Iceland Photoshoot

by stephen on March 8, 2013

Today was the last pattern update for the Westy’s Besties KAL and I’m so happy to finally have those patterns released into the knitting wild. Drangey and the Hofsós Pullover are my first published sweater designs so I’m very proud of them along with all the other colorwork accessories and garments.

The collection grew quickly with the help of Jared’s Brooklyn Tweed yarns. The color range is endlessly inspiring and the finished fabric is so soft, durable, and lofty.

I spent the majority of last summer knitting the designs in preparation for the photoshoot in July. I made most of the samples, but had a tight deadline so I enlisted the help of some friends who made the Túngata cowls, large Westloop shawl, Kex scarf, and one of the Hofsós Hats. One of the last items I knit before the shoot was the white brimmed Kex Hat on the plane to Reykjavik.

I also brought the Kex Blanket thinking I could possibly finish it, but I wanted it to be really big so I decided to finish it later and just photograph it myself in Amsterdam so I could focus on a smooth weekend photoshoot.

Here I am knitting the Kex Blanket at Kex Hostel with Cirilia before realizing that I could never physically finish the blanket in time. Also, I love that we’re both knitting stripes and wearing plaid.

I picked up the blanket in progress and finished it in January, just in time for the KAL. Here is the Kex Blanket at home in Amsterdam.

The photoshoot in Iceland for this collection was one of my absolute most favorite weekends. It was a lot easier than I anticipated because I had so much help. My friend Ragga hosted us and gathered two local Icelanders as models, Jared Flood came over from New York to work his photo magic, and Cirilia Rose was teaching with me in Reykjavik that summer so she offered her help as the stylist.

We arrived a few days early to gather clothes and accessories from local shops in Reykjavik like Farmer’s Market and Geysir.

Cirilia and I picking out clothes at Farmer’s Market.

Me finishing the second Hofsós Mitt while running errands in Reykjavik.

We met with the models before driving to our destination so we would have an idea of what outfits worked with each design. We snapped some photos of looks that we loved and other possibilities. It was a big mixture of borrowed pieces, the models’ own clothes, and several garments that Cirilia and I brought from Seattle and Amsterdam. I would say we used about half of the pre-planned looks from our fitting and the other half we changed and improvised while on location.

We all piled into two cars and drove from Reykjavik to Ragga’s hometown, Hofsós, in the north of Iceland. Along the way we made a few stops.

This is the road leading to a property full of trees (unusual for Iceland’s landscape), sheep, ducks, and studio/shop full of handmade jewelry and buttons made from horns.

This was the driveway…

which led to sheep…



and handmade jewelry.

Even grocery stores along the way were a knitter’s paradise, completely stocked with Icelandic wool!

We stayed at Ragga’s Grandma’s house in Hofsós during the weekend and immediately spread out all the garments and clothes.

Cirilia came equipped with her styling tool belt so we were ready to go.

The first location we used for photos was near a geothermal swimming pool in the tiny town. We took the short walk from the house and arrived in paradise, a big warm pool overlooking the Greenland Sea.

Here we are in the hot tub the day after.

We took advantage of the pool to show how great the Hofsós Hats look as swim caps.

We used the cliffs by the pool to shoot Drangey on our male model Diddi.

These nearby steps provided a nice location to photograph Strönd on Elín Eva. By the way, Elín Eva’s mom owns a beautiful yarn shop in Reykjavik called Storkurinn.

Ragga adorned in a lopapeysa walking down from the pool towards the steps and cliffs.

Later that evening we found an abandoned house with beautiful colors and textures.

Again, right by the sea.

We used this location for the Hofsós Pullover…

Kex Hat (brimmed version)…

and Caldwell…

It was cold the whole weekend so we were always bundled in several layers of knitwear. Here is Elín Eva wearing the Hofsós Pullover, Cirilia in Drangey and an Icelandic wool blanket, and me in the Kex Hat, Cirilia’s Harpa scarf and Ragga’s Iðunn cardigan.

