Saturday, September 19, 2009
Rósaleppaprjón = Icelandic Rose Patterned knitting.
In June I came across a great knitting website, helenemagnusson.com. This creative French woman lived in Iceland for a time and published a book with knitting patterns inspired by the knit Icelandic rose.
She was inspired by colorful, handknit insoles from a time in Icelandic history where the population lived in sod houses, wore shades of brown and grey (undyed wool), and ate dried fish (harđfiskur). Knit insoles were worn inside fish skin shoes to add comfort and warmth. Wealthy Icelanders occasionally wore sheep skin shoes. The beautiful insoles knit with the Icelandic Rose from colorful scraps of wool were worn to church on Sundays. It was a hidden extravagance for those Icelanders and set special occasions apart from their difficult daily life.
I remember seeing these knit insoles when visiting the cultural history museums in and around Reykjavik (in 2005). Their charm and the story behind these insole struck me and I was thrilled-4 years later-to see someone had made a fantastic book celebrating this piece of Icelandic culture and history.
On her website you can buy her book, Icelandic Rose Patterned Knitting, which is full of creative and colorful reinventions of the Icelandic Rose. You can also buy the patterns individually. Helene also gives a free pattern: a vintage style scarf with an Icelandic Rose at each end.
Over Fourth of July, I was at my sister's house and borrowed her yarn to try the pattern out.
Pretty successful, if I might say....despite running out of yarn part way through :(
Here is Helene's blog
*This Rose Pattern knitting book is on my Christmas list; hint, hint*