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Monday, November 28, 2011

Icelandic mittens

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")

Thick lopi-mittens (pattern from the book "Vettlingar og fleira")


  1. Þer eru aeðislegir allir saman! Svo gaman að vinna með íslensku ullinni!

  2. I like the last ones the best. The simplicity of them, I guess. I have some Lopi yarn, but can't read that pattern! Will have to do some pattern hunting.

  3. Jóhanna: takk fyrir! Ullin rokkar sko feitt! Balema finnst óskiljanlegt að ég skuli ekki eiga neina vettlinga sjálf, miðað við það hvað ég prjóna mikið af þeim... he he :-D

    Judi A.: thank you for your comment! I like the last ones too - a simple pattern is often the best choice.
    Bulky-lopi & simplicity is a really good combination :-) Good luck with your pattern hunting! Are you looking for something special? What kind of lopi do you have?

  4. They all look lovely!! My favourites are the last pair, love the pattern.

    I just learned to knit mittens, and found them great fun to knit :) I made some pairs a little while ago. Only one colour, no pattern. Photos are in the October posts.

    Have a nice day :)

  5. Thank you so much Hilde! I like the last ones too - not to much action in the pattern ;-) I´ll look at your October-mittens! A nice day to you too!

  6. I love all the mittens. I have the Prjónaperlur book but am not brave enough to make them yet! : )