We were taking photos at this location until 11:30pm or so and there was still beautiful daylight. Iceland in July is very bright. The sunsets last a long time and as soon as the sun dips into the ocean, it immediately starts slowly rising again.

The next day we drove away from our Hofsós home to find other variations to Iceland’s landscape.

We ran into a small vacation area with little houses covered in grass and a hot tub heated by the nearby hot springs.

Kex Scarf on Elín Eva with one of the houses. I want to go back there someday to stay in them. Cirilia is wearing her Aidez cardigan and Elvar hat.

Nearby was a marshy area by some mountains where we shot the Kvosin hats on both models…

and the Túngata cowl on Diddi.

Next to the grassy marsh were some rocks by the sea that we used for the large Westloop shawl.

A further walk up a hill led us to another scenic sunny spot by the water where Diddi casually sported the blue Hofsós Hat.

We stopped by some horses and a beach to photograph the Kex Scarf on Diddi…

and we came across a cute little mud hut on our way back to grandma’s house. Naturally, we stopped and snapped a few photos there as well.

Here is Ragga, magnificently wrapped in fur on the bridge that led to the mud hut.

We took a break at the house before gathering different outfits and knits for another evening/night time shoot. This time we stayed nearby in the Hofsós neighborhood and capture some of the last looks. This group of photos was taken between 10:30 and midnight in some of the neighbors’ yards.

Túngata cowl on her…

Westloop shawl on him…

Caldwell on her…

Strönd on him…

That last photo was taken on a little sliver of land surround by creek water. We had to heroically jump across the water to get those beauty shots. Here you can see the location from a distance with Elín Eva bundled in a wool blanket. We also may have hopped a fence or two to reach this spot.

The next morning I wanted to get a few more shots before we called it a weekend and drove back to Reykjavik. So, I hung all the pieces on a neighbor’s clothesline.

We also borrowed an amazing Pendleton poncho and I thought it would be a shame to not use it. That morning we put Elín Eva in one more look standing on the road wearing the Túngata cowl. This last spontaneous photo session produced one of my favorite photos.

The whole weekend went by so fast! The combination of a beautiful landscape and generous daylight resulted in a smooth and rewarding photoshoot. It’s very pleasing to have such beautiful images as a reminder of our time together. I’m already working on other collections and looking forward to more inspiring knitting and photography collaborations.

I hope you all enjoy the photos and patterns and I’ll see you for the next KAL!

The Team in Hofsós, Iceland. July 2012
Elín Eva, Diddi, Me, Ragga, Jared, Cirilia

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Grace March 8, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Stunning, absolutely stunning! thanks for sharing. – Grace

Jamie March 8, 2013 at 3:21 pm

What beautiful scenery! Makes me want to pack a bag a go there today!

Also, I am in love with Drangey. It looks like it could work for women as well as men. Correct, I hope?

Audry March 8, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Thank-you for taking the time to share such an epic adventure. I’ve wanted to visit Iceland for a few years now. I think this will hold me over until I’m able to one day.

Dorothée March 8, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Thanks you for sharing with us these moments !

stephen March 8, 2013 at 4:25 pm

Totally! You could just adjust the body and sleeve length and add waist shaping if you wish.

Amy V March 8, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Iceland looks totally amazing! Yarn in the supermarket needs to catch on over here…

Heidi Smith March 8, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Thanks for sharing. Beautiful knits and beautiful country. I love your creativity.

Kelsey March 8, 2013 at 5:47 pm

Oh my god so much gorgeousness I could die!!! Reeeaaalllyy want to knit every single one of those patterns :D

Lesliech March 8, 2013 at 6:34 pm

Wow, Stephen! Wow! Thank you for sharing.

sarah March 8, 2013 at 7:24 pm

Thanks for the brilliant pics! I was fortunate to visit Iceland a number of years ago and have ever since wanted to go back. I was struck by the wonderful colors there and used an old borrowed Leica for my photographic record. I will take them out and relish them again tonight. Hmmph! Just realized how long ago that was……..way before any of you on the shoot were born! Stephen, your work continues to be a joy and an inspiration to me. Thank you.

