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Dear Ann:

It’s so exciting seeing piles of Lopi, and even swatches, popping up all over the place for the Bang Out A Sweater knitalong.

The high-speed nature of this knitalong is a big part of the fun, for me anyway, but it does bring with it some challenges.

Consider the Cardigan

One challenge: a very short time to consider modifications and alternatives to our chosen pattern, Mary Jane Mucklestone’s Stopover sweater, which is a pullover.


A few people have mentioned that they don’t wear pullovers, so they want to knit a cardigan. That’s fine. Knitting is supposed to be fun, and it’s supposed to result in something you want to wear.

One option: make Stopover into a cardigan by working a steek down the center front.  That’s exactly what Susan LeBonVoyage did over on Ravelry.  Unfortunately, Susan did not show a picture of her Stopover Cardigan, but here’s her pithy description of how she did it:  “Added one stitch for Ragga Eiríksdóttir’s steek –.”

“This is Lopi So It’s OK”

Who is this Ragga Eiríksdóttir, and what is her steek? Ragga is a beloved author and knitting entrepreneur who lives in Reykjavik and spreads the joy of Icelandic wool and knitting through her designs, teaching, and leading fiber-centric tours of Iceland for knitters. (One of which is featured in Clara Parkes’ upcoming book, Knitlandia, to be released on February 16.)

Ragga is fond of cardigans and has designed several of them. A favorite is Freyja, which is worked in Ann Shayne’s Preferred Icelandic Yarn PlötulopiTM.


(Photographs copyright Ragnheidur Eiríksdóttir.)

In the pattern notes, Ragga explains her one-stitch steek method:

“The cardigan is knit in the round, starting from the bottom. All stitches are knit, except for one purled stitch in the middle front. This is the steek stitch….[a bunch of talk about knitting the sweater]….After casting off at the neckline, the underarm stitches are grafted together using the Kitchener stitch. Then it’s time for steeking. A sewing machine is used to make two double seams in the front on each side of the purled stitch. Keep the stitch straight and short. Don’t ever use zig-zag for this…disaster could happen! When the seams are in place, find a sharp pair of scissors and cut along the purled stitches in between the seams. Be brave… this is lopi so it’s ok. Voila! You have a cardigan. The last step is to crochet 2-3 rows of edging all around the opening. Consider adding a strand of kid-mohair or some other strong and fuzzy (or even glittery) type of yarn for this. The buttonholes are made in the crochet edging – so after this there’s nothing left but sewing on some cute buttons and donning the nice cardi.”

In conclusion: you can add one purl stitch to the center of the body and cardiganize your Stopover. Double dog dare ya! I sincerely hope to see at least one Stopover Cardigan.

OR, you can knit Freyja. You will have to fool around with the gauge if you want to get Stopover’s speediness and lightweight fabric. (Freyja’s gauge is 19 stitches over 10cm/4 inches; Stopover’s gauge is a breezy 13 stitches over 10cm/4 inches.) All you have to do, really, is knit Freyja one or two sizes smaller than the size you’d usually knit, but at the bigger Stopover gauge. Am I making ANY SENSE AT ALL?

Yarn Insecurity

Given that we are casting on our Stopovers on February 1, there has been some anxiety about getting the yarn in time. Lopi is widely available in North America and Europe, but it’s not a staple of every yarn store and online purveyor.  Here are some tried-and-true recommendations from our readers.

Dublin Bay Knitting Company, Portland Oregon (LYS and online)

Fancy Tiger Crafts, Denver, Colorado (LYS and online)

Handknitting (online)

Ingebretson’s, Minneapolis, Minnesota (LYS and online)

Knit One, Purl Two, Rockford, Illinois (LYS)

Knitty City, New York, New York (LYS)

River Colors Studio, near Cleveland, Ohio (LYS and online)

Romni Wools, Toronto, Ontario  (LYS)

Nordic Store, Reykjavik, Iceland (online) Yes! Reykjavik! If you think this is a crazy idea, or if you don’t, go read Gale Zucker’s post on She Shoots Sheep Shots about how she got her Stopover yarn from Nordic Store in 4 days.

