Iceland is filled with handmade lopapeysa wool sweaters decorated with that iconic snowflake-like pattern around the collar. Most of them feel and look very similar, and while you know they’re handmade, it doesn’t necessarily feel like it. I fell in love with the eclectic little shop called Flora in the center of the popular ski town, Akureyri, because it is a breath of fresh air in the middle of branded tourist shops and gear outfitters. Walking into Flora feels like walking into a friend’s apartment. Hand-knit sweaters are draped across open chests and over lace-covered tables next to vases of flowers. There is a section covered in CDs by Icelandic artists and stacked with crates of vinyl, and in the back, in a room housing sundries, flavored salts, ceramics, and other kitchenware, are scattered on old-fashioned (non-working) stoves and other appliances. And chances are, the owner of the shop will be sitting in the front, chatting with a neighbor and knitting another angora-wool hat which you’ll be able to find on sale whenever it’s done.
By Maggie Fuller, AFAR Staff