Icelandic Lopapeysa

In July this year I celebrated my 40th birthday with an incredible trip to Reykjavik in Iceland. I had wanted to go there since I was 16 years-old and obsessed with the singer Bjork.

The Bjork obsession has diminished somewhat in the last 24 years – I still love her but no longer feel the urge to pretend to be her – but my fascination with her  home country still remained.

It was a perfect holiday. Iceland was magical, with scenery unlike anywhere I have ever been before. I waited 24-years for that trip and it was everything I wanted it to be and then some.

Knitting is huge in Iceland – no doubt it stops them going mad in the cold and dark winter months spent indoors –  and the traditional Icelandic yoke jumper, the lopapeysa, is sold all over Reykjavik.

It is a style I have always loved and I knew that making my own with a traditional Icelandic pattern and Icelandic yarn would be a perfect souvenir of my birthday trip.

I bought my pattern and yarn from the Icelandic Hand Knitting Association and, considering how shockingly expensive everything in Iceland is, it was pretty cheap. The yarn and pattern came in at less than £30. And the ladies in the shop were incredibly helpful, explaining the pattern and yarn to me.


The yarn I bought, Plotulopi, is a a traditional unspun yarn that is incredibly fragile and really unlike anything I have ever knit with before. I knit the lopapeysa with two strands of yarn, on size 6mm needles. I loved knitting this jumper. The fairisle yoke was so much fun to knit. And it was a pretty quick knit. Well it would have been if I didn’t have the kittens. I know I have mentioned this before,  but it is almost impossible to knit or sew with two very active and very curious kittens jumping around. The majority of this jumper was actually knit under a blanket so they couldn’t pounce on the yarn! But they are very cute so I will put up with this!


I love my finished lopapeysa. It’s so warm and snuggly. I feel like I am being hugged when I wear it. And best of all, like all good souvenirs, it brings back happy memories of a perfect trip to Iceland.




  1. Absolutely gorgeous sweater/jumper (is there a difference?)!!! The fair isle pattern is quite striking & looks extremely complicated! I had to laugh imagining you knitting under a blanket!!😂 Testimony to your skill & determination.😃👍🏻 Eager to see you wearing it; must feel truly wonderful! Is it a really soft wool? Surprised the Icelanders don’t spin their yarn, as seems that would make it less durable? What a perfect memento of a your fabulous celebration trip!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Charlotte! Sweater/jumper = same thing. Jumper and cardigan are used more in the U.K. though. It’s quite a hardy, dare I say itchy, wool. I guess the sheep are out there in quite extreme weather so their wool needs to be warm! Traditionally they didn’t spin the yarn because it is more insulating that way. The Icelanders are all about being warm!


      • Thanks for the answers to my questions, Wendy. They make sense! Guess a cotton turtle/mock-neck shirt as a first layer would take care of the itchiness & increase the warmth. Sounds like the hardy wool would be stronger & the extra insulation make an ideal combination! Also, not spinning the yarn saves time for more knitting! 😄👌🏻

        Liked by 1 person

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