Stash, Corvallis, Oregon (LYS)

Stix, Bozeman, Montana (LYS)

The Yarn Barn, Woodbridge, Connecticut (LYS)

Tolt Yarn & Wool, Carnation, Washington (LYS and online)

Woolbearers, Mount Holly, New Jersey (LYS and online)

Yarn Harbor, Duluth, Minnesota (LYS)

And finally, as reader Elizabeth points out, there is always the Westminster Fibers store locator. (Westminster is the US distributor for Lopi.) In the “select the brand” box, click on “handknitting-Lopi,” select the state, and up comes a listing of stockists.

Remember, if your yarn doesn’t come by February 1, it might come on February 2. Follow along with us until your yarn arrives; then cast on, and knit like the wind.




Leave a Comment


  • Now she tells me …. Actually, I think a steek might be a technique too far. And I have identified a handy victim, I mean recipient, for the jumper, so I am in. My first KAL, my first lopi, and some new techniques in there for me. Exciting. And who knows, if I feel brave, later on I could try steeking for a cardi version.

  • I have loved the discussion about this KAL. I live on the south shore of Lake Superior so have many months of Lopi sweater wearing opportunities. I have some Lettlopi in my stash but not enough. I have some 2 ply Icelandic yarn from a sheep and wool festival in sufficient quantities for an all natural, dark main color pullover. I also have the Strokkur pattern. So, I did a swatch last night, will go for a denser fabric, and follow along for all the entertaining discussion and helpful hints like this steeking review. I’ve knit several Lopi sweaters and keep thinking, it is important to honor the unique qualities of this wool. It is not for everyone, but it had stood the test of time. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Oh great, another sweater I have to knit.

    • Yippeee!

    • Loving the cardigan and am popping it into my queue. For this KAL, I will stick with the Stopover (for some reason, I keep wanting to call it Stepover). I don’t believe my yarn will be here in time to start on the 1st but I’ll be starting as soon as I can.

  • That’s it! I’m in. Skillful problem solving for cardigan lovers who were on the fence. No barrier you can’t find a way around. Thanks for the lead to a lovely (free!) pattern to queue and Ragga.

  • I ordered yarn from yesterday, and now all this Icelandic talk has me thinking of picking up the Officer Gunnhilder mystery series for those moments when you need to let your hands rest. I read the first one but then Christmas happened and I’ve let my mystery reading slide.

    • Rev. Emily, thanks for the Officer Gunnhilder recommendation! I just placed Frozen Assets on hold at my library.

      • I’m really tempted to knit this sweater, unfortunately the sizing does not accommodate my assets. :/

        • Eek, this wasn’t meant to be a reply. Silly phone.

  • As I was browsing Ravelry patterns this morning, as one does, I noticed that the designer of Freyja has another free cardigan pattern written for Lett Lopi.

    The collective power of the KAL has almost convinced me.

    • Just. Bangoutasweater.

    • You cannot resist us. Resistance is futile. Join in.

  • I know the whole thing is to knit a winter sweater, and Lopi is great, and I want to join in, but I just can’t knit that stuff without sneezing and coughing for weeks. So, got a cotton Lopi? Maybe I’ll just knit along with my WIP sweater from last year!

  • Okay, I would love to knit with the Lopi BUT I swatched with Brown Sheep Lambs Pride and it seems to work. Could we maybe sing the praises of some substitute yarns?

    • Two Anna’s on the same wavelength! I was just wondering whether Fisherman’s Wool would work. I can’t get yarn here to FL in time, and oh yeah, I live in FL. I’m going to be giving this one to a friend in a colder climate.

  • Ah! Ragga has taught at our shop a number of times and will be teaching for us again at the end of April/beginning of May (date has yet to be set). Her classes are well-loved and extremely informative. If you ever get the chance to take one, please do! She is a very entertaining teacher!

  • Webs in Northampton MA has Lopi. And they ship quickly.

    • They do, but their stock is quite limited at the moment. In fact, there has been significant change since this morning. I think the KAL is having an effect.

      • I ordered from Webs Monday. They let me know two days later my main color was out of stock for up to three weeks. Cancelled there and ordered from Dublin Bay. Very helpful and good stock. FREE USPS Priority Mail Shipping on United States Orders Over $50!

