It’s not that I didn’t have any knitting with me—I mean, I had my official Wanderlust TravelPakTM stoked up with 1.25 pair of socks, my Field Guide No. 11 to take into the literal field with me, spare skeins at the ready like spare tires strapped to the back of a SuperJeep.
I knit four rows in the Newark airport, and that was it. It was the longest I’ve gone without knitting since the Great Drought of 2014.
It felt kind of great, to tell you the truth.
Hubbo, the lads, and I headed out to Iceland for a ramble. Up top is a bunch of scenery. It is a dazzling place, Iceland. More than 130 volcanoes underneath, glaciers above. You think a lot about gravity, inexorability, the puniness of humans, and what it takes to survive in a place like this. We heard a lot about sagas, and elves, and the legendary trolls.
One thing was clear: a sense of humor carries Icelanders through a lot of stuff. This was maybe the best takeaway of our trip. A good joke will take the edge off just about anything.
Settle back with some knitting and enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of a very special place.
Parade of Home
This place, the Commonwealth House, is a reconstruction of a superfancy turf house circa way back when. Game of Thrones was reportedly filmed here. (There is no square foot of Iceland where Game of Thrones did not film.)
This would have been a palatial set up, back in the day.
Weaving—back when weaving was weaving.
Celebrating Human Ingenuity, Part I
An excursion to the Shark Museum resulted in a tutorial in how to make shark into fermented shark. Hint: all you need is a pile of shark, a wooden crate, somewhere to bury it for months, a drying shed to let it dangle in the wind for some more months, and the strongest possible stomach.
Pro tip: if you surround your morsel with six pieces of rye bread, it goes down real good. Until you remember the fermented shark part.
Season’s Greetings from the Shaynes!
Also in the Shark Museum: a knitting machine.
Also: a stuffed puffin.
There are so many lava fields that you start to think it’s weird when there’s not a lava field.
Celebrating Human Curiosity
David and I went for a boat ride to see icebergs in a glacier lagoon. Here you see us both acting like we’re not pegging the meter on flotation suit claustrophobia.
Later, we confessed that we were both seconds away from clawing our way out of these things and diving overboard.
Icebergs apparently roll over a lot. In a rubber-raft-wipeout kind of way. Pro tip: when you fall out of a rubber raft, you’re not supposed to grab your two friends.
Breakfast of Champions
We were told the food in Iceland is spotty. I was all: anything after fermented shark is going to look pretty great.
Food Photography by David Shayne. Used by permission. Yes he ate this.
Celebrating Human Ingenuity, Part II
Clif now has a lifetime supply of album covers for his future music career.
Lopapeysas Spotted in the Wild
You couldn’t fling a fermented shark without hitting a lopi sweater.
I really loved seeing jillions of them.
It is sobering to see what is happening to the glaciers in Iceland. The one behind us is greatly diminished in a matter of a decade or so, global warming really taking a toll.
Adorable Statue of Icelandic Hero
This is Snorri, who was the kind of guy I would have totally fallen for back in the medieval Icelandic day.
Portal to the Center of the Earth?
Here’s a former geyser/dormant geyser/wormhole to a new dimension? We stared at this thing for a long time.
More Album Cover Options
The Black Church at Budir.
Langjökull. (Icelandic for “long glacier.”)
This tube led into a manmade tunnel inside the glacier. Confidence inspiring! Recurring thought during our hour under 100 feet of glacier dripping onto us as we wandered the slushy, dim path through pure ice: is it dripping in here in a festive way or a collapsing way?
The view from our room one night. I found this weirdly comforting. They could bury me here, and I’d be fine with that.
The Library of Water: an installation with tubes of water from Iceland’s many glaciers.
How Our Guide Kept Us In Line
Flosi was our guide—a brilliant driver, patient with the peculiar Shayne ways, very funny and game to pivot the conversation from Icelandic currency fluctuations to hardcore volcanology. He definitely didn’t think we were weird, at all.
Hard to get back on the plane home. But, needless to say, I cast on a new project within four hours of landing. It was like I’d just invented knitting or something. The most fun thing ever!