As Reykjavík’s new Honorary Citizen Yoko Ono relit the Imagine Peace Tower at a ceremony in Viðey Island on Wednesday night, she sported a knitted sweater with the Peace sign on front.
The sweater was a gift from actress Jóhanna Friðrika Sæmundsdóttir, a keen knitter who has already knitted three distinctive sweaters for Reykjavík’s Mayor, Jón Gnarr.
“This was perhaps the highlight of my knitting career. I think I could retire from knitting now,” Jóhanna Friðrika told Vísir.is.
Both Yoko Ono and Jón Gnarr wore knitted Peace sweaters at the Illumination ceremony.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Mayor had nominated Ono an Honorary Citizen of Reykjavík.
Jóhanna Friðrika is friends with the Mayor’s wife and that’s how the sweater-saga started. “Shortly after he took office, I made him the sweater with the Anarchist symbol, as a way of saying ‘Fuck the system’. But when everybody had started bullying him I knitted him a sweater with the Reykjavík coat of arms on front, as a protecting shield.”
She said that Jón’s Peace sweater was just a part of the series but when Ono turned 70 earlier this year, Jón and his wife brought up the idea of giving her a Peace sweater too.
So Jóhanna Googled “Yoko Ono size” and started knitting.
Jón Gnarr then gave Ono the sweater when she arrived in Iceland for the relighting of the Imagine Peace Tower. “She was very pleased with it and I’m so happy it fitted so well,” Jóhanna said.
She attended the ceremony in Viðey on Wednesday evening and met Yoko Ono, who told Jóhanna that she herself had knitted a lot long time ago. The card that came with the sweater showed Jóhanna’s recipe for the Peace sweater too. “Yoko was extremely happy with the card and said she could start knitting again,” Jóhanna told Vísir.is.
She said knitting was like meditation for her. “It’s our women’s heritage, my mother knits a lot too and so does my grandmother. I’m eager to give knitting more credit in society as it’s such a remarkable heritage. There are very few women who don’t knit and yet sadly, handicraft is not valued much.”