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Knitting in Isafjörður

On a rainy and gusty Monday night in January,  nearly 20 women arrived at small shop in Isafjorður to sit with each other, converse, drink coffee, and most importantly knit. This is Isafjörður´s knitting group, and they meet each Monday at at Heitt á Prjónunum.  Opened just six month´s ago by Gerður Eðvarsdottir, Heitt á Prjónunum provides knitting supplies (wools, needles, and patterns) to knitting enthusiasts, as well as coffee or tea and a place to sit and knit. 


When I asked how she came to open the shop, Gerður explained that she has been knitting for many years, and used to meet with the group at the Kafi Edinborg in town before the shop opened.  ´Many of the women were having difficulty getting supplies, so I got the idea.´ When the financial crisis hit a year and a half ago, and her position with the municipality became uncertain, the idea seemed more viable, and so she decided to go for it.  And thus far it has been quite successful.


I found the opening of the shop quite interesting, because just down the block is a handcrafts shop that sells woolen goods—sweaters, gloves, and hats and the like. When I asked Gerður if this was a competitor in the market, she pointed out that Heitt á Prjónunum doesn´t in fact sell the woolen crafts. It sells the supplies for doing the knitting, and some of the women in the club, in fact, will sell their products at the handcraft shop. So the two exist in a sort of mutually beneficial relationship with one another.


Knitting is, of course, an activity with quite a long tradition in Iceland. There is a very interesting old black and white photograph in Heitt á Þrjónunum of three women sitting outside knitting and talking with one another. It is interesting, in part, because of its antiquarian value—as a record of the past. But even more so in the shop on a rainy Monday evening in a more modern context of a group of women practicing the same activity.