Hillesvåg Ullvarefabrikk is a family owned mill founded in 1898. It has been in the same family for 4 generations and is one of Norway’s most long-established yarn producers. The historic mill is now a working museum, part of the European Économusée network, an organisation which aims to preserve and showcase traditional crafts and knowhow – some of the machines still in use at the mill are over 100 years old. The mill itself is not on an island, however it lies on the shores of the Oster fjord, just 35km north of Bergen, on the edge of the Bergen archipelago and several of the farms which provide wool for Hillesvåg’s yarns are situated on the islands.
The Norsk Pellsullgarn ranges which we will be stocking at Laine des Iles are spun from the fleeces of the Norwegian pelssau breed. This is a cross between the Gotland sheep (which originates from the Swedish island of Gotland) and the Norwegian heritage breed Spælsau. The Spælsau breed in turn is a descendant of the Old Norwegian Gammel Norsk Spælsau - this ancient breed is the sheep which the Norsemen carried with them when they travelled across Northern Europe and is the ancestor of several of our modern island breeds, including the Icelandic, Faroese and in part also the Shetland and other Scottish breeds. As Norway and its sheep are the common link between so many of these islands, we feel that it is only right that this beautiful country and its yarns are represented in our shop.