It’s been a while since a lopapeysa featured on the blog, hasn’t it? I actually made this particular Icelandic sweater last year, before I moved. You’ll have seen some glimpses of it on instagram, mainly of my cats’ brave attempts to steal it for naps -their love for lopi is still unchallenged by any other yarn. Between moving house, installing floors, painting walls and unboxing and settling in I kind off forgot to write up a post about it. By the time I had regained enough energy and wits to remember the projects I made pre-move it had warmed up so much that I wouldn’t even force myself to wear a lopapeysa, let alone somebody else!
Because yes, get this, I made this jumper for someone else. I knitted a whole ass adult jumper for someone else. Truly a once in a blue moon event! The last time I did this was over 5 years ago when I knitted the bulk of a seed stitch sweater that my mum, who had just taken up knitting again, had bravely started for my dad. She lost steam somewhere along the body of the project, and I felt bad for both of them so offered to finish it. Did I mention I hate knitting seed stitch? Ahem, yeah, I did get it finished but it did put me off seed stitch for quite some time. I could of course say that it also put me of knitting sweaters for other deserving adults, but to be honest I think I’ve always been a knitter that mostly knits for herself and I’m okay with that.
One thing I have learned from this project is that when I do decide to knit something for someone else, it should be something I actually enjoy knitting. I mean, this should be self evident, it is not some wild groundbreaking revelation, but I was truly surprised how much more I enjoyed this knitting experience over the previous time I did this. My love for Icelandic knitwear and design is not exactly a secret. I’ve knitted my fair share of Icelandic sweaters over the years. I made my first Icelandic sweater back in 2012 when I was still very much a colourwork-baby. I’ve worn Lopapeysa a lot, in fact I still wear that very first sweater. Even, or perhaps especially, when I was creatively stumped in my knitting, I always returned to the lopapeysa and (so far) it always got my creative rivers flowing again. I also test knitted a couple of them in recent years. All this is to say that lopi and lopapeysa’s have a special place in my heart.
Other than in words I have never shared that love (unless the aforementioned tug of war games between the cats vs me over lopi counts). That changed last year. I was just putting the finishing touches on my Ashland jumper and I started to think about what I was going to knit next. I fairly quickly decided to make a lopapeysa as a gift for my partner who is a long-time admirer of Icelandic knitwear. He never asks me to knit him anything even though he loves and wears knits and also is a pretty cool person all things considered. So no reason not to go with my whim of fancy to go an knit something for someone else for a change, so I went ahead.
I asked him to pick a pattern and yarn combo before I’d finish my (then) current knitting project. I helped him by giving him some sources to look at patterns (I mainly let him browse Ravelry, but also gave him some books) as well as a shadecard of all lopi colours. He decided on the loved-by-all Riddari pattern. I think this is possibly the most popular Icelandic pattern out there? I made this pattern as part of the Ravellenics in 2014, with a steek to make it into a cardigan. Incidentally it is perhaps the only of my collection of lopi sweaters that I’m not completely happy with. I was mostly bothered by my own execution of it, rather than the pattern itself, so I thought it was nice to give this pattern a chance to redeem itself.
After a pattern was decided, I helped him narrow down a couple of colour options. He had decided on a couple of colour themes, but colour picking for colourwork is hard if you don’t do it often and it’s sort of a skill in itself. I helped him a bit with finding combinations that I thought would work, derived from his initial colour ideas. From these he decided this brown-blue-green-yellow combo. Not to toot his, or our combined-, horn but I think it worked out great and definitely outshines my first attempt at this pattern.While I was working on it I got some questions about the colourways I used, so I’ve added them to my Ravelry page. Just a heads up though, one of the colours (the mustard/light yellow) was already a discontinued colour at the time, I just happened to be lucky and the yarn store I bought my wool from still had quite a bit in stock. I think istex made some new colourways so perhaps one of those will work out as a replacement if your heart is set on it.
Knitting was a breeze and I greatly enjoyed seeing this yoke coming together. I really love the colours and it took every ounce of self restraint and selflessness to actually give it away when it was done. I had one mildly dramatic moment when I did run out of yarn of the green colour while working on the yoke. When I went back to check I realised that I, stupidly, ordered the wrong amount in the first place and because I replaced the I-cord-ish, but not really I-cord, edgings with ribbing I needed a bit more than the pattern asked for.
I recently went back and replaced the neck ribbing with an actual I-cord because as it turns out my partner has a significantly larger head than I do. Honestly, I knew this and I thought I had accounted for it, but apparently not enough. I mean, he’d get it over his head and everything, but he wanted a bit more wiggle room. I offered to either redo the last bit of the yoke or see if an I-cord cast off instead of ribbing would help. In the end he decided on the I-cord. I usually prefer ribbing over I-cords, and probably still do, but I also like the I-cord edging on this one.
Since he’s had an entire autumn and winter to wear the sweater, I can also definitely say it’s been a success and he wears it a frequently. As an out of my control, but cool side note nonetheless: When he wore it the first time out to his job in the dead of winter last year someone he didn’t know recognized it as a hand knit lopapeysa and complimented on it so that was cool. She wasn’t a knitter as it turned out, but a general all things Iceland admirer. But it it always nice when something like that happens in the non-knitter muggle world!