My friend and colleague recently brought me back some Lopi yarn from Iceland. My officemates could not understand why I was so excited about this yarn. I thought I would share some of the finer attributes of Lopi with you, the knitting community. Lopi yarn comes exclusively from Icelandic sheep. This breed of sheep is old and pure or “unaltered”. This breed is hearty and has done so well in the past due to 3 main attributes: Excellent fiber, milk and meat. I am not fan of lamb to eat, but I do love cheese and of course, I love fiber.
The Icelandic sheep have a double coat. The outer coat, or Tog is long, wavy and water repellent. The inner coat, or Thel is soft, fine and warm. The Thel lends the loft to Lopi yarn. Lopi yarn is created when fibers from both the inner and outer coats are spun together. The resulting fiber is warm, light and water resistant. Lopi yarn is also wonderful for felting. The two main types of Lopi are Alafoss (bulky weight) or Lett lopi, or lopi light (aran weight). Lopi performs very well in stranded color work which is part of the traditional Icelandic sweater. Traditional colors are natural, gray, brown and black. However, Lopi is now available from venders abroad and in the U.S. and in a wide range of colors.
My friend also brought back some Icelandic wool/thai silk combination yarn and asked me to knit her Drachenfels. I am improvising a bit since her total yardage is correct but she supplied 5 colors instead of 3. As I work the yarn, I find it a bit scratchy, but very light and warm as it sits on my lap. I can’t wait to plan out the project for my Lett Lopi yarn. I also hope some day to travel to Iceland myself to explore the Icelandic sheep and fiber first hand