8.23.2012

Iceland and its Knitting Culture!

So, an ulterior motive for my desire to travel to Iceland was that I knew it is a country with a strong knitting culture that I wanted to experience first hand! I was careful to not overwhelm my family with a yarny agenda... but it wasn't too hard to get exposure when there was YARN IN THE GROCERY STORES (and gas stations!)!

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My shopping cart, at 10 pm on a Friday night in Akureyri
There were literally knitting references everywhere, from the sheep that did their best to "almost" get run over in the middle of nowhere, to the sweaters on every fifth person walking down the street. There are most definitely more sheep than people in Iceland! (Last studies I found: just under 500,00 sheep, and 320,160 people)

One evening in Akureyri there was a street festival... I had pulled out my camera to take pictures of a church, but then it got a little obsessed with the sweaters. On our 5 minute walk back to the car I saw these 8 Lopi Sweaters! One might say that I got my Icelandic Lopi Kinnear ON! I can't promise all of these sweaters are hand-made, but my gut is that they are!
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Just look at the Monster's on this yoke... I think someone's Grandma was having a good time!
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The next day one of the sailing crew on our boat had a sweater draped casually over his arm as he launched our boat.
The Icelandic sheep is a unique breed with a dual coat, the undercoat is quite fine, and the overcoat long, when blended together the fiber created is distinctively light and warm.  I, by no means, claim to be an expert so if you want to learn more about Icelandic Sheep I suggest checking out  this informative site and Knitting Iceland.

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I did do a fair amount of yarn buying, enough Plotulopi for a few sweaters at least!  I'm at work on a vest right now, I do believe it will be my Rhinebeck Sweater!   I'm designing it using this Lopi Sweater Generator.... FUN! The plotulopi comes in plates, and as I need it I've been winding it double, one strand form the inside and one from the outside into a ball.  It's quite delicate and a single strand will fall apart if you look funny, but the fabric it is making is LOVELY!
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On the last day I also bought some stunning pure white plotulopi from The Thingborg Wool Center in the south along with some reindeer horn buttons. I have a vision for a loose and lacy cardigan, though that is going to have to wait until later in the winter!

21 comments:

  1. Fantastic! I wanna go there too!

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  2. What may be even more amazing are the number of teen-aged boys who appear to voluntarily wearing handknit sweaters!

    I don't love knitting colorwork, but those photos make me want to knit a cozy winter sweater.

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  3. Wow! Thanks for the link the sweater generator. Very very cool.

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  4. oh wow!!! I love lopi!!! I've knit several shawls with it and would love to knit one of these sweaters!!!!!!!! oh why oh why could I have been born in Iceland insead of Louisiana!!

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  5. i still love the lopi sweater! back in the 80's many of my friends were getting married... a lopi sweater was a perfect wedding gift. I had such fun making them, and they still wear them... all these years later!

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  6. What a fantastic trip! Enjoy and I can't wait to see your version of an Icelandic Lopi Sweater.

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  7. RachelG (ArchyKnitr on Ravelry)August 23, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    Mmmmmm... nice sweaters and nice yarn! It looks like the hooded lopi sweater is in style these days. I don't think I've seen one with a hood before. I'll have to pay more attention... and maybe knit another lopi sweater after seeing all these great pics!

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  8. I love Lopi wool! I am so jealous of your trip, wool in the grocery store. That is a dream come true!

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  9. This is a dream vacation for my husband and I, but now I want to go there even more!

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  10. Amazing. How in the world does one knit a sweater with "yarn" that falls apart?

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    1. It's not that hard, also when it's double it gets stronger. You just have to handle it a bit more carefully than normal yarn and also it's so easy to join it together again when you break it. :) I've been knitting with it for many years now. ^^

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  11. The monster yoke is actually a pattern in a pattern book here if I remember correctly, probably a lot of kids here that have one of these. :) Also you can get many free Lopi patterns and see some pattern books they publish in english as well on this site: http://istex.is/english/
    All of these sweaters are most definitely hand made, I haven't seen or heard about anyone machine knitting them in here. :O

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  12. Thanks so much for chiming in with your expertise... I was hoping someone "in the know" would!!!!! (and I do love that monster yoke, I've tried to find a link to the pattern for everyone but didn't see it!)

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    1. Good news! I found it, it's in the magazine Lopi 29, it's called "Fés" or face in English and is no. 14. You can see it in 2 different color combinations in the magazine http://istex.is/prjonabok/Istex29.html and I think you can buy that magazine in English at shopicelandic.com ( http://shopicelandic.com/en/store/lopi-pattern-book-no-29 ) and probably more places. ^^

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    2. Wonderful! You did find it... thanks! It also has Frost in it, which is one of the sweaters above, along with one that I LOVE called Doppa!

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  13. Great photos. I can't wait to see your creations. Yarn is a great souvenir because we get to work with it, not just display it.

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  14. I lived in Iceland for two years. I loved it there. My Icelandic friends re-taught me how to knit, converted me from a thrower to a picker. I knit so much faster and my stitches are so even. I bought my whole family Lopi sweaters and myself a hooded poncho and full zip hooded jacket. I got lots of yummy yarn for my stash, too. Thanks for the great pictures!

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  15. I love all the hoods, the sweaters make me look forward to fall!

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  16. any patterns from you in lopi???? love lopi!!!

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  17. I love the colors you chose! Plötulopi is my favorite by far! Have you tried already knitting using only one thread of plötulopi? The result is really nice... very light but warm :)

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    1. Oh thanks! I did get some lovely white plotulopi from Thingborg that is destined to be used as a single for a lacy cardigan.... can't wait to have time to work on that!

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