One Sweater Out, One Sweater In

What’s off my needles…

Pattern: Riddari by Védís Jónsdottír
Yarn: Létt Lopi by Ístex in Bottle Green Heather/ Light Grey Heather/ Golden Heather

Riddari complete

I honestly love nothing better than kicking off my week with a finished object, particularly if that project has been languishing on the needles for a while, or if I’ve been feeling guilty about not completely it time for a deadline. The Riddari lopapeysa I completed for my dad earlier this week ticked both of these boxes. I had to scroll pretty far back through my Instagram posts to see exactly when I cast it on, and turns out it was way back in March! Luckily my dad is a very understanding guy, and didn’t mind that his birthday present was over a month late. To be fair, I don’t think he would have got much wear out of a lopapeysa in July anyway!

For those of you who don’t know, a lopapeysa is traditional(ish) Icelandic sweater, typically worked in the round from the bottom up, with a highly patterned colour-work yoke. I say traditional(ish) because the style is actually less than a hundred years old and so doesn’t have quite the same history as, say, the Shetland shawl. Even so, lopapeysur are very distinctive and are worn by locals and visitors to the island alike.
I recently moved back to the UK after spending a year living in Iceland and it will come as no surprise to anyone that this isn’t the first lopapeysa I’ve made. I worked in a shop which sold sweaters and yarn, so I really couldn’t help myself!
I enjoyed making my first Riddari for my boyfriend so much that when it came to deciding what pattern to use for my dad, I already knew I wanted to make a second version. Luckily my boyfriend and dad currently live in different countries, so the chances of an awkward matchy-matchy moment occurring are pretty slim!

This style of sweater is actually pretty quick to knit, if you put your mind to it. Because it’s worked in the round, the sea of stocking stitch grows fairly quickly, and while the first few rounds of colour-work are slow, it’s not long before you begin the decreases and you’re on the home straight. I spoke to several elderly Icelandic ladies who told me that they could knock one of these babies out in two days, and while I don’t think I’ll ever be that speedy, I completely believe them!

One thing I have found about lopapeysur is that the shape is usually very simple and boxy, and while I often gravitate towards that style of sweater, I’m not sure if everyone is such a fan. For this reason I did make a few basic tweaks to the pattern.
I worked the extra large size for my dad, but when it came to knitting the sleeves, I made these according to the instructions for the medium size. Call me crazy, but I feel like having a slimmer fitting sleeve counter-balances the heavily pattern yoke and makes the fit a bit more contemporary. I also added a bunch of short rows after the final round of colour-work to lift the back neck, partially because I think it it’s a small change which vastly improves the fit, and partially because I didn’t want my dad to have a crisis over which way round his jumper should be every time he put it on!

All in all, I really enjoyed working on this project. My only job now is to convince my dad to model it so I can take some better pictures! I may no longer be surrounded by lopi yarn on a daily basis, but I doubt that this lopapeysa will be my last!

What’s on my needles…

Pattern: My own
Yarn: Cascade 220 in River Rock

Moss swatches

This week I finally cast on a sweater I have been thinking about for almost two months. I plan on talking about it in more detail in my next post seeing as I have already nattered on for far too long today! Needless to say, after all of the colour-work projects I have been doing recently, it is a massive relief to be back to something which is calm and textured. I’m finding the action of moving the yarn back and forward between the needles surprisingly meditative. I thought after back-to-back projects comprising largely of speedy stocking stitch, the change of pace would frustrate me, but it’s actually quite the opposite! Let’s see if I’m still saying that in a week’s time!

Michelles sweater

I hope you have a lovely knitty week, and I look forward to sharing more of what I’ve been up to with you in my next post!

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