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South of Reykjavik outside of the town of Selfoss is the sheep farm owned by Hulda Brynjólfsdóttir and Tyrfingur Sveinsson.

Along with raising sheep Hulda is transforming how shepherds with smaller flocks sell their home-grown yarn in Iceland in an unassuming 2,000 square foot building. This building houses Upspunni, Iceland’s only mini wool processing mill.

Why is this mill important? For knitters it means a bigger variety of yarns to choose from, including farm specific yarn. For shepherds Upspunni gives them more control in how their yarns are produced and a bigger variety of the types of yarns that can be made.

Before Hulda opened her mill in 2017, shepherds who wanted their own yarn to sell had to wait in a long line to use the Álafoss mill. Álafoss has a weight minimum to have yarn spun which means shepherds often had to combine their fleeces with other farms to even get a spot in that line. Since Álafoss’ main business is spinning Lopi yarns, the shepherds that use Álafoss don’t have much choice in the type of yarn they can have spun, it has to be one of the types of Lopi yarns that Álafoss already makes.

Hulda’s mini mill changed all of that. There is still a line, but there are many more options for any shepherd who wants to make yarn from their own flock, no matter how small it is.

Mini is the key word, all of the processing and spinning space fits into one level of building, the upstairs in a small shop selling Hulda’s yarn, kits, and spinning fiber.

I have a medium sized house and I could fit the mill equipment on my first floor (and don’t think I haven’t thought about it).

At Uppspuni. Hulda works with shepherds, and will process even a single fleece in to yarn. Because she works in smaller batches and on her own timeline, great care can be taken with processing which means the 100% Icelandic yarns she produces are less rough than yarns from Álafoss. She leaves more lanolin in the yarns she makes, and will even make blended yarns. When I visited in the fall, I got to feel a sample yarn that was a blend Icelandic fleece and goat down.

Her own yarn line is proof of how passionate and thoughtful Hulda is about making excellent yarns. 

Right now she produces up to six yarns from her own flock of sheep. The main four reflect the different ages of a sheep and the different parts of their fleece.

Dis (the fairy) is a 2-ply fingering weight yarn made form lamb’s fleece, it’s the softest and lightest yarn made at Uppspuni. It’s used to make shawls and light sweaters.

Hulduband (hidden woman yarn) is a 2-ply Aran weight yarn made from adult sheep. This is the yarn knitters buy to make most of their knits, hats, mittens, and lots of sweaters. The sweater Hulda is wearing is over 10 years old. Yes, that is a fleece I’m holding.

Dvergaband (dwarf yarn) is a 3-ply bulky yarn spun from adult sheep. This yarn is for the bulky sweaters you see farmers wearing as they work outside all over Iceland.

Sometimes Hulda makes limited run yarns, like this super bulky yarn. Most of her yarns come in a range of natural and a few dyed colors.

Hjónaband is the yarn I fell in love with. A typical Icelandic fleece has two distinct coats, a strong water-resistant outer coat and a warm softer undercoat. This yarn is made with more undercoat than outercoat, making it softer and warmer than Hulda’s other yarns made from adult sheep fleeces. 

Hulda’s husband came up with the name for this special warm and soft yarn. Hjónaband means marriage in Icelandic. Hjónaband is also a play on words because ‘band’ means yarn or thread in Icelandic. This yarn is the warm thread that knits us together!

About The Author

Jillian Moreno spins, knits and weaves just so she can touch all of the fibers. She wrote the book Yarnitecture: A Knitter’s Guide to Spinning: Building Exactly the Yarn You Want so she could use all of the fiber words. Keep up with her exploits at


  • Do visit Uppspuni if you are in Iceland. Hulda is really interesting and has a lovely little shop above the mill.

  • I suppose the only way to get any of Hulda’s yarn is to go to Iceland and buy directly from her

    • She does sell some on her website, but the shipping is pretty expensive.

  • This is what I love about knitting, weaving and spinning. There are so many marvelous stories shared by the people who create our lovely yarns. The global stories are an adventure to another life.

  • Sadly, Iceland has been in the news lately for significant seismic and volcanic activity.

    I’ve only ever been in the airport – where I bought Lettlopi in duty free along with my Cadbury fruit and nut bars.

  • Great article. It is a tribute to mini mills and the creative control they give to fiber artists and producers. It is also a tribute to women who expand the world, simply by solving problems in their own backyard. Thank you.

    • I love to read about women who have made our lives better. About time you think you have read about everything in the world, some woman pops up with something new, different, and becomes a wonderful inspiration to us. I think some of the most interesting women I have read about have been here on MDK. It’s amazing how interesting and exciting the world of knitting is. Keep bringing the stories, I love them.

    • Well said.

  • Love this. Thanks for the article!

  • I’d buy just for those labels! They’re wonderful.

  • As Gail has already mentioned, Iceland has come under a very stressful cloud between the time that this story was researched, written, and now posted. Can…? Will… MDK be doing anything like the previous “Donate to Red Cross specific to THIS disaster” to enter for a giveaway?


    Perhaps Jillian & MDK can reach out to Icelandic contacts, such as Hulda, to see if there is anything more that MDK subscribers/followers can do to help both the many beings displaced from Grindavik and all of Iceland that is trying to accommodate them temporarily (we all hope) until the situation clarifies and all those families know whether they need to permanently relocate/rebuild their lives or might be able to return to repair and rebuild their lives and communities. Until such a time as we might now how to help, please extend to Hulda and all your Icelandic network that we are sending them our love and prayers for safety and best outcomes. <3

    • Thank you for saying this!

  • Just one more reason I want to visit Iceland. It’s on my bucket list. This will definitely be one of my stops.

  • Beautiful yarn. Hulda is a name from my earliest ancestry research.

  • I love these informational articles. It was fascinating to learn about the Icelandic yarn. Iceland is on my bucket list of places to visit and now I really want to go. Thank you!

  • Oh! I want it alllll.

  • Great article! Thanks! And I did spot the border collie.

  • I was so excited to back this project on Indigogo back in 2017 and then I got to visit in March 2018, shortly after she had opened. What a lovely shop. I highly recommend visiting if you travel to Iceland.

  • What a great commentary, Jillian!!!
    You have really added to my understanding of Icelandic yarn
    beyond Lopi. Many thanks! Carol M.

  • I’m so glad to hear that other yarns are being produced from Icelandic sheep. Lopi is just way too itchy for me. Thanks for this interesting article!

  • I’m going in 2024!

  • Great article! I love hearing about the small mills that are making a difference. Will try to get some of this interesting yarn.

  • It’s always exciting to read about a small mill tackling a specialty market. As a cashmere breeder (and endless comber), I wish one would open near me!

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