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.
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)…
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.
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