There are more sheep than people in Iceland. What are the effects of this fact? Sheep sometimes make it difficult to drive a car – it’s true. You can find lamb in many Icelandic dishes – it’s also true. But first of all Iceland abounds with high quality wool. Consequently, knitting and wearing woolen products are highly popular there.
About Icelandic sweaters
We name traditional Icelandic sweaters with the term lopapeysa (in Icelandic: lopa means wool, and peysa – sweater). They are characterized with big and complicated patterns on a yoke, sometimes also at the bottom of sleeves. These sweaters are ideal for the changeable Icelandic weather – they keep body warm, are partly windproof and waterproof. Icelanders have been wearing them for centuries and now the foreigners are getting crazy about their appearance and functionality.
Lopapyesa isn’t one of these Christmas sweaters we are too ashamed of to wear. You can meet young Icelanders with their lopapeysas in clubs, the knitting designers make more and more modern patterns. The colours you can find on sweaters are not only classical beige and green but also more distinct combinations.
Knitting is a common skill in Iceland. Actually no Icelander would buy lopapeysa because, even if you can’t knit, there is someone from your family who knows how to do it. The phenomon of buying Icelandic sweaters is connected to the development of tourism on the island. Indeed, this beautiful piece of sheep is a perfect souvenir. Unfortunately it’s common to find fake lopapeysas while buying them in their homeland or ordering them from abroad. Most of sweaters we can buy in Icelandic souvenir shops aren’t handknitted but made by special machines. You can be even more surprised when you read on a label that a sweater was made in… Asia.
Icelandic sweaters in Poland
I spend half a year in Iceland doing my European Voluntary Service as a workcamp leader in the organization SEEDS. During this adventure I learnt how to knit and make typical Icelandic patterns. After my coming back to Poland I decided that besides making the clothes of my family more Icelandic, I would like to knit lopapeysas for everybody who wants to forget about coldness of autumn and winter days.
This is how I invented Jigsknits (https://www.facebook.com/jigsknits) where you can order your own sweater.
I offer a big choice of patterns (http://issuu.com/katarzynajigsapachta/docs/catalogue-english), colours and sizes.
What makes my items special is the fact that you can order a sweater which fits all your requirements. Even when we are in Iceland, we can mostly choose from the wide range of already made sweaters. And we are made to believe that any of it will fit us.
However, this way of ordering your perfect lopapeysa generates some problems. Firstly, it means quite some time of waiting for the ready sweater because the process of making it is time- and work-consuming. Secondly, Icelandic wool isn’t the cheapest one and woolen products made of it are quite expensive. You can check prices in the catalogue.
All my sweaters are made of original Icelandic wool. Depending on a sweater I use the thin version – Létt Lopi – or the thick one – Álafoss Lopi. The wool is 100% natural and doesn’t consist of any extra ingredients, for example cotton. The wool is brought from Iceland and bought in Polish importers.
If you decide to order your lopapeysa, send me a private message on my fanpage. Together we will set all the details, decide on the price and date of receiving a sweater.