Cathy March 8, 2013 at 7:53 pm

Loved being able to see what a photo shoot is about, Iceland is beautiful as are all of you :>)

Jenicaknits March 8, 2013 at 9:57 pm

Lovely photos, it looks like you had a grand time. Beautiful team and the knits are great!!

Darnya March 9, 2013 at 7:34 am

The hippest knitters. Looks like way too much fun.

Angeluna March 9, 2013 at 7:34 am

What a treat. Totally enjoyed the story of your photo shoot! Thanks.

BTW, my first Metalouse came off the needles last night and is still wrapped around me. I say first because I can’t wait to start another one with a totally different look. Maybe first a Westloop.

LuisaM March 9, 2013 at 12:07 pm

My favourite one must be the Túngata cowl but what I’m really in love with is Iceland! :)

Terri March 9, 2013 at 7:45 pm

Such a wonderful entry! I have this little calm grin on my face now. Thank you.

KatyLouise March 10, 2013 at 4:32 am

This is just beautiful! I love Iceland and your knits just look so organic and representative of the magical light and landscapes there.

Ann K. March 11, 2013 at 7:33 pm

So beautiful…the designs, the landscape, Elin Eva and Diddi! I was captivated by this post. Keep on with those sweater patterns, Stephen, because so far they are as brilliant as everything else you’ve designed. The whole collection is wonderful. BRAVO!

Anastasia March 13, 2013 at 6:04 am

The photos look great! Oh my gosh, I just love your designs. Add the backdrop, and it’s just all too amazing.

stephen March 13, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Thanks so much! I’m working on a new collection and so far it’s all garments and no scarves/hats yet. :D I’m love playing with the larger sweater/ blanket canvas.

yarnpr0n March 13, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Wowza. Wowza. Wowza. Talk about a solid design and photography team! These are all fabulous! Excellent work Stephen! Also, how amazing was the Iceland experience? I really need to get there one day.
I was so sad that there was no more post left to read after finishing both yours and BTYarns post, so I read them again. I got greedy. I admit it. There was just so much awesomeness! And thank you for including the events of the styling process. It’s fabulous to see the behind-the-scenes process to bringing all your hard work out for all the world to see.
Now to start queuing these patterns!

vtknitboy March 13, 2013 at 4:12 pm

thank you so much for sharing! i love seeing a gloss over of the entire process: from shopping for clothes, the tool kit, to th photoshoot! best shot was didi smiling….more of that!

fishgirl182 March 13, 2013 at 5:32 pm

the photos look amazing and it seems like you had a great time as well. love the new collection!

Joann March 14, 2013 at 7:24 am

Beautiful! I really enjoyed the way you all put together this experience.

Nat March 14, 2013 at 7:33 am

Absolutely stunning! Thank you for sharing!

Sallie March 14, 2013 at 12:46 pm


Andy March 14, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Where is there a love button, Love, Love, Love. I will be purchasing and using Loft, I do love the way it blocks out and feels and with your design touch I am sure they will turn out lovely. Thanks for Sharing…

Jen June 8, 2013 at 10:12 am

You are brilliant.

Laura June 12, 2013 at 8:17 pm

Wow, I wish they had yarn in the grocery stores in Colorado! Your photo shoot looks beautiful. xoxo

Joyce June 14, 2013 at 5:26 pm

Thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures . . . it’s only 104 degrees here today in Las Vegas and those pictures gave me some relief. Today I want to move there.

Leia June 21, 2013 at 9:02 am

Hi, you are absolutely stunning, amazing knitter and artist ! Thank you for such a talent. I become a fan. I wish you lots of success.

JillyD July 20, 2013 at 10:38 pm

Wow! The beautiful natural light in those photos… oh wow! Beautiful place, beautiful people, and most of all, beautiful knitwear. Amazing!

Judy Bischoff September 16, 2013 at 12:30 am

Your gorgeous patterns in my favorite place, Iceland. Thank you for the wonderful knitwear and beautiful places.

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