        They also have lace-weight Lopi on sale right now. 🙂

  • I would defintely do a cardigan … my fear is that many describe the Lopi as itchy … but I found some Cascade Eco Cloud in my stash and maybe …. or another read through the comments for substitution suggestions. I can’t do itchy.

    and I have ever steeked … scary, but learning a new skill is good!

    • I just finished knitting Idunn and I had never steeked before–in fact, I can barely crochet–and it was super fun and easy! Follow the link to Ragga’s free Craftsy tutiorial on the crocheted steek–it’s really great, she is such a good teacher 🙂

    • In the Knitty pattern for her Iounn (sp) sweater, she says to use hair conditioner in the final rinse and not to rinse that out. She says that will make it very soft.

  • Dublin Bay tells you how much of each color they have in stock, so you know if they have enough of what you want.

    They have it prepped for shipping already and I should have it Saturday. First time using them and already very happy.

  • It will take me longer to prepare the yarn, but I have several wheels of the unspun Lopi single whose name I cannot spell. I will put in a light twist and dye it. Then I’ll join you all it will take me longer, but it looks like fun. Once I get going, I’m a fast knitter. When other aspects of life don’t interfere. .

    • Wait, the unspun Lopi single is basically a pencil roving isn’t it? And you can spin (add twist) to that?*

      *clearly, I am not a spinner…

    • Intriguing! Must see pix!

  • To add another Icelandic source–Alafoss also sells it in every color ( EVERY COLOR, which may be important this week as many US sources have sold out of certain shades thanks to this KAL! The shipping seems breathtaking, but if you order 12 or so skeins (you have a friend, right? or maybe another Lopapeysa you wanna make?) the low price of the yarn makes it competitive with US shops.
    Plus I spazzed and changed my mind about my main color several hours after placing the order and they changed it for me, no problem at all (this is the advantage of ordering in a different time zone anywhere, I suppose).

  • but who won the Deluxe Adorna kit for that awesome scarf? I have never wanted to win something so bad in my life. Wish I was rich enough to buy the kit…

  • A cardigan, you say? Hmm. I was holding off, because round necklines can be so unflattering to busty women. My other thought was knitting the yoke in a larger size… Off to Ravelry!

    (Is it worth mentioning here that saving my money and knitting the 16 other projects I have started is clearly not an option?)

  • Cardigan version?!!? I’m in!!! Thanks for providing the links for yarn ordering.

  • Often I find cardigans more wearable as my internal thermometer doesn’t seem to match everyone elses, but I am going to knit this sweater as written, then I’ll try one of Ragga’s cardigans. I’ve been prepping for this project by reading the notes and am so encouraged by how fast many people knit their sweaters, some in less than a week!

    I had my yarn shipped to my office as I find commercial delivery is quicker than residential and now I see it’s out for delivery! How can I keep my mind on work when there’s yarn coming?

  • Oh what to do? I jumped in with both feet the first day Endora-I-mean-Kay (get the reference?) announced this KAL, and spent hours looking at colors of what has been described here as Brillo-pad scratchy fuzz and stash yarn substitutions (I am looking at you, SQ of Lamb’s Pride!), and then I remembered that I fell HARD for Julia Farwell-Clay’s Winter Traveller which is also knit on big needles and might also be bangoutable, so maybe I will follow along here but spend my knitting time banging out a giant snowflake instead. I have 4 days to waffle, and keep in mind Kay and Ann’s tenets that a)”knitting is supposed to be fun” and b)”no project is too ambitious if you crave the result enough”!

  • Hélène Magnussun, another Icelandic sweater designer/guru, recommends a 4-stitch steek (4 purled stitches in the center front), with a line of machine stitching at either edge before you cut. Much less anxiety-inducing than just one purled-stitch column, if it’s your first steek!

    • Good tip!

  • My yarn has been shipped, so I’m hoping it’ll be here in time to start. I’m smitten with the Lagoon colorway too, so I’m totally copying the model.

  • This is the first time I have ever felt any desire to participate in a KAL. IT SOUNDS SO THRILLING. I’m not going to, obviously; are you crazy? I am very excited to see what happens though. And I will also squirrel away this steeking method, because it makes so much sense.

