Tried and tested: The knit your own Lopapeysa challenge

A while back I visited the lovely ladies at Knitting Iceland and they gave me their Knit Your Own Lopapeysa DVD . I’m not new to knitting but my projects are normally small in scale and don’t require a lot of different techniques. I also suffer from low knit-esteem and didn’t think I could finish anything as big and beautiful as my own Lopapeysa. So when Ragga gave me her DVD, I decided to accept the challenge and ran straight out to buy some Lopi.

Of course, I’m my slight OCD manner, I decided to record the progress and share it with my followers on Tumblr and Facebook. As it turns out, with the help of the DVD and my boyfriend’s patience (he didn’t leave me even though I spent more time with the needles than him or get angry when I got angry at the yoke and screamed at it) I actually finished my very own Lopapeysa. Now I’m going to share the process with you too.


The process

 July 15th 2011 – Day 1

After my visit to Knitting Iceland yesterday and my declaration where I promised to knit my own lopapeysa, this morning I decided it would be a good start to decide on a pattern and colours. Done and done.

I got the yarn from the Álafoss outlet in Mosfellsbær, got a free pattern from Ístex (unfortunately only available in Icelandic) and I’m using my Knit Pro needle set so I didn’t have to buy the needles. Total cost so far 3200 ISK.

Because of low knit-esteem I had my boyfriend help me pick out the colours. He’s partially colour-blind (I tease him about not knowing the difference between turquoise and sea green all the time) but he turned out to be a great help and I just love the colours we came up with.


July 16th 2011 – Day 2

The Lopapeysa is coming along, I wouldn’t say great but it’s getting there. I’m having a bit of a trouble knitting with plötulopi because it breaks really easily and I’m a total klutz. How people knit with only single strand of this thing is beyond me.

I’ve never done a three coloured pattern before but luckily I had the DVD to fall back on and now I do it like a pro. I’ve already found one mistake I did in the pattern, in the front of the sweater to boot, but I’ve decided not to do anything about it since it only adds to the garment’s character. Every masterpiece has to have one flaw, right?

I’m fairly optimistic that I will finish this sweater.


July 17th 2011 – Day 3

No photo from day 3 I’m afraid. The body is ready and now all I need to do is knit some sleeves. Can’t find my double pointed needles in the sizes I need so I might need to get over my magic loop prejudice. Nothing more to report at this stage. Promise photos for the next update!


July 18th 2011 – Day 4

One body and 1/10 of a sleeve. The magic loop gave me some troubles, I don’t want to talk about it. Wearing the sweater in camping trip next weekend: not very likely! Stupid Magic Loop!

After a battle with the magic loop and the first attempt at a three colour pattern on the sleeves – I decided to cool it on the knitting front for a while. So nothing much happened for a few days. Then I went camping with the family and while the others were out in some lake fishing – I knitted.


July 23rd 2011 – Day 9


July 25th 2011 – Day 11

Almost finished. Messed up something in the collar but am not even going to try to figure out what I did wrong. It just adds character.

Am kind of glad this is almost over, my knitting OCD was taking away time that could have been used on other projects. Now all I need to do is learn how to crochet the trim and some button holes. That should be doable in a day or two, right?

I actually had to sew the front and cut it which I had never done before. It was scary. The DVD came in handy at this moment but my drive to finish overpowered my fear of accidentally destroying the sweater by doing it wrong.


July 27th 2011  – Day 13


The Lopapeysa is ready. All I have left now is washing it and sewing on the buttons. I can’t believe I actually knitted my own lopapeysa and in less than two weeks to boot. Good job me!

A few days later it was washed (it took a couple of days to dry) and the buttons were sewed in. All done!


The verdict

It was actually a lot easier than I thought to knit a lopapeysa. With a little time and patience everyone should be able to do it – especially if they get a little help like me with the Knit Your Own Lopapeysa DVD. I thought when I started that I wouldn’t  need the DVD, I’m Icelandic after all and the lopapeysa is in my blood, but it did actually come in handy quite a few times.

So if you are up for it – I totally recommend you try knitting your own lopapeysa.

Spread the word


9 thoughts on “Tried and tested: The knit your own Lopapeysa challenge”

  1. Anne says:

    Amazing. It looks wonderful. I just learned how to knit a few months ago. I can only do one stitch, but I am working on it. I hope to do a sweater some day — well, maybe, we will see.

  2. mm I heart Reykjavík says:

    Well, you only really need to know how to knit and purl to do a sweater. And then increase and decrease but you can find out how to do that on YouTube. But thank you, I’m quite happy with the result.

    Funny, I found your site some time ago… probably through Tumblr or something and thought that your drawings were very cute and then I forgot about it. Have now followed you so I won’t forget again. 🙂

  3. Love it! 😀 Good job too

  4. Jennifer says:

    Looks very pretty! Where did you get the pattern? 🙂

  5. mm I heart Reykjavík says:

    Thanks Jennifer 🙂 The pattern is available free on Ístex’s website:

    It’s only available in Icelandic though 🙁

  6. Lynne says:

    Hi from Australia! Love your Lopapeysa, Audur, it looks beautiful. My daughter (18 years old) wants an Icelandic jumper (the pullover type, not the jacket) but they are so expensive to buy online, and naturally you can’t buy anything like that here in Australia. We are thinking of asking my Mother-in-law to knit one for her, she is a good knitter, although she has never done a complex pattern before, usually just block stripes in different colours. Do you know where we could get a pattern for one in English? I’m not sure, but I think we can buy the Icelandic Lopi wool here, I will check at the wool shop this week. Or even where you can buy them where they aren’t too expensive?

  7. mm Auður says:

    Hey, I’m sorry I totally forgot to reply to this comment 🙂

    You should check the istex website

  8. yes says:

    do you actually know what’s the difference between icelandic wool and “normal” wool?
    as i couldn’t find a lopapeysa that fits (too tight at the neck was the biggest problem, i really don’t like the itchyness of wool, so i don’t want to feel it on my neck and i also really don’t like turtlenecks.. so i guess you can imagine my problem with finding a lopapeysa 😉 ) i’m thinking about knitting one myself.
    as i just started to learn knitting it’s gonna take a while until i’m starting this project. so i was wondering if i should buy lopi here (i heard about 8 balls of wool for one) or if i can just buy wool at home… i guess both is gonna be itchy and as we are in iceland i guess the wool here is not cheaper … but does it has anything else that makes it better for sweaters, or is it just because it’s icelandic?

    1. mm Auður says:

      You can find more information about lopi here

      You can use other type of wool to knit a lopapeysa (although then it won’t be a lopapeysa because lopi is the Icelandic wool) but you’ll either have to find yarn with similar weight (I think that’s what it’s called) and you’ll have to modify the pattern. The yoke pattern is usually knitted in eights so you’ll have to do gauge and then make the necessary adjustments. For example, you can’t use a pattern for a sweater made out of léttlopi with álafoss lopi and vice versa without making some adjustments. If you are a beginner knitter you may not have enough feeling for these things yet (I sometimes struggle with this) but you can always use to help you.

      As for whether to buy the lopi here or not, lopi is actually really cheap compared to other wool prices I’ve seen online so you might be better off to buy it here. When you finish it you can wash it with some conditioner to make it softer or sew a little fleece into it where it touches the skin.

      Go have a chat with the ladies at Handprjónasamband (The Handknitting association) – they are really helpful. Good luck!

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