Iceland – the land of fire and ice
Icelandic Wool – also called Lopi
What is so special about Icelandic Wool? Therefore we have to dig a little into Iceland’s history.
When the Vikings settled in Iceland in 874, they brought two kinds of domestic animals with them, which have no rivals in the animal world until today.
The two kinds of animals were the Icelandic horse and the Icelandic sheep. Both of them have had almost equally as much influence on the history and development of Iceland as humankind.
For the tough and unforgiving fight for survival due to the environmental conditions in the harsh Nordic climate, the Icelandic horse was used for transportation and labor. But the key to the survival of the nation was the Icelandic sheep. Its meat was a source of food and its wool offered protection for extreme weather.
Without the sheep, Iceland wouldn’t have been inhabitable.
The Icelandic sheep
As the breed it is, the Icelandic sheep is unique. The purity of the breed was entirely obtained because of total isolation for centuries. That is why the softness and the quality of the Icelandic sheep’s wool is still unrivaled and unique – which makes it so special.
The sheep’s fleece adjusted to the merciless subarctic climate in the process of more than eleven hundred winter times. Its pelage consists of two hair types. The outer coat is long and kind of shiny which makes it sturdy and water-repellant. Meanwhile, the undercoat is fine and soft, almost mohair-like, and insulates excellently against cold.
Another special characteristic of the Icelandic sheep is its natural coloration. Besides the prevalent white there can be found three other basic colors: black, grey, and brown. These rich earthy colors give the wool its typical look.
Nowadays, also dyed Icelandic Wool is available in addition to the natural colors. The company Istex, where I receive my Icelandic wool from, sets great value on environmental-friendly dyeing, so the Icelandic Wool is dyed with acid-based colors.
Also, the dyed variations show their own color characteristics since there is no uniform color, but different nuances on the wool.
For Icelandic Wool, only the best varieties are used. The row wool is purchased from farmers, then selected by experts, and afterward cleaned in different laundries all over Iceland. In the further processing of the wool detergent and other chemicals are reduced to a minimum, in order to maintain the natural fats of the fiber, since these fats are the reason why Icelandic Wool is so warm, featherweight and water-repellant like nature intended it to be. And not until then, the wool with the best quality gets selected and is being spun to LOPI yarn.
Five different yarn strengths
Icelandic Wool is offered in five different yarn strengths.
It is offered in balls per 100 grams.
The used needle size is 5,5 – 6,5 mm.
The Alafosslopi yarn has a large color range, consisting of 49 colors, partially dyed colors, and partially natural colors.
For a sweater, you need around 800 – 1100 grams of yarn, depending on size and design.
Lettlopi yarn is offered in balls per 50 grams.
The used needle size is 4,5 – 5 mm.
The Lettlopi yarn has a large color range, consisting of 45 colors, partially dyed colors, and partially natural colors.
For a sweater, you need around 500 – 900 grams of yarn, depending on size and design.
Bulkylopi is offered in skeins per 100 grams.
The used needle size is 8 – 9 mm.
The color selection includes 9 colors.
For a sweater, you need around 1000 – 1400 grams of yarn, depending on size and design.
The original Icelandic Wool is the Plötulopi yarn.
It is offered in flat, round plates per 100 grams.
The needle size varies individually, depending on if you knit either 1-ply, 2-ply, or even up to 5-ply.
The color selection of Plötulopi includes 38 colors.
When you are using the yarn 1-ply it is ideal for knitting lighter summer wear. Knitted in 2-ply it can be used as an equivalent for Lettlopi. Knitted in 3-ply it can be used as an equivalent for Alafosslopi. And for those who prefer it thick and bulky: in 4- to 5-ply it can be used as an equivalent for Bulkylopi.
How much yarn you need varies individually. Depending on the multithreading, size, and design it can be around 400 to 1400 grams.
Einband is offered in balls per 50 grams.
The needle size is also individually, depending on the piece you knit.
The color selection includes 46 colors.
Best suitable for lace scarves, stoles, and wraps.
Combined with Plötulopi the Einband yarn can be excellently used for colorful details.
How much yarn you need varies individually, depending on the piece you knit.