Ragnheiður (Ragga) Eiríksdóttir is coming all the way from Iceland to spend an evening at Verb on Thursday March 1st. Come join us in welcoming Ragga and learn more about the beautiful traditions of Icelandic Knitting.
See details and sign up at Icelandic Lopi Knitting
As a way of introduction Sarah asked Ragga a few questions - a mini interview. Here's what was said:
Sarah: When did you learn to knit and what was your first project?
Ragga: I learned to knit and crochet from my mom when I was 9 and soon after I had my first knitting lessons in school. In Iceland kids still learn how to knit in school, we're so lucky. The first item I remember knitting was a funny little Santa worked in the round, even with some shaping and change of colors. Later at school my textiles teacher forced me, and the rest of the class, to knit gloves, not fingerless... but with five fingers on each one, on tiny needles with horrible, fine, acrylic blend wool that split like crazy. She almost succeeded in killing my interest for the fiber arts for good. Luckily I did recover and I found my fiber enthusiasm again after some years of sewing.
Sarah: The Lopi sweater designs you have published are really beautiful. The yoke patterns are so elegant, I wonder do you prefer to recreate traditional patterns from found garments, or do you enjoy creating original patterns too?
Ragga: Thank you! I have done both, and old Icelandic patterns and garments are really inspiring for me. We have such a treasure in the old patterns and ornaments. I think because the Lopi sweater tradition is really young, only dating back to the middle of last century, it's very much alive and people work with all kinds of motifs in the yoke patterns. Somehow everything is allowed and that's very charming to me.
Sarah: You have published books and dvd's, started your own company Knitting Iceland, and offer knitting tours to Iceland. We can only imagine what is coming up next. Can you tell us (or is it a secret)? Any new patterns coming out soon?
Ragga: I constantly work on new things to keep myself motivated and excited. And Knitting Iceland is a great platform for different fiber related projects. Every tour that I organize is different from the one before so I get a lot out of the whole process around my tours and get to cooperate with my fabulous knitting rock stars that come on as guest tutors. I have a couple of books in the making, one of them devoted to the Lopi sweater and I do have quite a few patterns coming out in the next months. My teaching gigs are also taking off, February is my second USA teaching trip this year and I have at least three more. I really, really, really enjoy teaching, it's so much fun to meet knitters who are eager to learn about Icelandic knitting, and I'm constantly developing my classes. Oh and one really exciting thing - I'm in the last steps of launching an Icelandic fiber club for knitters and spinners where people can subscribe to get wonderful Icelandic wool shipped straight from the knittyest island in the North!
Sarah: Last but not least, what is on your knitting needles now?
Ragga: I just cast off a very green mohair sweater I'm designing for the new e-mag Clotheshorse and I have another piece for them on the needles, this one made from unspun Lopi. Also I'm finishing the yoke of a new Lopi design, Idunn, a sweater I have been working on for quite some time. It has a very beautiful yoke pattern in one color, very simple but elegant, and some interesting shaping is included in the design. I'll wear it at Stitches West!