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My childhood memories and the 'Islaender' (Icelandic Pullover)

Updated on June 4, 2016

Providing Warmth

This pullover was special in many ways!

It wasn't just about the physical warmth it could give, but about the when and why I was wearing it! It has some of the greatest childhood memories attached to it!

When I tried to look it up and do some research on it, I came upon a hundred or more different patterns and styles. It was totally amazing to see how beautiful something that functional can be!

Iceland is a very cold place and not for the weak at mind or -heart. It shouldn't come to no surprise then that the Vikings were the first to settle there around 874 AD.
They brought with them two very tough and amazing creatures: The Icelandic horse and the Icelandic sheep.
The Icelandic horse is an amazing creature on its own. They are small and 'robust', often blessing their riders with 5 'gears' and some pretty smooth riding experiences! Only heat isn't really their thing; but who would fault them, considering how cold their homeland is!?
The two creatures together left their mark on their homeland; maybe even more than the humans that brought them with them!
The environment is rugged and provided those living in it with a constant challenge and struggle. The horses were ideal for transport in areas that often had no signs of roads and other civilization; working hard in any field we are normally using machinery for. The sheep were another essential part of their human's survival: They supplied them with food and the material to protect them from the freezing cold in the harsh northern climate!

Some belief that Iceland would not have been inhabitable without them!

Iceland's history, especially from the Medieval times, doesn't only speak from the feats of bravery and deeds of heroism, but every part of daily life includes accounting of the work with those sources provided by the sheep: shearing the wool, spinning it into the wool used to create such beautiful things as the pullovers, and carding.

These skilled crafts have survived until today!


Warmth and Family

Despite all the pictures, this is not an article about Island! This is about family and memories!

Its been many years since I wore that pullover my parents gave me. So many in fact that it won't even fit my youngest daughter and that my oldest son is almost done with school!

It's funny that I don't remember too much of the vacation on the Island Amrum (a neighboring island to the island Foehr which I am describing in 'Island Fun'.). But I remember going to the seemingly mile long white and beautiful beach; wearing the pullover!

I remember my Dad standing there, looking at the North Sea. And my Mom collecting seashells with a little bucket. I can't even tell you if my sister was there. That's how long ago it was!

But now, with Christmas coming closer, it brings back of the things that should be important - Family!

I'm not married anymore; and in this case it is a good thing! At least when one considers what mistake I did when I picked the father of my children!

My Dad was always working and the few memories I have with him are rare. But he was a Dad and did the best he could to take care about us!
Fatherhood to him wasn't just showing off a new car. It meant to be involved and show that he cared! It meant to cry when we were crying and laugh when we were happy! It meant to be there when we needed help; and to let us fall when we learned to do things on our own!

My children do not have that option! In all their life they never did! They were just the noise-makers that should be kept quiet while he was sleeping!

But, while I have a ton of memories about my childhood with both of my parents around, my children are still happy!
You can't chose how somebody will turn out, but you can chose to be there for them and try to help them find their way!
Parenthood is not about being present and accounted for; and it doesn't mean you have to be at every game and dry every tear!

But it means to be there when you are needed most!

When I see some of the kids today, it makes me wonder what will happen in the future. Some of these kids have no values, no standards, no honor or moral! Why would I want to see my kids go to college if it seems to be OK to have organizations on campus that promote the type of things that come with Fraternities? Why am I walking into a high-school to volunteer as test proctor (something we never needed in high-school!) and see girls with mini-skirts that barely cover their rears? Why do we have gangs that will beat you to the ground, or worse, because you are walking down the wrong street? Why do we have children bullying other children; out of pure spite? Why does nobody open a door or offer a seat on the bus to a Senior anymore? Why do my children read books with pictures on them that have no artistic value and speak a clear statement of the low value of the book's contents?

I catch myself neglecting the things that should be important!

I often work long hours or have to leave soon after work or when they get home to make it to a class 70 miles away! And when the weekend finally rolls around I am often to tired to do a lot of the things I took for granted when I was little!
Christmas seemed to have lost its value and is reduced to a 'what is Santa bringing me' event; where people go back to the store afterwards and return the gifts they didn't like!
Meals are no longer cooked, but come in easy to microwave boxes!
Who's family does still sit together and read one of those many classic books that have so many values to them?
When is the last time you went to the zoo together, had a picnic, went camping, played a game at the living room table?
When is the last time you as a family sat together for days around the kitchen table to complete a 5000 piece puzzle? ...Catching yourself to think about it when you are trying to sleep!

When is the last time you did something as a family together that your children will remember when they are old enough to have their own children?

I remember my Dad carrying me on his shoulders; wearing the same pullover my Mom and I did! I remember him racing along the beech like a bucking horse and me laughing so hard I could barely breathe!

And I still have one or two of the seashells and my pullover; over 30 years later!

This pullover wasn't just about the warmth it gave me on a cold Fall day on that beach! It was about the Warmth I felt being part of a loving family!

The Sheep


The Horses


Iceland through the Eyes of a Icelander


More of Iceland


The Icelandic Pullover


How to knit a Icelandic Sweater


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    • profile image

      Derdriu 5 years ago

      Cat R, What a beautifully informative, nostalgic and philosophical inspiration from the attractive, effective, useful Icelandic pullover! Me too, I treasure my Icelandic blanket in colors of brown, grey and white.

      Thank you for sharing, etc.,


    • April Reynolds profile image

      April Reynolds 5 years ago from Arizona

      Your pictures are so beautiful. Iceland is one of my parents favorite place to visit. I have one of these sweaters too. Unfortunately, I live in the desert and don't get a chance to wear it. I am fortunate to have a family that does things together. I hope my kids appreciate it when they are grown. And someday maybe we will get to go to Iceland together.

    • RunAbstract profile image

      RunAbstract 5 years ago from USA

      Good story with amazing photos!

      Voted up and more!

    • Cat R profile image

      Cat R 5 years ago from North Carolina, U.S.

      A comment from one of my professors:

      Greenland is covered in ice; and Iceland is covered in green (vegetation)!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Incredible photos , sounds wonderful and challenging

    • profile image

      bambooforest 3 years ago

      I love Iceland! Thank you :) are you from Iceland then? Or just visited it in your childhood?

    • Cat R profile image

      Cat R 3 years ago from North Carolina, U.S.

      I'm not, but I love it and would love to visit. I watch a lot of documentaries and such, read books about it and collect pictures of the wild beauty.

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