Time for a new project - Icelandic Lopapeysa
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The Lopapeysa originates in Iceland in early or mid-20th century, at a time when imports had displaced older and more traditional Icelandic clothing and people began to search for new ways to utilise the plentiful native wool. The design has since become a national icon for Icelandic cultural identity. It is characterised by a yoke – that is, a wide decorative circle surrounding the neck opening. The yarn used is made from the wool of Icelandic Sheep and contains both wind hairs and fleece. Icelandic wool has earned an international reputation for its warmth, lightness and insulation abilities so that even when wet, it keeps you warm. Lopapeysa (plural lopapeysur) is a compound word, from lopi, denoting the particular kind of unspun yarn traditionally used to make the sweater, and peysa 'sweater, jumper, pullover'. The word literally means 'sweater made of lopi'.
Is this the year for my Icelandic warming woolly hug? A yoked colourwork jumper to keep me comfortable throughout winter, I know I'm not the only knitter who has a Lopapeysa on my to-do list, after all they are joyful and quick to knit, hugely practical and might I add super-pretty as well! With the arrival of a new load of Léttlopi I've been dreaming up my projects creating a wish list of my favourites. Which one is yours?
Almanac, Tin Can Knits' take on the classic yoke with a burst of colour. Made in Léttlopi, this design is worn, tried and tested in Iceland, I definitely feel they're onto something here ... Also Tin Can Knits are known for their variety of sizes and this pattern is graded in sizes 0-6 months old baby to Men's 4XL, so there is the potential of trying out lots of different colour options - one for each family member!
Reykjavik Soft by Meiju KP is unlike the traditional Lopapeysa knitted top-down, meaning it can easily be tried on as you work on it making any customisations a quick fix. I love this colour combo and I adore how the yoke has been finished off against the white body, the Léttlopi has such a grip it makes the crispiest of stitch definitions, really heightening any colourwork.
I'm not sure what I love the most, this sweater or the picture of it! Veðurfræðingurinn (meaning weatherman) by G. Dagbjört Guðmundsdóttir is dark and moody as the Icelandic winters, and its yoke has a powerful rune like motif. I would love to see this yoke in a gradient of Léttlopi natural neutrals.
Afmæli means anniversary in Icelandic, and this sweater was designed by Védís Jónsdóttir for the 20th anniversary of Istex who makes the Lopi yarn ranges. Capturing the teint of Icelandic autumn light this yoke moves brilliantly from one colour to the other. And what's more - this is a free pattern to download!
Jennifer Steingass has quite a reputation for creating the most gorgeous yoked sweaters, and this Telja is no exception. In a delicate colour combo this motif reminds me of icicles and compared to the more traditional ribbed necklines the I-cord finishing gives an interesting detail.
The queen of Icelandic Knitting, Hélène Magnússon is no stranger to a Lopapeysa. Her Gamaldags, which means Old fashion in Icelandic, is at first glance a very traditional lopi sweater. A closer look however shows a refined fit with a very feminine allure and an unusually scooped neckline. Instructions for the cardigan also include tips to make a sweater like this one above!
Finally, another cardigan. I just realised than when I started throwing the cardigans in the mix, my research could have ended up in a never ending story, but this one looks so comfy I just have to include it on my list. Sólbein, by Mary Jane Mucklestone, means sunbeam in Icelandic, and that is exactly the connotations I make from this yoke motif. For this one I would choose either a combo of all neutrals, or a combo of bright red/oranges maybe against a deep blue...
That's it from me guys, I'm off to browse the Léttlopi colours, there are some important decisions to be made ...