Retour d’Islande

When Hélène Magnússon writes a children book about Iceland, there is of course some knitting involved! “Retour d’Islande” (Return from Iceland) was recently released by ABCMelody. It is in French but who cares, the illustrations are magnificent!

Hardcover, 19 x 29 cm, 48 pages

Price list: 12,20 €




Interview with Hélène

It doesn’t matter what Hélène does, she always manages to relate it to knitting one way or another.  Retour d’Islande (return from Iceland) is no exception. Wonderfully illustrated by Charline Picard, this just released children book is  an account of the journey to Iceland of a traveller who marvels at this unusual moon-like country and its wonders: geysers, glacier rivers, Northern lights, the midnight sun and graceful whales who seem to do their show. Not to mention trolls, those giant creatures that Icelanders take very seriously… Not to mention Icelandic knitters that we, at Knitting Iceland, take very seriously…

“I absolutely wanted to include in the book an illustration showing Icelandic people knitting” explains Hélène. “Otherwise, the account of the journey would simply not have been accurate!” she giggles. We couldn´t agree more: knitting is intrinsically  part of Icelandic culture and not to mention it would have been quite a serious flaw…

“I worked in close collaboration with Charline for the illustrations. I send her pictures of people knitting. I explained to her how Icelanders knit almost exclusively in the round on a circular needle. I took pictures of my hands to show her the right way to hold the needles and the position of the yarn. I think she did a terrific job for a girl who doesn´t even knit!”.  She should come to Iceland and learn on one of our knitting tours, don´t you think?

“I also so much wanted little shoe-inserts to appear in the book.” adds Hélène who is a bit obsessive with shoe-inserts. If you want to know to what point and if you haven´t got your hands on it already, just have a look at her fascinating book, “Icelandic Knitting: using rose patterns“, all devoted to the old Iceland shoe-insert.  ”It´s Charline who got the wonderful idea to have the shoes with inserts inside on the illustration with the 13 Christmas lads. And from all the inserts I send her pictures of, she picked up my favorite, decorated with a Hammer rose pattern in Icelandic intarsia. It is so much a favorite, I sort of made it my trademark. It was so thoughtful of her.”

Then, like often in Iceland, there are some family involved. While  you can listen to the story and follow the book at the same time on the editor´s site, with sounds of bubbling hot springs and blowing wind, it is the grand-father of Hélène’s husband, Skúli Halldórsson, who composed the musical introduction, “Víva Stræto”.