  • Soooo, I’m sneaking up on this KAL. I first thought no, I promised DH a sweater and it’s all swatched, and I have the yarn for 2 other sweaters that I’ve been wanting to make for me. So I’ll just follow along and enjoy vicariously. And then I thought it wouldn’t hurt to order the pattern, you know, for later, and then I thought it wouldn’t hurt to order the yarn, you know, for later. Now I have the pattern and the yarn is on the way …. and I’m so going to end up joining in!

  • I love Ragga! I took her Speed Steeking class at Vogue Knitting Live in Seattle a couple of years ago, and then immediately signed up for her Craftsy class when I got home. That has put me down the rabbit-hole of icelandic sweaters, which I might never come out of. She’s really a wonderful teacher. And if you do a cardigan, you have the opportunity to cover the raw edges of your steek with some beautiful ribbon! 🙂

  • There is a Canadian supplier for Lopi in Winnipeg Manitoba: They are very helpful. They have helped me work with colour combinations over the phone, and I was very happy with the decisions we made.

  • Oh, brother! I thought I was here for a quick pullover. Now it looks like I’ll be making a pullover and a cardigan. That special steek method is almost as much fun as not having to pick up stitches for a button band (a cardigan’s major deterrent for me)!

  • Looks like this KAL has inundated the yarn shops and web sites. I ordered thru hand and received a nice call this morning saying they were out of several colors and are placing a priority order and hoped to ship everything next week. I requested that they ship the other colors so I can get started on a swatch and he is doing that. Nice customer service. I only capitulated on this when I read the possibility of a steek to turn it into a cardigan……I live in Florida after all.

    • Welcome, Sue M. I’m sure the ventilation of a cardigan will be handy in Florida.

  • The Nordic Store DHL price is twice what Gale Zucker reports…

  • I got my yarn from webs and they have expedited shipping, for those of us who don’t live near a shop that carries the yarn. The color choices are limited, however, but as of yesterday they still had a lot of yarn left at a good price.

    My first KAL!

  • I am seeking! Been researching and am going to do a 7 stitch checkerboard steek and line it with ribbon in inside ànd add two little buttons at top . now to find ribbon. Got my yarn at dublinbay and crafts.light gray for body two pinks and yellow for patterning.

    • Ribbon! Thrilling! Have always wanted to try that. Pix, please?

      • What I don’t understand is how anybody ever picks out a ribbon. Too many choices!

  • I can’t KAL as I am in the process of Pinching Pennies but I’m still really looking forward to seeing what everyone does! One of my favorite features of Ravelry is being able to sort by modifications to see how different people do knits and to learn new techniques. (And don’t worry, I’ll be using all this global knitting force to inspire me to finish the dreaded “second sock”.)

  • Is all unspun lopi interchangeable? I’m am tempted with this cardigan option. I may go for the Freyja if I take the plunge.

  • I was just in getting provisions and they are stocked up and ready for us. They had a sample of Stopover right there for the fondling, it is lovely. They have many more colors in store than on line of the Lett Lopi, Alafosslopi and the paddy-cake Lopi. Off to swatch with the Alafosslopi in a lovely sap green.

    • I ordered from them and they couldn’t have been nicer. And my yarn just arrived and is as beautiful as I’d imagined.

    • LOL paddy-cake Lopi! Perfect name. Welcome, KT. We keep hearing great things about Tolt. May have to make an expedition.

    • KT. How scratchy was the sweater you saw at ToltYarn? I am on the fence, finished project resolution for ’16, may retire in June. If to SC I will never wear it. If to ME I will wish I had knit it. I am a real color work novice. Now that I think of it, how the heck did I get on the fence? Oh yeah, Kay. She has a way about her, which is why a HoneyCowl is blocking on my dining room table as I type. So if it is scratchy I will lurk this KAL, and join the next one.
      I have tried the conditioner route and it doesn’t work for me. Sighh.

  • I have a suitcase full of lett lopi and Pluto loopy (love that name) from a trip to Iceland a couple of years ago. I went to the Lopi factory and fell down hard. Unfortunately, I can’t join the KAL because I’m traveling to New Zealand this month (more yarn!). It will be fun to see everyone’s progress and make a sweater or two when I return, I’ve been eyeing sweater patterns for my Lopi yarn for two years.

