“As with all the designs from my book, Icelandic Knitting Using Rose Patterns (Search Press 2008), this tea cozy is inspired by old Icelandic insoles worn in soft fish skin or sheepskin shoes. It is, in fact, constructed exactly like a pair of inserts except there is one tip missing and a striped cap, knitted in the round, is added as the lid. You will find excerpts from my book along with the instructions.
The tea cozy is knitted in garter stitch, as most inserts were; this ensured that a great deal of air was captured between the stitches, which made them warmer. Tea-cozy has thus excellent isolative qualities that will keep the tea hot but also cold during hot summer days. It is decorated with typical rose patterns found in Sunday-best inserts while the stripes refer to the striped inserts that were worn every day. Rose patterns are knitted using an Old Icelandic technique that was almost lost: intarsia on a garter stitch background.
“In the days where the inserts were in common use, no yarn could be wasted. “Left-over yarn was highly suitable for knitting inserts, you could even make use of the short ends of a skein”, said Sigurður Egilsson (born 1892).”
In the spirit of the old inserts and to go with the hot or iced tea, here is a recipe for traditional Icelandic pancakes, called lummur, main ingredient being whatever is left of the morning’s oatmeal porridge. Rice pudding will also do.
An Icelandic truck driver gave me the recipe.
An Icelandic truck driver while working on a tour gave me the recipe. It was rather succinct: you just blend a little bit of everything altogether, he said.
Here is the recipe I came up later with: mix together about 3 cups oatmeal porridge (or 1 cup oatmeal soaked in 1 cup milk/water overnight), about 2 tablespoons of flour, 1 egg, a little salt, sugar optional and to taste. Add milk until the batter is reasonably thick to pour. It is best with raisins as well, I think. Cook on a frying pan with a little bit of butter over medium heat. Using a tablespoon, pour batter in pan to form small round pancakes. Brown one side and turn to cook the other side. Recipe makes about 20-25 pancakes.”
Hélène Magnússon likes to put a new spin on old Icelandic knitting traditions. She enjoys designs with strong ties to Iceland and that tell a story. She is best known for her research into the traditional Icelandic intarsia that was mostly seen in knitted insoles in the past centuries. Her book, Icelandic knitting: using Rose Patterns is available in three languages. She is a French native but a true Icelandic knitter and has an Icelandic family. Hélène abandoned a law career in Paris for the love of Icelandic nature. She worked as a mountain guide for many years in Iceland and studied textile and fashion design at the Iceland Academy of the Arts. She is the head and designer behind The Icelandic Knitter.