Yarn Detective: Léttlopi Love

March 24, 2021

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31 Comments
  • Very interesting and informative. I can’t wait to knit with Lopi for my DayTripper.

  • I think I will wear my Lopi sweater to work today! And shed it this afternoon to garden!

  • A chocolate lover AND a yarn nerd! You’re the best Jillian. I love reading your yarn posts. Never remember the details when I’m looking at yarn, but love them nonetheless.

    • Oh, so true! It’s all in the details that I can’t remember. There’s a sort of comfort to know that others have the same trouble – a gentle form of misery loves company.

  • So interesting and helpful, thank you!

  • When I visited Iceland I saw sheep everywhere! It was fall, when the sheep are brought down from higher elevations, I just had to bring home some Lettlopi for a sweater. This article is fascinating.I had no idea about the two coat fiber. I now have Jillian Moreno’s Yarnitecture book. The photos are gorgeous. It does a great job of explaining yarns. I am inspired to try to learn to spin. Thank you!

    • Great & timely information. I have noticed though that the black Léttlopi I am using feels tighter spun (almost fulled) & less softness to it compared to the grey & taupe & white I am using. I am wondering if the dying process to get the black saturation are the reason? I am hoping the warm soak when done will do it’s magic .

  • It’s also very lightweight. I knit Jen Geigley’s Main Squeeze cardi in Àlafosslopi and for a big, long cardi/coat, it hardy weighs anything! And lopi felts fantastically;)

  • Thank you for this article! I Love Lopi yarn and Mary Jane Mucklestone’s designs-
    I have knit a pair of mittens from your Lopi Field Guide and am in the process of my Daytripper Cardigan

  • I had the privilege to knit a beautiful Icelandic poncho and 2 sweaters with the “original” Álafoss Lopi between 1974-1976 .The styles are timeless. I continue to receive many compliments, in particular, on the poncho. I will never forget the smell and feel of the beautiful lanolin saturation of the yarn, which also helped keep the finished fabric warm and provided secondary sensual delight for the knitter. Secondary gain-fabulously soft hands!

    I support everything that Ístex has accomplished to revived the collapsed Icelandic yarn industry in 1991, including employee ownership of the company and maintaining the breeding integrity and lineage of the distinctive Icelandic sheep. Nevertheless, this yarn is NOT the original Lopi. It is processed differently to eliminate the lanolin, which was part of it’s charm. Perhaps this improves yarn marketing to the accommodate the tastes of the modern knitter. I went so far as to investigate the rumor that exported Lopi is different from what is available in-country. Not true. (Big Sigh!) Please Ístex, give us some of that original Lopi. These young-uns don’t know what they are missing!!!

    • Thank you for your comments, Barbara. I also knit the original Lopi wool back in the mid-70’s and remember the feel of the lanolin in hand while working it. I still wear the sweater I purchased at the airport in Reykjavik back in 1970!

  • Nice article summarizing the wonderful versatility of Icelandic fleece! (And I loved the candy comments.) My one little nitpick is using “hairy” to describe the tog. This might lead some to think the tog is kemp fiber, which it is not. It is wool, just of a different type than the thel, which is what makes Icelandic fleece so versatile and beautiful. — Former Icelandic breeder

  • After reading everything I could get my hands on about Lopi over the years, I now have 4 beautiful balls of it. I feel like someone in a museum might feel when acquiring something longed for and finally having in their hands. I just keep looking and touching them.
    No on but a yarnie would understand.

    But can someone please tell me how to pronounce Lettlopi? My tongue is going to get stuck on some exotic pronunciation of it and sound foolish if I got it wrong in front of someone who knows!

    • When visiting Iceland a couple of years ago, specifically to shop at the Allafoss Lopi outlet (be sure to bring an extra suitcase because you’ll need it for all the yarn you’ll be buying there) I was told the correct pronunciation is “Yett-lopi”, rather than “Lett-lopi”.

      • Thank you, Louise. In all my attempts to pronunciate, I never saw that “yet” coming.

      • I’m a californian living this year in Iceland, and the correct pronunciation is a combination – the L at the start of léttlopi isn’t silent, but the é has a “yeh” sound – so the pronunciation is more like “lyehtt-lopi.” and all of the Istex yarns are fabulous to knit with – i’ve spent much of this winter learning to knit by making hats and sweaters of plötulopi and léttlopi…

  • Excellent article, as always. You have me all pumped up to start a Lettlopi yoke sweater! Will you check this possible typo, though? Two sentences after the “Loosen Up” subheading, you write “there is a prickle there from the thel fibers”. You meant to say “tog fibers” here, right?

    • Right! Corrected.

  • I love Icelandic sheep wool, and have knit with several types. Yes, a bit scratchy at times, but once washed and used it becomes comforting. My hubby+I had planned a cruise trip to Iceland and the Shetlands pre-pandemic but sadly, didn’t happen. I so miss it even though it didn’t go.
    Anyway, the newest guide book ‘Lopi’ will be an incentive to keep this wonderful yarn in my knitting.

  • Ooooh, lettlopi lace! Intriguing

  • Before reading this, was doing science class with middle school daughter. Also used pb cups in that discussion – cell size and surface area to volume ratios.

    She thinks we’d better buy a bag. For science.

    • A scholarly use for peanut butter cups! Hilarity ensues.

  • Just beautiful. Do you have a pattern for that pretty lace swatch? It’s gorgeous in that color!

  • Thanks for deconstructing Lopi for us, Jillian! That was fascinating. Especially this: “All of the twists are going in the same direction, so it’s not really a 2-ply yarn—it’s more a single-ply with a little more substance.”

    Now *that’s* cool.

    My Stopover once grew a bit in length on a day that was warmer than expected. I think that may have been an unexpected side effect of knitting at such a loose gauge. Body heat plus gravity! (I was traveling, with a very limited wardrobe.) But I washed it and it popped right back into shape. Such a great yarn.

  • Are there lopi yarns that use only one of the tog or thel?

    Btw. I live in Canada. Totally missing the Trader Joe’s peanut butter cups!

  • Bought some. May never use it since I have an entire yarn shop in my house, but you all have made me so CURIOUS and I LOVE the colors.

  • Any advice on how to knit with plotulopi? I have a large amount of the wheels in so many pretty colors and am wondering if the unspun lopi requires any special treatment. Would it work for the patterns in the field guide?

    • It would work but it does tend to break very easily.

    • knitting plötulopi held together with a strand of another yarn, such as a lace yarn, is a great way to strengthen it in the knitting process, & creates a wonderful dappled look to the colors in the fabric. i absolutely love knitting with it! and while it can break easily, if you’re gentle with it while knitting, it’s not a big problem (plus it’s very easy to simply roll the two halves back together, it felts so easily that the strand sticks back together easily).

  • Saving this one – I have an Icelandic fleece coming for dinner soon and now I know to serve it PB cups and Tootsie Pops 🙂

  • The rebel in me wants to use Lopi for a Love Note. Have I gone too far?