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I think Arte TV, a French/German public broadcast service, must be reading their Snippets. They know it’s Bang Out a Sweater time, and they know that the latest MDK Field Guide is called Moss. 

That’s the only way I can explain how this happened: Arte TV just released, free on Youtube, an hour-long documentary on knitting in Iceland: Iceland’s Pullover Island. You can watch the whole gorgeous thing via the video link up top.

Buckle up, lovers of Icelandic wool and knitting. Pullover Island has:

—moss-covered lava fields

—Icelandic sheep and ponies in their natural habitat

—Icelanders knitting everywhere

—a visit to Uppspuni, Iceland’s mighty mini mill, which Jillian Moreno wrote about here

—a visit to Istex, the powerhouse spinner and exporter of Icelandic yarns to the world

—an Icelander saying the word plotulopi

—a visit to the Knitting Association of Iceland, which has organized 800 local knitters to produce mountains of authentic handknit lopapeysa (Icelandic sweaters)

—a visit to the home of a lovely octogenarian who knits 120 lopapeysa per year, and who shares how much income she makes doing this

—a strong argument against outsourcing the fabrication of Iceland’s iconic sweaters to other countries

—cameo appearances by yours truly’s favorite lopapeysa pattern of all time: Riddari!

—big waterfalls

—Icelanders of all ages, genders, and occupations going about their lives, looking fine as hell in the national sweater

—and much much more

The documentary is in German with English subtitles. You can definitely knit to it, especially if you’re cranking away on the stockinette body of the Crowberry Sweater for our Bang Out a Sweater knitalong.

Fun fact: Thanks to French fishermen who emigrated to Iceland long ago, the “peysa” in lopapeysa is derived from the French word for peasant, paysan.

You’re welcome! Enjoy! Knit like the wind!

We send a heartfelt “takk” to MDK reader Mary Lou S for letting us know about this documentary.  Thank You!


  • Ooo, delicious! Thank you for this tasty treat combining eye candy surrounded by knit comfort and entertainment.

  • Wow, thank you MDK and Mary Lou S for this amazing find. I would watch it just to hear a native say “plotulopi”, but it looks like there are plenty more interesting reasons to watch. Amazing coincidence!

  • What a coincidence, I just watched this documentary yesterday before I got the mdk email. I also got back from a vacation in Iceland 2 weeks ago. I did love seeing how knitting is a big part of local culture. Definitely worth a watch.

    • How did you happen to find it? Just having a small FOMO moment, because it truly is a prize and will be savored this afternoon

      • You can watch it via the window at the top of the post.

      • If you watch other knitting videos on You Tube the algorithm will pop it up for you!!!! I saw this on my Home Screen a few days ago so I definitely will watch.

  • What a wonderful programme, thank you for the link. Very thought-provoking and interesting. Perfect for watching while knitting my Corrugated Shawl… Crowberry Sweater is next I think!

  • Can’t wait to watch as I Bang Out my Crowberry sweater and ponder ordering yarn for the blanket.

  • Wonderful! As a spinner/dyer and long time knitter this was a fascinating tour of the wool process & of course the passion for knitting. I especially enjoyed the teaching of youngsters. I led a spinning club at my high school and had many enthusiastic male teens knitting up their own hats and mitts! Thank you. Louise

  • I watched this a few days ago by chance as I was looking for something knitting related. I forwarded this to two friends and we all said it was very interesting. I’ve watched it again since.

  • I give full credit to being under the weather last week, so I treated with knitting while YouTube, of course.

    • <3 !

  • What a lovely treat on this wintery Sunday morning. I visited Iceland about 8 years ago. Came home with yarn squeezed into every pocket of my suitcase, a knitted traditional sweater, and a desire to return. I often fall back on Léttlopi as a transition knit between projects. Time to get dressed and enjoy wearing one of my favorites—my Stopover Cardigan. Then I will pull out my project and work on finishing my Crowberry vest. Thank you!

  • Ahhhh! Das ist zehr gut! Danke schoen!
    (Ahhhh! That is so good! Thank you!)

  • Oh my gosh! Can’t wait to watch this. Many thanks for the recommendation. MDK for the win, yet again.

  • Wow! Just finished seeing that video. Super awesome. I love knitting and yarns and knit every day. I live in the southwest part of the USA in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Very little need for such Islantic wools. But I still love the beauty of how wools are cleaned, dyed, spun, and knitted. Thank you for this article and video. Love it.

  • Would love to go!!!!! Sounds like a dream!

  • Just WOW! I’ve never been happier watching television.

