The Icelandic-French knitwear designer Hélène Magnússon is leading a knitalong (KAL) for her latest pattern, the incredibly pink and colourful Kristylopi cardigan, which starts 29 January. The KAL will be hosted on Hélène’s Facebook group with a series of step-by-step videos (in English) uploaded to her YouTube channel every week until 26 February. You can buy the Kristylopi pattern and materials from Hélène’s website, or use similar weight yarns that you already have (although Hélène cautions, if you don't use lopi, it won't be a lopi sweater, 'just a sweater'). You could also follow along without the pattern to learn the traditional techniques.
Hélène began her professional life as a lawyer in Paris before she made a complete life change and moved to Iceland in 1995. There she learned the language while working in a sheep farm and soon after studied mountaineering and Textiles and Fashion Design at the Iceland Academy of Arts. She worked as a cook during the winter and a mountain guide during the summer. The varied skills she learned in those early years richly inform her work today and make for her unique approach to design and sense of style.
Hélène’s passion for textiles led her to extensively research Icelandic knitting traditions. She is the author of two important patterns books about Icelandic knitting: Icelandic Intarsia Color Knitting brought back to life the unique Icelandic intarsia as seen in old shoe-inserts and Icelandic Handknits gives an overview of the various knitting traditions in the 19th century and beginning of 20th century. She founded The Icelandic Knitter (icelandicknitter.com) in 2010, dedicated to the Icelandic knitting heritage. Hélène’s aim is to revive traditions and give them new life: she publishes unique patterns inspired by the past with a modern twist, produces specialty Icelandic yarns Love Story, Gilitrutt, Katla and Grýla, teaches, lectures and organises hiking and knitting tours in Iceland for knitters around the globe.
For more information visit icelandicknitter.com
Further reading: Hélène took us on a knitting tour of Iceland, a 'knitter's paradise,' in Selvedge Issue 80: Craft.