Iceland: Þingborg Ullarverkstæði

On our way home to Selfoss from Eyrarbakki, we discovered this amazing place.

Þingborg (pronounced Thingborg) is a wool lover’s paradise.  It is an old house repurposed as a shop and workshop and a place for wool processing.  It is just a few miles east of Selfoss on the ring road, so is very easy to find.  We “found” it twice.  Once in the evening just before closing and once the following morning at the moment they opened shop.

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This house serves as a gathering place for a group of women who knit, spin, card, felt, and weave the wool of Icelandic sheep, a breed that goes back to Viking times and the first settlement of Iceland in the 9th Century.  But, in addition to serving as a meeting place for like-minded knitters, spinners, and felters, these wonderful women also give classes to teach others about Icelandic wool and how to use it…AND they sell their handwork in the shop.  The beautiful, gorgeous, I-could-spend-a-week-in-this-place shop.  Brad knew instantly upon entering that we would be incurring a lot of credit card debt in this place.  Oh.  Yes.

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We learned about some meaningful sweater patterns and the stories behind them.

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We drooled over shelves full of yarn of all different weights and colors.  The variety of non-dyed colors was so amazing.  And there were some naturally dyed colors on display along with the materials used to dye them.

The very friendly woman in the shop took the time to explain to me how they make different types of yarn using the two layers of the sheeps’ wool:  the inner layer is soft and downy and makes the most high-end yarn, good for mittens, socks, hats, etc., while the outer layer, which is course and tough is great for things like rugs and blankets and things that require more resilience and don’t always need to be up against the skin.  She said most people don’t take the time to separate the two types of wool anymore, at least not by hand.  She does, though, as do some of the other women there at Þingborg.  She showed me a pair of mittens she’d knitted with the inner layer of wool, and they were very soft.  And gorgeous.

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There was a whole wall covered in beautifully colored woolen batts for felting.  I came home with a few of those…

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There were hand-woven coverlets, felted items, antler and bone buttons, and all kinds of knitting needles and other accessories.

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And of course, sweaters and mittens and hats and scarves and sweaters and sweaters and sweaters.  I LOVE these sweaters!

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I was determined to find a sweater for myself, and was hoping to find one for Brad, too.  Nothing seemed quite right for him, though…and unfortunately, there were no sweaters the right size for Charlie and Flora, so we’d have to continue our search for them elsewhere.  That prospect was a little bit exciting, though, I have to admit.

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So many beautiful things.  All the hand knitted items and felted items were made by these local women and each item had a tag displaying the maker’s hand-written signature.  Some of these women must knit at the speed of light — they are so prolific!

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I tried on quite a few sweaters, looking for just the right fit.  They were labeled S, M, L, and XL, but had quite a bit of variation within each size, since they were all handknit.

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Well, I found the one.  It was so gorgeous and rich and warm and soft.  The lovely woman in the shop told me I had found a very “special” sweater as the whole thing was knitted very traditionally with only undyed wool (notice how many colors!) except for one small color in the pattern (sort of aquamarine).  That particular yarn was hand-dyed and handspun right there at Þingborg, and the woman who knit the sweater is called Margaret.  I think that’s pretty cool, and I LOVE my sweater.

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I also came away with some yarn, a few batts for felting, a cowl with a really cool antler button on it, and a huge canvas bag with the Þingborg logo on it.  I can’t wait to go back!

This entry was posted in Iceland, Shopping and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Iceland: Þingborg Ullarverkstæði

  1. agujasblog says:

    What a fantastic find!!

  2. Judy says:

    Wow, Holly – I hadn’t even been there! *grin* It’s down for my next trip!

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