4509 Tolt Ave, Carnation, WA
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Blog / Why We Love

  • Why We Love Icelandic Wool

    At Tolt Yarn and Wool we love Icelandic wool, for it's wearable durability and the tradition of color work associated with it. Icelandic wool has special qualities being composed of both a longer outercoat called tog and a shorter, lofty undercoat called þel, or thel.  It is incredibly lightweight and insulating, perfect for winter sports. Léttlopi and Einband can be knit at larger gauges for lighter garments suitable for spring and early fall. 

    We love Icelandic wool so much that we host Tolt Icelandic Wool Month for the month of March.  We feature Istex's Léttlopi, Álafosslopi, Einband and Plötulopi

    This article is something of a love song to the Lopapeysa, or Icelandic style sweater. Typically yoked and featuring three to many colors in yoked color work.

    Some of our favorite Lopapeysa designs:

    Strokkur by Ysolda Teague

    This is Rachel's Strokkur, we love the beautiful shaping that Ysolda includes. It is knit in Léttlopi colors: MC 0052, CC 0085 and CC 9426.

    Iðunn by Ragga Eiríksdóttir

    Ragga's beautiful top down Lopapeysa cardigan is striking in its two colors.  It is knit in Léttlopi, colors MC 0058 and CC 0051.

    Stopover by Mary Jane Mucklestone

    Rachel is wearing a Stopover knit by our friend Sandy Blue. This fun sweater, knit at a loose gauge, also incorporates shaping. It is knit in Léttlopi colors MC 9423, CC 1406, CC 1404, CC 1409.

    Gamaldags by Hélène Magnússon


    Gamaldags means old fashion in Icelandic. There is so much scope for color in this pattern, we find it beautiful and inspiring. It is shown as both a pullover and as a cardigan, it has shaping and a scoop neckline.

    Dalur by Hulda Hákonardóttir

    This is Anna in her Dalur sweater, knitting in Iceland on her trip last March. Dalur is knit in Álafosslopi, Anna's colors are: MC 9974, CC 0051 and CC 0005.

    Moon Pulls by Dianna Walla

    Jenny's Moon Pulls.  Moon pulls is a less traditional Lopapeysa and incorporates deliciously soft cashmere at the cuffs and collar. Jenny's is knit in Léttlopi colors MC 1420, CC 1406, CC 0086, CC 1404.

    Through the month of March join us in a knit along for Tolt Icelandic Wool Month. If you are near our brick and mortar store we will be meeting on Thursdays from 10:30 am - 12:30 pm through the month of March. If you are not able to knit with us in the shop, please post on Instagram with the hashtag #tolticelandicwoolmonth or in our Ravelry group in the "Tolt Icelandic Wool Month KAL" thread.


  • Why We Love Retrosaria



    The shawls pictured above are cabinfour's Farmhouse and Shannon Cook's Bradway both in Beiroa.

    We love Retrosaria because it's founder, Rosa, is intent on the preservation of traditional wool processing in Portugal. She facilitates the creation of Portuguese yarn from local heritage sheep breeds milled and spun in Portugal for the fiber enthusiasts of the world.  Her work is inspiring and heartening to us and is aligned with our Farm to Needle ethos. We want all the wool and knitting traditions in this world to be vibrant and vital, enriching everyone's experience of wool and their craft. 


    Retrosaria (Portuguese for haberdashery) was founded by Rosa Pomar first online in 2008 and then it became a brick and mortar store in Lisbon, Portugal in 2009. The yarns created by Retrosaria are Beiroa, Bucos, Zagal, Linho, João, Alfeire, Cobertor and Nordeste all sourced and created in Portugal.


    We love Rosa's labels.  Every time a new one is released we are in love again. 

    We cherish this particular yarn, Bucos, which we are fortunate enough to import from Rosa. Bucos yarn is hand carded and spun on a distaff or drop spindle in Bucos, Portugal out of wool from local sheep ranchers.


    Portugal has a rich history of knitting, and it is a technique particular to the region. Rosa promotes Portuguese style knitting by teaching classes and has published Malhas Portuguesas a book about the history and technique of Portuguese knitting with patterns included. Malhas Portuguesas is in Portuguese. We have Portuguese knitting pins available in our shop.



    Beiroa Fingerless Mitts a free pattern by Inês Azeitona in Beiroa colors 685 (MC), 595 (CC1), 557 (CC2)  Beiroa has many colors, making it fantastic for color work. 

    Many thanks to Rosa for the work she is doing to contribute to Portugal's wool and knitting culture.

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