An authentic lopapeysa

When I went to Iceland this summer I had two souvenirs in mind – pictures and wool. I came home with a bunch of both. I knew that I wanted a lopapeysa, an Icelandic sweater, but I also knew that I wanted to try and make myself. I figured if I made it, being part Icelandic, with Icelandic wool that I bought in Iceland then I could consider it the real deal. Authentic on all accounts… or at least my own.

Before this project I had only ever knitted scarfs, cowls and hats. I figured out how to read most patterns and I know how to knit some intricate lace work but a sweater seemed like such a tall order.

Coming home from Iceland I had a new found confidence in my knitting abilities. Lóa, my Icelandic mom of sorts, taught me how to read colour patterns and how to knit continental style – or at least I believe that’s what it’s called. – When you hold the wool in your left hand and you don’t drop the needles to wrap – makes knitting so much easier and faster! I’m forever thankful for Lóa teaching me!

When I decided it was time to start knitting my lopapeysa I turned to the pattern book Lóa gave me. I figured I’d be able to use the help of a dictionary or google translate to help me out, but before I got started I realized that for my first attempt it would probably be best to go with a pattern in English.

I searched online and decided to go with this one. I figured it looked easy enough, and it was. The only thing that tricked me up a bit were the sleeves. Sleeves are the part that have kept me from attempting a sweater before, just like thumbs being the part that scares me about mitts. Once I figured it out it wasn’t all that hard. (maybe mitts are next?)

When connecting the sleeves to the yoke you have to place some stitches onto a needle holder (or scrap yarn). For my pattern I had to hold 8 stitches from the sleeve and then 8 stitches from the body on the left side, and the same on the right. Once you’ve placed those stitches onto the needle holders (4 in total) you leave them aside and knit everything else onto the round. Leave those held stitches! Don’t even worry about them, just knit the rest of the sleeve stitches onto the round with the body. Once you have finished knitting the yoke and ribbing and the sweater is pretty much done expect for the stitches that you have placed on hold – that is when you deal with them! All you do at that point is stitch them together, use the Kitchener stitch and you are golden. The sweater is a no seem knitted wonder of awesomeness.


I was watching TV while knitting and when I was following the pattern for the top portion of the yoke I forgot what I was doing. Instead of knitting something like 2 stitches colour 1, 1 stitch colour 2, 2 stitches colour 1, I did something like 3 stitches colour 1, 1 stitch colour 2. Thankfully I caught myself doing that and was able to backtrack as to line everything up.This happened twice, lucky for me I caught it both times. In other words – pay attention to your work! Attention to detail is key!

The task of the lopapeysa may seem daunting at first but if you know how to do the basic knit stitch and can follow a pattern you will be just fine. Even if you can’t follow a pattern, look it up and teach yourself, you’ll get the hang of it. The internet is full of lots of helpful pointers! Or you can ask me and I’ll try to lend a helping hand!


I started the project Oct. 27. I knitted about five days in total, two days working on the body, a day for each sleeve and two days on the yoke. I knit at a decent speed, some would say slow, others fast, others would say somewhere in the middle. Everything in life is pretty subjective isn’t it?

I’m so incredibly happy with this sweater you don’t even know! It’s my first big project and it turned out better then I could have imagined. I just love it so much!

Now, what should my next project be?!


  1. November 13, 2012 / 6:23 pm

    I love the colours! I could do the knitting (I think) but it’s the joining up the different pieces that scares me. I’d love to be able to do one in my choice of colours, although I think you can also pay someone in Iceland to do it for you. Maybe you need to start a business. 😉

  2. Halldóra Lóa
    November 13, 2012 / 7:00 pm

    It´s amazing you´ve done something I´ve never been able to do, being icelandic and all 😉

  3. Halldóra Lóa
    November 13, 2012 / 7:02 pm

    This mark ! was supposed to be after amazing 🙂 Lopapeysan is amazing 😉

  4. November 14, 2012 / 9:44 pm

    Wow! That’s wonderful! well done!

Leave a Reply