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A Lopapeysa.
Icelandic girls wearing traditionally patterned lopapeysa sweaters.

Lopapeysa or Icelandic sweater is an Icelandic style of sweater originating around or before the 1950s, at a time when imports had displaced older and more traditional Icelandic clothing and people began to search for new ways to utilize the plentiful native wool. It is believed that the sweaters are patterned on Greenlandic women's costume,[1] or even inspired by South American, Turkish or Swedish textile patterns.[2]

Make of the sweater[edit]

It is characterized by a yoke design— that is, a wide decorative circle surrounding the neck opening. The sweater is knitted in a non-varying circle, meaning that there is no difference between the front and the back, unless a zipper is added. The yarn used, lopi, is made from the wool of Icelandic sheep and contains both wind hairs and fleece. Lopi is remarkable in that it is not spun, so it contains more air than spun yarn and as a consequence it has better insulation properties. This also makes lopi more difficult to handle than spun yarn, in particular for those new to the material. The colours can be artificial, but undyed wool of various colours is available and much in demand.[3] The Icelandic wool has earned an international reputation for its warmth, lightness and insulation abilities so that even when wet, it keeps you warm.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.handknit.is/user/cat/7 Handprjónasamband Íslands - Íslenska lopapeysan
  2. ^ http://www.woolandsheep.com/?q=is/node/68 Íslensk þjóðernishyggja - Hin heilaga rolla!
  3. ^ http://www.lochness.co.uk/sheep/index.html
  4. ^ http://www.alafoss.is