen and lace work, past characters from the community, social history, research and temporary collections of days gone by. Photos are taken of a temporary exhibition by Gudrun Audunsdottir at the Textile Museum in Blonduos.
Calm before the storm – my first Northern Lights, before a hurricane struck on Monday.
Day 7: Having survived the night it seems the hurricane has slowed down a bit. The schools are open again and the pool permitted entry a few hours later. You can’t have a national hurricane on its end tail and not go for a swim! Well it was an experience, first to get there (what is usually only a 5 mins walk) and trying to stay over water, inside and outside the pool. Safely back now. I weight myself down with milk for hot chocolates from the supermarket on the way home. I would always recommend to go to Iceland in the winter to really experience the essence of wind, ice, cold, black,white and warmth. Day and night are shifting into each other. I have lost my sense of time all together, things are more about dark and light, black and white, calm or storm.
Before and after a good walk there is always time for a good cup of tea. This embroidery is part of the linen collection of our local textile museum.
Today, i had a second visit to the Textile Museum. There is new snow on the ground, which turns my short walk into fairy land once more.
I had a closer look at the knitwear. Traditionally the fleece here is divided into an outer and inner layer. The outer wool is used for heavier and more protective wear. Under garments, including fine shawls, are knitted from the finer and inner fibres.
Most spectacular the production of inner soles for shoes. Unity of form, function and beauty! Then from simplicity to complicated. I must get knitting. I hope my feet and shoes don’t mind a simple pattern first!
Just to keep you informed about the weather. The sea is nice and calm again. For a day it was nearly tropical with 6 degree plus and the snow turned into black ice on the streets. I saw my first dog, on its own in the dark, definitely one of these runaway dogs called Zero! Now there are gentle snowflakes falling from the sky.
Photo by Emma Srandberg
December 23 – back to blogging after a busy-busy-break
Day at a local wool wash factory. Here local farmers will deliver their fleeces in exchange for 1000 islandic krona per kilo.
The factory washes 80 tonnes of fleece every 24 hours. It works 20 hours, 4 hours pause and off it goes again.
I have seen factories carding and spinning wool, but never washing. Very exciting and efficient.
Please note how well I colour coordinate with the 1970s conveyor system. No doubt that I am very employable! I loved the sheepish smell too!
Icelandic head dresses worn by women symbolising glaciers at the local Textile museum.
More examples of glacier head dresses.
The Last Few Days
Once snow storm Eva settled I managed to go on the most amazing walk along the coastline.
Everyone knows how much I like black and white.
The combination of lava and snow is perfect for me.
You can’t have too much of a good thing.
Looks like I wasn’t alone!
This was my top reward when the coastal walk suddenly stopped.
The ever-changing light.
I will be back.