  • I think it’s hilarious that all over the world, yarn shops are being inundated with Istex orders and thinking to themselves, ‘what the hell is happening that we don’t know about?!’ I’m sure they know now, but it must have been funny at first!

  • Oh my god, the Freyja! Now you really have got me. Looking for yarn now.

  • After waffling for several days, I finally decided that I’m in. I ordered yarn, doing my best to make sure all the colors I wanted were in stock, and now I just learned that it’s backordered! And I was getting so excited to dive into a new sweater in a handful of days…. Oh well, it’ll still be an awesome sweater once the yarn shows up.

    • We’ll still be here, knitting away, and meanwhile you can learn from everybody else’s experience. Welcome, Meredith!

  • I just called my semi-local (50 miles away) yarn store, (Stash, LLC. Corvallis, OR) and asked what they had in stock in one of the dark reds, for the main color. Not enough for the XL size, but they did have sufficient quantities of #0867, Chocolate Brown, another one of my neutrals. It will ship tomorrow, and I bought the pattern yesterday! You are such great enablers, in the best possible sense of the word…supporting a designer and also yarn stores all over the country and the world! And individual knitters, too, of course. Like Amber, “this is the first time I have ever felt any desire to participate in a KAL,” but who better to knit my first full-length sweater with than Modern Daily Knitting and co.?

    Oh, and if you’re searching the Westminster Fibers store locator link and don’t find your state/province listed, keep trying. I clicked on it yesterday, and it didn’t even offer my state (Oregon) as an option for Lopi yarn. I personally know that’s not true, as Dublin Bay, the first store on your list above, is in Portland, OR! It’s a great yarn store. I’ve only been there once, but liked it, and the staff, very much.

    • Welcome, Laura! I added Stash to the list. It’s also useful to know that the Westminster list is not comprehensive.

  • I’m won’t be knitting along but I am excited to see you all do it! And while you were unable to convince me to take this plunge you have gotten me to at long last join Instagram. I held out for as long as possible, but missing all those knitting photos is too much to endure. Happy knitting!

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  • Okay I am in. Ordered the yarn from Webs today. I am going to follow the pattern to the letter. I don’t want to think about it–just do it. It is planned for my niece but if it doesn’t fit her, it will fit someone. I picked the rose heather for the MC and then a lovely green and white fog the patterns.

  • I so want to participate in this KAL but….I have to use up some of the yarn I have – – I know I know what you are thinking but if I spend more $ on yarn I will be in serious trouble with myself. So I am going to watch and listen while I continue to knit my Purl Soho Pullover

  • O.M.G. I just bought the pattern and ordered yarn from ICELAND!!! Even with the 6-12 day shipping, it was less than $50! It’s not likely to be here by Feb 1, which is okay – that’s caucus night here in Iowa and I will busy. I’m ignoring the fact that I’m committed to another sweater KAL (an in-person one) that starts on Feb 9….

  • My yarn is here, my yarn is here! Thank you, lovely ladies at the west coast PurlSoho distribution site. Tomorrow we swatch!!

  • shoot. my mil went to iceland and brought me back a ton of lettlopi (! lucky me!) and I already knit one sweater in it. I have enough for a second. am I in? I was going to make Riddari as a henley. 🙂

  • I’m trying to focus on WIPs and not buy new yarn in a (probably futile) attempt to reduce my stash, but I caved last night. I ended up ordering my yarn directly from Álafoss, in Iceland – even with international shipping, it was the least cost for a sweater’s worth of Léttlopi (less than $40!). And it shipped first thing this morning! So even if it doesn’t arrive by 2/1, I’m looking forward to starting my Oatmeal-and-Pink/Rose Heather Stopover.

  • Ok, you got me. But I will try to “bang out” the Freyja cardigan. The unspun Icelandic is being shipped from Reykejavic. So I will be starting after some are probably finishing, but I can hardly wait.

  • Freyja- you are so beautiful. But I need to get a few things sorted :
    Yarn: Lettlopi – right?
    Knit at larger gauge- 13st=4inches?
    Make a size or two smaller- that’s where I get into trouble. I would knit an XL if doing the Stopover. I hate tight clothing!
    What size should I knit for the Freyja?

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