I´ve been thinking about what makes icelandic mittens typical icelandic. After asking a lot of people and a lot of looking around on Google, I came to the conclusion that the most important thing is:
1. the material: icelandic wool (lopi, einband, léttlopi). There is something very icelandic about our wool... it has kept us warm from the start!
But there are some other elements, that are important for icelandic mittens:
2. pattern on the mittens: something that reminds you of an icelandic lopi-sweater or something out of the beautiful book: "Sjónabók" (a book filled with icelandic patterns from the 17th-19th century). Personally, I like minimalistic patterns on my thicker lopi-mittens and something a bit more complicated on my thinner ones.
3. for men: several people mentioned a two-thumbed mitten icelandic seamen used in the past. They had two thumbs for a very practical reason: if one side got worn out, they just turned the mittens around :-) Those mittens where quite thick, a bit felted and of course very warm.
4. for women: I could think of two different kind of typical icelandic mittens for women.
First there where mittens, made out of very thin, of course homespun wool with colorful embroidery (a special kind of cross stitch) called "rósavettlingar" (rosemittens). An icelandic designer, Arndís Ósk published a free pattern in this tradition, called "Beta´s mittens".
Second there where mittens made out of thin wool with a certain simple lace pattern. A pattern on Ravelry that´s very similar is called: "mittens from Egilsstaðir", from the book "Prjónaperlur"). I´ve been using this pattern to make mittens for two young ladies with my own hand dyed yarn (lichen and Rumex longifolius... eða skófir og njóli).
Here some pictures of icelandic mittens I´ve made:
mittens for my mum: rósavettlingar (léttlopi and einband)
Mittens made out of soft kambgarn
"mittens from Egilsstaðir" ("rósastrengsvettlingar" from the book "Prjónaperlur")
with my own yarn (lichen and Rumex longifolius) - I´ve just got one ready, and haven´t blocked them yet... but I really love them! ;-)
Mittens for Edda, made out of kambgarn (pattern from: "Hlýjar Hendur")