The Icelandic Sweater
The lopi sweater, with its characteristic circular yoke and patterned borders, has come to symbolise Iceland far beyond the island´s boundaries. Iceland is a country of hardy long-haired sheep, whose wool combines the qualities of softness, sturdiness, and water resistance. Not surprisingly, knitted and woven wollens have always been a necessity in the northern climate. But the lopi sweater itself, so closely identified with Iceland, is a relatively recent phenomenon. Although Icelanders have been knitting at least since the sixteenth century, the lopi sweater has a history of only decades.
Icelandic wool – Characteristics of the Icelandic wool
Unique in its composition, Icelandic wool consists of two types of fibres:
INNER FIBRES – INSULATING: Fine, soft, highly insulating. OUTER FIBRES – WATER-REPELLENT: Long, glossy, water-repellent. Together, these two distinctive fibres create a wool that is: Lightweight – lighter than most other wools, keeps you warm and comfortable. Water-repellent – repels rain and stays feeling dry. Breathable – moisture passes through the fibres away from the skin, keeping you dry and comfortable
History of the Handknitting Association of Iceland
The Handknitting association of Iceland was founded in november 1977 by hundreds of Icelanders mostly women who had supported their homes income by knitting pullovers, sweaters and other things from the very special wool from Icelandic sheep. By founding the association the knitters took the sale of their goods in own hands. From the beginning the association has driven a store at Skólavörðustígur 19 in Reykjavík an now also at Laugavegur 53b where members also deliver their products and get wool to be able to continue their knitting. Sale to wholesalers is also a big deal of the buisness. The main focus in the stores is selling goods that are made by members from Icelandic wool mainly lopi but also a good select of goods that are machine made in Iceland from Icelandic wool. The association‘s slogan has always been „buy directly from the people who make it“. Every three of four customers are turists who prefere goods made in Iceland. They can be sure that handmade woolen goods that is for sale in The Handknitting association of Iceland is knitted in Iceland, from wool from Icelandic sheep, more Icelandic can it hardly be.