Just looking back to my trip this past summer to Iceland…
When I travel, I like to pick up some perhaps non-traditional souvenirs. When other people buy post cards, shot glasses, coffee table books or foreign-language newspapers, I like to pick up things related to my hobbies; sewing, jewellery-making, etc. (Ok.. I got some post cards too!)
With that in mind, I usually try to add a fabric, bead, or craft store to my holiday map while I’m at home daydreaming about my travels. With Iceland, I found my initial web searches really lacking though – in fact, my preferred search engine wasn’t very helpful at all, and I ended up finding one craft store just by wandering by… (on a Sunday, while they were closed… 😦 )
Litir Og Föndur apparently was originally founded in 1948, with a focus on painting and painting supplies. They carry a selection of painting supplies still, offer art classes, and have also expanded into a range of craft supplies too like paper, jewellery materials, plasterwork, candle making, stencilling and more.
They had a rather cute window display, with the same sod house model that I saw on several properties.
Their outside window was the best I could do… as I missed out going inside since we visited the area on Sunday, and didn’t have time to return.
Litir Og Föndur
Tel: 552-1412 & 551-2242
Virka is a family-owned fabric shop in Reykjavik which has been around since 1976. They specialize in quilting fabrics, along with fashion fabrics, notions, patterns, and books. They also have a furniture store in the lower level which opened in 2004. They boast that they are “one of the biggest” in Europe, although I think the stress should be on “one of” since I’ve been to larger shops. (I’m biased too since I’d rather enjoy the fashion fabrics more than the quilting ones, and a good 1/3 of their shop is devoted to quilting.)
Located east of our first hotel, it was a good 20-30 minute walk to get to the little shopping plaza where Virka is located, with it’s back to the road it might be easy to miss if you aren’t entirely sure where you’re going. (We had a moment of pause wondering if it had moved without a website update!)
I didn’t have my camera handy, so I used my travel companion’s and took a few quick photos.
Now.. what did I GET? I actually was kind of uninspired. There was some amazing, gorgeous knitted sweater-weight wool, but it would be exceptionally bulky in my suitcase, which I still needed to carry with me for the remainder of my trip. (Not to mention, I wouldn’t want to make “just a scarf” with it anyways… I’d want a sweater or a coat!) I did however, find one single bolt of wool gauze which my fingers kept lingering on. It’s soft and smooth, delicate and lovely – not being able to read the Icelandic label, I was curious about the fiber content, and suspected it might be silk before learning it was wool. That’s just how soft and smooth it is! I loved the dull charcoal colour, and asked for any others, but no luck… I haven’t yet even washed the fabric mind you, so I wonder how it will shrink… (Wool gauze is pretty much never heard of in shops around here!)
Mörkinni 3 – 108
Tel.354- 568 7477 – Fax.354- 588 8570
Other bits and baubles
As I mentioned, I did also end up getting some post cards, a wool hat to stay warm in the cool, windy, rainy southern Iceland, some jewelry, beads, etc…