  • Thanks so much for this most excellent documentary on Iceland’s wool.

  • Wonderful -thank you.

  • Thank you for the show recommendation! I planned a stop at the Kniting Association of Iceland to buy my very own lopapeysa sweater two summers ago. I wore that sweater hiking all over Iceland.

  • The 2020 movie- Eurovision-is set in Iceland and is a hilarious comedy starring Will Farrell. And gnomes figure prominently!
    Loved the documentary!

  • Thank you for this tip! I can’t wait to watch. I find myself checking out sweaters in all the tv I watch now. Some nice ones in Shetland.

  • I just loved this film. Thanks to Mary Lou for sending this, and thanks to Kay and MDK knitting for posting it. I would really enjoy seeing more films like this.

  • I stumbled on this yesterday. Very worth a watch, though I did have to switch to an easier knitting project while following the subtitles.

  • I loved watching this film. I think the important message is about ensuring the authenticity of the Icelandic pullover; that it is hand knit in Iceland. We all need to be aware of the carbon footprint of the products we purchase and move away from the industrialised Asian markets before we lose the skills to produce items nearer to home.
    On an aesthetic note, I loved the range of colours and different weights of yarn available in Icelandic wool. I’m itching to make a sweater now, or maybe the throw – decisions, decisions.

  • Well, that was fun!! Thanks!

  • So interesting!!!Wonderfull program!
    Thank you very much!

  • Really enjoyed this and told myself “DON’T try and knit while watching this Dana!!” Did I listen? Of course not. Just ripped out the six rows I knit while watching. I should know better.

  • I saw this documentary on TV here in Switzerland several years ago . I see it’s made in 2019. So sometime thereafter. It was so inspiring and it was one of a few factors that motivated me to pick up my needles again….. and I’ve been knitting intensively since. My favorites are Fair Isle and Norwegian colorwork knitting. great film!!!! Everyone should see this!

  • Oh, thank you for this Sunday treat! Loved the scenery, both nature and yarn. Enjoyed seeing the men knit – will have to share this with our daughter and son-in-law, who both knit.

  • What fun! Thanks so much for posting this. Spent a lovely soggy hour on Sunday knitting to this!

  • Great Documentary about Iceland and its knitting culture! Makes me want to give my Plotulopi cakes an extra hug!

  • That video was absolutely wonderful. Having been to Iceland the scenery brought back many memories. Also I have knit with Icelandic wool and love it. One however is that it is very sticky – you would never lose a dropped stitch! I saw another facility where they dyed the yarn using natural colors and old methods. Fascinating. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • What a great way to spend a spare hour waiting for dinner to be ready. Thanks Mary Lou and MDK!!

  • OMG, that was SO great!!!

  • Wow thank you for sharing that. I truly enjoyed it and still have not knit a sweater but such inspiration.

  • Very nice to watch, thank you!

  • Loved the film! And…i had just cast on Riddari the day before. How’s that for a crazy coincidence!

  • That was lovely. I just finished watching it and had to pop back in to say, “Thank you Kay!”

  • I loved watching this. Even my husband enjoyed it, although I had to point out it was the same sweater I’d made for him

  • Thanks for letting us know about this excellent video! I’m glad it’s on YouTube–the ability to watch knitting videos in my choice of three slow-motion speeds is a real plus for me. (YouTube also has four fast-motion speeds, but I can’t say I’ve ever thought to watch knitting that’s going even faster than normal!)

    There’s a gear-shaped icon at the bottom of the video screen. Click on it, then click on “Playback speed”, and then click on your desired speed.

  • My knitting confidence is e x t r e me l y s l o w. The fact that I actually bought yarn for the Daytripper Sweater a little while back is thanks to you guys. Not this year but by the next I hope to jump into this Fair Isle thing and bang out a Lopapeysa. More than fifty years after I spied my first one on that treeless tarmac of the Reykjavik airport gift shop. Thanks for the video, MDK-Mary Lou team! It works great with all-stockinette!

  • Sounds fabulous. Thanks for highlighting it.

  • This video popped up on my recommended list on YouTube a few days ago. Last night I finally had an uninterrupted hour to devote to it. What a treasure!

    I loved the knit group dominated by men and how several of them said that they were nervous about knitting in public until their group formed.

  • Yes!! Please add my sincere thank you for sharing this extraordinarily fascinating documentary. I’ve wanted to visit Iceland for a little while now. After watching this, it’s on the ‘must and will visit’ list. Much gratitude.

  • This video is a real treat. Thank you for mentioning it.

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