Reservations 877·97·CRAFT  (877·972·7238)

21 Day ~ Arctic Explorer (July 2011)

Holland America Line

Start Date:


July 25, 2011


End Date:


August 15, 2011

Arctic Explorer (July 2011) ~ Knitting Cruises Description

The Artic Explorer cruise is the Ultimate Lace Knitters Dream Cruise but it is really a dream cruise for ALL KNITTERS. Visit Northern Europe this summer with Myrna Stahman on a voyage including some of the most sought after ports of call for knitters. Shetland, Faroe, Iceland, Norway, England and Denmark are all places where knitting has been a way of life for centuries and is still very popular today. This region is known for some of the finest lace in the world and there is no better way to visit than with a leading lace knitting instructor.

In addition to visiting some of the best ports you will also see some of the best scenery in the world. This is perhaps one of the most beautiful and dramatically scenic cruises you will ever take. This region offers the most stunningly amazing coastal cruising in the world. From the time you board the ship until you disembark you will thoroughly enjoy these ports which are all rich in history, knitting culture and scenery.

Private Shore Events in Shetland, Faroe, Iceland, Norway...

This cruise offers so much for knitters so there is no doubt that however you choose to spend your time you will be inspired, meet local knitters and shop for some of the best souvenir yarn in Europe. Here is a sampling of events to expect along the way.

The Shetland Museum

The Shetland Museum is home to a large Textiles Collection, two-thirds of which comprises objects and information related to knitting in Shetland. Here you will find a wide variety of knitwear such as lace shawls, stoles, veils, color-patterned or 'Fair Isle' jumpers, caps, scarves, socks, mittens and plain knitted garments such as haps, spencers, socks, scarves, and blankets. Advertisements and published knitting patterns related to Shetland knitting, a large library of historical photographs showing knitwear in Shetland from the second half of the nineteenth century and tools related to knitting, including belts, sheaths, and needles, are included in the collection.

Jamieson & Smith

Jamieson & Smith, the Shetland Wool Brokers, also know as J & S, is the company that purchases and has processed the majority of the fleeces from the flocks in the Shetland Islands. We will meet Oliver Henry, the manager of J & S and the world's expert on classing Shetland fleeces, learn about Shetland fleeces and yarns, and have the opportunity to purchase yarns, including the wonderful Shetland Supreme lace weight and cobweb weight yarns recently developed by J & S.

St. Olav Day

On our visit to Torshavn, Faroe Islands, on July 29, we will experience the city in celebration of St. Olav day, one of the most important holidays celebrated in the Faroe Islands.

Traditional Faroese Shawl

A Faroese shawl is a traditional piece of clothing from the Faroe Islands. The most distinguishing characteristic of Faroese shawls is the center back gusset shaping. Each shawl consists of two triangular side panels, a trapezoid-shaped back gusset, an edge treatment, and shoulder shaping. The shoulder shaping allows these shawls to drape over the shoulders and remain in place as the wearer moves; no shawl pin required.

Instead of a more familiar triangular, rectangular or circular shape, Faroese shawls are shaped like butterfly wings. Some have very long ends so they can be tied around the wearer's waist for extra warmth.

The shawls often feature elaborate lace work. Lace knitting is a traditional handcraft of peoples of the Faroe Islands.

These shawls are traditionally knit from domestic wool of native sheep grown primarily for meat. Natural colors of brown, black, grey and creamy white are most often used. Theses yarns are now commercially available. Some shawls may have color features in place of lace, or combinations of color panels or stripes and lace panels.

Design Corner

In Iceland as well as throughout Europe you will find great design houses featuring locally designed and locally made items. In Reykjavik there is one right on the main shopping street called Designer's Corner. This store features many local artists including hand-knit and machine knit items, leather goods, etc.... The Designer's Corner, or DIZA by Alprjon, is known for its locally designed and produced knitwear that is comfortable, simplistic, and very stylish made from pure Icelandic wool.

Istex - Making Lopi Icelandic Wool Since 1896

Lopi Wool has a long history and since the very first factory was built a town grew up around it. Alafoss started spinning Lopi over a hundred years ago and operates today as Istex. Istex produces and sells the famous Alafoss-lopi yarns used for hand knitting. Lopi is available in these three ideal weights - Lett-Lopi, Alafoss Lopi and Bulky Lopi. Group size permitting we'll visit the mill to learn more about the processing and history of one of the world's highest quality wools.

Icelandic wool is unique because the sheer isolation and brutal weather have molded the Iceland Sheep's coat into a durable muli-functioning asset that repels water and keeps the sheep warm. Garments made from Icelandic wool are highly wind resistant, water repellent, and breathable. This is because they are knitted from twin-fiber wool. The inner fiber is fine, soft, and highly insulating, while the long and glossy outer fiber has strong wind-resistant and water-repellent characteristics. Together, these two distinctive fibers create lightweight and comfortable knitwear that provides quality protection against the elements.

In Iceland, wool productions, is environmentally friendly through the entire process. Sheep graze freely on virgin lands, the wool is bought directly from farmers, and the process of washing and spinning uses little to no detergent while being powered by geothermal and hydroelectric power.

Storkurinn Yarn Shop Reykjavik

Visit Reykjavik's largest yarn store which is within easy walking distance of where the ship docks. In addition to selling locally produced yarns including Istex, Lett-Lopi, Einband, Kambgarn, Plotulopi Storkurinn also carries yarn from all over the world including Rowan (12 or more different kinds), Debbie Bliss (12 or more different kinds), Noro, Araucania, Louisa Harding, Malabrigo, Canard (special mohair from Denmark), Dale Baby, Elsebeth Lavold, Schoppel Wolle, Schachenmayr, Regia, Wilferts, Marks & Kattens plus more are carried. A wide selection of books, buttons, knitting needles from ADDI and Knit Pro, notions and fabrics from Rowan and Oakshott for quilting, sewing thread from Gutermann and needlepoint from Ehrmans are available.

Here you will not only shop for yarn and meet local knitters but the owner will share the Lopapeysa knitting culture with the group. The Icelandic sweater, known as Lopapeysa, is one of the main knitting projects for local knitters. There will be special group discounts and refreshments will be served.

Dale of Norway

You will have many opportunities to shop for Dale of Norway yarn and sweaters on this cruise. Dale of Norway has been producing the finest quality yarns and knitwear in the world since it was founded in 1879. While our group is visiting during their summer holiday when the factory is closed many stores in and around Bergen feature this yarn and their garments are available throughout Norway at a variety of outlets. Dale of Norway takes much pride in being the the world's largest manufacturer of classic and innovative Norwegian knitwear and technical outerwear.