Knitting with lettlopi yarn is a completely different experience! I know I was nervous before ordering my first batch of the traditional Icelandic wool, so as I work on my second lopi sweater, I thought I’d write up a quick review.*
Lopi is made from Icelandic sheep wool. At this point, you’re probably rolling your eyes at me and thinking “Big deal, I knit with wool all the time!”
But lopi really is a little different from other yarns.
In order to survive the harsh Icelandic winters, Iceland’s sheep are a little different to your regular sheep. Their fleece has two layers, the outercoat (or tog), which is long and “hairy” looking. The thel, or undercoat, is short and soft. Basically, the sheep are dressed for winter like the rest of us: a tough outercoat to repel the weather, and a soft, warm layer underneath!
So that’s lopi. We then have the modifiers:
Whichever lopi you choose, it all comes from Ístex, the only mill in Iceland.
I’ve only worked with Lettlopi (so far…), so that’s all I can speak to.
It’s great! It’s a little “hairy”, but really soft. It can be a bit splitty, so blunt needles are better than sharp.
Here’s what it looks like knit up at13 stitches per 4 inches (on the left) and 20 stitches per 4 inches (on the right).
You can see even at the looser gauge, the lettlopi has expanded to fill in the gaps, making for a more solid(ish) fabric than we could expect from a smoother yarn at a similar gauge.
It’s warm. Seriously warm. Remember that long outercoat? It repels water, and fills in any gaps in your stitches. The undercoat traps heat, keeping you cozy.
Because it’s kind of hairy, you do want to wear a layer under it. I’m not sensitive to wool or itchiness, so I’m happy wearing my stopover over a short-sleeved shirt, but a garment at a tighter gauge (i.e., more outercoat hairs per square inch) would probably be less comfortable.
It does soften with use and washing though (gentle handwashing of course! Lopi felts.).
Very! I’ve worn my Stopover pretty much non-stop for a year, with no noticeable pilling or damage. A garment knit to a tighter gauge would be pretty much indestructible – as far as handknit garments go.
Luckily, it’s pretty readily available! It’s even worth checking with your local yarn shop, as they might carry it. I’m not associated with any of these stores, but you can buy lopi:
If those options don’t work for you, try:
That’s a lot of words about a little bit of yarn! Tell me in the comments if you’ve knit with lopi, and what you think of it.
*I have in no way been compensated for this post, and all views are my own. Here’s another excellent lopi review you might like to read next.
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I'm a kiwi living in Geneva. Knititng and crochet are just two of my passions! Read more about me. or working with me.
could you please tell me the difference between istex lettlopi wool and lopi lettlopi wool? wool warehouse stocks lots of available colours of the lopi but my pattern asks for istex which appears more difficult to obtain. Many thanks Gill
I’ve started my first Lopi sweater today. I love scratchy wool! It’s the only wool that feels authentic to me! Lettlopi is what I’m using. It is lightweight and easy to knit. A little hairy, but I feel that contributes to it’s interesting texture. I’m knitting a beautiful brown color that has lots of varied hues…I think it is called muddy or mucky or something. Anyway, I’m seriously excited about my future sweater!
My daughter just came back from Iceland and purchased for me lettlopi yarn. 4 blue, 4 brown, 2 light gray and 2 dark gray. I have been looking for patterns using this weight that I could knit with 4 colors. Sweaters use the bulkier so I was looking at hats and gloves. Do you have any suggestions? I have checked out Ravelry. Evelyn Mintzer firstname.lastname@example.org.
I made Lopi sweaters for my children over 50 years ago, about 4 years ago I passed two of the somewhat worn but still very serviceable sweaters on to other children. My children would layer other sweaters under the Lopi sweater, and then go out and play in the snow in the state of Maine. To this day I still enjoy knitting Lopi sweaters, but in the state of Virginia it is very difficult to find Lopi patterns, and the yarn must be ordered online.
Patricia J., Charlottesville Va