Intro: Pétur Oddbergur Heimisson
Meet Pétur Oddbergur Heimisson, master’s graduate in classical singing with a great passion for knitting. His favorite knitting spot? Iceland’s hot springs, where he indulges in his hobby in warmth and comfort while enjoying the breathtaking views. Regular knitting gatherings with fellow enthusiasts, among them many male ones, are a cherished part of his routine, dedicated to creating traditional Icelandic sweaters. Not only is he deeply involved in Icelandic culture through his hobbies, but also professionally, contributing to the country’s cultural sector.
Pétur is wearing our Allen Beanies.
Q: You pursue hobbies that are very popular among Icelanders, like knitting and singing in a choir. Apparently 1 out of 10 Icelanders has published a book. Can you explain why creative pursuits are so popular and present in Icelandic culture?
A: I believe isolation plays a big part in that, we live on an island and it is extremely dark here during the winter months. People tend to seek activities during the winter months that they can do inside, from home.
Q: You’re meeting with a group of men regularly to knit together. Can you explain a little more about why and how this started?
A: During my cultural management studies I made a project called “Karlar prjóna” or “Men that Knits”. The goal was trying to engage men to be more visible, by knitting in public and be proud of the fact they know how to knit. It is not considered manly to knit and I want to change the way we think. The moment we can normalize it I believe people stop staring at male knitters. I have been having knitting nights in KEX Hostel, an old biscuit factory that was turned into a great hostel, restaurant, and event space, a few years ago. I have been having knitting nights for everyone but I have been trying to convince men to come as well.
Q: Whats the name of the choir you’re singing in? What’s your favorite style to sing as part of the choir, and why does it resonate with you?
A: I am singing in several ensembles and choirs, including Olga Vocal Ensemble, an international ensemble that we formed while I was living in the Netherlands for several years. I also sing with a few Icelandic choirs and ensembles. I am also a proud member of Anúna and M’ANAM, two ensembles that are based in Ireland.
Q: What other interesting hobbies do you have that we don’t know about?
A: I love traveling and I am a big fan of going into an airplane and be suddenly in a different country, with different culture and warmer climate. I am also a big fan of skiing, a sport I trained for several years. I also like playing football/futsal and watch football. I am a Manchester United fan and I also support the best team in Iceland, KR.
Q: Do you have a favorite hidden hot spring spot that you seek when combining knitting and bathing?
A: Ah, I am not sure if I should reveal this secret! But there is one called Landbrotalaug and is located in the West of Iceland. I haven’t been there for a few years but it is the perfect hot spring to knit in.
Q: How does Iceland’s stunning natural environment and landscapes influence your daily life and activities?
A: It inspires me, it gives me energy and I think that’s something a lot of people in Iceland relate to. Many songwriters and authors have been inspired by the beautiful landscape. In July this year, I drove the whole circle around the island with my ensemble, Olga Vocal Ensemble, it was so amazing to be able to show them the power, the beauty of this amazing country Iceland. Every part of the country has its own charm and I believe, even though people don’t realize maybe, taking in the beautiful landscape is affecting people in one or another way.
Q: Our AW23 collection is called Huldufólk, named after the folk tales about supernatural spiritual beings inhabiting and demanding the preservation of Icelandic nature. Do you remember ancient stories from your childhood and do they inspire you to preserve the natural beauty of Iceland?
A: My family owns a summer house on an island in Iceland called Flatey. I totally recommend everyone to go there, it is one of the most magical places in Iceland. In Flatey, when I was younger, we went to a rock that we called Elf Rock. They left candy for the children so I was going to that rock almost every day. Unfortunately, they have stopped giving me candy but I am sure they just leave it when they know kids are around. Another story, that is not connected to me personally, is about a rock that was moved because of a road that was being built. That rock was inhabited by hidden people or elves. Later on, many car accidents happened on that road because the elves were unhappy about humans having moved the rock.
Q: What’s your favourite place in Iceland to unwind and free flow your thoughts?
A: Flatey in Breiðafjörður, where time stands still. I totally recommend that place for everyone visiting Iceland.
Q: Baking break or cooking an egg in the ground, using the heat of geothermal hot springs. Is is a rather touristy thing or is it equally common among locals?
A: I think it is touristic thing. At least not something common by people I know. But the idea behind it is super cool. If I would have a geothermal hot spring in my backyard I would use it to take a bath and boil food!