Yarn Focus - Istex Plötulopi
We have just had a much awaited delivery of gorgeous Lopi yarns come through our door, boxes filled to the brim with hearty Icelandic wool. Knitters favourites like the Léttlopi and Bulkylopi are now back on the shelves, but did you know that we also have the more unknown but equally lush and maybe more intriguing Plötulopi?
We have been stocking the Lopiyarns for years now as we've seen the popularity of these grow beyond the Nordic borders, still the Plötulopi has been somewhat of a curiosity, and I do believe that we are still the only UK yarn shop where you can find the yarn. To my joy, I've now noticed more attention towards it as the Plötulopi has been discovered, cast-on, loved and developed into stunning projects by a new generation of designers, and what better opportunity than to take a proper look at this yarn.
Plötu in Icelandic is directly translated to board or disc in English, and as you can see it does not come as a hank or a ball, but as what we would describe in yarny terms as a wheel. Traditionally used by Icelandic spinners to be spun tightly straight from the wheel to then be knit up into those iconic Icelandic yoked sweaters, new generations of knitters have discovered the gorgeousness that results from knitting it up as it is. Plötulopi is a carded but unspun single ply yarn. Due to the thickness, or more accurately in this context, the width of the ply, it is classified as a DK yarn. However the carded wool contains a lot of air, making the yarn suitable for a range of needle sizes depending on the structure you want for your finished fabric.
Due to its unspun nature Plötulopi is quite delicate in its raw form, so a delicate hand is required while working with it, and probably doesn't make the best travel project or something that will be thrown around while being worked on. However, the final fabric is quite strong when knitted up. It has a light airy quality while maintaining the sturdy warmth expected of an Icelandic yarn. The yarn can be knit up singly, or held double or triple for more substantial fabrics. Swatching is especially recommended to see the fabric and gauge.
So lets dive into what can be created using the Plötulopi, the possibilities are endless, and I've gathered a few suggestions for you to get your creative juices flowing. First up: Aito by Melody Hoffmann, first published in Laine Magazine Issue Four, and which since has become a favourite amongst shawl knitters much due to its interesting technique and generous size. Aito is an asymmetrical shawl that plays with different shades creating a beautiful fade that is achieved by using a colour changing method called split splicing.
Altheda by Jennifer Steingass is a simple yoke sweater, perfect for staying cosy throughout the colder seasons, the lightweight structure of the Plötulopi will ensure you stay warm without that feeling of being bulked up. Altheda is worked seamlessly from the top down, with an effective still simple colourwork yoke, enabling you to make this sweater fly off your needles in no time.
The Crystal Visions Pullover by Denise Bell is inspired by the scene when snowflakes fall in an empty field. Again, this is a simple construction that creates a warm but lightweight yoked sweater, featuring a beautiful colourwork section at the top.
When searching for projects for the Plötulopi there's no doubt you will find a whole lot of yoked sweaters, stunning as they are but if they're really not quite your thing, let me point you in the direction of Melody Hoffmann once more. I just spotted this little number of the loveliest woolly jumper appearing on her instagram - the pattern is yet due to be released - so to stay updated on this keep and eye on her feed.
And please do share with us the results of your Plötulopi adventures, we love to see how the yarns that leave our shelves come out in real life, it bis such a joy! #knitwithattitude