3 minute read17 Jul 2017

Knit your own Icelandic sweater

When I first visited Iceland, I noticed that many locals were wearing similar sweaters. I travelled around the country and these jumpers were everywhere! I immediately wanted to have one. I was backpacking at that time, therefore, I wasn’t able to purchase a piece of clothing that would fill up my whole backpack.

How (not) to knit my own Lopapeysa

Later when I moved to Iceland I set the ambitious goal to knit my own Lopapeysa just like many locals do. It was wintertime and with Christmas lights in the windows I spent long, cozy afternoons on the couch. Perfect atmosphere for knitting!

One evening I opened my laptop, typed in “knitting for dummies” and searched on Youtube. I spent two hours finding an enjoyable video that repeated the important movements enough times to make the process understandable even for the dumbest beginner.

I knitted like a robot all evening and the following afternoon. Then I messed it up and started again and again, with the heavy feeling that I will never be able to combine two colors.

Knitting an Icelandic sweater

The winter slowly passed and I - of course - lost my motivation and forgot everything. Finally, I decided to purchase a Lopapeysa knitted by a professional (a local grandmother). However, I haven’t given up with knitting completely, I just realized I needed some personal guidance in this field. This is how I met Ragga.

The Icelandic one-person knitting company

The Culture and Craft Workshop is even listed in the book of Lonely Planet, which is huge because it’s a one-person company. There are no hired guides and teachers, only this Icelandic lady (and her accountant). Ragga was a school teacher for a long time, she was teaching handicraft to children with special educational needs. This experience makes her an excellent teacher for beginners.

Icelandic sweater knitting workshop

I was really curious what a 3-hour- long workshop can give to a small group of people with completely different backgrounds. After a short introduction of ourselves, she spread out some of her work on the table and introduced her own unique techniques and the Icelandic wool.

Thanks to the structure of the sheep fleece, Icelandic wool is soft, durable and breathable, it is a great insulator, and has even some water repellent capacity. Bacteria cannot fasten to the surface of this fabric so it’s enough to wash it once in a year. We got knitting needles and two balls of yarn each with our own colour of choice.

Knitting workshop in Iceland

Ragga taught us new movements and provided fun techniques to memorize them. Getting over the difficulties of the first stage, we got into practice. We started to talk about random things, mostly interesting and fun facts about Icelandic history, society, politics and culture. After a while, I felt sorry that it’s only a short workshop and I could imagine why knitting circles were so popular in the old times. Knitting together and chatting about the things in life is just so easy and relaxing!

Time flew away and we left our workpiece half way done, equipped with all the theoretical knowledge to finish the work that we started. Now I can state that not only can I knit but also I can use two colours! That is something!

If you would like to attend a knitting workshop in Iceland, contact us via live chat! 


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