My love of Icelandic wool roots back to my childhood. My father was in the Navy and among the many places we lived was Iceland. (In fact, I'm the only of my four siblings who wasn't born in Iceland!) The Lopapeysa was loved in my family. But it wasn't until I went back to Iceland as an adult that I really fell in love with Icelandic wool as a knitter. Working with and wearing Léttlopi side by side with other generic wool yarns made the qualities of Icelandic wool very clear. It is everything they say it is: warm, light, weather hardy and long lasting.
When Anna contacted me about designing something for Tolt Icelandic Wool Month she requested a design in Einband. I had never used Einband, but now can categorically say it is my favorite yarn. It amplifies all of the warm and light qualities of heavier Icelandic yarns as it is so light weight. It is spun with the soft undercoat of the sheep's wool and so is even softer than most Icelandic yarns. I have begun to think of it as the gateway wool to Icelandic yarn.
When sketching ideas for this design I thought about what was unique to this yarn versus, say, Léttlopi. I wanted to create something that was a tribute to Iceland and the wonderful Lopapeysa, but took advantage of the unique qualities of Einband. The diamond lace yoke is what emerged, a feminine and soft circular yoked sweater that was slightly reminiscent of the Lopapeysa. As a bonus, this is an Icelandic wool cardigan that does not need to be steeked as most colorwork Lopapeysa's would.
One of the other fabulous things about Einband is that although it is a lace weight yarn, it is quite lovely worked at an open gauge. When I set out to design a sweater in it I took advantage of this, which makes the sweater even lighter than if it were to be knit at a tighter lace-weight gauge. Icelandic wool has a lovely 'halo.' It gives the sweater a soft natural glow, which I think we'll all find we have as well when we knit our own and slip it on. I hope you fall in love with this sweater as deeply as I have!
Beatrice Perron Dahlen is an early childhood educator, mama, wife, artist, crafter, knitter, home chef and gardener. She lives in Southern Maine with her husband and two young children. You can visit her website at www.threadandladle.com or Instagram & Pinterest: @threadandladle.
Please support Beatrices new book, MAINE Knits, through her Kickstarter fund.
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