The famous Icelandic wool sweater
If you have been in Iceland or seen pictures from people out in the Icelandic nature, you might have noticed the Icelandic traditional wool sweater, called "Lopapeysa" in Icelandic.
The Icelandic wool sweater has been keeping Icelanders warm sing early 20th century, at a time when imports had displaced older and more traditional Icelandic clothing and people started looking for new opportunities to use the native wool that Icelanders had plenty of. Since then, the design has become a national icon for Icelandic cultural identity. Icelanders use the wool sweater for all kinds of occasions, mostly though when spending time out in the nature where challenging weather can be expected. The Icelandic wool sweater is also sold as a fashion product and many designers have been inspired by this beautiful handcraft.
The Icelandic wool sweater is characterised by a yoke design, which is a wide decorative circle surrounding the neck opening. The sweater is knitted in a non-varying circle so there is no difference between the front piece and the back piece, unless a zipper is added. The wool sweater can be made with different patterns and colors, though one of its characteristics are the natural colors: White, black, grey and brown.
What makes the Icelandic wool so special?
The Icelandic sheep is quite unique, the purity of the strain has been protected by centuries of isolation and a total absence of contact with others. It is not possible to find anywhere the same quality of wool as the one the Icelandic sheep produces. It has been evolving for over 1100 years of exposure to the sub-Arctic climate and has the distinctive combination of inner and outer fibers. The outer fibers are long, glossy, tough and water resistant, while the inner ones are fine, soft and insulating, providing a high resistance to cold.
So if you are visiting Iceland remember to take a look at the beautiful Icelandic wool sweaters!