Jóna's mother was originally from Iceland, and Jóna travelled to Iceland during her school holidays and was taught embroidery by her Icelandic grandmother. Jóna herself started teaching embroidery around 1983 and by the time I met her, she was running Icelandic Tapestry School at her home in Somerton, here in Somerset. But before I made up my mind to attend one of her courses, Jóna moved to France.
While still living in UK, she was running a small travel business, taking small groups of tourists to Iceland, to share her heritage, and she is still doing so from her new home in Dordogne.
The patterns in her book are very traditional Icelandic design, and the colours not necessarily of my taste.
However, from the embroiderer's point of view, the technique itself is interesting. Jóna tells us that in Iceland they never used embroidery hoops or tapestry frames of any kind. The technique she describes is stretching the embroidery fabric square over two fingers of left hand (if you are right handed) when stitching. The result, providing you can master this, is a square piece, which doesn't need any more stretching when finished, may be just a gentle pulling into shape.
Of course the advantage of stitching without a frame is that you can simply put your work in a bag and take it with where ever you go.
The projects in the book are stitched using Appleton tapestry wool on a double stranded 9 count Floba canvas. By gently rubbing the canvas in your hands it becomes very soft and easy to wrap around fingers.
Needless to say that I did not resist and bough a small kit, worked in coton à broder, but to my shame I must admit to never actually starting it. My excuse is not having to master the technique yet!